Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 542
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-303
_______________________________________________________________________


 
      LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE ACT OF 1997

                                _______
                                

 September 8 (legislative day, August 31), 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1408]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1408) to establish the Lower East Side 
Tenement National Historic Site, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                         purpose of the measure

    The purpose of S. 1408 is to establish the Lower East Side 
Tenement National Historic Site, in New York City, as an 
affiliated area of the National Park System.

                          background and need

    Between 1880 and 1921, millions of immigrants flooded New 
York, entering through Ellis Island and finding their way to 
thousands of dwellings in the Lower East Side of New York City. 
These dwellings, called tenements, were designed and 
constructed to provide affordable shelter to the incoming 
masses of poor immigrant workers.
    The tenement located at 97 Orchard Street in New York City 
was built in 1864 during the first immigration rush to provide 
housing for immigrants. The brick building, rising five stories 
with a raised basement, housed more than twenty families on a 
lot planned for a single-family residence. Each floor had four 
three-room apartments, with two windows in one room and none in 
the others. The privies and water spigot for all residents were 
located outdoors and immediately adjacent to the building. The 
public bathhouse was down the street.
    Conditions improved at 97 Orchard Street following the 
passage of the New York Tenement House Act of 1901. Two toilets 
were installed on each floor. A skylight was installed over the 
stairway and interior windows were cut in the walls to allow 
additional light throughout each apartment. The ground floor 
became commercial space. Electricity was installed in 1918. 
Further improvements were mandated in 1935, but the owner of 
this building chose to close the building rather than follow 
the new regulations. It remained boarded up for sixty years 
until the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (Tenement Museum) 
leased the building in 1988. The Lower East Side Tenement 
Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.
    In a Special Resource Study Report, the National Park 
Service found the Lower East Side Tenement Museum met the 
criteria for eligibility and suitability as a unit of the 
National Park System. The Study concluded that there is no 
other site presently in the National Park System or National 
Historic Landmark Program that comprehensively interprets 
immigration and tenement life during the country's peak 
immigration period of 1880-1920. The study also found that 
tenements are distinctive architectural forms not represented 
elsewhere, and that 97 Orchard Street is an outstanding example 
of an early tenement preserved from that period.
    The Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site will be 
designated as an affiliated unit of the National Park System. 
The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Lower 
East Side Tenement Museum will coordinate the operation and 
interpretation of the historic site with the Statue of Liberty, 
Ellis Island, and Castle Clinton National Monuments. The 
National Park Service may enter into an agreement with the 
Tenement Museum to provide funding for the development of the 
historic site, and to provide technical and financial 
assistance. The historic site will continue to be owned, 
operated and managed by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

                          legislative history

    S. 1408 was introduced by Senators D'Amato and Moynihan on 
November 7, 1997 and referred to the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources. The Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic 
Preservation and Recreation held a hearing on S. 1408 on July 
18, 1998.
    At its business meeting on July 29, 1998, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 1408 favorably 
reported.

            committee recommendation and tabulation of votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on July 29, 1998, by a unanimous voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1408, as 
described herein.

                      section-by-section analysis

    Section 1 designates the bill's short title as the ``Lower 
East Side Tenement National Historic Site Act of 1997''.
    Section 2 lists the findings and the purposes of the bill. 
The findings include: (1) immigration, and the resulting 
cultural diversity, is a key factor in defining the identity of 
the United States; (2) many citizens of the United States trace 
their ancestry to other nations; (3) no other neighborhood in 
the United States absorbed a comparable number of immigrants 
than the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan; (4) the 
Lower East Side Tenement at 97 Orchard Street is an outstanding 
survivor of a large number of buildings that housed immigrants; 
(5) the Lower East Side Tenement is owned and operated by the 
Lower East Side Tenement Museum; (6) the Lower East Side Museum 
is dedicated to interpreting immigrant life and its importance 
to United States history; and (7) the Lower East Side Tenement 
is nationally significant, and on April 19, 1994 the Lower East 
Side Tenement was designated as a National Historic Landmark. 
In addition the National Park Service found the Lower East Side 
Tenement suitable and feasible for inclusion in the National 
Park System. The purposes of the bill are listed as follows: 
(1) to ensure the preservation, maintenance and interpretation 
of the Lower East Side Tenement at 97 Orchard Street, and to 
interpret the themes of immigration, tenement life, along with 
the housing reform movement, and tenement architecture in the 
United States; (2) to ensure continued interpretation of the 
nationally significant immigrant phenomenon; and (3) to enhance 
the interpretation of two other related National Park Service 
sites.
    Section 3 defines certain key terms in the Act.
    Section 4 designates the Lower East Side Tenement Museum as 
a National Historic Site. The Historic Site will continue to be 
owned and operated by the Tenement Museum and the Secretary of 
the Interior (Secretary), in consultation with the Tenement 
Museum, will coordinate the operation and interpretation of the 
historic site with three other related National Park Service 
sites in and around New York City.
    Section 5 directs the Secretary, within two years after the 
enactment of this Act and in consultation with the Museum, to 
develop a general management plan for the site. The plan will 
outline how interpretation and operations of the site would be 
coordinated with the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis 
Island National Monument and Castle Clinton National Monument. 
Further, the Secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement 
with the Museum to ensure the marking, interpretation and 
preservation of the site, and the Secretary may provide 
technical and financial assistance to the Museum.
    Section 6 authorizes the appropriation of such sums as may 
be necessary to carry out this Act.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 14, 1998.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, 
        Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1408, the Lower East 
Side Tenement National Historic Site Act of 1997.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

S. 1408--Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site Act of 1997

    S. 1408 would designate the Lower East Side Tenement in New 
York as a national historic site. The bill would authorize the 
National Park Service (NPS) to enter into an agreement with the 
Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which owns the site, to 
provide for interpretation and preservation of the tenement. 
For this purpose, the NPS would provide technical and financial 
assistance, including any necessary amounts for capital 
improvements and repairs. The bill also would authorize the NPS 
to coordinate the operation and interpretation of the new site 
with other nearby NPS units, such as the Statue of Liberty.
    Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO 
estimates that the federal government would spend about $7.5 
million to implement S. 1408 over the next five years. This 
total includes $5 million for making needed capital 
improvements and for creating an interpretive program for the 
tenement. In addition, about $0.5 million annually over this 
period would be used for operating and planning expenses.
    S. 1408 would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. The bill 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act and would not affect 
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was 
approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                      regulatory impact evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 1408. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards of 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from 
enactment of S. 1408, as ordered reported.

                        executive communications

    The testimony of the Department of the Interior at the 
Subcommittee hearing follows:

 Statement of Denis P. Galvin, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before you today to present the Department of the Interior's 
views on S. 1408, a bill to establish the Lower East Side 
Tenement National Historic Site in the City of New York.
    The bill would designate the National Historic Landmark at 
97 Orchard Street in New York City's Lower East Side as a 
National Historic Site and make such an affiliated site of the 
National Park System. The bill would authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to enter into a cooperative agreement with and 
provide technical and financial assistance to the Lower East 
Side Tenement Museum to ensure the marking, interpretation and 
preservation of the historic site. The Secretary is also 
authorized to develop, with the Museum, a general management 
plan for the historic site. The plan would outline the roles 
and responsibilities of the Secretary at the site and how 
interpretation and programming for the site would be integrated 
and coordinated with that of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis 
Island and Castle Clinton National Monuments.
    The Department of the Interior supports enactment of this 
legislation. We believe the piece of American history being 
preserved and interpreted at the Lower East Side Tenement is 
historically significant and should be recognized. It is an 
important piece of our history that we celebrate at the Statue 
of Liberty, Ellis Island and Castle Clinton National Monuments 
in New York City. The Lower East Side Tenement is the 
continuation of the story of the immigrant experience and 
explains what happened once thousands of people were allowed to 
enter the United States after being processed at Ellis Island. 
In April of 1994, the Lower East Side Tenement at 97 Orchard 
Street was designated a National Historic Landmark by the 
Secretary of the Interior.
    At the direction of Congress, we undertook a special 
resources study of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Our 
report concludes that the tenement at 97 Orchard Street is an 
outstanding example of a surviving tenement associated with 
immigration and immigrant ways of life in the United States 
during the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th 
century. The tenement meets the criteria of national 
significance, suitability and feasibility for inclusion of the 
site in the National Park System.
    Built in 1863-1864, the building at 97 Orchard Street, is 
one of the earliest tenements erected on Manhattan's Lower East 
Side. During its 72-year tenure as housing, it may have been 
home to as many as 10,000 immigrants. While the exterior of the 
building resembles other nearby tenements, this building is 
remarkable because the upper floors were not altered or 
utilized since they were sealed in the 1930s. These floors, 
although deteriorated, are thus preserved and provide a 
poignant reminder of tenement life during the greatest period 
of immigration in American history. Millions of immigrants 
passed through Ellis Island, and earlier, Castle Clinton, and 
found their way to thousands of similar dwellings on New York's 
Lower East Side.
    The non-profit Lower East Side Tenement Museum creatively 
interprets the tenement and surrounding neighborhood. It links 
the tenement's story to those of Ellis Island and Castle 
Clinton. The Museum owns the building and has undertaken major 
stabilization and restoration work so as to insure the 
building's preservation. The Museum's visitor center and office 
space are located in separate, nearby locations. The Museum 
conducts a variety of programs both for visitors to the Museum 
as well as for the community and neighborhood groups and 
organizations.
    Our study evaluated three management alternatives for the 
site. These were: (1) create a new National Park System unit 
with full ownership and operation of the site by the National 
Park Service; (2) establish the site as an affiliated area of 
the National Park System and work cooperatively with the 
Tenement Museum; and (3) take no federal action. We support the 
second alternative that calls for a partnership approach. Under 
this approach the Tenement Museum would own, operate and have 
primary responsibility for the site. The Museum is a small 
organization with limited resources but is a capable 
institution that should remain involved in the operation and 
management of the historic site. The National Park Service 
would provide technical and financial assistance to the site 
and the Tenement Museum through cooperative agreements. The 
involvement of the National Park Service at the Tenement Museum 
would enhance the ongoing programs of the Museum as well as 
those of the National Park Service offered at Ellis Island and 
Castle Clinton.
    Mr. Chairman, the Lower East Side Tenement is an 
outstanding cultural resource. It represents a significant part 
of the story of American immigration. It offers a unique 
opportunity to teach present and future generations of 
Americans about the lives of immigrants, about the experience 
of many of our ancestors, about how and where they lived. The 
establishment of the Lower East Side Tenement National Historic 
Site as an affiliated area of the National Park System, managed 
by the Tenement Museum with assistance from the National Park 
Service, is critical to the successful preservation and 
interpretation of this important resource and American story. 
We fully support the legislation as drafted and encourage your 
passage of this legislation.
    If enacted, funding for implementation of S. 1408 would be 
contingent upon Federal budgetary constraints and Departmental 
funding priorities.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would 
be pleased to respond to any questions you or members of the 
Subcommittee may have regarding this bill.

                        changes in existing law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by S. 1408, as ordered 
reported.