I’ve been thinking a lot about our trip to New York City and how to tell you about it. We did a lot! I think, though, that I will start by telling you about my favorite thing: The Tenement Museum.
This museum is definitely not a typical museum. There are several different tours you can take, each on various topics regarding life in the tenements of New York. The tour we took was called “Sweatshop Workers” and it involved visiting 3 different apartments in the building on Orchard Street, describing what life was like for the Levine family as they worked creating ladies dresses in their apartment, and discussing the challenges and obstacles they faced living in the most densely populated place in the world. Our tour guide was fantastic and the tour itself was interactive, engaging and enlightening. There are also several other tours, including ones on Shop Life, Hard Times, and Irish Immigrants. They even have walking tours of the neighborhood to partner with tours of the building and on Thursday evenings they have Tastings at the Tenement, an event that includes lots of flavors from the Lower East Side, both past and present. (Side note: I’m totally going back for that one!) There is a fabulous gift shop where we made several purchases, including, as I previously mentioned my awesome new hat. It’s easy to get to, reasonably priced, and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone visiting New York with even a mild interest in history, immigrants and the cultural melting pot.
Let me end this post by saying that my preference, when I tell you about stuff, is to show you photos of the stuff. However, there is no photography allowed in the Tenement Museum so I don’t actually have any photos to show you. What I do have, though, are pictures of the lunch we had after visiting the museum. We were in the Lower East Side and had just spent an hour and a half talking about Jewish immigrants. Where else would we go but Katz’s Deli? And what else would be have but matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwiches?
Truthfully, I could write a whole separate post about Katz’s and the awesome food and atmosphere, the super friendly couple we shared a table with, and the cultural significance of this deli – but I won’t.
I will simply say: go.