Thursday, November 1, 2018

32 Unbelievable Photos That Show the Wretched Conditions in New York's Slums During the Late 19th Century

A danish emigrant, settled in New York in 1870, Jacob Riis (1849-1914)
becomes a reporter for the New York Tribune in 1888 and covers the police
investigations of the Lower East Side. His pictures of the squalid lives of
New York's immigrants made him the most famous photographer of his day - and
were credited with bringing reforms which offered some hope to the booming
city's poorest residents.

Riis documented the overflowing tenements of New York's Lower East Side more
than 100 years ago, shining a spotlight on how the wave of immigrants from
Europe were living in a city which at the same time was the world's economic

Although he records the sensational stories of the miserable slums of New
York, he difficultly interests his readers. When he pioneers the use of flash
photography to highlight the darkest parts of the city and reveal gloomy
existences, he has finally found a powerful tool, not only to attract the
attention but also to lead a social reform.

Revealing how dramatic the lives of the city’s immigrants are and mostly
depicts wretched children, Riis shocks most New Yorkers and produces an
immediate success that inspires Theodore Roosevelt to reform the city’s
housing policies.

Take a look at these heartbreaking pictures of New York's slums in the late
19th century that prompted social reform and earned immigrant photographer
praise as the city's 'most useful citizen'.

Three homeless boys sleep on a stairway in a Lower East Side alley, 

A peddler sits on his bedroll, atop two barrels, in the filthy cellar he 
lives in, New York, 1886

Shelter for immigrants in a Bayard Street tenement, where a group of men 
share one room, Lower East Side, 1885

An elderly woman sits in her dilapidated home and sews. She sleeps, 
cooks, and lives, all in one tiny room, New York, 1885

 Manhattan's Lower East Side, circa 1880s

Poor family in one room tenement apartment, New York, circa 1880s

Men sleep on the floor of a New York City homeless shelter. In 1886, the 
fee for sleeping indoors was five cents a night, 1886

Schoolroom in the Lower East Side, New York: View of benches, 1886

Mulberry Bend, 1888

Keep off the Grass, 1888

In Poverty Gap, West 28 Street: An English Coal-Herver's Home, 1888

Dens of Death, 1888

Children's Playground in Poverty Gap. Young boys play at a city 
playground, New York, 1888

Bandit's Roost, Mulberry Street, 1888

The Short-Tail Gang, Corlears Hook, under the Pier at the foot of Jackson 
Street, 1887

A Jewish immigrant cobbler living in a dirty cellar prepares to eat a 
meal on the Sabbath, New York, 1890

A group of women and children make a Manhattan police station their 
temporary home, 1890

A boy in a glass factory, 1890

A blind man stands alone on a street corner, offering pencils for sale 
in New York City, 1890

Prayer Time, Five Points House of Industry, 1889

A twelve year old boy works as a thread puller in a New York clothing 
factory sweatshop, 1889

Mullen’s Alley, February 12, 1888

Interior of a pantmaker's workshop (sweatshop) on New York City's Lower 
East Side, Ludlow Street, 1890

In the Home of an Italian Rag-Picker, Jersey Street.  An Italian mother 
sits in an area just off of Jersey Street and holds her baby, New York, 1890

Homeless newsboys sleep huddled in a corner outside the Mulberry Street 
Church, 1890

Girl sitting on doorstep with baby on her lap, New York, 1890

Children sleeping on Mulberry Street, 1890

Children saluting the flag in school, 1890

Bohemian cigar makers at their tenements where people had to work as 
well as sleep, 1890

Shoemaker working in house with $12 a month rent, 1895-1896

Portrait of a junk man's living quarters in the cellar of a New York 
City tenement house, 1891

Slum District, New York, 1890

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