05/22/11

97 Orchard Street – Lower East Side, Manhattan

The “Getting By” tour takes you through a typical day in the life of two families that lived at different times in the tenements at 97 Orchard Street. The building that I walked through was very dark with narrow hallways. The walls were lined with potato sacks and the ceiling was made of aluminum. There were paintings on the walls and it had a wooden banister. From downstairs it seemed like a regular apartment building that just needed some better lighting and a good cleaning. But once I went upstairs, I got the chance to step back in time and see how the tenants really lived. The quarters were tight and the views were nonexistent. The families had no privacy, and the children had nowhere to play. The tenements were by no means suitable living conditions, but they were in America – and to the residents of Manhattan’s poverty stricken, disease ridden, over populated Lower East Side, that meant that there was chance for a batter life. A chance that simply was not possible where they came from.

@ 97 Orchard Street

I’ve actually visited this museum on more than one occasion, once in elementary school, again in my first year of college for a sociology paper, and them a third time for this class. I chose to visit the tenement museum again for this assignment rather than one of the other sites in NYC with historic significance because I thought it would be a good idea for my 12 year old sister to get a look at how difficult the conditions were that our grandparents had to endure when they first came to this country to give us the opportunities that we now have in front of us. I think it would be a great idea for anyone who hasn’t been there to make it a point to get there at some point – I think you’ll  all really appreciate it.

-C. Salama

05/16/11

Free Trade? Cheap Labor.

There was a lot of controversy with the NAFTA agreement.  NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement, an agreement that was to eliminate  barriers for trade and provide a fluid flow of trade and investment between Canada, US, and Mexico.  It was a hard debate that spanned through two presidencies, through Bush senior to Clintons Administration. Mexico belive they would benifit the most, and that it would help boost their economy, and immigration from Mexico to the US

In the New York Time article by By Elisabeth Malkin, “After 15 Years, Nafta’s promise, unfulfilled”   Even though Mexico’s exports have exploded in recent years, there is still a surge of Mexican crossing the boarder for a better life in the US.  Many Mexicans abandon their home and land and head North.  Things were even harder when China enter the World Trader Orgaization, enabling many companies to take their factories to China and pay even lower wages.  In my opinion, Nafta almost seemed like a legal way for companes to go into poor countries, and legal exploit these people for cheap labor.

It was important for free trade to work because many hoped it would curb migration over the southern border, but free trade is just not enough.

 

02/23/11

A Dollar And A Dream

Ellis Island

Immigrants at Ellis Island, circa 1900. Photograph: Bettman/Corbis

Mulberry Street 1900

Mulberry Street 1900 in New York’s 5 Points. Library of Congress photo

                The first picture is one of immigrants as they arrive on Ellis Island. They stand on line with there bags waiting to get processed. This picture represents hope. The immigrants left whatever struggles they were comming from in hope of a new, more sucessful life in the US. They come with nothing more than their bags and hope. 

                  The second picture overlooks one of the most dangerous places american history has ever seen.  The picture overlooks Mullberry Street, one of the streets in the infamous five points in NYC.  That picture represents what became a reality for many immigrants. They traded their domestic sufferings for foreign ones.  Their living spaces were overcrowded, their jobs remidial, and their dreams deffered.

02/23/11

Checking from Coast to Coast

Chinese immigrant getting checked at Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

Immigrants receiving a skin test for infectious diseases at Ellis Island.

These images both portray immigrants being subject to checks of their current health. Whether you are coming form the East coast at Ellis Island or the West coast at Angel Island, immigrants get their health checked for any infectious diseases. Immigrants had to pass through numerous examinations before they can enter the States. It goes to show how much of a struggle it is to migrate to the United States. It’s a struggle just to leave your country, but then once you arrive, you must go through different examinations before you can enter.

02/22/11

Immigration to the Land of Opportunity

This is a picture of Hungarian immigrants taken from an article of the New York Times in 1905.

This is a picture of immigrants in their homes.

These two pictures show the hard lives of immigrants. In the first picture, we can see that these immigrants have probably just reached land. They appear to be disheveled, tired, and in rags. There are no visible pieces of luggage or suitcases or anything that would indicate extra clothing or supplies. They are only there with themselves, ready to work and hoping to make a decent living in a new country. In the second picture, we can see what it was like at home for some immigrants. The second picture depicts male immigrants taking time out of their day for a casual card game. It is obvious how little room there is in that apartments. Conditions for immigrants were tough, and many were simply not able to afford a large roomy apartment. Many times, numerous immigrant families had to live in one apartment. We can see from the second picture that the furniture int he apartment and other things are all cramped up in that tiny space.

02/21/11

“This can not be what I signed up for!” Where are the Paved Streets of Gold!

Italian woman immigrant, Ellis Island, New York : Sherman, Augustus F. (Augustus Francis), 1865-1925 -- Photographer

Differing very little from their ancestors, many European immigrants came to the US seeking  a better life with a hope of economic relief.  The freedom of religion; escape from racial and/or political persecution.  Many did not dream that with the hard journey across the world, life in America would be full of extreme hardship.  Many of them had to endure low wages, poor work conditions and overcrowded living situations.  Yes it was better then there place of origin. Yet if life was too hard many immigrants went back home.

A tenement gleaner, New York City (1900-1937) Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940 -- Photographer

The two photograph above were taken in the early 1900s.  Both picture are similar in the aspect that both women seem as if they are very unhappy.  The woman sitting appears to be quite sad.  She seems like a well bred woman from Italy.  Whom may have came for all that America had to offer.  The woman carrying the large bag, by her dingy clothes seems  to be working or living in hard conditions.  She is an example of what America was offering.  I chose these photographs because of the differences and to show that many of the woman that came into the US during that time, had to work to survive, no matter what they believed the America was suppose to be like.

Anonymous Quote:  Recollections of 1900’s immigrant

“I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them.”

02/19/11

Immigrants at the Turn of the Century…

Immigrants’ Landing, Ellis Island, N.Y. Detroit Publishing Company.

Depicts a group of Chinese men who have recently arrived in America. Wave Publishing Company, Dec. 1901

The beauty and symmetry of the Ellis Island architecture represents a false facade of organization, wealth and cleanliness while the street scene on the bottom represents the harsh reality of the turn of the century New York streets. Also, the top photograph is taken from afar and shows the people as tiny objects moving toward some level of the Ellis Island process while the bottom picture shows the anguish and emotion on the faces of the Chinese immigrants as they move their street car up the hill i thing in lower Manhattan.

02/19/11

From China To US

This is a bunch of working class Chinese immigrants who came to California looking for gold.

This is a family who came to American during the 1890s. They look different from the previous picture because they look like they were ready to settle in American and they don’t look like they going to dig for gold or anything. In the first picture of how people dressed, we can see that they still keep some of their Chinese dressing style as well as the second picture. The first picture also shows that 5 people staying in one big room, maybe they will be sharing this room for their stay in America, showing the hard living environment in America during the immigration period.

02/18/11

Immigration

Left are German immigrants, Quebec City 1911. Right are Italian farm family pick berries, 1910. The different between these two pictures is one see like a middle class and one are lower class. People from the lower class need to work hard in order to support their children.

02/17/11

Detained immigrants on Ellis Island, New York harbor. Drawn by M. Colin. 1893 Aug. 26.

Immigrants at Battery Park, New York, N.Y. Byron (Firm : New York, N.Y.), photographer. 1900.

These two primary documents were taken from The Libabry of Congress.  The first one was drawn by a painter M.Colin for “Harper’s weekly” newspaper. The second one was taken by an employee of The Byron Company, which is a New York City photography studio in Manhattan that was founded in 1892. The quality of the photo is much better compared to others taken at that time. I also think that people from that photo are from the middle or even upper class, whereas people from the first image appear to be from the lower class. There is also a time difference: the images were created 7  years apart.