Cabinet

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
wooden,center door, height: 3' width: 2'
wooden,center door, height: 3' width: 2'

This cabinet began its journey on Allen St., not far from where the Tenement Museum is today. Currently residing in our home in suburban Long Island, the cabinet was one of the first pieces of furniture for my parents, two young Polish immigrants trying to get by in the city. Location is not the only change the cabinet needed to overcome. It also used to be six inches taller. Why did it shrink, you may ask? The building my parents lived in was poorly designed, and no longer exists today, but in its glory, the floors would cave slightly into the middle of the building where the staircase was located. For this very reason, there was a difference of up to a foot in height between the different parts of the floor in the apartment. Moreover, most furniture stood lopsided on the slanted floor -- unless one chose to take action. My father, fed up with the constant offset of the apartment and the furniture within it, finally decided to cut each leg of the cabinet to a length that would counteract the slant. Problem solved! My parents did not stay on Allen St. forever and, upon moving to a slightly more architecturally thought-out building in Astoria, they were again faced with slanted furniture and forced to cut the legs down again. It was not until another move led to where the floor was finally straight that the cabinet legs were cut to equal lengths. The cabinet now holds our cameras and, therefore, all our precious memories, including many from the times back on Allen Street.

Place(s): Poland,Lower East Side,Queens
Year: 1993

– Aleksandra Ratkiewicz

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant