Driven by dreams of striking it rich, Adolfo Baldizzi left Italy in 1923. He soon found that America could be a land where obstacles outnumbered opportunities.

Immigration quotas forced Adolfo and his wife Rosaria on difficult journies to America. When he finally made it to New York, Adolfo struggled to find a job. Rosaria supported the family by working at a garment factory. However, she quit when the job threatened the family's Home Relief benefits.

Amidst these changes and the struggles of the Great Depression, the Baldizzis managed to raise two children and make a comfortable home in 97 Orchard Street. The family lived in the tenement from 1928 until the landlord shuttered the building's apartments in 1935.