97 ORCHARD STREET, NEW YORK by Linda Granfield

97 ORCHARD STREET, NEW YORK

Stories of Immigrant Life
by , photographed by
Age Range: 9 - 11

KIRKUS REVIEW

At one time, the Lower East Side of New York City was said to have greater population density than any other city on earth. It was here, 97 Orchard Street, a five-story walk-up tenement built by German immigrant Lucas Glockner in 1864, that generations of immigrants settled. The place has been preserved since owners in 1935 closed it down to avoid bringing it up to housing code. Now it is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, open for guided tours, providing glimpses into the crowded and uncomfortable condition of the tenants who came from many nations but all of whom were poor. The lives of those people and the history of the house and the area have been traced by historians working for the museum. Granfield provides necessary backgrounds to introduce each section with lengthy captions accompanying contemporary b&w photographs, as well as archival ones, maps, and portraits of the area creating a picture of the house, its tenants, and its neighborhood. At times, the author imagines conversations between people long gone and who surely left no record of these talks. Identifying dates of photos in the captions would have strengthened this considerably. The reader who needs more information will have to look elsewhere. (For instance, the word “steerage” is poorly explained and there is no mention of who protected the newcomers or that the tenants had to provide their own stoves.) A stronger, more complete text would provide more sympathy and understanding of the difficult lives for poor people, most of whom were newly arrived in the US. But many will find the biographies of their grandparents and great-grandparents in this study. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-88776-580-7
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2001




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