The Lower East Side of Manhattan has been dubbed the “American-Jewish Plymouth Rock.” Many European Jews emigrated to the Lower East Side between 1880-1920, landing there similar to the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. “Every tenement home was a Plymouth Rock like ours,” wrote Michael Gold in Jews Without Money (1930).
The Lower East Side nickname was popularized by NYU historian Hasia Diner, who wrote in Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America (2002):
“The Lower East Side has become the American Jewish Plymouth Rock. It has come to stand for Jewish authenticity in America, for a moment in time when undiluted eastern European Jewish culture throbbed in America.”
Wikipedia: Lower East Side
The Lower East Side, sometimes abbreviated as LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan, roughly located between the Bowery and the East River, and Canal Street and Houston Street. Traditionally an immigrant, working-class neighborhood, it began rapid gentrification in the mid-2000s, prompting The National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America’s Most Endangered Places. It has become a home to upscale boutiques and trendy dining establishments along Clinton Street’s restaurant row.
Wikipedia: Hasia Diner
Hasia Diner is an American historian. Diner is the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History; Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, History; and Director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University.
Jews Without Money
By Michael Gold
New York, NY: H. Liveright
Every tenement home was a Plymouth Rock like ours.
Lower East Side Memories:
A Jewish Place in America
By Hasia R. Diner
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
The Lower East Side has become the American Jewish Plymouth Rock. It has come to stand for Jewish authenticity in America, for a moment in time when undiluted eastern European Jewish culture throbbed in America.
Midland (MI) Daily News
NYC Site of Tenement Museum Battle
Sunday, April 21, 2002, 1:00 am
Associated Press Writer
Manhattan’s Lower East Side has an important place in the history of immigration. Newly arriving Italian, Irish and German families made their first homes in its tenements. So many Jewish families settled here that Hasia Diner, a New York University history professor, called the neighborhood “the American-Jewish Plymouth Rock.”
My Jewish Learning
(February 2012, the date of a comment?—ed.)
The Lower East Side of New York City
On the Jewish Plymouth Rock of New York’s Lower East Side, Jewish immigrants began their new lives.
By Moses Rischin
In 1880, in a Jewish population of approximately 250,000, only one out of six American Jews was of’ East European extraction; 40 years later, in a community which had reached four million, five out of six American Jews came from Eastern Europe.
Black Harlem and the Jewish Lower East Side:
Narratives Out of Time
Edited by Catherine Rottenberg
Albany, NY: State University of New York Press
American Jews have, in other words, claimed the Lower East Side as their originary site of cultural memory, “embracing it as the Plymouth Rock of American Jewish history.”
The Jewish Voice (New York, NY)
NYC High Line Park Success Inspires Lowline Development
WEDNESDAY, 03 DECEMBER 2014 16:54 BY CHARLES BERNSTEIN
The Lowline is only one part of a Lower East Side revitalization project.
The area has a prominent place in immigration history. At the turn of the 20th century, a large amount of Jewish families settled in the neighborhood, coining it the nickname “the American-Jewish Plymouth Rock.”