Monday, 16 May 2011

Tenement Museum

My cousin Sarah recommended to me the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. I'm glad she did because it was fascinating. It looks at the life of New York immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries and recreates their tiny little apartments.

You can only go into the museum if you book a tour, and we booked onto The Moores, a cheery tale based on official records and some imagination of a young Irish girl who emigrates, marries, lives in a stinky place, has eight girls (four of whom die in infancy) and then dies herself of heart disease at the ripe old age of 36.

This is one of her two rooms, set for baby Agnes' wake. She died of malnutrition, possibly from swill milk, the practice of cutting rancid milk with water, chalk and ammonium. 

It was amazing to see how awful living conditions used to be only 100 years ago, and to wonder why people didn't just give up and hurl themselves out the window. 

The museum also had a good gift shop. Call me a Philistine, but I think this is vital and try to follow Han's golden rule of spending at least £20 on crap you don't need during a holiday. I got this. 

Fitz pushed his luck by pointing out that I was no lady, but as Meatloaf says, two out of three ain't bad. And he let me have a slice of the apple strudel he's been guarding like Smaug all week.

I'm stuck now in the airport, which must be the only place in New York where you can't buy food (I'm not counting a microwaved bagel). Still, I've got an almond Snickers for company. Well, had....

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