As it Was: A Virtual Tour of the Lower East Side
August 24 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pmFree
The history of the Lower East Side over the last century is one of constant change and transformation. From 1880 to the present, the Lower East Side saw unparalleled growth, waves of immigrants flooding its streets, and the rise of the first public parks and libraries in the area. This virtual tour of the Lower East Side will take you through multiple phases of the neighborhood’s history and the ways its residents worshiped, played, studied, and fought for their place in a new land. Explore how the neighborhood has changed, and how the Museum at Eldridge Street and Seward Park Library, which continue to serve residents after almost 150 years, have changed with it.
Learn how Jewish immigrants flooded into New York City from Eastern Europe to escape persecution, and how they adapted to this wildly different socio-economic landscape once they arrived. Despite hardships, community members came together to pave their own way. They built the Eldridge Street Synagogue in under a year and pushed for public parks and resources, such as Seward Park and Seward Park Library, while remaining proud of their culture and identity.
You’ll also have the opportunity to see rare images and newspaper articles about Eldridge Street Synagogue and the Seward Park Library.
This program will be virtual over Zoom. You will receive the Zoom link in your confirmation email.
About the Seward Park Library
The Seward Park branch of The New York Public Library on Manhattan’s Lower East Side can trace its roots back to 1886, when the Aguilar Free Library Society founded it. The branch, which opened its doors at its current location on November 11, 1909, is located at the eastern edge of the park for which it is named. The four-story, red brick Renaissance Revival building was one of 65 NYPL branches built with funds from Andrew Carnegie, and it boasts high ceilings and arched windows designed by the firm Babb, Cook & Welch. Learn more here.
About the Museum at Eldridge Street
The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed in the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a magnificent National Historic Landmark that has been meticulously restored. Opened in 1887, the synagogue is the first great house of worship built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Today, it is the only remaining marker of the great wave of Jewish migration to the Lower East Side that is open to a broad public who wish to visit Jewish New York. Exhibits, tours, public programs, and education tell the story of Jewish immigrant life, explore architecture and historic preservation, inspire reflection on cultural continuity, and foster collaboration and exchange between people of all faiths, heritages, and interests. Learn more here.
This program is organized in partnership between the Museum at Eldridge Street and the Seward Park Library branch of The New York Public Library (NYPL). This program is also made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) as part of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) Building Capacity Project.
Image: The Seward Park Library 1900-1910.