East Side

Construction of Stuyvesant Town, 1947

Construction of Stuyvesant Town, 1947

This black and white photograph, taken in early 1947, shows the early stages of the construction of Stuyvesant Town. The photographer shoots east along 14th Street from an elevated position on First Avenue. In the distance, to the south and east one can see the Williamsburg Bridge. A few years before this photo was taken this area was known as the Gas House District because of the large Gas Tanks in the area.

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Kids Cool Off in a Sprinkler on the Lower East Side, 1923

Kids Cool Off in a Sprinkler on the Lower East Side, 1923

Some things never change. One of the joys of childhood is running through a sprinkler in summer. For most this probably conjures images of suburban lawns, but as this photo attests city kids did it, too. On a hot summer day in 1923 on the Lower East Side, these kids cooled off by running in the street under a sprinkler hooked up to a fire hydrant.

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Mulberry Street, 1905, looking north toward Canal Street

Mulberry Street, 1905, looking north toward Canal Street

Those who have read The Godfather or seen The Godfather II will recognize these as the environs of the young Vito Corleone. A hundred years ago, this part of the Lower East Side was Little Italy, teeming with Italian immigrants looking for a better life. Today the immigrants come from a bit further east than Italy -- China, Viet Nam, Thailand -- but it is still a vibrant home for brave souls seeking opportunity and freedom.

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Delancey and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Delancy and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Imagine coming off the Williamsburg Bridge into this mess at Delancey and Clinton Streets on the Lower East Side.  It's enough to send you right back to Brooklyn.  The traffic jam depicted in this 1923 Black and White photo shows a snarl up of cars, trolleys, and the Third Avenue Rail line.  Even by today's standards this is vehicular congestion of epic proportions.

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Pretzel Vendor on the Lower East Side, 1903

Pretzel Vendor on the Lower East Side, 1903

A pretzel vendor sits, contentedly smoking his pipe, on the Lower East Side, 1903. Assuming the sign for the event at Webster Hall is recent, it's a beautiful day in October. A man dozes in the rear left, and a cat does the same on the pavement beneath a sign for Juicy Fruit gum. To the right of the Juicy Fruit ad is a sign advertising Harry Houdini.

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Rabbi and Student on the Lower East Side, 1907

Rabbi and Student on the Lower East Side, 1907

A rabbi and his student read together on the Lower East Side in 1907. The rabbi wear a tallis, or prayer shawl, and yarmulke, while the boy wears only a simple cap. They appear to be standing in alley, but seem so intent on their text that they appear not to notice the grungy surroundings.

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