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Tenement Museum puts the immigrant home on display

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A new exhibition tells the story of three families that once lived in an Lower East Side apartment

New York City’s Tenement Museum recently converted an apartment at 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side into a special exhibit called “Under One Roof.” Filled with family heirlooms, the show offers an inside look at the home lives of three immigrant families who lived in the apartment during the mid-to-late 20th century.

The entryway, bedroom, and bathroom recreate the home of the Epstein family, Holocaust survivors who lived in the apartment during the 1950s. The Saez family from Puerto Rico was next to live here; their story is told in the kitchen and living room.My mother loved music, in my house, there was always music,says Jose, who remembers cooking on the weekends with his mother Romonita and brother Andy.

Last is the Wong family, immigrants from China and tenants here during the 70s. Behind the bedroom, the museum recreated an old garment factory to match the one Mrs. Wong worked in, a place her son Kevin says was “like a playground” for him growing up.