The Tenement Life

The Tenement Museum in New York is dedicated to preserving immigrant life on the Lower East Side during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The highlight is to tour the restored apartments and businesses of past residents and merchants.

Normally, I would be very excited to visit such a landmark.  It is my favorite historical period and location.  My grandparents, Jewish immigrants who came to America from Europe with very little money and even less English, worked in the New York sweatshops.  This is the story of my people.

Now, you may know how quickly I get bored to look at great artworks or ancient artifacts.  But, to explore a house museum is a completely different thing.  I really enjoy to see how the people lived and worked.  Especially the Jewish people in turn-of-the-century New York.

But, I do not need to visit a museum to experience tenement life.  I do not need to leave the “comfort” of my own home.

All through the summer and fall, I had a termite infestation inside my apartment.  Now that it is winter, I have not had hot water in over a month.  And when it rains outside, also it rains in my living room.

Who needs a museum?  Already I am living the tenement life.

© 2015 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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