There were some rude shocks for landlords in New York’s 1901 legislation. Fire escapes were to be made of metal, not wood. Each room had to have a window. A minimum of one toilet per two families was to be provided.
After unsuccessfully fighting the new laws in the courts, many slum landlords chucked it in the too hard basket, evicted their tenants, boarded up their tenements and invested their money elsewhere.
In 1988 Ruth Abrams and Anita Jacobson found 97 Orchard St in original condition, and set about turning it into a museum. Anyone with the slightest interest in America’s immigrant history should be very grateful to them. Continue reading