At the suggestion of a kind member of the MMA Costume Institute staff, I accompanied the 14 year old to The Tenement Museum at 108 Orchard Street. She’d received an email response to her history project inquiry vis a vis the influence of immigrants to the US on fashion in the early 1900’s. I love that place and remember loving it when it opened in 1988. I went so far as writing a letter to Ben and Jerry suggesting that they might want to underwrite the Museum’s efforts – a younger version of the current connector that I’ve come to be.
Tickets are required to enter the Museum. We visited two apartments that had been lived in by families who worked in the garment industry. It served as a relevant foundation for the 14-year old’s project. Prior to our tour, we brunched at Little Giant, half a block away, and enjoyed fab mac and cheese and/or oatmeal.
The Lower East side foray which was especially meaningful given that our “educator” began the tour by asking each of the 15 tour”ists” to talk a bit about their ancestry. Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, Dominican Republic, England, Ireland. Quite the melting pot and I learned that 85% of American Jews who arrived in the US in the early 1900’s lived at some point on the LES… that’s us, baby.
Afterward, we headed west for a visit to Devachan (the curly hair salon) where the 14 year old will go in two week’s time for a cut. She needed “product” and we were lucky enough to catch her stylist, Rick, who gave her an impromptu consultation on how to use the products. While he explained haircare, he took a snip of her lucious golden locks! The crazy thing was that every person, male or female, that came in or exited the salon had wavy or curly hair, styled just so. Made me feel good for the 14 year old curly head. Despite being an exotic beauty on the UES, she fit in perfectly with the downtown fashionistas.
In keeping with the fashion theme for the day, we entered the Rem Koolhaas designed Prada store on Broadway and Prince and Ted Meuhling’s fab store on Howard Street where it intersects with Crosby. We ended the day with hot chocolate at the Cupping Room and a quick gift exchange at the Coach store. The 14 year old didn’t wince or complain a bit… good things in small packages. Gotta love the adventure.