Shocking words, aren’t they? More about this later – but right now, let’s talk about a terrific tour we took, on a wintery March afternoon, to the Tenement Museum, located on New York’s Lower East Side.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Visitor and Education Center, 183 Orchard at Delancey Street
Courtesy of the Tenement Museum
Photo: B. Merlis
Having taken tours in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii, I wondered how this one would be for us. We were assured that the tours are great, but I still had several concerns, primarily: would we be bored?
No way! To begin, we had a lovely young lady as our guide who obviously had a passion for her work at the museum. Or, as she explained, “This is my day job, I’m a dancer -- modern.”
We decided to take the Irish Outsiders tour that traced the family of Joseph and Bridget Moore and their eight children who had lived on the fourth floor in three small rooms. Our guide explained that there are four apartments per floor (privacy was nonexistent) and the monthly rent was $12.
The Levine Apartment 1897
Courtesy of the Tenement Museum
Photo: By Battman
The building itself was originally constructed in 1863 and housed Irish, Jewish and Italian residents. Then from 1935 until 1988 it sat vacant until it was turned into the museum it is today.
The tour began in the rear of the building where the “recreated” outhouses are located and where one can see wash drying on a clothesline. If you’re planning to visit: wear comfortable shoes and, if you’ve just had knee surgery like one of our group, make sure you’re up to a long climb. The lady had to move slowly, but she made it.
The Irish potato famine had its most devastating year in 1847 and resulted in 1.5 million people fleeing Ireland for America. This included Bridget who arrived here when she was 17 years old and where she worked as a domestic.
As an immigrant, Bridget and her husband, a waiter in an Irish bar, were subject to incredible discrimination and the No Irish Need Apply thinking that was prevalent in America in that period. It eventually became outlawed in 1920.
The apartments themselves tell an interesting story. For example, there were no bathrooms, but a fairly large fireplace that was never used is in the living room. Stoves had to be purchased by the tenants for heating and cooking.
Wallpaper was very popular during this period. Each family would put up wallpaper that was supposed to be removed when they left. But, according to our tour guide, “No one took anything off the walls. We discovered that, in this apartment, there were 20 layers of paper!” She added, “The tenants even wallpapered the ceiling.”
To celebrate their heritage, the Irish turned out in full force for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In 1869 there were 100,000 onlookers for this celebratory event.
Of Joseph and Bridget‘s eight children, only four survived to adulthood. Today, the Tenement Museum is still in contact with the descendants of the Moore family. I think that’s quite remarkable.
We finished our outing at a restaurant next door to the museum called Grey Lady and had a dessert named Dutch Baby. It was so good it blew our minds.
MAY WE SUGGEST…
We don’t have any Kelly green in our stock. However, we’re sure you’ll find something fun to wear. Why not take a look at our colorful selection of layering tops? (We do have red rose. Do you know that red is the Irish color for luck?)
- Shaun Nelson-Henrick
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I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.
We use Italian lingerie sizing for our bodywear and items tend to run small.
Because of the body-hugging nature of the fabric and our body conscious fit most women prefer to wear our layering tops as under-layers. If you are inclined to wear them on their own we suggest you size up. Please contact us. We're happy to help you get it right.