Tenement Museum Visitor’s Center at 103 Orchard Revealed
103 Orchard Street is finally seeing the light of day after a long and formative slumber. Friday afternoon, three years of gut renovations and remodeling reached the penultimate stage of completion with the removal of the tattered plywood fence (and the Shepard Fairey “Rebel Waltz”). What a relief! Its long bothersome presence had blocked the entire sidewalk, and seized control of half the cobbled Orchard roadway.
As we’ve chronicled these last few years, 103 Orchard Street is the new home for the $6 million Tenement Museum visitor’s center, officially named the Sadie Samuelson Levy Immigrant Heritage Center. This new facility affords the organization a much larger gift shop (3,000 square-feet), a second-floor education center including three “modern classrooms” and demo kitchen, more bathrooms, and an orientation theater for tourists.
With the unobstructed glass now in direct sight, we finally have our first sneak peek of the new digs without hard hats. A space that “invites the world into what had been a dead corner.” It’s still rough around the edges, but employees working in the current gift shop across the way at 108 Orchard informed us that the move will transpire at the end of this month, or early next. This belated opening is roughly a month after initial projections.
Before all the renovation, 103 Orchard Street was once home to ladies wear joint Klein’s of Monticello. The old time shop closed in 2005 after decades in business. Below is a photo of the melting pot mural that later graced the roll-down security gate.