The American Dream, Supersized

Immigrants often have big ideas about their new life. And often they're right

[This article consists of an illustration. Please see hardcopy of magazine.] True story: As part of its social-studies curriculum, my daughter's fourth-grade class was planning a field trip to the Lower East Side in Manhattan to get a sense of what life was like for immigrants in the early 20th century.

This was particularly meaningful for our family since my wife's grandparents had lived on the Lower East Side. Her father's mother had a compelling story, having come from a small village in Latvia where the family shared a single pair of shoes. In New York City, she sold vegetables from...

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