Bring back some good or bad memories


July 13, 2013

33 Amazing Vintage Photographs That Capture Street Scenes of New York City From the 1890s

In the 19th century, New York City became America’s largest city as well as a fascinating metropolis. The city wasn’t so different, as these 1896 photos from the New York Public Library’s collections show.

The prospect of employment in a rapidly expanding industrial economy brought millions of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Latin America to the brink of America in the period 1891 to 1930. This was also a period of intense social, economic, and political anxiety in the United States. Growing social and economic pressures posed by industrialization, sprawling urban cities, violent labor uprisings, economic depression, fears of middle-class “race suicide,” the changing structure of American authority, and a fractured sense of American unity all fueled growing nativist sentiment in the United States.

The nation was gripped in the beginnings of an effort to contain a growing sense of disorder, a sense that immigrants, garbage, unionism, corruption, and vice were all exceeding the bounds of their containment and that those bounds must be reestablished. In New York City, in 1890, Jacob Riis published How the Other Half Lives-a photo documentary of ghetto conditions that would have national impact. The following year, Josiah Strong pointed out that “a mighty emergency is upon us.”

(Photos: Alice Austen/New York Public Library)

1 comment:

  1. Just think: Every last person in this photo is dead unless it is one of the 8 in the world alive right now who was born in the late 1800s. Right now in 2013 there is only 8 people alive in the world who were born in the 19th century, 6 are Japanese and all of them are women. So that would mean the very youngest would have to be 114 years old. Most likely 8 years from now all of them will be dead because nobody has ever lived longer than 122 years.




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10