Posts Tagged ‘Lower East Side’

The cloth cutters of Ludlow Street

February 19, 2010

Jacob Riis took this photo inside a Ludlow Street tenement apartment circa 1905. Looks like the entire extended family was running its own mini sweatshop.

Notice the little pup under the chair at left. I’d never seen a pet dog in a Lower East Side tenement interior photo before.

He looks pretty content there, with all his people around him.

“La Festa Di Santa Lucia” on East 12th Street

April 13, 2009

This 1960 painting, by New York City–born artist John Costanza, depicts a 1930 street fair on East 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in honor of St. Lucy (there she glows in the first-floor window).


This East Village neighborhood has long since ben colonized by professionals, hipsters, and NYU students. But decades ago it was home to a cluster of Italian immigrants.

A few reminders still exist: Veniero’s pastry shop, Lanza’s restaurant, and the former Italian Labor Center on East 14th Street, with its terra cotta panels depicting family life and work.

Back to school in the 1890s

September 5, 2008

City public schools re-opened this week, reason enough to look back at classroom conditions at the turn of the last century.

This photo, by Jacob Riis—the antipoverty crusader and journalist who drew attention to horrific conditions in New York’s slums—shows studious-looking boys at a Lower East Side elementary school packed into crowded rows, the room equipped with a coal stove.

That teacher looks strict, doesn’t she? I bet no one messed with her.

When Yiddish theater rocked the world

May 17, 2008

Well, the Lower East Side and parts of Europe, anyway. This is the front cover of sheet music published in 1920 by the Hebrew Publishing Co., then at 50 Eldridge Street (click on the photo to get a better look at their cool logo). If anyone reads Hebrew or Yiddish, I’d love to know the title and what it’s about. The artwork sure is beautiful.

Some sample lyrics and music below. Columbus, America, Uncle Sam, land dus freie….I tried to find a translation but came up empty.