Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lower East Side

I led a tour today of Manhattan's Lower East Side, one of the most densely-populated places in America in the late nineteenth century. Tides of immigrants stopped here, lived here, and most moved on. Others came to take their place.

There are so many ghosts thick in the air that the streets take on a life of their own. You can't distinguish the shade from the sunlight. A few parents roll baby carriages down the street. An old woman sits with her attendant on the sunny bench in front of the Abrons Art Center. Two men head to their synagogue. A Chinese baby naps in her stroller. It is so quiet. Everyone seems to be waiting, watching.

It is still Passover.

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