Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Update on "Shop Life" Construction at 97 Orchard Street

We've been talking about our upcoming exhibit "Shop Life" for months now, so it was exciting for all of us when construction finally began earlier this month. As you may have heard, "Shop Life" will span more than 100 years, exploring the histories of the many businesses once housed at 97 Orchard. The exhibit will include a re-created 19th century German beer saloon, and will also tell the stories of Israel Lustgarten’s 1890's kosher butcher store, Max Marcus’ 1930's auction house and Sidney Meda’s 1970's undergarment store.

Here are a few snapshots of the construction in progress on the ground floor and in the basement at 97 Orchard Street.

Our intrepid construction team is hard at work on the ground floor. In a few months, this will be the front room of the re-created Schneider's saloon.

In a former bathroom, we've peeled away the walls to find decades-old graffiti. These are construction measurements pencilled onto the walls by past builders.

Here's a cross-section view of the ground floor and basement. A staircase will eventually connect the two floors.

Here's one of the building's original ground floor fireplaces, now uncovered from behind a plaster wall. We'll re-construct the stove that Caroline Schneider would have used here to prepare meals for saloon patrons (this is where you'll see our meticulously crafted faux feast). As was the case with others in the building, this fireplace is crammed full of old "stuff"--discarded bottles, children's toys, and other refuse. At this stage we can only get a glimpse of the aging trash/treasures behind the boards covering the fireplace opening.

Check back for updates as this project progresses. You never know what we'll find next!

-- Posted by Kira Garcia

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