Mulberry Bend, New York City

Mulberry Bend, around 1896. Photo from Out of Mulberry Street: Stories of Tenement Life in New York City by Jacob Riis.


The same view in 2014:


Throughout much of the 19th century, the Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan was one of the worst slums in the United States.  At the heart of it was Mulberry Bend, named after the curve in Mulberry Street which is visible in the two photos.  In part because of the work of social reformers like Jacob Riis, efforts began at the end of the century to clear out the worst of the slums and tenements.  Shortly after the first photo was taken, the tenements on the left were demolished, and replaced by Columbus Park.  Several of the buildings on the left survive, though, and are now a part of Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood.

This photo was taken just south of the intersection of Mulberry and modern-day Mosco Streets, just north of where this photo was taken a few years later.  If the photographer in that photo had turned left, this is approximately the view that he would have looking up Mulberry.

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