Tenement Museum Program Highlights for May
April 29, 2016

Melissa Clark of The New York Times

Melissa Clark of The New York Times

Every month, the Tenement Museum offers terrific programming to the general public. But rarely has there been a month so jam packed with so many terrific events that we decided to devote a whole blog to highlighting them. This May has a little bit of something for everyone, and we don’t want you to miss any of these terrific programs.

Right off the bat, the month gets started with a special treat. On Sunday, May 1 at 6:30pm, there will be a screening of the rarely-seen documentary Red Shirley (2010). On the eve of her 100th birthday, activist and immigrant Shirley Novick sat down with her cousin – her very famous cousin – the late, great music icon Lou Reed, for an interview. After we screen the film, there will be a special conversation with the artist Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed’s partner for 21 years, Ralph Gibson, the film’s co-director and cinematographer, Tony Michels, historian and editor of Jewish Radicals, and Merrill Weiner, Lou Reed’s sister, to reveal more stories about politics and families. This program is part of the Digital Storytelling Workshop, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30pm, the award-winning writer Rebecca Traister will return to The Tenement Museum to discuss her new book, All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. The work has been heralded by the New Republic as “a monumental study of the political, economic, social and sexual consequences of the rise of unmarried women.” Alice Kessler-Harris, pre-eminent United States women’s historian, will join Traister to discuss the history of single women, with a special emphasis on the “unconventional” women active in the Progressive Era.

For food lovers, mark these next two programs down on your calendar. First, on Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30pm we will be hosting Tenement Kitchens: Adaptation in America. Make a mess in our kitchen with a hands-on cooking class! First, tour the Tenement at 97 Orchard Street and explore the kitchens of two neighbors in the year 1916. You will meet the Confino family, who immigrated to the Lower East Side from present-day Greece; and the Rogarshevsky family who immigrated to the United States from Lithuania. After seeing the spaces, you will then join culinary historian Sarah Lohman and learn how to prepare traditional baklava and an Americanized recipe from one of our 97 Orchard families. We’ll explore the diversity of Jewish cuisine on the Lower East Side and make present-day connections with your own family traditions. Purchase tickets for this event through our website or by phone at 877-975-3786.

Just when you finished getting over the delicious baklava you just made, the following week, on May 25 at 6:30pm, we will host another fascinating food related program, The Culinary Mystery of Hinde Amchanitzky. New York Times food critic and cookbook author, Melissa Clark, will help us untangle a century-old gastronomic mystery. In 1901, an enterprising Lower East Side restaurant keeper named Hinde Amchanitzky published America’s first Yiddish-language cookbook. Mysteriously, eight years after Hinde’s death, a “new and augmented edition” of her cookbook, a departure from the original in both tone and content, appeared in neighborhood bookstores. From schmaltz-laden noodle puddings and stuffed breast of veal to “hygienic” bread and celery cutlets, the two cookbooks could hardly be written by the same woman. Or were they? Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard and Annie Polland, the Tenement Museum’s Senior Vice President of Education and Programming, present the culinary clues. These clues will include translations of the recipes, newspaper ads, and food samples from the cookbooks as they try to solve the mystery, and at the very least, learn more about the immigrant women and cooking.

If you have questions about any of these programs, feel free to contact Laura Lee in our Programming department at LLee@tenement.org or at 646-518-3032.

  • Post by Jonathan Pace, Communications Manager at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum