Posts Tagged ‘New York City tenement’

A 1904 eviction in a New York tenement district

January 25, 2021

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.

Mystery messages on tenement buildings

September 10, 2010

New York City’s ubiquitous six-story walkups often have what I think of as mystery monikers: a name, initials, or word carved into the facade. 

But what’s the story behind them? Like these four letters above, strangely placed at the upper right of a Hell’s Kitchen tenement.

ELSW, shorthand for the name of the builder? Or a term whose meaning has been lost to the ages?

“Progress” proclaims the entrance to this walkup in Astoria. Compared to the kind of housing people lived in before this type of dumbbell tenement hit the scene, it definitely qualifies.

Women’s first names are all over city residences, like this one on St. Mark’s Place. Who was Juliette, the builder’s daughter? Or a lost love?