Bandits’ Roost, NYC
1. Bandit’s Roost (1888), by Jacob Riis, from “How the Other Half Lives.” Bandit’s Roost, at 59½ Mulberry Street (Mulberry Bend), was the most crime-ridden, dangerous part of all New York City.
2. Mulberry Bend (ca. 1888), photo by Jacob Riis. “Five Points (and Mulberry Street), at one time was a neighborhood for the middle class. But when they had water problems because of an underground spring, the area was abandoned to the poor. It was the first American slum. In 1880 there were 37,000 tenements housing nearly 1.1 million people. Most were one or two room apartments. There was no running water and the bedrooms often had no windows at all. The buildings were so close together people could hand things across the alley, window to window. Mulberry Bend was one of the worst stretch of slums and in 1896 it was demolished to be turned into Columbus Park. Chinatown and Little Italy encroached, as did federal buildings to the south.
3. Mullen’s Alley (February 12, 1888), photo by Jacob Riis. “There were thousands of homeless children on the streets (of NYC), often abandoned by their parents… and in the summer months 3-4 babies would suffocate in the airless tenements every night.”
4. ca. 1880-1890, Manhattan’s Lower East Side — Photo by Jacob Riis. “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.”
5. ca. 1888–1898 — Dens of Death
6. 1885, Lower East Side, NY — Shelter for immigrants in a Bayard Street tenement, where a group of men share one room. – Photo by Jacob Riis, Image © Bettmann/Corbis
7. ca. 1880s, New York City — Poor family in one room tenement apartment — Photo by Jacob Riis, Image © Bettmann/Corbis
8. 1902, New York City — A classroom full of children in the condemned Essex Market School. A teacher demonstrates on the blackboard, as students watch attentively from crowded pews. Note the open gas jets near the ceiling used for lighting. — Photo by Jacob Riis, Image © Bettmann/Corbis
9. ca. 1890s, New York — Three homeless boys sleep on a stairway in a Lower East Side alley. – Photo by Jacob Riis, Image © Bettmann/Corbis
10. Little Italy, Mulberry Street, New York City by Detroit Publishing, ca. 1900 (Library of Congress)