I enjoyed our visit to the Tenement Museum. The last time I was there was about 10 year ago. Since then the business have being the Tenement Museum seem to have taken over the experience, even down to having a gift shop to document your experience.
Years ago the part I enjoyed most was that it was run as a grass roots effort and the tour guides really were in it. They seem to be living the experience themselves. Our guide while nice enough was very well rehearsed and would catch she forgetting to include the viewers in the experience. To combat this she purposely asked us to imagine being there. Some of the class found this as a way of accentuating the interactive aspect. I found it a bit annoying.
On my first visit we had walked through 3 apts. A German, a Jewish and an Italian. I found that while visiting the first 2. I was interested and enjoyed the time, but when entering the Italian apt. I was able to truly identify with the environment felt as though I could hear the opera in the background, smell the gravy cooking and feel the textures all around me.
These memories inspired me to begin what is now a rough draft of a project I will be working on for quite an awhile.
Our Story. Everyone has one.
Mine is starting with images from my grandparents on my mother’s side.
I begin my photographic journal with pictures from Sicily in the late 1800′s.
My grandfather Louigi Iannello was born in Milazzo Sicily in Sept of 1894.
Millazzo is a small seaport village off the coast of Sicily. My grandfather fought in World War 1 and had spoken about being alone, cold in the mountains with a gun; hard to believe since he was such a gentle man.
In 1922 he came to America, by boat. He was a Tailor and had come to NY to sew For A Duke. (I have found his papers checking into Ellis Island)
My Grandmother Emanuella Rizzo was born in May in 1902, born here in N.Y. on Bleecker Street and 10th.
She was a seamstress.
She worked in factories from the time she was 12 sewing line goods.
My grandparents married and had 2 children Stanley and Concertina.
My uncle was slightly Autistic and had a learning disability, He grew to be 6’5″ because of his size and disability he did not communicate well with people.
He led a life of solitude; he never has a friend and only concentrated on baseball, Opera and bicycle riding.
My mother was very fashionable and created a life in fashion and retail. She was married in 1962 and had 3 children.
My father grew up on the Upper Westside. A German father and an Irish mother raised him. At the Age of 11 he contracted polio and was confined to a isolated children’s ward for 3 years paralyzed, At first he was misdiagnosed with Scarlet Fever and was given massive amounts of Sulphur. Because of the misdiagnosis the Sulpher, stopped the disease from killing him 3 years later he was able to regain the use of his legs. This accident proved to be one of the most significant discoveries in stopping the spread of Polio.
More to come.