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The Tenement Museum in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City

Seven carefully restored apartments recreate an overview at the history of American immigration.

The Tenement Museum is one of the gloomiest places of interest in New York City. A dull five-storeyed building in Lower East Side is a living reminder of what life was like in NYC for many newcomers back in the 19th century.

Right there, in that very house at Orchard Street, lived more than 15,000 people, from over 20 nations. Well, OK, not all those thousands lived in the building simultaneously - but at some time there were about two dozen apartments, with no gas, water, and a shared toilet.

Gradually, conditions got better in most tenement houses. But the Orchard Street one became a kind of a time capsule. In the 1930s the landlord conservated the house, having evicted all the residents and sealed the doors and the windows. Thus, in 1988 the house turned into a museum - now a National Historic Landmark. 

Today, the Tenement Museum represents 7 apartments and a German beer saloon, carefully restored (though not changed too much). Recreating American immigrant experience, the museum promotes tolerance and shows the process of constructing the country's national identity. One could not imagine a better place to show the idea of melting pot as it is - with all its ups and downs.

Attention: The museum can only be seen by guided tour. All tours start and end at 103 Orchard.

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