June 16, 2011
In Tribute to Immigrants—
of Yesterday and Today
On the Lower East Side of New York City sits the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street, former home of the Gumpertz and Baldizzi families. The Gumpertz and Baldizzi families shared lots in common with the Godzisz and Di Gregorio families.
VISITING LOWER MANHATTAN is a great way to reconnect with where many of us in America have come from. Thank you, New York City, for preserving our history!
At the Tenement Museum, I was struck by the parallels between the Godzisz and Di Gregorio families and the Gumpertz and Baldizzi families who lived here: the Gumpertz family from Prussia, whose father deserted them during the economic crisis of the 1870s, and the Baldizzi family from Italy, whose father entertained them through the Great Depression and who made it through with some help from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These are the stories of which America is made.
A block from the Tenement Museum, New York City pays tribute to the immigrants who have always made this country great!
Meet Dan Killoran, my very tall nephew and a New York University graduate student, pronto a mangiare at a great little restaurant on the Lower East Side called Luzzo’s. Yes, Dan got the Italian gene. And now, being a New Yorker, he’s brought the family story full circle!
Here is a very cool spot on the High Line, New York City’s latest example of ingenious urban planning. The High Line historic freight railroad rises above the old meatpacking district, where my Italian great-grandfather Nicola Di Gregorio struggled to find work as an immigrant laborer in 1902. Boy, has the neighborhood changed!