Five Points 1827, Intersection of Cross, Anthony and Orange Streets

Click thumbnail to view larger, or here to view full size.
Negative #35910


Valentine's Manual, page 112


The New-York Historical Society
By 1810, the intersection of five streets—Mulberry, Anthony (now Worth), Cross (now Park), Orange (now Baxter), and Little Water (no longer in existence)—was the center of a neighborhood referred to as the Five Points. Built on the "made ground" that covered the swampy runoffs of the former Collect Pond, the Five Points was home to the New York's most impoverished citizens, especially African Americans and Irish immigrants. Living conditions were appalling. Families crowded together in narrow streets filled with standing water, contaminated by uncollected garbage and open sewers, and lacking free circulation of air. They huddled in ramshackle dwellings, several families often occupying a single structure. The more fortunate lived on the upper floors, the less fortunate in cellars. Both levels, but especially the cellars, suffered from dampness and poor ventilation. Given such unsanitary conditions, the Five Points became a fertile breeding ground for disease, especially tuberculosis, yellow fever, and cholera. To many outside observers—among them Frances Trollope and Charles Dickens—the Five Points was a den of moral inequity where prostiutiton, thievery, murder, and perhaps worst of all miscegenation were rampant. But to New York's black elite this was home.



“Five Points 1827, Intersection of Cross, Anthony and Orange Streets,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed July 10, 2018,