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Walking Tour: The Unexpected Story of Jewish Williamsburg (2.5 hours)
Center for Jewish History
New York, NY
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It would be fair to call Williamsburg the Lower East Sides lesser known sibling. Opening in 1903, the Williamsburg bridge, which connects the Lower East Side to Williamsburg, soon came to be known as The Jewish Highway. Jewish immigrants, seeking to escape the crowded tenements of the Lower East Side, resettled in Williamsburg in large numbers. They brought with them all of the character of similar enclaves  Yiddish, kosher butchers, and synagogues  as well as the familiar ambition of upward mobility. However, unlike the Lower East Side, Williamsburg was not soon past its heyday.

After the Holocaust, Hungarian survivors, many of whom were Hasidic, became the next wave of immigrants to make their American starter homes in Williamsburg. But this second wave did not want to move on and Americanize. They stayed in Williamsburg, despite the polluted East River, high crime and crumbling infrastructure, and maintained their traditions. Even as North Williamsburg has been reborn as a trendy hipster enclave in recent decades, the fourth generation of Hasidim continue to thrive in South Williamsburg. Our tour will take us through this story by way of the buildings, streets, and synagogues, with a nosh of the famous Hungarian kosher cooking.

About the Tour Guide: Frieda Vizel is a New York City tour guide who specializes in Jewish Williamsburg. She grew up in the Satmar Hasidic community and her four holocaust survivor grandparents lived in Williamsburg. She has since left the fold, but remains drawn to the areas rich legacy.

Location and other details: This tour will begin at Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom (284 Rodney St.). Please plan to arrive at 9:45 AM to check in. We will not wait more than a few minutes for late arrivals. This tour will take place rain or shine. Please dress modestly, wear weather-appropriate clothing/shoes, and bring water. Note: Some tour stops are not wheelchair accessible.

his program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Presented by Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute and American Jewish Historical Society
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Center for Jewish History (View)
15 West 16th St.
New York, NY 10011
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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