Monday, June 07, 2010

We took Amtrak to NYC Saturday, went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, walked down to see Freedom Tower (as Mark Twain wrote, it is 15 or so floors of the "bones" of the building at this point), and had dinner with Bob's brother, sister-in-law, and second cousin (who is visiting from Germany) at Nobu.

The museum is worth the trip! Wonderful social history. We saw the tour "The Moores" about an Irish family who immigrated right during the big wave caused by the potato famine. I chose that tour because the three of us (me, Bob, my brother-in-law) are each 1/4 Irish. Their paternal grandmother and my maternal grandmother were all Irish. I am not sure when their grandma's family came to the US, but Mimmie's grandparents were immigrants who I am sure came here due to the famine.

It was hotter than you-know-what, but I could have seen all the tours back-to-back. They take an hour each. I'm not at all heat tolerant, but there are a few activities I love to do so much, such as gardening or visiting museums and historic sites, where the heat barely is on my radar screen.

The docent (who was top notch) mentioned that the neighborhood declined and then gentrified after the building was boarded up in 1935, so that an apartment nearby now is almost completely out of reach for new immigrants. I was struck, as I have been many times in the past while sitting in my own house, that the flip side to gentrification's impact on poor and working class people is that highly educated professionals then lived in mansions, but now live in the tiny little spaces formerly inhabited by factory workers and domestic staff.

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