“We seek to preserve the physical history of the Lower West Side of Manhattan, an area sometimes called ‘Little Syria.’”

Always changing...

Yet a minimum of historic preservation is important.


Our Story

The Washington Street Advocacy Group emerged from an encounter with the first Arab-American novel, Ameen Rihani’s The Book of Khalid (1911), which takes place in the Syrian Quarter of Lower Manhattan. In 2011, with a campaign called “Project Khalid,” we celebrated one hundred years since its publication with a series of events and two new editions of the novel. Since then, we have worked with other activists to tell stories of the “Little Syria” neighborhood and to attempt to protect the few remaining sites.


“Say thy say, and go thy way.”

— Ameen Rihani, Author


Our Projects

The Washington Street Advocacy Group’s most urgent project is to identify a way to protect and save three buildings on Washington Street in Lower Manhattan: St. George’s Syrian Catholic Church at 103 Washington Street, the Downtown Community House at 105-107 Washington Street, and a sole surviving tenement at 109 Washington Street. Working with a strong community of activists, we plan to pursue creative advocacy and business strategies to achieve this decades-long dream. One of the first elements of this strategy is the production of a new report reviewing the status of historic preservation since September 11, 2001.


This building and its residents stood against Robert Moses and his effort to erase this history.

Let’s work to save the little remaining now that we better understand what is at stake…

over 25%

of historic buildings demolished since September 11, 2001

at least 18%

of remaining historic buildings seriously altered

only 10%

of historic sites protected by Landmarks Preservation Commission


A new report entitled Voluntary Destruction: Historic Preservation in the Lower West Side since September 11, 2001 seeks to document the full loss of New York’s history.

View More Details about the Report →


Get Involved

If you have skills in graphic design, press relations, or grassroots activism, please get in touch!

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