New York City Guide

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The Tenement Museum is located on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan between Delancy and Broome, and about a 5 minute walk from China Town. The museum itself is a block of restored tenement buildings situated in what was once the centre of the garment industry and one of the most densely populated areas in the city.

Tenement Museum 2

Displays cover the period from 1863 when the building was constructed by a German immigrant named Lukas Glockner, to 1935 when by this time the building was in a condemned state. Over this time, the area was home to poor immigrants which started with German immigrants followed by Jews from Eastern Europe, and followed later by the Italians.  

Tenement Museum 1

The museum offers a number of guided tours and tickets are available from the Visitor Centre at number 108 Orchard Street. The tours are very popular so it is best to book in advance. The area of the lower East side has a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of shops and restaurants and walking tours of the area are available, giving visitors a fascinating insight into the history of how area developed over the years.

Tenement Museum 3

Often referred to as the heart of the museum is 97 Orchard Street, which is a series of tenement apartments that have been restored to show the visitor how people lived here over a number of different periods of the buildings history. Stories about actual residents and businesses that were located here bring the exhibits to life.

Tenement Museum 4

Life was hard for the residents of 97 Orchard Street and this is evident when you visit the homes of some of its past occupants such as the German-Jewich Gumpertz family, or Irish immigrants the Moore family who moved here from the infamous Five Points district in an attempt to start a new life but faced tragedy when in 1869 their child died. Then there was the Baldizzi’s, a family from Italy who lived here through the Great Depression.

Tenement Museum 5

Businesses based here included a kosher butcher, an auctioneer, and Frances and Sidney Meda who specialised in discounted undergarments. Also re-created is a German beer saloon that originated from the 1870’s.

Tenement Museum