More than 100,000 immigrants lived in rear apartments (behind other buildings) that were wholly unfit for human habitation. "In a room not thirteen feet either way slept twelve men and women, two or three in bunks set in a sort of alcove, the rest on the floor." There were also rooms where people could sleep for five cents a night, stranger next to stranger.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Where the Immigrants Lived
If you were an immigrant traveling to America via New York city in the last half of the nineteenth century, New York might have been but a pause on a longer journey. But if you planned to stay in New York and check out those heralded “streets paved with gold” you often ended up—you often looked for—an area of the city where there were others of your kind. And that place for Italians, Jews, Irish, Russians...was Five Points. If you’ve seen the horrendously violent movie, “The Gangs of New York” (I do NOT recommend it--I couldn't get through it) you know that in the 1840’s and 50’s this area of what is now the Lower East Side was not for the faint of heart.