Swindlers lying in wait for the city’s immigrants

New York’s most recent arrivals—immigrants were processed through Castle Garden at Battery Park, until Ellis Island opened in 1892—had plenty of con artists vying for their attention and cash, according to this 1877 illustration.

It was originally published in Puck, the popular satirical weekly that took on politics and culture (and was headquartered—where else?—at the Puck Building on Lafayette Street).


The artist certainly doesn’t have a lot of faith in New York’s police force. A uniformed man on a bench appears to be asleep, while another in the back is just watching the swindlers lick their chops over a new batch of unsophisticated Europeans to prey on.

The illustration has been preserved by the Balch Institute of Ethnic Research in Philadelphia and came by way of Ephemeral reader AJ Morocco.

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One Response to “Swindlers lying in wait for the city’s immigrants”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    This is a funny picture. The cops are either sleeping or dancing a jig.

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