Shortly after the 1894-1896 massacres of Armenians by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in Ottoman Turkey, Armenian immigration to the United States increased.
The area is named after the mercantile Murray family who, in the mid-1700s, migrated to New York from North Carolina and briefly, Pennsylvania.Since then, the area has experienced many cultural transitions.“She would tell me mothers never had to worry,” says Dod.“They’d let their children play unattended until nightfall. It was a very close community.” Dod’s father, Michael Kahayan, and his family emigrated to the US from Iran in 1921.He later also took over his brother’s business which he called MKahayan Imported Food Store, once located on 211 East 28th Street.
Kahayan imported spices from various countries, including Egypt, Syria and India.“In the beginning of the 20th century, there were rug merchants on Madison Avenue to Fifth Avenue, from 34th Street to 23rd Street, and they dealt with wealthy customers,” explains Paul Sagsoorian in his piece, “Growing Up as an Armenian-American in New York City Between the Two World Wars.” “Little Armenia” was easy to get to from all directions, and affordable – the fare was only five cents at the time.Sagsoorian notes about that period, “There were four elevated trains, two subway lines, one on the east side, and the other on the west side.* * * Armenians began to arrive in the state by the mid-19th century.Many of those who came were educated, paving careers in business and medicine.“We would pass them as we walked from the subway station on Park Avenue and East 28th Street to the [Armenian St.