Ever wondered what life was life for immigrants at the turn of the century living in what was then the most densely populated place on earth? Now you can experience it by taking a tour at The Tenement Museum like Isaac and I did. Located in what's known as The Lower East Side, an original tenement building was purchased by the museum and sort of restored to show visitors what life was like here in it's hey day.
There are at least 3 different tours and they all sell out very quickly so if you plan to go, get your tickets in advance so you don't miss out. I strongly suggest you get there early like we did and watch the looping movie to give you some background before
heading on the tour. The movie was awesome and really pulled all the pieces together once you actually tour the building. Also, the gift shop is totally amazing. You will find truly original gifts and souvenirs reminiscent of your trip to New York City. I got some awesome little pop up books for my collection
Once your tour is announced meet your guide who will then give you some background on the history of the tenement building that is owned by the museum. It truly is an untouched time capsule. As Isaac and I headed inside, all I could imagine is what my life would be like living here as a single mom with three kids. The tour takes place through the eye's of two real families who actually lived here and they have sort of rehabbed the units and furnished them to give visitors a real life glimpse of the residents' lives here.
It was hard to imagine living in such a cramped space. Each unit consisted of three small rooms-a bedroom, a living room and a kitchen-each obviously used for multiple purposes. If you needed to use the bathroom, you had to go outside to back to the outhouse or use a "chamber pot" and empty it later. There are so many of us who can trace our families back to these tenements. Exploring this museum gives one a true appreciation of the hardship they faced and the realities of what it meant to be an immigrant trying to make it in a new country. Do not miss this opportunity to explore this history lesson come alive!!