Mulberry Street, New York City


This photolithograph from the Detroit Publishing Company documents the busy street life of New York City’s Lower East Side at the start of the 20th century. Between 1870 and 1915, New York’s population more than tripled, from 1.5 million to 5 million. In 1900, when this photo was taken, foreign-born immigrants and their children constituted a staggering 76 percent of the city’s population. Often described as the Main Street of Little Italy, Mulberry Street was dominated from the 1890s by immigrants from Italy. These immigrants jostled for space and economic opportunity with other recent arrivals to the city, including Jewish, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian immigrants, as well as native-born and older immigrant groups such as the Dutch, English, Irish, and Germans.

Last updated: April 15, 2016