“I trace my ancestry back to the Mayflower,” writes Andrew S. Dolkart. “Not to the legendary ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, but to the more prosaic tenement on the southeast corner of East Broadway and Clinton Street named the Mayflower, where my father was born in 1914 to Russian-Jewish immigrants.” Architectural and urban historian Andrew S. Dolkart presents a precise and informative biography of a typical tenement house at 97 Orchard Street in New York City that in 1988 became the remarkable Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He documents and interprets the architectural and social history of the building beginning in the 1860s when it was erected, into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the neighborhood started to change, and in the present as the building is reincarnated as the museum.
Andrew S. Dolkart is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program and Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He is the author of numerous books on the architecture and urban development of New York City, focusing in particular on the city’s everyday, vernacular building types, including Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development, Biography of a Tenement House in New York City: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street, and The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City 1908-1929.