The tenement, unoccupied for 50 years, has been restored one apartment at a time. Researchers combed through records and turned up 1,300 of the buildings 7,000 residents. Through oral histories, family papers, photos, and mementos, the museum re-created six apartments of various families including the Moores, Rogarshevskys, Confinos, and Baldizzis.
Admission to the apartments is by a guided tour only so make reservations. Tours are arranged by theme, such as the Irish immigrant apartment or the Jewish garment workers shop, and are priced and scheduled separately. Tours can be disappointing if your guide is less than knowledgeable. Also, it felt as though the museum was filling time (i.e., playing recorded Irish music while we sat and listened) to justify the $17 ticket price for the one-hour tour.
Favorite feature: The layers of peeling paint and wallpaper in yet-to-be restored apartments provide a vivid sense of looking back through time.
97 Orchard St., 212-431-0233, tenement.org. Tours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Adults $17, seniors, students $13.