25 November 2008

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

After the Transportation Museum we headed to the lower east side to the Tenement Museum. The museum is an old tenement apartment building "built on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1863. This building was home to nearly 7000 working class immigrants." There are a few different tours you can go on, but we went with The Piecing It Together tour, which visits three apartments in the tenement and discusses sweatshop conditions of garment manufacturing inside individual homes.

The tour description is as follows, "Visit the restored homes of two Eastern European Jewish families who lived in 97 Orchard Street at the turn of the 20th century, when the neighborhood was the most densely populated place on earth. See how the Levine family operated a garment factory in their own apartment, then pay a shiva (bereavement) call to the Rogarshevsky family as they mourn the loss of their father from the "tailors’ disease." See the homes & garment shop of Jewish families who lived in the tenement during the “great wave” of immigration to America."

On the tour the guide showed us a picture of what Orchard street looked like in the late 1800's and it was thick with people and vendors. Today there are some garment manufacturers still in the area, but few people walking around (that also may have had something to do with the 20 degree weather...it was freezing!!)

Another building on Orchard Street


97 Orchard Street


Our tour guide giving us a brief history before entering the building


We weren't allowed to take pictures inside so the following pics are a couple I found on their website.


1918 home of the Rogarshevsky family


There were about 8-10 people in each of the 3 room apartments plus 3-4 additional employees coming in to manufacture garments during the day.

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