On Thursday, February 2, a class of seniors took a practical approach to experiencing their subject matter. After reading Whitman’s “Scenes from Last Night” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the students are now studying the novel Ragtime. To bring the story to life, English teacher Mr. Leventhal brought them to a tenement building on the Lower East Side. Sure enough, visiting 97 Orchard Street, the location of Reconstruction Era apartment building, was like stepping into a time machine.
Due to the Tenement Museum’s preservation of NYC immigration history, these students could experience the setting of their readings. While forging emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, the museum enhances appreciation for the role immigration has played in shaping the American identity. The students were able to view pictures and see artifacts of another time long gone. Furthermore, they got just a taste of what New York was like in the 1900’s.