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Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Lower East Side Tenement MuseumLower East Side Tenement Museum

Three "restored" tenement apartments dominate this remarkable, unflinching jewel of a museum, which, like the heartbreaking photographs of muckraker Jacob Riis, showcases the devastating hardship faced by immigrants arriving in overcrowded New York seeking the land of plenty. The building, at 97 Orchard Street, is a five-story tenement that housed over 10,000 people of 25 nationalities between 1863 and 1935, and the first National Trust for Historic Preservation site consecrated by the struggles...

Three "restored" tenement apartments dominate this remarkable, unflinching jewel of a museum, which, like the heartbreaking photographs of muckraker Jacob Riis, showcases the devastating hardship faced by immigrants arriving in overcrowded New York seeking the land of plenty. The building, at 97 Orchard Street, is a five-story tenement that housed over 10,000 people of 25 nationalities between 1863 and 1935, and the first National Trust for Historic Preservation site consecrated by the struggles of the poor, not the grandeurs of the wealthy American elite. The museum is a truthful recreation of the kind of housing found by recent immigrants as they arrived, after Ellis Island, in the vast tenement sea of the old Lower East Side, where uniform block after uniform block contained endless rows of cheap housing built for those who couldn't afford to discriminate. Dozens of families were crammed into spaces where now a single tenant might reside, with little air or sunlight, frequently no running water or electricity, and shared bathrooms. The tenements were a notorious breeding ground for diseases fostered by unsanitary conditions, like tuberculosis, and a remarkable staging ground for the vast ethnification of New York City in the decades that followed. The Museum's three apartments tell different stories: of the Levines, a Jewish family from Poland struggling in the garment industry; of the German-Jewish Gumperts, who battled the Depression of 1873, and the Sicilian-Catholic Baldizzi family, who faced considerable hardship in the Great Depression of the thirties. Each apartment is a stunning time capsule.

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Address:
97 Orchard St.
New York City, NY 10002
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Stories in the spotlight: Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The overcrowded and poorly lit tenements of the Lower East Side were once home to huge numbers of...

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Typical Tenements
March 15, 2011

Text courtesy of Jewish Women's Archive and Travelgoat.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum...

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Restoring The Past
March 9, 2011
Travelgoaters at Lower East Side Tenement Museum
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