"Between 1880 and 1924, two and a half million East European Jews came to the United States. Close to 85 percent of them came to New York City, and approximately 75 percent of those settled initially on the Lower East Side.
The Eldridge Street Synagogue opened its doors at 12 Eldridge Street on September 4, 1887, just in time for the Jewish High Holidays. Hundreds of newly arrived immigrants from Russia and Poland gathered here to pray, socialize and build a community. It was the first time in America that Jews of Eastern Europe had built a synagogue from the ground up."
Lucky for me, I had a terrific docent, Miryam Wasserman who took us through the downstairs renovation and the glorious upstairs restoration where everything was as it was at the turn of the century — save for the new stained glass window (last shot below) to replace the original that was long gone. The building is steeped in history that details the Jewish experience and how this synagogue created a united faith-based community of those from a widespread diaspora. I learned a lot — including where the expression, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!" came from.
Sticking with the budget, after my immigrant experience, I traveled further on Eldridge Street and treated myself to an order of Chinese pork & scallion (yes scallions, but they were cooked) dumplings from Prosperity Dumpling — very tasty, filling, and best of all, the price: $1.00!
Well, my lower East side experience was wonderful (and there's still the Tenement Museum I've yet to visit) so on Tuesday I decided to venture even further downtown — to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. If you go to their website two weeks in advance, you can sign up for free timed tickets on a Tuesday. In my case, I didn't know in advance but you can get on line on a Tuesday, after 4pm and they start issuing tickets as available to go in at 5pm. [Saved me $24.]
It is a magnificent tribute to the fallen and those who survived and I was particularly moved by the audio accounts of each incident pieced together (with timelines) by multiple individuals. Brought to tears, I was touched by the thoughtfulness of the museum's tissue dispensers in these video rooms.
In this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand words...
|I had to take this in two shots and they don't |
align perfectly but I hope you get the picture.
|This shows where the piece of ruptured steel below came from in the building.|
After an exhaustive experience I walked through the last three rooms without stopping — one on terrorism and the others on things following the tragedy. I needed to leave and be outside. The escalators up from the underground memorial showed this ...
|The old World Trade Center|
|and the new WTC|
Next time, a visit all the way north to Fifth & 104th, El Museo del Barrio.