Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New York, New York: 9/11 Tribute Center & Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Our New York City vacation continued Friday morning, when, after a quick breakfast, we headed downtown for two scheduled tours – one at the 9/11 Tribute Center and the other at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The day got off to a slightly confusing start, though, when we accidentally got on a Brooklyn-bound express train and missed our original tour time at the Tribute Center. Fortunately, the staff members were understanding and transferred us to the next time slot.

For those not familiar with the Tribute Center, it was created by the September 11th Families’ Association and features “the stories of 9/11, told by those who were there.” Our two tour guides, for example, were both longtime residents of the surrounding neighborhood. While showing us the outdoor memorial, they each shared facts and personal accounts, including stories about meeting World Trade Center survivors and seeing New Yorkers come together in the hours and days immediately following the attacks.


Inspired by memories of hope, horror, love, loss, tragedy and human compassion, our guides' stories were incredibly moving, and I'd strongly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to connect with neighborhood residents or survivors in a very personal way. In addition to these firsthand accounts, the Tribute Center also offers a gallery of photos and artifacts visitors can look through either before or after their tours, thus adding to the powerful, emotional nature of the experience. 


After taking some time to visit the Tribute Center gift shop, get lunch and process what we'd heard, Stephen and I next headed to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to learn about the real immigrant families who once lived in the building. Our tour, called “Hard Times,” allowed us to view two restored apartments and hear the stories of German-Jewish and Italian-Catholic families who struggled to make new lives in America between 1863 and 1935.


We enjoyed this tour, as well, and would love to come back in the future to view other apartments, learn about the lives of sweatshop workers and experience some of the Lower East Side's unique culinary treats.

Have you been to either of these places? What are some of your favorite museums or sites to visit in New York City?  

8 comments:

  1. Fun! I love NYC. Haven't been to either, but the 9/11 memorial is definitely on our list.

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    1. Yeah, I'd definitely recommend visiting the 9/11 Tribute Center and taking the tour when you go. The Tribute Center is separate from the national museum, but offers a very personal experience.

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  2. i've not been post- 9-11, but it is on my list to see. thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post. your words are a comfort.

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    1. You're welcome, Elle. I am so sorry for your loss and all that you are going through. Your posts are always so beautifully written, and they inspire me to life a positive, meaningful life. I know that reading about your experience will also help others facing loss feel that they are not alone.

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  3. I visited the Tenement museum and thought it was great to learn about the history in the area. I have to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum when I'm in town. It looks like it is a great tribute to such a momentous event.

    xoxo,
    little luxury list formerly Chic 'n Cheap Living

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    1. Glad you also enjoyed the Tenement Museum! I plan to visit the national 9/11 Memorial Museum the next time I'm in NYC.

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  4. i need to get tickets to both ... what times of the day do you recommend? should we do 911 at 9 am then the tenement tour around 2? Suggestions?

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    1. Hi Karyn! Thanks for stopping by! I think the earliest tour time at the 9/11 Tribute Center is 10:30 a.m., but it depends on the specific day of the week. I'd recommend booking your tickets to both places in advance and allowing enough time before/in between tours to navigate the Subway, grab food or do whatever else you'd like. :)

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