A fascinating glimpse into the life of immigrant families of the last century, living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, is possible at The Tenement Museum. The tours start across the street at the museum shop at #108 Orchard Street.There, while waiting for your group to assemble, you can view a short film about immigrating families.
A group leader takes you to the actual building at #97 Orchard Street, built in 1863, which is a National Historic Landmark, and a National Trust Historic Site.
Inside the Tenement Museum visitors walk through restored apartments, where families lived from 1863-1935. It is estimated that 7,000 people from over 20 countries made this building their home. Each floor is a separate tour and tells the different stories. Pictures were not allowed inside the building, but the web site gives a view of what is in store for anyone that steps back in time by entering the apartment house.Many ethnic groups have called Orchard Street home,coming to the Lower East Side of Manhattan during periods of immigration, working and hoping to create a better life for themselves and their families. Although their means were modest, and apartments were crowded, families prospered, moved out and up, and others moved in and continued the story.History just seeps through the soles of your shows as you walk in New York City. Here are Belgian blocks, brought over in ships as ballast, then recycled and used to pave streets, and edge curbs. Sometimes you can see the rounded tops of the blocks, worn with wear, which gives each unique stone the look of a loaf of bread.Looking up, there are wooden water tanks on tops of buildings. These have been made in the borough of Queens for over 140 years, and are constructed from Cedar.Then there is the New York City Subway system. It's functional and fabulous all at the same time.
Mosaics decorate the tunnels.