"I trace my ancestry back to the Mayflower," writes Andrew S.
Dolkart. "Not to the legendary ship that brought the Pilgrims to
Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, but to the more prosaic tenement
on the southeast corner of East Broadway and Clinton Street named
the Mayflower, where my father was born in 1914 to Russian-Jewish
For Dolkart, his father's experience of being raised in a
tenement became a metaphor for the life that was afforded countless
immigrant children growing up in Lower Manhattan during the past
century. In this revised edition of his classic book, Dolkart
presents for us a precise and informative biography of a typical
tenement house in New York City that became, in 1988, the site for
the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The author documents,
analyzes, and interprets the architectural and social history of
this building at 97 Orchard Street, beginning in the 1860s when it
was erected, moving on to the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries when the neighborhood started to change, and concluding
in the present day as the building is reincarnated as the
This edition includes new research on the basement storefronts
(specifically the Schneider saloon and the kosher butcher), the
backyard privies and their reconstruction, and the new Irish Moore
apartment. "Biography of a Tenement House in New York City "is a
lasting tribute to the legacy of immigrants and their children, who
were part of the transformation of New York City and the fabric of
everyday American urban life.
Distributed for the Center for American Places at
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