As a local in NYC, it’s hard to find things to do with out-of-towners that I haven’t already done 100 times. That’s why I was excited to visit the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side with family visitors last weekend.
The Lower East Side was a mecca for immigrants from all over the world, starting in the 1800s and even through today. At one time there were so many German immigrants living in the Lower East side that it was called Little Germany (Keindeutschland). The Lower East Side has also been a fist home to Irish, Italians, Polish, Ukranian and many other immigrant groups.
Visiting the Tenement Museum is not a typical museum experience, because you’ll tour through a restored apartment building, built in 1863. Several units are restored to different time periods, and your guide tells you the true stories of the people who lived there. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the immigrant history that so many Americans share.
I highly recommend the “Hard Times” tour ($22.00) which will guide you through the restored building and share the stories of several families who lived there. Unfortunately there is no self-guided option, and be sure to book your tickets in advance on http://www.tenement.org/ as they go fast!