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Biography of a Tenement House in New York City: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street

Overview

"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 immigrants."

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 ...

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Overview

"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 immigrants."

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 museum.

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 ColumbiaCollege Chicago

Center for American Places

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What People Are Saying


"" Biography of a Tenement House in New York City is a fascinating history, very well written and researched, and lavishly illustrated. The construction of the book as a biography enables Professor Dolkart to discuss the design of the building in relationship to the changing social fabric of the Lower East Side. The book also includes vivid descriptions of the people who built and lived in the building. The book should be a distinguished addition to the Center for American Places list." -- Marta Gutman, The City College of New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935195290
  • Publisher: Center for American Places, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 586,648
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew S. Dolkart, Director of the Historic Preservation Program and James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University, is the author of The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908–1929.

Center for American Places

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Early Development on the Lower East Side 5

2 The Tenement and Its Inhabitants 13

3 Design and Construction of 97 Orchard Street 23

4 New Tenement Laws and the Changing Character of the Lower East Side and Its Inhabitants 53

5 The Tenement House Act of 1907 and the Tenement House Department 65

6 The Changing Character of the Lower East Side in the Early Twentieth Century 87

7 Creating the Tenement House Museum 101

Notes 109

Index 135

About the Author 141

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