Woody Allen might be right, that cities look best in a rainstorm. But for me, a fresh blanket of snow frames the layers of memory New York City contains for my wife Jan’s family better than an umbrella. Leaving the Ukraine because of the deadly pogroms of Tsarist Russia (what else is new?) they arrived, liked so many other immigrants, at Ellis Island and eventually settled in New York City in the 1890s.
Fast forward to 2015. Today, almost at the very spot where Jan shopped as a young girl for new clothes before the Jewish High Holidays, is a great museum of the American Story. You can hear many old voices there and learn about immigration in real terms on the Lower Eastside of New York City. Adding Jan’s family’s history and her own memories of Orchard Street to the Tenement Museum story stitches one more seam into the American quilt.
And as for dealing with cold, icebox temperatures, let’s just admit that it’s somewhere in Jan’s Russian Jewish DNA.