Yes, your rent is high, you don't get much space, and you wish you lived in a better neighborhood. Before you get too sad about your real estate, imagine how Guiseppe felt. No, he's not your neighbor with a slightly smaller one bedroom. He's an early 20th Century Italian immigrant who lived downtown.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum will give you a peek into his life. They provide guided tours of a genuine tenement building. Think you need to worry about your space? Just ask the tour guide about how many people lived in Guiseppe's teeny apartment. You'll feel much better.
The Tenement museum is one of New York's hidden treasures. They offer three tours of different period apartments, but it's not just about the space. The curators have delved into the details of the former tenant's lives, and will fill the miniscule apartments with plenty of historical tidbits. They only offer guided tours to small groups, so be sure to book your tickets in advance on the museum's website.
You'll learn about the perils of life during that time, what families did when their bread-winner ran away, and how the building changed over the ages. Sound like kind of a downer? It's not. You'll walk away inspired. Guiseppe, like the other residents in the building, made it in New York. And, if you can make it here. . .