Tenement Housing

By the early twentieth century, the population continued to grow on the Lower East Side. Tenements were created to house three or more families, but they had poor living conditions and became overcrowded. This caused health and safety problems for many immigrant families. The Lower East Side area eventually became known as a “slum.”

An example of a tenement building in New York City.

Source: New York Public Library (NYPL), Digital Gallery,  http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm

Tenement buildings often had both residential apartments and retail stores.

Source: Photograph by Max Yavno. Image available at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Tenement poster from the Tenement House Department of New York City.

Source: Library of Congress, Print and Photograph Online Catalog. 



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2 thoughts on “Tenement Housing

  1. The New York Public Library (NYPL) has a Digital Gallery that has more than 800,000 images of archival documents, posters, historical maps, atlases, gazetteers, floor plans, and photographs. Visit http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm to see more examples of Lower East Side tenement buildings, street scenes, and people who lived there.

    Note: Header image of the Lower East Side buildings is from the NYPL Digital Gallery.

  2. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, http://www.tenement.org/, offers guided walking tours through the neighborhood and has an abundance of information about the changes in the area over time, immigration shifts, and oral histories from people who lived there. They also have a large archive and selection of resources in the museum store. A photo exhibition of Rebecca Lepkoff’s art is also on display at the museum.

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