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A History of Immigration in Manhattan

By Linda Tancs

One of America’s foremost immigrant neighborhoods is Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in particular 97 Orchard Street. Built in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7,000 working-class immigrants. This ordinary building from which dreams were built forms the Tenement Museum. Accessible only via guided tours, visitors meander through restored apartments that recreate immigrant life in the 19th and 20th centuries. A testament to the lure of the American Dream, in 1992 the museum opened its first apartment, the 1878 home of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family. Since then, six more apartments have been restored, like the home of the Moores, Irish immigrants who lived at 97 Orchard in 1869. Tours start and end at 103 Orchard, site of the museum’s flagship visitors’ center.

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