Emerging Metropolis

New York Jews in the Age of Immigration, 1840-1920

368 pages

January, 2015

ISBN: 9781479811052



Also available in


HistoryHistoryJewish Studies

Part of the City of Promises series


Annie Polland is Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. She was previously Executive Vice President for Programs and Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

All books by Annie Polland

Daniel Soyer is associate professor of history at Fordham University. He is the author of Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880-1939.

All books by Daniel Soyer

Emerging Metropolis tells the story of New York’s emergence as the greatest Jewish city of all time. It explores the Central European and East European Jews’ encounter with New York City, tracing immigrants’ economic, social, religious, political, and cultural adaptation between 1840 and 1920. This meticulously researched volume shows how Jews wove their ambitions and aspirations—for freedom, security, and material prosperity—into the very fabric and physical landscape of the city.


  • "Finally a history of the Jews of New York. Emerging Metropolis demonstrates, with prodigious research and lucid prose, that New York played a crucial role in shaping the Jews, and that the Jews left an indelible stamp on America's great metropolis, New York. Soyer and Polland tell a complicated story that looks both into the inner lives of New York's Jews--in all their complexity--and at the same time surveys the impact of the many other New Yorkers among whom the Jews lived. In doing so the authors show how this city created a Jewish experience that was truly sui generis while it simultaneously shaped modern Jewry around the world."

    —Hasia R. Diner, Director, Goldstein-Goren Center of American Jewish History, New York University

  • "Chronicling New York Jewish life during the era of mass migration, Emerging Metropolis provides a riveting account of the complex matrix of social organizations, economic activities, political movements, and cultural productions created by immigrant Jews. Polland and Soyer bring the city’s spaces to life as they describe the invention of a multifaceted Jewish community that took shape within and helped to shape New York’s diverse and polyglot urban culture."

    —Beth S. Wenger, Director, Jewish Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania

  • "Polland and Soyer write a compelling history of both New York and Jewish immigration that will appeal to people who are familiar with New York history and/or Jewish history but also a good starting point for people who are new to either New York history or Jewish history in the United States. Quotes and stories, as well as pictures, make this volume lively, original and a useful source for teaching."

    —Julia Trumpold, Yearbook of German-American Studies