New York Tenement Life

Poor immigrants coming to the New York City during the mid 1800s to early 1900s usually lived in the tenement district. The districts were full of crime and they were filthy and diseases-prone. Many immigrants lived with up to 6 or 10 people in a small space.

Due to overcrowding, odor from unwashed bodies, cooking and accumulating garbage developed in their rooms. They did not have the luxury of running water.

Many immigrants converted their apartments into sweatshops, where they would manufacture garments, flowers and cigars.

Some of the Irish who could not get employment and lived in dirty shanties that surrounded the garbage dumping places. They would shift through the garbage trying to find something to eat.

Italian immigrants tended to do whatever they had to do to survive. They accepted the jobs that other Americans didn't want.

Between 1881 and 1910, more than 1 million Jewish immigrants arrived from Eastern Europe. Many of them went into the peddling business. The city streets were filled with pushcarts full of all kinds of merchandise.

Source: New York Tenement Life
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