Here are some interesting points to pick up for your next visit to New York City



The Polish immigrant tailor lived with his wife and three young children
in three tiny rooms at 97 Orchard Street in New York City in the late
1890s -- then one of the most densely populated places on earth.

While Levine and three other helpers put dresses together (earning just
75 cents per dress), Mrs. Levine managed the household in the same
325-square-foot space -- boiling diapers, hauling laundry down several
flights to hang outside, amusing the children and cooking. "It was
amazing how they could all fit in such a small space," said 14-year-old
Lee Gilbert, visiting with his family from Miami, Florida.

The chance to travel back to those days, visiting the Levine's apartment
and several others, is yours for the asking at the Tenement Museum,
which recreates the life of New York City immigrants between 1863 and
1935 when 97 Orchard Street was home to some 7,000 people from more
than 20 nations.

"I'm so glad we visited," said Carolyn Gilbert Epstein, visiting New
York from Miami with her mom and three children. "It is so authentic and
personal and it is about families and we can all relate to it."

Today, the Tenement Museum is the only museum in the country to
commemorate the history of urban immigrants -- a tradition that, of
course, continues to this day. The museum is a National Historic
Landmark and a National Trust Historic Site.

We visit the Rogarshevsky's home where four brothers slept on a narrow
couch in the front room, their feet on chairs, while their two sisters
shared a folding cot. After her husband died of tuberculosis, Fannie
Rogarshevsky traded janitorial services for free rent and was the last
tenant to leave in 1935. (Little girls visiting might like the new books
about Rebecca Rubin, which detail a young Jewish girl's 1914 immigrant
experience. There is an American Girl Rebecca doll, as well.

On July 4 2009, the Statue of Liberty's Crown re-opened to the public for
the first time since 9/11. At the same time, there is a new audio tour at
Ellis Island, designed especially for kids using animated character voices.
You can also celebrate your heritage by uploading your photograph to the
American Flag of Faces. Take the free Staten Island Ferry for a first-rate
view of the New York City skyline and check out The Hedge Maze in the
Secret Garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and the Carousel for All Children
at Willowbrook.


Certainly visitors to New York have their pick of world-class and iconic
sites -- the Museum of Natural History with its new extreme mammals
exhibit, The Metropolitan Museum of Art with its new American wing, two
new Major League baseball stadiums, the Empire State Building and
Central Park. (For great value for major attractions, visit


Consider that of the 8 million or so people who live in New York, only
1.5 million live in Manhattan. Get out and explore the other boroughs --
the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, as well as lesser visited
Manhattan neighborhoods and sites. (Sign on for a free neighborhood tour
led by local volunteers,


"People say they never knew NYC had neighborhoods like this," said my
childhood friend Myra Alperson, who leads food-oriented tours in
outlying city neighborhoods, which families love (


Head to Queens and the New York Hall of Science, which boasts the
largest collection of hands-on science exhibits in the city (400!), and
just opened Rocket Park Mini Golf to encourage kids and parents to
explore science concepts -- gravity, velocity -- as they make their way
through nine holes.
There's a lot more to the Bronx than the Bronx Zoo, as terrific as it is
-- like Wave Hill, the public garden and cultural center that offers family
art projects and birding walks.


The Brooklyn Children's Museum, opened in 1899, was the first museum
created expressly for children and, after its recent expansion, remains a
showcase for what a children's museum can be. Check out exhibits like Wild
About Plants, which lets families touch, smell, magnify, build, rebuild, watch
and listen to plants -- uncovering what they do for people and what people
can do for them.


Stop in at the FDNY Fire Zone where kids can try on firemen's gear, climb on
the trucks and pose for pictures -- at no charge. You'll meet a lot of local
families at the brand-new High Line, the one of a kind park built on the elevated,
steel structure that originally carried freight trains. The first section runs from
Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, to West 20th Street, between
Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

See also more information about Downtown | Midtown | Uptown | Brooklyn | Queens | The Bronx

Links referenced within this article

Tenement Museum
Statue of Liberty's
American Flag of Faces

Staten Island Ferry
New York Hall of Science
Wave Hill
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Staten Island Yankees
Brooklyn Cyclones
FDNY Fire Zone
High Line