- What’s On
The Ottoman government once had a significant presence in Lower Manhattan, beginning in the late 19th century. Its consulate was near Wall Street at 59 Pearl Street, and it established a mosque at 17 Rector Street. The Ottoman Empire also played a role in the great amounts of trade in goods that moved through the port of New York. And Ottoman subjects of many ethnicities (Syrians, Palestinians, Greeks, Armenians and Turks) lived in the Syrian Quarter, near where the World Trade Center was later built. Even after the creation of the modern state of Turkey, several Turkish political and trade organizations continued to operate in the old district. On this walking tour, historians Işıl Acehan and Todd Fine will bring Ottoman New York back to life through stories of culture, religion and politics. However, the focus will always be on the actual lives of people, whose stories are often simplified and obscured because of the political focus of our time.
Dr Işıl Acehan is a visiting professor of history at George Mason University, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, and an advisor at Forum USA, the oldest Turkish-American newspaper. Dr Acehan completed her Ph.D. in history at Bilkent University, Turkey. Her major research interests are early Turkish immigrants in the U.S., Ottoman migration to the U.S. (1890s–1930s), transnationalism and U.S.-Ottoman relations. She has served as a resident fellow at various universities and institutions including Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of American History, and the Free University of Berlin.
Todd Fine is the president of the the Washington Street Advocacy Group, an organization that advocates for the physical preservation of the ‘Little Syria’ neighbourhood of downtown Manhattan and the memory of its literary figures. In 2011, he directed Project Khalid, a campaign to celebrate the centennial year of the publication of Ameen Rihani’s The Book of Khalid (1911), the first Arab-American novel in English. Currently, he is a PhD student of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He holds a BA in government from Harvard University (2004) and an MA in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (2007).