This past weekend, we headed down to the Lower East Side for an afternoon filled with history, fun and a deliciously messy meal!
Our adventure began at the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street. This historical treasure trove of Old New York can only be enjoyed by guided tour. We chose the one most geared for children: “Meeting Victoria Confino.”
This one-hour experience starts with a small classroom discussion about life on the LES in the early 1900s. We were given a bit of background on the day-to-day life of the Jewish immigrants who inhabited the area. We then walked over to 97 Orchard Street, a preserved tenement, and met ‘Victoria’, a costumed actress playing the part of a 14-year-old Sephardic Greek who actually lived in the building in 1916.
Victoria convincingly answered a range of questions from adults and children, all the while giving us insight into what life was like for her and her family a century ago. The kids were amazed at the tight quarters, the limited toys and the demands and responsibilities of children during that time in our city’s history. It left quite an impression on us all and hopefully gave our daughters a new perspective and appreciation for their current lifestyle!
After the museum, we switched gears and headed to My Plastic Heart, a contemporary small toy store filled with shelves of designer art toys. The gadgets and figurines were unique, interesting and a refreshingly far cry from the items found on the shelves in Toys R Us!
After browsing for a while, we were ready for a snack so we once again stepped back in time and entered the sweet haven of Economy Candy, a family-owned institution dating back to 1937!
We giddily explored endless mountains of old-fashioned and nostalgic treats. Over and over again, throughout the store, one can hear adult exclamations of, “Oh my god, remember these?!” We walked out with bags of Charleston Chews, Abba Zabbas, O-Henry Bars and suckers so sour that we could barely keep them in our mouths for more than a few seconds.
After a stroll in the neighborhood bursting with boutiques and restaurants overflowing with trendy 20-somethings enjoying a late brunch, we headed to Sara D. Roosevelt Park for the kids to run around for a bit before going to The Boil for an early dinner. We beat the long waits by being there when the doors opened at 5 pm and spent the next few hours feasting on crawfish, crab legs, clams and oysters.
The seafood was brought to our papered-table in plastic one-pound bags with buckets, gloves and bibs. The marinades were outstanding with garlic-butter for the kids and a super spicy house blend for us! The seafood was fresh and delectable. For our picky little eater, the oyster sliders were perfect and our little one finally discovered just how wonderful crabmeat can be! We all rolled home happy and full and a little bit more knowledgeable about the city in which we all love living.
Our afternoon in the Lower East Side was a perfect mix of discovering Old New York while exploring some new spots and we can’t wait to go back for more!
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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