Posts Tagged ‘Hester Street 1900’

The bustling market on Hester Street in 1905

October 11, 2013

My favorite part of George Luks’ richly detailed “Street Scene (Hester Street)” are the plucked chickens hanging upside on on the right side of the canvas.

“One of the dynamic, young group of American Realists known as the Ashcan School, George Luks was a tough character who in art and life embraced the gritty side of turn-of-the-century New York,” states the caption to this painting on the website of the Brooklyn Museum.

Georgelukshesterstreet

“In this important early work, Luks pictured the street life of one of the Lower East Side’s teeming immigrant neighborhoods. By 1905, Hester Street had become home to a recently arrived population of Eastern European Jews and the site of a daily open-air market where thousands shopped for their necessities.

“Hester Street thus provided the type of unvarnished urban subject to which Luks was particularly drawn, and one from which New Yorkers accustomed to genteel shops and formal public etiquette would have recoiled.”

When the Lower East Side was “Poverty Hollow”

February 9, 2011

It sounds like a desperately poor place in Appalachia.

But news articles from the early 1900s refer to a pocket of the Lower East Side as Poverty Hollow.

“Poverty Hollow, down by the East River, has a mayor and a cabinet to settle all disputes,” states a New York Times headline from 1910.

The article, about the small-time thugs who appointed themselves in charge of the area, put Poverty Hollow’s boundaries in kind of a triangle formed by Corlears Hook Park, Clinton Street, and Delancey Street.

And in a patronizing 1905 feature from the Times, a writer promised snippets of “life as it is lived by the denizens of one of the most picturesque portions of the lowlier sections of this great city.”

I’m not sure when the Poverty Hollow moniker fell out of use. At the same time the area was also known as “The Ghetto,” thanks to all the Jewish immigrants (in the above 1903 photo, from the NYPL Digital Collection).

But at some point, both names were swallowed up by the all-encompassing Lower East Side.