(via Tenement Museum - SNL - YouTube)

Photographer Jamel Shabazz will be discussing his 2001 book, Back in the Days (which chronicles New York in the 1980s) at the Tenement Museum tonight. We chatted with him this week to get the scoop on the tome’s tenth anniversary; here’s what he had to say about the photo above:

I vividly remember speaking to [the four young men] about the importance of staying in school and getting a good education, and would occasionally see them during my travels. The young man to the far left in the photograph would go on to be a highly respected hip-hop artist by the name of AZ, whose lyrics addressed social and political issues.


This 1928 NYPL overdue book slip was miraculously discovered in the 1980s during the construction of the Tenement Museum. The Museum kept the card on display, stating that the title of the book on the card is “one of the great mysteries, we unfortunately do not know.” That is, until yesterday, when the Museum turned to Twitter for help deciphering the handwriting. Within a few hours, the mystery was solved. The book, which may have never been returned, was Israel by by Ludwig Lewisohn. A great example of the power of social media.

Breaking on Saturday Night Live

Despite their best efforts, the professionals at Saturday Night Live find themselves laughing right along with us every now and then. It’s such a storied tradition that Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler even sang a song about breaking during the show’s 40th anniversary special.

Although the performers are supposed to avoid it at all costs, getting the giggles during sketches has led to some of the funniest moments in SNL history, and since notorious mid-sketch laugher Jimmy Fallon is returning to host this week, we’re looking back at some of those classic crack-ups.

“Tenement Museum”

Just last week, host Louis C.K. and sketch partner Kate McKinnon couldn’t keep it together while playing immigrant re-enactors at a tenement museum. The comedian’s far-from-accurate Polish accent, which gets worse/better as the bit goes on, seemed to be the source of their amusement.

“Debbie Downer: Happiest Place on Earth?”

A trip to Disneyland was the magnum opus of Rachel Dratch’s hilarious Debbie Downer character. All the actors in the sketch, from guest Lindsay Lohan to vet Amy Poehler, fell victim to Debbie’s laugh-inducing pessimism in this 2004 episode.

“Matt Foley: Van Down by the River”

Chris Farley’s genius overwhelmed David Spade and guest Christina Applegate, who played the teenage recipients of a (de)motivational speech, courtesy of his over-caffeinated speaker. The debut of Foley’s hysterical character, who rants about the dangers of ending up housed in a “van down by the river,” has ended up being one of the series’ most iconic sketches ever.


Playing ultra trendy and supremely mean retail workers, Sean Hayes and Fallon lost all signs of composure when Will Ferrell made his entrance in the 2001 bit. Even Ferrell struggled to maintain a straight face as he took a call on the world’s tiniest cell phone.

“Close Encounter”

McKinnon, Cecily Strong and host Ryan Gosling played alien abductees in a 2015 scene that was destined for greatness. McKinnon’s “Miss Rafferty” had quite a different extraterrestrial experience than her fellow civilians, and as her recount gets increasingly absurd, everyone, including the actress, struggles to hide their smiles.

“Kissing Family: Brecken Brings His Boyfriend Home”

Fred Armisen in particular was reduced to laughs in this 2014 Vogelcheck sketch, which also included Kristen Wiig, host Paul Rudd, Andy Samberg, Taran Killam, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon and Maya Rudolph - all of whom exchange saliva over the course of the bit.

“Weekend Update: Stefon Returns”

Stefon got the giggle fits when he made a “Weekend Update” return in 2014, and it was nowhere near the first time he broke while playing everyone’s favorite city correspondent.

“Dr. Beaman’s Office”

Trust SNL to make a misplaced baby something to laugh about. Molly Shannon and Chris Parnell played the unlucky parents opposite Ferrell’s crazed doctor in the absurd 2000 sketch, during which the actress laughed like no mother would in such a situation.

“The Californians/Buh-Bye”

The Californians returned with an all-star cast for the 2015 SNL 40th anniversary special. As the drama unfolds between the family and their staff, Wiig, Armisen, Hader and the rest of the crew nearly start laughing with the audience.

“Love-ahs in the Hot Tub”

Love-ahs Roger and Virginia (Ferrell and Dratch) are joined in their resort hot tub by lone traveler Dave (Fallon) and friend Barbara (Drew Barrymore). Fallon was (naturally) the first to break character as the affectionate couple attempts to find Dave a “love-ah” of his own, but soon the entire group let the laughs slip.

“Weekend Update: Garth and Kat: Mother’s Day”

Wiig and Armisen clearly got amused while playing the beloved, chronically unprepared musical duo in 2013, especially when their instruments entered the picture.

“New Girlfriend”

Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen played a man and his very sensitive new girlfriend meeting the all-important friend group. By the time his foot was in the guacamole, Armisen and Aidy Bryant were visibly starting to break. Vanessa Bayer also finds herself at the mercy of Regine’s (Armisen) wild antics.

This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com

phoenixyfriend  asked:

Since you're the one that seems to be spearheading the Jewish Howard Stark headcanon thing (and thank you, for that), would you say that his conversation with Peggy in the recently released sneak peak supports that? His comments on religion and social class being barriers to getting to a higher place in society and all that?

Oh my God, he is Jewish!!

Haha, sorry. Thanks for the ask, that’s the first time I’ve seen the clip. 616 Howard was born into money—he didn’t start his fortune. Apparently MCU Howard Stark’s origin is very different from 616 Howard’s, so some of the assumptions I made in my first post aren’t accurate. 

Let’s break it down:

  • “My mother sewed shirtwaists for a factory”: for most Americans, the term “shirtwaist” evokes images of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 people. The majority of the women working there were Jewish or Italian. The shirtwaist industry was primarily Jewish. I’ll quote Wikipedia here: “The New York shirtwaist strike of 1909…was a labor strike primarily involving Jewish women working in New York shirtwaist factories.”
  • At the time, 50% of the women working in the garment industry were Jewish. Again, Wikipedia: “In the production of shirtwaists in particular, the workforce was nearly all Jewish women.
  • “The press of the day often referred to the garment industry as ‘a Jewish problem.’ The owners were almost exclusively Jewish, as were the majority of the workers.” (source)
  • he grew up on the Lower East Side: this was a very ethnically diverse neighborhood in the 1910s, but it has always been associated primarily (and very strongly) with the Jewish community. Very strongly. I’m from NYC, and I can tell you that our public schools teach the Lower East Side as a Jewish neighborhood. The Lower East Side is home to some of the most important Jewish cultural signifiers in America. 
  • It was also known as Little Germany for a period, and since, realistically, the only other possible ethnicity for Howard is German, that’s worth examining. However, and this is from Wikipedia, “The neighborhood’s ethnic cohesion began to decline in the late 19th century from the population dynamics of non-German immigrants settling in the area.” In 1904, over a decade before Howard was born, a steamboat chartered by the local Lutheran Church sank, killing about 1,021 of its 1,300 passengers. This greatly accelerated the, at that time rapid, decline of the German population on the Lower East Side. 97 Orchard Street, a major tenement museum and a staple of any public school student’s field trips, apparently serves as a good indicator for ”the neighborhood’s majority ethnic group,” and in 1870 residents of the building were 55% German. By 1910, 100% of residents were Yiddish speaking, meaning they were at least ethnically Jewish. (source)
  • Statistically speaking, the most likely ethnicity for someone born in 1918 on the Lower East Side was Ashkenazi.
  • There’s a ceiling for certain types of people based on how much money your parents have”: The construction of this sentence is interesting. When he’s talking about “certain types of people,” he’s not referring to growing up poor. He’s saying that other poor Americans can get somewhere on their own, but that there’re “certain types of people” who need more than their ingenuity, who can’t just jump into the American dream. That he had to lie to move past his “type.”
  • Your social class, your religion, your sex!” Social class is too vague a term, I’m not going to get into it. He says “sex” at the end very pointedly, indicating that Peggy should agree with him. But why bring up religion? When did religion come into this conversation? It was always there. From the moment he said he grew up on the Lower East Side, Peggy knew what that meant.
  • “The only way to break through that ceiling sometimes is to lie, so that’s my natural instinct: to lie." This one is almost self-explanatory. Why has Howard’s ethnic background never come up? Because he’s Jewish, and he doesn’t tell people that because if he did, his life would be 100x more difficult. Of course, in the context of this scene he’s justifying a very specific lie to Peggy, but he began the conversation with his origins, and he’s still referring to that here. He’s saying, “how did I get past that ceiling for ‘certain types of people?’ I lied about it.” What did he lie about? Not about having money. Not about coming from nothing. Those would be unnecessary and extremely convoluted lies. He lied about his type. And what could his type be, that he had to lie about it? 

If you’re curious about what I’ve written previously, here are the other posts: (basic info) and (the Anna Jarvis scene)


What’s in my pencil pouch?
-pouch: I’m not sure where this is from I got it in the tenement museum in New York and it’s the best one I’ve ever had
-yoobi pencil sharpener: this works amazingly well, it’s also the best pencil sharpener I’ve had so far and I got it for under a dollar at target
-sharpie highlighters: available almost anywhere; they’re good but I really want the midliners
-pilot precise V5s: my favorite black pens
-pencils: I use both regular #2 and a .7 mechanical
Stabilos: these don’t technically fit in my pouch but they’re part of my gear and I take them everywhere! Highly recommended!!

list of good nyc museums since lily’s already losing her mind so i guess i’ll just continue:

  • nyc transit museum (right by my old house heyy)
  • natural history museum (a personal favorite)
  • lower east side tenement museum
  • metropolitan museum of art
  • museum of the moving image (in queens, worth the travel time)
  • the intrepid (an actual FUCKING battleship yall) (also near one of my old houses)
  • new york hall of science in queens
  • the brooklyn museum (i perform here every year get your tickets on sale next may) (near one of my old houses)
  • the morbid anatomy museum (good for goth kids on a date)

list of bad nyc museums:

  • moma

Today we visited the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side in New York.  One of the rooms housed Italian Immigrants in the 1930s and that is how the apartment is set up.  I can imagine Steve and Bucky living in a similar residence in Brooklyn in the 30s and 40s - it’s WAY smaller than I imagined from the fics I’ve read and there is NO airflow, it must have been STINKING hot in summer, no wonder they spend so much time on the fire escape.

I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but it certainly gives me a better idea of the kinds of residences for the lower classes in the 1930s.


Tenement Museum New York 

Just a hundred years ago, NYC was completely different from what it is today. At that time,  people from countries all over the world came here to build a future for their families and upcoming generations. A huge industry that was booming was the garment industry, with concentration on the mass-production of garments. Many immigrant families ran their own ateliers in their own apartments for its conveniences: a home-owned business meant controlling your employees, keeping an eye on their large families, and no language barriers. However, these home businesses, along with garment business in general during the era, were extremely dangerous; the apartment itself was barely large enough for two people let alone your six kids and extra employees, living in your workspace meant safety hazards for everyone, and workdays pretty much went non-stop until Sunday, which was rest day. 

Now, I have had my fair share of reading about horrible working conditions in countless History courses, and even in my Fashion Fundamentals course, but for the first time, I had the opportunity to sort of re-live what these people went through. This study tour was at the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. The site consisted of old apartments that were once occupied by immigrants one hundred years ago. I went to two apartments, one unrestored to show the original structure and how the staff found the place originally, and another apartment restored to mimic what apartments would have looked like at that time.

The unrestored apartment (shown on the left) blew my mind. The entire apartment consisted of three small rooms, with the first room being the bedroom, the kitchen in the middle, and the living room at the end. The place was TINY- smaller than the apartment I am living in now! The space was very dirty since it had not been occupied since 1935 but I liked how it was left untouched. The bedroom barely had room for a bed, the kitchen floor was made out of gross linoleum, and decoration was done with horribly-printed floral wallpaper. 

The restored apartment (on the right) was cool to see because it didn’t have that abandoned feeling when I went inside. This apartment also showed what the “workplace” looked like, with examples, patterns, old school sewing machine (SO COOL), the mannequin, and finishing area in the living room, and ironing in the kitchen. Just having the set up their made me claustrophobic- I could not imagine running a business there with fabric and children everywhere as well! 

This experience has taught me to fully appreciate the fashion industry. It’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is and it certainly did not seem like a rewarding experience for the people of that time. Gaining a better understanding of how the mass-produced fashion industry emerged has made me think about fairness in the workplace and safe conditions for employees. Thankfully, these conditions do not really exist in the US anymore, which is good. Laws have been established and workers’ rights have been protected. What scares me is what is going on overseas; these horrible working conditions still exist in sweatshops, and a lot of these places are producing household brands! The worst part is that I know it is easier said than done to want to quit global outsourcing in poor locations because it is much more cost efficient to do so. This issue is especially starting to hit home for me because I am a Fashion student who will be graduating in May and would like to ultimately be a buyer. At some point in time, I will be the person who influences production decisions, potentially compromising peoples’ lives for profit… and that is absolutely terrifying. I know I have a lot of time to figure out how I will strategize, but this thought still irks me. 

All in all, this experience was definitely the most thought-provoking I have had thus far, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to visit such an important historical place.