Mulberry Bend by Jacob Riis (c. 1896)

The photograph “Mulberry Bend” was taken by Jacob Riis around the year 1896. It depicts an urban scene, most likely in a tenement district, which was a common subject in Riis’s work as he documented the living conditions of the poor in New York City during the late 19th century.

The image shows a bustling street scene with several people going about their daily lives. Buildings of brick and mortar line each side of the street, some with fire escapes visible, indicative of the era’s urban architecture. The street is lively with a mix of adults and children. Various carts and vendors can be seen, suggesting a local marketplace or a common area where commerce took place. The ground appears to be unpaved or covered in cobblestones, typical for that period’s city streets. It’s a snapshot of the past, offering insight into the day-to-day existence in a crowded, working-class neighborhood. The photograph has a candid quality, capturing the residents unposed, immersed in their environment.

Other Photographs from Jacob Riis

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