Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Jewish Daily Forward Building

1) The home of the Jewish Daily Forward, 1900-1910 (PBS Kids website). 2) The Forward building now as an apartment building, 2008 (Wikipedia).

At 1stglance the former Jewish Daily Forward building, located on 173 East Broadway, just looks like one of the big fancy binging that you find in Manhattan. At second glace it looks the same exact way. However, moving deeper into just glances and stares, and beautifully aged architecture has a rich. history involved. Seeing the building for the first time when I first moved out here for school I was thoroughly amazed by its grandeur stature and its strange placement in-between two less adequate structures, learned that this, is an old structure with a outstanding arch, opening the path to the entrance of the rustic bronze toned doors. The building holds a character and history that is felt with its size, and architecture. My reason for choosing this site was for the appearance of the building alone and for the way I gazed at it when I saw it for the first time, before I even knew what it was or what stories it held.

Founded in 1897, the 10 story daily Forward building was the home to a daily newspaper called the Forward, named for it’s political orientations. The Forward, published in Yiddish and adhering to this country’s Jewish population, gained great nationwide acknowledgement due to its due to its political content as opposed to having a religious one. The name Forward was borrowed from a German social democratic party definitely reflected its involvement in the social issues of the country. The Forward was advocated for trade unions and for the instillation of moderate democratic socialism.

In the 1920s and 30s the Forward reached a peak circulations of 275,000 but quickly dropped to less that 200,000 due to the change in US immigration policy that restricted the further immigrations of Jews to a bare minimal. The Immigrations Act of 1924, highlighting in works from Mae Ngai and Omi, introduced the national origins quota system. This system limited immigration and created a quota or persons for each country while favoring some nationalities over others. Since then the circulation of the Forward has continued to drop and by 1983 the newspaper went from a daily post to a weekly one an English written addition. By 1990 the English addition became an independent paper leaving the Yiddish version on its own.

The 173 East Broadway former Forward building is now a condominium, pricing 29 different Lower East Side apartments at nearly a million dollar. No longer a haven for Jewish immigrants, the Forward building had transcended into a capitalist venture. A space created by race that fought against inequality is now a rich man’s overpriced property.

- Brittany Berryman and Sacha Morris


Ngai, Mae. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens And The Making Of Modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. Print.

Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/The Jewish Daily Forward Building, 175 East Broadway; A Capitalist Venture With a Socialist Base." New York Times 19 July 1998, Sunday Print.

"Jewish Daily Forward." Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica, 2009. Web. Forward>.

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