A 1904 eviction in a New York tenement district

Leave it to Everett Shinn, social realist Ashcan artist, to paint an eviction scene that gives viewers much more than just a portrait of a family thrown out of their tenement and onto the street.

In “Eviction (Lower East Side),” we see piles of rickety belongings, men carrying a trunk and what looks like a folded mattress down the building’s stairs. A crowd of onlookers—former neighbors?—watches the eviction, as does a cop, who appears to be standing guard, perhaps in case the crowd rushes to grab the family’s things.

It’s a ghastly scene of anonymous New Yorkers, one that’s part of the Smithsonian and can be seen via magnification here.

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5 Responses to “A 1904 eviction in a New York tenement district”

  1. beth Says:

    how horrible and heartbreaking

  2. greg chown Says:

    We visited the Tenement Museum when it first opened and took one of the tours.
    The guide asked us to imagine the poor family of three that had lived there.
    I saw a very nice, spacious apartment. Better than some of the ones I had lived in over the years.
    Better than some modern tiny condos.
    The only drawback was a shared bathroom in the hall.
    I said I’d move in the next day.
    Of course, they do point out that this building was considered quite nice at the time.
    There was a character on Madmen that lived in a tenement style apt as well as the one in Godfather 2.

  3. Ricky Says:

    It looks like not only a ghastly scene but a ghostly scene.

  4. Deborah Shaver Says:

    A very Sad time in the History of Poverty in our Country.

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