Orchard Street, 1908

Manhattan’s Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century was an incredibly crowded melting pot of cultures, at times reportedly holding the title of most-densely-populated region in the world. This particular scene, shot in 1908 by Lewis Hine, shows Orchard Street roughly from Stanton Street looking north toward Houston Street. Trash fills the gutters, children wander unattended, and display stands of a wide variety of goods and wares crowd the sidewalks beneath a multitude of awnings and advertisements. Several of the buildings pictured have survived the tumultuous century since this was taken, most notably a few of the tenement structures on the east side of Orchard. But most buildings were razed over the ensuing decades, including all of those shown on Houston Street in the distance, which met the wrecking ball in the 1930s to make way for the IND subway lines.

Orchard Street 1908 Lewis Hine NYPL 416563

Photo by Lewis Hine (1874-1940), courtesy of the NY Public Library Digital Archive.


About keithyorkcity

Name: Keith Age: 20-something Location: New York Passion: History You'll find a million blogs like mine, but mine is better.
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3 Responses to Orchard Street, 1908

  1. Brian Mc says:

    I noticed you were saying on that Evelyn Mchale article that no one reads your articles besides that one. For that reason I started scrolling through the website and read a lot of interesting, informative articles/blogs/editorials or whatever they fall under lol. So ill be checking back weekly/monthly!

  2. Marcy Isherwood says:

    keep these bits and pieces of Americana coming. Love it! Have only visited NY once but the historical data, pictures and script are fascinating.

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