Friday, February 4, 2011

Visitors of Week: Lisa and Scott from New York

Planning a visit to the Tenement Museum? Send us an email and be one of our Visitors of the Week.

Meet New York natives, Lisa and Scott. After visiting most of the museums that the city has to offer, the husband and wife duo did some researching online and came across our museum.

Scott: We’ve been to the big museums: The Met, Natural History, and MoMA. We came across your website and it seemed really interesting. We just took the Getting By tour and we loved it. It’s definitely a different take on the museum experience.

Are you two both from New York?

S: We grew up in the area. Lisa’s from Long Island and I’m from New Jersey. We’ve been here eight years now.

Do you have any personal or family history in this neighborhood?

Lisa: My grandmother immigrated here from China in the 1920s. She moved to Flushing, Queens.

S: We have no direct connection with this area, but we’ve been down here dozens upon dozens of times. We’re both Jewish and we know that this was one of the bigger Jewish areas growing up in the city back in the day. Just walking the streets you can see the history.

What are your favorite places in this neighborhood?

L: We definitely like to eat down here. There are a lot of good places.

S: Great restaurants, good pubs and shops, and Mom and Pop shops that you’re not going to find somewhere else in the city. It definitely has a lot of character. In terms of people moving to this area, it’s still an up and coming neighborhood. You can see the bigger buildings being built up. The neighborhood changing could be a bad thing. You lose a lot of that history.

And what do you think about the ‘homogenization’ of the Lower East Side?

S: I think it’s okay if it’s done in a way that doesn’t take away from the neighborhood’s history and culture.

L: For me, after this tour, it makes me realize how valuable the city’s history is. This is one of the remaining pieces of the city that still really has its roots. To see it start being modernized makes me a little bit sad.

It's interesting, I just heard that Mulberry Street is actually preserved by an Italian Cultural Institute. Only Italian businesses are able to operate there.  If it weren’t for that, there might not even be a Little Italy at this point.

S: Yeah, it would be highway central around here.

Exactly, and it’s like, what will it be in ten years?

L: A museum like this just helps you appreciate things and gives you a different perspective.

S: We loved the tour and we’ll definitely be back for another one. We’d recommend it to people who are curious to learn about the history and who want to see what the Lower East Side was like back when.

L: Or what life in general was like back in the day.

-- Posted by Amy Ganser

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