Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Tenement Museum

Dear Imaginary Friends,

We are all so lucky to have skipped the Great Depression. American Baby Boomers will never quite know the meaning of hunger, nor hopefully, will our progeny.

Carlo and I had the privilege of visiting The Tenement Museum, though, which made poverty abundantly clear.
Situated at 97 Orchard St., in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the museum is a preserved five floor multi family dwelling from the 1860's.

At the time, the Lower East Side of New York was chockablock with immigrants from all over Europe: Irish, German, Italian, Polish, etc., and jobs were few.
Families lived in dark homes with no heat, no lighting and no running water. There were four outhouses out back for all 26 families. The people on the fifth floor had to carry water all the way up to their apt to cook with each day. The area was, at that time, the most densely populated area in the whole world.
Life was grim, and as soon as people could move away, they did.

Ironically, after Soho and Chelsea became the art gallery centers of New York, and improved the local real estate values, galleries fled rising rents and are now moving to the resurging Lower East Side. 

Are Art Galleries the new refugee class of Manhattan?

Your imaginary Friend,

Front Door of Tenement Museum

Five Story Walkup

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