NYC in 1900

New York City has been a major landing spot for both newly-arrived immigrants and for Americans seeking a new life in the big city. Starting in the early 1800s, the city became a hub of activity. Not only did the increasing population mean that there was always something to buy or sell in this large city, but the ports of New York had a steady flow of both imports and exports. The result was that by 1900 the city was filled with people of every nationality and income level.

The neighborhoods grew in number, each with its own character. Different areas had distinct personalities to them and people who lived in different neighborhoods even began to speak with particular accents- having been influenced linguistically by Jewish, German, Italian, and other immigrant communities. It became known as a ‘melting pot’ of culturals, languages and customs. But also with the early 1900s gang violence, corruption, and poverty grew. Many of the gangs controlled large sections of the city.

There were many good families but many children who had no family. So unattended children worked as peddlers, newspaper boys, shoeshiners, and smugglers – eeking out a living however they could.

n 1900, the average family had an annual income of $3,000 (in today’s dollars). The family had no indoor plumbing, no phone, and no car. Most teens did not attend school; instead, they labored in factories or fields.

The city was rich and had some of modern items such as the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. Coe famed Flatiron Building in 1902 and the NY Stock Exchange building opened in 1903.

By 1900 there were about 3.4 million people in the city and it continued to grow during the 20th century. Check your family history and see if any ancestors lived in NYC in 1900.

Photo: Skyline of NYC in 1900.

Related Blogs:

Scenes of Old New York

NYC in the 1940s

New York Records

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