About

This site is dedicated to the immigrant experience in New York City for the last 350 years or so, and the places you can go to imagine its past or celebrate its present.

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without Emma Lazarus’s magnificent poem that appears on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

The New Colossus (1883)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

But lest we get too sentimental, I’ll also include the point of view from German poet Heinrich Heine (1830):

Sometimes it comes into my mind
To sail to America
To that big pig-pen of freedom
Inhabited by boors living in equality.

On the other hand . . . keep your storied pomp, Heinrich.

— Jennie Kaufman

About Jennie Kaufman

I’ve lived in Brooklyn since 1999, but I’ve been in love with New York for much longer. If you love New York, don’t you have to appreciate immigration? My own recent genealogical research also stokes this interest.

Besides exploring the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, I write fiction, essays, and magazine articles. For Ancestry magazine, I have written about a woman’s discovery of her grandparents’ love letters; the role of serendipity in genealogical research; and Mark Lemberger’s years of detective work to find out who killed his aunt, little Annie Lemberger, in 1911.

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