Archive for August, 2010

Slummin’ it

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 by Cristina

A couple of days ago I checked out an NYC touristy thing I’d been eyeing for a long time: the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. The two hour, two apartment tour would probably be fascinating for a ten year old from suburban Oklahoma but alas, not so much for me. Fortunately, our $20 entrance was made worth it by the pre and post-tour roundtable discussion with a group of Maltese immigration workers. I’d never met anyone from Malta and these folks were very thoughtful and ummm, gorgeous. Less impressive was the condition of the so-called tenements which seemed fairly cozy and reminiscent of my childhood. Our tour guide would ask with big eyes and enthusiasm, “Does anyone know what this family from 1863 might have used when the line was too long for the outhouse?” My sister answers, “A bedpan?” “EXACTLY, a chamber pot!” Been there, lived with that. Apparently, the late 1980s in Romania were similar to late 1880s in New York City. Our homes a hundred years ago looked a tad more primitive:

The tour is meant to open peoples’ eyes to harsh living conditions of immigrants back in the day, but the only thing it did for our group was spark a passionate discussion about similar conditions during modern times in other countries and less prosperous parts of this glitzy city. So if you’d like to check out some fascinating living conditions, save your $20 and check out your local ghetto or my hometown where you can marvel at how people make do with very little. Yey for shared bathtub water heated on the stove, flushing toilets with buckets, non-decorative oil lamps and hot bricks under the covers in the winter. The good news is that just like that Italian family surviving on the bare minimum, our itty-bitty childhood apartment had enough bodies to keep it warm and enough laughter to keep it lit. The bad news is that there’s a bed bug epidemic sweeping this city and that’ll turn even the ritziest apartment into a tenement.


Light and lights

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2010 by Cristina

The only good thing about a red-eye flight to Detroit is chasing the morning light.

This view of bulbs-grid greeting sky-stripes made it all worth it.