Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life on the Lower East Side of New York, circa 1900

None of us were alive around the turn of the twentieth century, so we've never had the opportunity to experience life within the overcrowded lower East Side of New York City. All we can do is read and listen to stories told about life during this time, and by utilizing our imagination, form a picture in our mind--probably many pictures--of different scenes or events that might have taken place then.

One such avenue for learning about life then is by reading old newspaper articles. After all, they were timely, having been written most often within a short time of any event that might have been written about in an article.

For your perusal then, four more articles have been added to the Museum's ongoing exhibition, "The Lower East Side of New York."

Here is a bit about the four "new" articles, all originally published in the New York Daily Tribune:

--"Playgrounds on the Asphalt," published in 1896, discusses how the asphalt pavement in the city allows for a greater choice of play area's for the city's youth, and in some ways is advantageous;

--"Thursday in Hester Street," published in 1898, talks about the pushcarts and the many street peddlers who once plied their wares on Hester, Essex and Norfolk Streets;

--"East Side Shopping: Where the Delights of Haggling are Practiced...," published in 1901, tells us of the interactions between the buyer and seller and how "haggling" is almost an art form;

--"Rowdies Annoy Jews," published in 1905, explains to the reader how "ruffians," often times local gang members, used to harrass the Jews of the lower East Side as they go to the synagogue and elsewhere to celebrate the Jewish New Year (and how little the local police did about it.)

Links to these, as well as ninety other old newspaper articles, can be found at www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/archive-newspaper.htm.

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