In the 1930s, long before the foundation of Little Armenia in Los Angeles, the neighborhood Murray Hill in Manhattan housed a large, 100,000-people Armenian commune.
Large-scale migrations of Armenians to Manhattan have begun in the middle of the 19th century. Most of them arrived through the legendary Ellis Island. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, between 1899 and 1931, 81.279 Armenian immigrants arrived in the US, most of whom settled in New York.
In the 1950s Armenians, following the example of prosperous New Yorkers, began to leave Manhattan. Many of them moved to New Jersey or Long Island, and Little Armenia in the Murray Hill neighborhood became increasingly populated by Latin Americans and Indians. Now, only Armenians churches and signboards of old Armenian workshops, restaurants, and clubs remind about the former presence of Armenia.
There are five Armenian churches in Manhattan, five of which are situated in Murray Hill. The other two are located in Queens.
Being the main Armenian sanctuary of the US, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Manhattan. Consecrated on April 28, 1968, by Catholicos of all Armenians Vazgen I, the cathedral is the first Armenian Apostolic Church built in North America. Unlike the most of other Armenian churches, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral was built from scratch, while the rest are mostly situated in already existing churches. St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral lies on the corner of Second Avenue and Thirty-fourth street and was built to resemble the Church of Saint Hripsime in Etchmiadzin.
The first attempt to build this cathedral was made in 1926 when the diocesan assembly settled to raise $100.000 for its construction. However, the Great Depression of the 1930s suspended the project. In 1942, the project was revived by archbishop Garegin Hovsepian.
By the late 1940s, the Armenian congregation raised a considerable sum, allowing them to complete the first structure of the cathedral in 1948. The diocesan house was completed in October 1959, while the Galust Gyulbenkian Cultural Center was established in October 1967. And on April 28, 1968, the construction of the cathedral was completed, and after consecration, it opened its doors to its visitors.
Armenian cathedral of St. Vartan NEW YORK USA