Men’s Lodging Room in the West 47th Street Station by Jacob Riis (c. 1892)

The photograph titled “Men’s Lodging Room in the West 47th Street Station” was captured by the artist Jacob Riis around the year 1892. The image depicts a somber and raw scene inside a lodging room, offering a glimpse into the lived reality of poverty during that era.

In the photograph, several men appear to be in a state of rest or sleep, crammed together in a dimly lit, cluttered room. The environment is hard and uncomfortable, with individuals spread out on what seems to be the bare floor, with little to no bedding. A few of the men are lying directly on the wooden floorboards, while others have sought a small measure of comfort on pieces of fabric or blankets. Some look to be wearing tattered and dirty clothes, suggesting their impoverished state.

The room itself is in disarray, with a pile of broken chairs and debris heaped in one corner. A stove stands in the center, providing the only apparent source of warmth, signifying the harsh conditions the occupants face. The space is rudimentarily furnished with a few basic chairs, and the walls are stark and bare.

This poignant image by Jacob Riis is a stark illustration of the harsh realities of life for the less fortunate in the late 19th century. It serves as a historical document, highlighting the social conditions of the time and the experience of the urban poor.

Other Photographs from Jacob Riis

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