Five Cents Lodging, Bayard Street by Jacob Riis (c. 1889)

The photograph “Five Cents Lodging, Bayard Street” by Jacob Riis was taken around 1889. It depicts a bleak, overcrowded room with individuals in various states of rest and activity, suggesting the harsh living conditions of the time.

In the photograph, several individuals appear in a cramped and rundown interior space. The details demonstrate a difficult living environment: mattresses and bedding are haphazardly arranged, with some occupants lying on primitive bunk beds, while others rest on the floor with blankets. The clothing and personal belongings are sparse and worn, hinting at the poverty of the occupants. The room seems dimly lit, with only a single visible light source, reinforcing the impression of a dire situation. The scene is claustrophobic and disheveled, and it powerfully conveys the living conditions of the less fortunate during the late 19th century in a urban context.

Other Photographs from Jacob Riis

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