Monday, August 30, 2010

Visitors of the Week: Mary, Monica, Sally, Susie, and Connie

From left: Mary, Monica, Sally, Susie and Connie

Hope you've been enjoying this summer's new feature, Visitor of the Week. Each week we've profiled a different person who's been to the Tenement Museum. Stay tuned for more Visitor of the Week profiles this fall. If you're coming to visit and would like to be profiled on the blog, send us an email.

Meet Mary, Monica, Sally, Susie and Connie, our latest Visitors of the Week. This group of five friends, who have known each other for years and are in the same book club, came to visit New York City, and we’re happy that the Tenement Museum was on their list of places to see. Hailing from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, all are teachers except for Susie, who is a nurse. We talked after they had taken the Moores tour.

What part of the tour was most surprising or resonant to you?
The lack of sanitation was appalling. [For example, Bridget Moore may have had to feed her children swill milk, which was unpastuerized and very dangerous. Read more about the sanitation issues of the nineteenth century.] What was also surprising was how much the tour illustrated the books we read, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Angela’s Ashes. It really depicted the Irish immigrant experience. [Read more about Irish immigration to the United States in the nineteenth century.]

If you lived in a tenement during this time period, what would have been the most difficult part of daily life?
The darkness would have been unbearable. I can’t imagine dealing with the death of a child and the feeling of despair and no way out. The gloominess and having to live in such a cramped space, with constant work over every little thing would make life extremely difficult.

What other places are on your to-do list?

We’re here for five days and we’re doing a historic walking tour, seeing “In the Heights,” renting bikes in Central Park, going to the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, taking a food and cultural tour, and going to the Top of the Rock.

-posted by Devin

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