The tenement and alley cats of old New York

Lolcats they are not: They’re not cuddly, expressive, or internet-friendly. They don’t play the keyboard on YouTube. They’re not even the cute mousers who live in many of the bodegas in our contemporary city.

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These felines are old-school apartment and alley cats who caught the attention of photographers—perhaps impressed by their toughness and ability to survive on the city’s mean streets.

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This cow-spotted furball is lounging on a fence post in 1937 at Rhinelander Gardens, a beautiful stretch of circa-1850s homes with decorative cast-iron torn down in 1957 to make room for P.S. 41.

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Two years earlier, a similar-looking kitty hangs out on a window frame. No protective screens in that walkup.

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On Catherine Street in 1952, thanks to residents who failed to put their trash in cans, a hungry alley cat is sniffing out his dinner.

[Photos: MCNY]

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3 Responses to “The tenement and alley cats of old New York”

  1. libertyandannachy Says:

    Reblogged this on Liberty and Annachy and commented:
    This makes me happier than it should

  2. motherhendiaries Says:

    Few things in this world are more resilient than the cat. Cockroaches, maybe, but they are way less nice to look at. But, being a social creature myself, I am mystified at the zen-like peace of any creature so content to be alone.

  3. The curious 1870s cat hospital on Division Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] “Mrs. Goodman receives no pay for her attention to the cats, only the satisfaction which it gives her to attend to the maimed, neglected animals.” […]

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