Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coming To America

Before my grandmother crossed the continent on a train to be a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon, she left Hungary and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become an American citizen. She was a child of 6 when she and her family left their bucolic farm along the Danube in Buda, and after a harrowing transatlantic voyage, lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Life in New York City was a tremendous shock. The pastures, streams, gypsy caravans and everything familiar, including language, were replaced by gritty, crowded tenements, endless city noise and the hustle and bustle of Italians, Ukranians, Slavs, Poles, Germans and other ethnic groups struggling to get a foothold in a new, chaotic and confusing land. Even her name was new. Anika Fulop had become Anna Phillips.

The picture above shows Mulberry Street in 1900 as it was when my grandmother and her parents lived there. The photograph below is circa 1907, also the Lower East Side and is captioned "How the other half lives". The immigrants' ghetto included areas that are known today as Chinatown, the Bowery and Little Italy.


Island Comfort said...

GREAT post!

Heather N. Paxton said...

I would love to have you join Harvey Girl Descendants. It's a Facebook group that is open to everyone interested in Fred Harvey -- but I'm always especially delighted when a true HGD joins.
Thank you.

Heather N. Paxton
alwayshnp [at] gmail.com