Apartment Tours

Sweatshop Workers

1890s – 1910s

By the turn of the 20th Century, the Lower East Side was both the center of the nation’s garment production, and a focus of its immigrant life. Sweatshop Workers shares the stories of two families, the Levines and the Rogarshevskys, who lived at 97 Orchard Street. During a one-hour tour, visit each of their apartments to explore the ways immigrants, past and present, have navigated work, culture, and religious  identity.

We encourage visitors to reserve tickets in advance, as tickets regularly sell out. Space is limited to 15 visitors per time slot for Sweatshop Workers. 

Apartment Tours

Sweatshop Workers

1890s – 1910s

By the turn of the 20th Century, the Lower East Side was both the center of the nation’s garment production, and a focus of its immigrant life. Sweatshop Workers shares the stories of two families, the Levines and the Rogarshevskys, who lived at 97 Orchard Street. During a one-hour tour, visit each of their apartments to explore the ways immigrants, past and present, have navigated work, culture, and religious  identity.

We encourage visitors to reserve tickets in advance, as tickets regularly sell out. Space is limited to 15 visitors per time slot for Sweatshop Workers. 

Tour type
Apartment Tours
Tour Location
97 Orchard Street, 3rd Floor
Tour Duration
1 Hour
Recommended ages
Ages 6 + Permitted
Not recommended for visitors with mobility issues

Tickets are available at the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We’re sorry, but it looks like there aren’t any tours available for your selected time and number of tickets.

Please search for another date, time, and/or quantity of tickets or click below to see the full tour calendar for your selected date.

Please note our daily tour schedules are posted online 6 weeks in advance. If you are searching for a tour schedule more than 6 weeks from today, please try back at a later date.

Check Tour Availability

The Garment Trade and the Immigrant Experience

Immigrant garment workers past and present have many experiences in common. They all share the memories of long hours hunched over sewing machines, the hiss and heat of pressing irons, and the goal of making a better life. The Levines and Rogarshevskys, like many immigrants of their time, found a livelihood in the garment trade, New York’s largest industry.

The Levines operated a garment workshop in their tiny apartment at 97 Orchard in 1892. Harris Levine, the patriarch, hired three workers and worked long 15-hour days, stopping only to observe the Sabbath each Saturday. A family of six, the Levines managed to raise their children and compete with other garment shops for 13 years — and all within a 325-square-foot apartment.

The Rogarshevkys faced a similar living challenge in 1908. With six children, the Rogarshevskys creatively squeezed into their tiny three-room apartment at 97 Orchard Street. The patriarch, Abraham, earned a living as a garment presser in one of the neighborhood shops. It was a job that would take a tremendous toll both on Abraham and his family.

Accessibility Information

  • This tour takes place on the third floor of 97 Orchard Street in a series of small, low lit apartments. There are 38 steps to enter and 31 steps to exit. See building diagram.
  • This tour uses an outdoor stairwell with an open stair.
  • Limited seating will be available during the tour.
  • Additional handling objects and braille materials are available if requested.
  • Assistive listening devices are available if requested.
  • Printed tour summaries are available in English, French, Spanish, and Italian  if requested.

 

For more information about accessibility at the Museum please visit the Accessibility at the Museum section.

You Might Also Like:

Baldizzi living room
Apartment Tours

Hard Times

Find inspiration in the resilience of two families as they confront economic struggles — the Gumpertzes in the 1870s, and the Baldizzis in the Great...

Read More
1869 kitchen inside the recreated Moore family apartment
Apartment Tours

Irish Outsiders

Explore discrimination, cultural pride, and identity through the story of the Moore family, and visit their recreated 1869 home inside 97 Orchard Street.

Read More
Wheelchair Accessible
Apartment Tours

Under One Roof

Discover stories of Lower East Side arrivals who lived at 103 Orchard Street in the 1950s through the 1980s and worked in the neighborhood's garment industry.

Read More