With so many immigrants settling on the Lower East Side, by 1900 it was the most crowded neighborhood in the world. And the most crowded neighborhood in the world had crowded streets! Just look at this photo of Hester Street from 1903. Outside the storefronts are pushcarts, where vendors sold all sorts of goods – everything from snacks, like roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas in a cone, to yards of fabric and even underwear! There are so many pushcarts and shoppers in this picture that the sidewalks are hard to see.
Credit: National Archives
More to Think About…
- How do you think it felt to walk down a street like this?
- Do you think scenes like this are what immigrants imagined America would be like?