Walking Tour: Activism on The Lower East Side

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Date(s) - 08/18/2024
11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Museum at Eldridge Street


Ticket Prices: Adults $25 Seniors / Students $20 Children 5 and Under FREE Cool Culture Pass / SNAP Benefits $5

Join us for a tour centered around the history of activism on the Lower East Side!

At the turn of the twentieth century, roughly 1.5 million Ashkenazi Jews descended on the Lower East Side in search of economic opportunity and religious tolerance. Like many immigrant communities, their adjustment to life in America was complicated by prejudice, poverty, and acculturation. However, at around the same time, Jews began to challenge the status quo. Activism flourished in all aspects of public life in the Lower East Side as politicians, journalists, the working class, and philanthropists fought for the rights of a growing generation of Americans. Although manifested in a new country with historically unique values, much of the organizing done by Jews at the turn of the century drew upon traditions and beliefs of old.

We will trace its origins in Eastern Europe, explore its landmarks on the Lower East Side, and meet its leaders that stood on the frontlines. Discover the remarkable Jewish American struggle for women’s rights, educational opportunity, labor rights, and economic equality that left a permanent mark on our city and country.


  • Visit the Museum at Eldridge’s Women’s Balcony to learn its history as a venue for activism, including the Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902.
  • Stop by Seward Park, the first municipally built free playground in the United States and designed especially for the neighborhood’s children, the first generation to grow up in such crowded conditions.
  • Learn the role that the Educational Alliance played in helping new and struggling immigrant families
  • Visit Straus Square, formerly Rutgers Square, which played a vital role for activists and demonstrations.


Museum at Eldridge Street Walking Tours are only available to small groups (25 people max). This tour is available to both individual ticket holders and families.

Image Credit: Mrs. Perlmutter and others arguing the price of meat. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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