Straus Square

194 East Broadway
New York

Straus Square

Public Space/SquareHistorical Feature


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Straus Square, another one of the sites Bikesplorers visited this summer is named after Nathan Straus, who was born in Otterberg, Rhenish Bavaria (now Germany) at the turn of the 19th century. In 1902, the Straus family opened the world’s largest department store, Macy’s, at Herald Square. Straus was a philanthropist, who gave generously to the poor while he championed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. He served as a member of the board of commissioners of the Department of Public Parks in New York City from 1890 to 1894. Less than a month after Straus’ death in 1931, New York City named this triangular plot Straus Square in his memory. The square, located in the intersection of East Broadway, Rutgers, and Essex Streets in the heart of the Lower East Side, became an important center of political activity for Jewish immigrants. Straus Square is presently used as a popular meeting destination in the Lower East Side where elderly Chinese can be seen doing Tai Chi early in the morning.


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