Lower East Side Tenement Museum

90 Orchard St. (corner of Broome)

Hours: Tuesday - Friday tours at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm
Saturday and Sunday tours 11 am - 4.15 pm every 45 minutes
Saturday and Sunday noon, 1 pm and 3 pm special tour (see below)

Fee: $8 adults, $6 students and seniors

To get there: J, M, or Z trains to Essex St, or the F train to Delancey.

This place is really cool. In today's world we are so far removed from how our forebears might have lived; the Lower East Side Tenement Museum brings it back to life with the restored apartments (if you can call them that) of two families. You will hear the stories and feel the space where the ghosts of the past now reside. It can be sort of creepy at times; even so, it gives one a better understanding of what people went through when they immigrated to this country by way of the LES.

Collection: The two apartments. An amazing cross-section model of a tenement building in the building at 90 Orchard. The stories of real people who lived in the most densely packed area in the city in a time when running water, toilets, and light were a luxury.

On Saturday and Sunday, the museum conducts a special tour (designed with the family in mind) of a Sephardic Jewish family's apartment.

It may not sound like much, but for the history buff, it is worth it. See how the other half truly lived. Note: if you are claustrophobic, you may not like the tour: the halls are narrow and the apartments are tiny. So be warned.

Commentary by Heather Babb, Monday, January 25, 1998.

Photo: Rachel / Model: Carol Tessitore