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Owdo_Gace Feb 22nd, 2009 02:02 PM

Tenement Museum - NYC
I need to purchase advance tickets for the Tenement Museum. We're planning to visit on a Sunday. I knew you could only tour the museum by guided tour and that advance tickets were a good idea, but I didn't realize that each tour only covers one aspect of the museum. I have no idea which to pick.

Can anyone recommend a particular tour or offer additional insight? We are also planning to see the Lower East Side and go to Katz's Deli on that day.


sf7307 Feb 22nd, 2009 02:18 PM

When we went, we took the tour "Piecing it Together". We picked that one because my grandfather and step-grandfather were tailors. We thought it was great (we had a particularly good tour guide, a grad student from New Zealand). Basically, you viewed three apartments -- the first one was empty, with peeling wallpaper, etc., showing the size, layers of "decor", etc. The second one was a recreation of what the the apartment would have been like when the family lived there and operated a "factory" in the front room - the kids went off to school and the workers came in and worked. The third one was an apartment for just the family - after the tailoring work moved to actual factories and out of the tenenent buildings. We thought it was fascinating.

Have you seen my "explanation" of how to "do" Katz' Deli?

Owdo_Gace Feb 22nd, 2009 02:34 PM

No - do tell! Or can you tell me how to search for it? Thanks!

starrs Feb 22nd, 2009 02:55 PM

When I first went there were just generic tours with two going on at the same time but that visited several apartments. Now, there are more specific tours that vist only a couple of apartments. We took it the "Piecing it Together" tour in November and it was good. But, we picked it based on our timeframe and which tour was available. All of the tours cross the street from the tour office/gift shop and enter the same tenement house. Which apartments you visit is based on the theme. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

apo9z Feb 22nd, 2009 02:57 PM

Ever had to suffer for a cause you passionately believed in? For going out on a limb because you felt so strongly about something you reckoned it was worth all the hassle?

Many people have, over the centuries, for a multitude of causes and beliefs, and their fate ranged from social isolation and physical punishment to wrongful imprisonment or death.

The author of Bad Hare Days certainly got his share of hard knocks for his trouble. John Fitzgerald joined Ireland’s Ban Hare Coursing campaign after witnessing scenes of cruelty in a field as a teenager.

Men were out netting hares (jack rabbits to Americans) for use in a live baiting session known as a coursing event. Hare coursing is a legal “sport” in Ireland and involves setting hyped-up greyhounds after timid hares in large wired enclosures. There is much cheering and applauding and gambling as the dogs chase the hares, many of which are caught and mauled to death.

One of the men in the field picked an injured hare of the net, and seeing it was unfit for coursing proceeded to batter it against the wall of a church ruin.

This incident affected John Fitzgerald deeply and he took up the cause of the persecuted Irish Hare with enthusiasm.

He quickly discovered that the hare coursing fraternity in Ireland was a powerful force to be reckoned with….and that tackling these people in a district where their “sport” was entrenched and deemed a proud tradition was inviting serious trouble.

When he got a job in a Farmer’s Co-Operative hardware store, coursing fans strode into the building in broad daylight and viciously assaulted him. Further workplace bullying followed.

Then all hell broke loose in the locality when the British-based “Animal Liberation Front” exported its direction action methods to Ireland in the mid-1980s. There were frequent attacks on coursing club venues around Ireland. Hares captured for baiting were released by masked nocturnal raiders.

John Fitzgerald and many of fellow campaigners, though committed to a peaceful, non-violent campaign against hare coursing, were targeted by police and the author found himself in a police interrogation room almost every time the militants struck.

In the book he recounts the impact of the anti-coursing campaign on himself, his family, and on the lives of other campaigners. He also makes what I think is a convincing case for outlawing cruel animal baiting practises, especially hare coursing which, despite all the protesting and political lobbying, remains legal in Ireland.

Bad Hare Days is an absolutely superb read. The author, a freelance journalist, offers a fascinating insight into what can happen when you begin to “rock the establishment boat”; or when you take a stand on a highly emotive issue.

The book is highly readable, and is alternately shocking, profound, disturbing, and very, very funny.

If you read nothing else this month, read Bad Hare Days. You won’t be sorry! It’s published by Olympia Publishers.

Owdo_Gace Feb 22nd, 2009 03:39 PM

WOW, apo9z, thank you so much! That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for! I think, if I read Bad Hare Days, I won't even need to go to New York!


sf7307 Feb 23rd, 2009 09:31 AM

Here goes:

The Katz' "system" is extremely confusing, so here goes. First of all the table service is against the left wall -- the rest of the main room and the back room (I think) are for self-service customers. You definitely want to do self-serve, table service is for those who can't serve themselves (disabled, old, etc.).

When you enter, each person in your party gets a little ticket like an old-fashioned movie ticket. Then you go to the sandwich counter (on your right) and pick a line. Each server has his own line (none of the red rope, bank-teller type line here). You order from the server. Tell him what you want and he'll give you a taste of everything (even tuna in my daughter's case). Put $1.00 in his tip bowl, and make sure he sees you doing it -- it'll make the difference between a skinny sandwich and one that can feed two or three people LOL! If you want soup, he'll get that for you, too. Then he marks on the little ticket everything you ordered. BUT NOTE, drinks and french fries (which are excellent) are at a different line, so split up --- one person to get sandwiches and soup, one to get french fries and drinks and one to scout out a table!

When you're done, you head for the cashier where you turn in all your little tickets, even those that are blank, and they figure out what you owe (sort of little deli-dim sum).

Hope that helps. The food is worth it. Oh, one more thing - if you order pastrami or corned beef, ask for extra-lean. I think its $1.00 extra, but it's worth it.

Owdo_Gace Feb 23rd, 2009 09:38 AM

THANK YOU! I had no idea they had such a complicated system.

basingstoke2 Feb 23rd, 2009 09:53 AM

On the other hand sf, when I go to Katz' I get a table and I am not disabled nor do I consider myself old. Why? 1. I know my group will have a table together. 2. Don't need the standing in line hassle, and 3. we can all nosh on pickles waiting for our order to come.

All in all though I preferred the 2nd Ave Deli but have not been there since they moved uptown.

While at the Tenement Museum (and I agree that it is hard to go wrong picking a tour) walk over to Gus' Pickles and buy some to take back. I prefer the half sours.

sf7307 Feb 23rd, 2009 10:02 AM

<i>All in all though I preferred the 2nd Ave Deli but have not been there since they moved uptown.</i>

I don't think they moved uptown - I think they moved into a new space downtown and opened a branch uptown.

basingstoke2 Feb 23rd, 2009 10:30 AM

If only it were so. The 2nd Ave Deli is now at 33rd and 3rd. It is still called the 2nd Ave Deli and it's still in the family. There is a place called the Pino 2nd Ave Deli up in East Harlem -no connection.

basingstoke2 Feb 23rd, 2009 10:31 AM

basingstoke2 Feb 23rd, 2009 10:33 AM

Oops. Please delete one "2nd"

november_moon Feb 23rd, 2009 10:33 AM

Not to worry - the Katz system isn't as complicated as it seems. Basically you order at the counter (drinks at a different spot as noted), they stamp your ticket with whatever you are getting, and you pay the cashier when you leave.

nyer Feb 23rd, 2009 10:45 AM

"All in all though I preferred the 2nd Ave Deli but have not been there since they moved uptown.

I don't think they moved uptown - I think they moved into a new space downtown and opened a branch uptown."
Off the topic a bit more, this is a good example for
out-of-towners on the use of the words "uptown" and "downtown" when referring to NYC:

UPTOWN = anywhere north of where you are.
E.g. 2nd Avenue Deli was at 10th street, now it's at 33rd street, so it moved "uptown"
UPTOWN = specific neighborhoods in the mid/north part of Manhattan such as the Upper West Side, Upper East Side or others further north.
As in "I think they moved into a new space downtown (That is on 33rd street)and opened a branch uptown "(hasn't happened yet, but reported that there will be another branch soon "uptown" on the UES at First Avenue at 75th Street.)

Same idea for "downtown"

sf7307 Feb 23rd, 2009 10:53 AM

nyer, your post is misdirected. I grew up in NY and know the difference between uptown and downtown. I thought they had reopened near their original location (would that have suited you?) and also opened a branch on the UES (same question).

bakerstreet Feb 23rd, 2009 11:16 AM

Owdo Grace, we did the same things you did, and you have received good advice. I wish I had known in advance what to expect at Katz's, although it didn't take us long to figure out. One important thing to know is that even if someone in your party does not plan to eat, that person needs to take a ticket. We watched two women who had entered but who didn't take tickets (I assume they just wanted to look around) have a bit of a hard time leaving as they had no tickets.
We also saw a yelling match between a departing man who had no ticket and the security guard who followed him out the door. We had just left the restaurant and were standing right outside, so the 6 children in our group (teens and tweens) got an "interesting" New York experience listening to the intense, profanity-laced shouting, threats to sue, etc. OK, it was a new experience for the adults in our group, too.

Have fun!

321go Feb 23rd, 2009 12:54 PM

"WOW, apo9z, thank you so much! That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for! I think, if I read Bad Hare Days, I won't even need to go to New York!"

:D :D :D

Back on topic (ahem! apo9z), I took the Getting By Tour which showed how two families - one in the 1870s and one in the 1930s - survived bad economic times. As starrs says, I don't think you'd go wrong with any of the tours.

bachslunch Feb 25th, 2009 04:25 PM

I haven't been to Katz's Deli, at least not yet. But there are several folks at the Chowhound website who have; they almost uniformly suggest that not only is the pastrami sandwich the one to get there, but that getting it "juicy" (i.e. not as lean) as opposed to extra lean results in a more flavorful sandwich.

Just to provide the opposing editorial viewpoint. :-)

nyer Feb 25th, 2009 04:35 PM

sf7307 , I actually just took your comment as a starting point for something that comes up pretty often here--that "downtown" usually means a specific place in other cities-- but in NY it could also be just a directional guide.
No offense meant!
(To clarify things though for anyone who might be interested, 2nd Avenue Deli did indeed close its original location at 10th street, moved to 33rd street and is teasing New Yorkers by announcing that another location will open some time later this year)

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