John P. Leo

The five-story brick tenement and store at 109 Washington Street was built in 1886, possibly as an alteration from an earlier building, just as the Syrian community began taking root in this part of Lower Manhattan. The building’s Neo-Classical style facade has changed little over the years. Although the storefront has been altered, the historic cast- iron structural columns are still visible at the ground floor and the existing cast-iron swag lintels are extremely rare architectural features. Built almost to the rear lot line and with only one small airshaft, 109 Washington Street is representative of the old-law tenement type that prevailed before the introduction of stricter housing laws around the turn of the century. The building has a remarkable history of housing multi-ethnic population as residents, often contemporaneously.