The PJ Tatler

Step Back in Time at the Tenement Museum

One of the most wonderful places in New York City:

 The Tenement Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side has long been known not only for its meticulously restored apartments that once housed immigrants, but also for its very strict ‘no photo’ policy. All that changed earlier this month when the venerable institution at 97 Orchard Street lifted the photography ban for one day only, allowing visitors to capture every nook and cranny of the space on film.

Among the lucky few who arrived at the museum on December 6 armed with their cameras was professional photographer Tod Seelie, who returned from the visit with a treasure trove of fascinating images from inside the secretive museum.

The oil lamps inside the tiny rooms are aglow, there are plates piled with food on the table, a stack on folded laundry rests on a desk and a dressing gown is carelessly hung on a hook in a cramped bedroom. In some units, there are shirts and undergarments hung out to dry on a laundry line stretched between two walls. Inside the old apartment of a Jewish family, there are clippings from a Yiddish-language newspaper and a pair of challahs laid out on a platter for Shabbos.

More than any other museum in the city, the Tenement Museum feels intimate and deeply personal, allowing the visitor a rare glimpse into long-forgotten immigrant stories.

Fascinating images in the Daily Mail, which gives them huge display, as usual. Also, a six-minute video that’s well worth your time.