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December 2, 2016

26 Rare and Amazing Vintage Photographs Captured Street Scenes of New York City in the 1890s

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."

Here is an amazing collection of rare vintage photos capturing street scenes in New York City during the 1890s.

The Bowery, New York Times, 1896

Union Square in 1893

The Harlem River Speedway and High Bridge in 1898

Tony Pastor's 14th Street Theatre, 1895

Union Square West and 17th Street, September 25, 1891

Wall Street in 1898

Westchester Avenue, The Bronx, 1895

Billboards in Times Square, ca. 1890s

Billboards on 42nd Street at Broadway, Times Square, 1898

Bowling Green Park in 1896

Broadway and 23rd Street (before the Flatiron Building), 1899

Brooklyn Bridge (from the Manhattan side), 1894

Construction at Columbus Circle, 1895

Cutting ice in the Bronx, ca. late 1890s

Duane Street in 1891

Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, 1899

Girls settling with the cabby, 1895

Greeley Square in 1898

Herald Square, 6th Avenue, Broadway, and 35th Street, NYC, 1898

High Bridge, from Washington Heights with The Bronx to the left, 1892

New York City El on The Bowery, 1895

New York in winter, 1895

On Westchester Avenue, the Bronx, 1898

Policeman on a New York street, 1896

Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1899

Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 1896


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