Tucked away on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Tenement Museum is unlike its New York City counterparts. Instead of a grand building with endless rooms dedicated to showing off historic items, the main artifacts of the Museum are the well-preserved tenements, or buildings, themselves. Units that once housed a family, were divided again and again to accommodate the skyrocketing immigrant population in New York City in the 1800s. Each building, while small on the outside, is full of the hope, perseverance and grit of the countless people that once called it home. The Tenement Museum is a testament to the New American experience in the United States.
Each visit has afforded me the time and space to reflect on the challenges my family and I have overcome since arriving to the United States. At first glance, I wasn't sure I'd take anything away from the process of exploring another family's story. Thankfully, I was wrong.
As I navigated through the re-created humble home of complete strangers, I quickly recalled memories of laughter, anger, hope, and joy that resonated within the warm, yet small, abode my own family called home. I quickly realized that the challenges faced by immigrants in 19th century New York were very similar to those faced by recent immigrants to Seattle, like myself. Just the same, hope served as fuel for surviving and persevering.
Visiting the past and seeing how others fought with resilience has motivated me to continue paving the road for those yet to come. The Tenement Museum serves as a reminder of how far we, immigrants, have come.
Carlos Estrada Alamo is a 2014 Fellow. He visited the Tenement Museum on two occasions with The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans community. Both were part of the Fellowship’s annual Fall Conference, which is a time for current Fellows to get to know one another and explore their immigrant stories.
2014 and 2015 Fellows Tiffanie Hsu (left) and Winston Yan (right) talk with the tour guide following the Tenement Museum tour.
2015 and 2014 Fellows on a tour of the Tenement Museum. Left to right: Tiffanie Hsu (2015 Fellow), Winston Yan (2014 Fellow) and Ismael Loera (2015 Fellow).
Evgeniya Kim (2015 Fellow), a student at Yale School of Management, on the Tenement Museum tour.
Carlos Estrada Alamo (2014 Fellow) looks into a bathroom stall recreated by the Tenement Museum.
2014 and 2015 Fellows touring the Tenement Museum as part of the 2015 Fall Conference.
Fellows and Director Craig Harwood toured a room in the Tenement Museum as part of the 2015 Fall Conference.
Evgeniya Kim (2015 Fellow) looks into sleeping quarters at the Tenement Museum.
2015 Fellows Allen Lin (left), Asmaa Elsayed (middle) and Shin Daimyo (right) on the tour of the Lower East Side.
2014 & 2015 Fellows get to know one another on the tour of the Lower East Side and the Tenement Museum at the 2015 Fall Conference.
After visiting the Tenement Museum, 2014 and 2015 Fellows toured around the Lower East Side with Director Craig Harwood. Left to right: Mohamad Abedi (2015 Fellow), Yakir Reshef (2015 Fellow), Shin Daimyo (2015 Fellow), Daniel Kim (2014 Fellow) and Andre Shomorony (2015 Fellow).
2015 and 2014 Fellows at The Pickle Guys on the Lower East Side with Director Craig Harwood.