Happily, I am in New York for three and a half days!
Yesterday I went to the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street, in the Lower East Side.
The museum centres around a mid 19-c tenement building that once contained 22 apartments. Each typically had three rooms; a tiny bedroom, even tinier kitchen and modest all-purpose living room (the only one that had a window) where many of the women worked making dresses or hats.
This building was condemned around one hundred years ago but never actually demolished. It survived as a kind of time capsule and has been wonderfully brought to life.
When it was built, the area was known as Little Germany – filled as it was with German immigrants. Later, for the decades around the turn of the century,it became mainly a Jewish neighbourhood. Then a Puerto Rican one.
Now, it’s artsy and a bit alternative, with plenty of vegan cup cakes to be found. Rents are a couple of hundred times higher than when the building opened its doors.