Scenes from New York City’s Five Points slum

Here are scenes of the Five Points neighborhood where John Mackay grew up. Clicking on the images enlarges them for more detailed examination.

First, a drawing of the intersection of Baxter and Worth streets. (New York Public Library Digital Collections)

And then check out this stereo pair—it clearly shows the exact same buildings. (Also from the NYPL Digital Collections) This combination gave me much more confidence in the accuracy of 19th century illustrations.

Remarkably, this drawing from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, July 1, 1865, almost certainly shows the same tall building brick building and the adjacent one-story hovel. (Library of Congress)

Next comes what strikes me as a typical street scene. (NYPL Digital Collections)

And an illustration of an alley gang. (Library of Congress)

A Mulberry Street tenement, this time from Harper’s Weekly (and the Library of Congress)

And among the poor in Five Points from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (LoC)

John Mackay, THE BONANZA KING, lived on Frankfort Street in the Five Points for 11 years, from his arrival in 1840 (at aged 9) until he went to California in late 1851.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *