Old New York In Photos #92 – Mulberry Street c. 1905

Little Italy – Mulberry Street circa 1905

This photograph of Mulberry Street looking north from Bayard Street is via the Detroit Publishing Co. held at the Library of Congress.

It is a busy day in Little Italy and many people go about their marketing. Wagons and merchants pack the street.Peddlers of various goods have set up their pushcarts to display their wares. Bayard Street is paved with Belgian Block while Mulberry Street has Macadam paving.

The street light is beautifully ornate, as is another one about 100 feet behind it. The wagon on the right side of the street has wire keeping some live produce from escaping. Behind the man and woman with the basket there is is a fire alarm. An Italian shop occupies the corner at 71 Mulberry Street.  The large brick building on the right is Public School 23.

Many of the low rise tenement buildings seen in our Detroit Publishing photograph remain today. The wagons and pushcarts are all gone now, replaced by motorized vehicles. The building that once held Public School 23 is still here, but is no longer a school. It now houses many organizations including the Chinatown Senior Center and United East Athletics Organization. The old fire alarm is gone but a few feet away a modern fire alarm has replaced it. Number 71 Mulberry Street is now a Chinese produce shop. Today Bayard and Mulberry Streets have asphalt paving.

Some notes about the area. Mulberry Street above Canal Street is the last holdout of the once heavily inhabited Italian area. Little Italy remains full of Italian eateries that cater mostly to tourists. As Italians left the old neighborhood, Little Italy has been swallowed up by Chinatown, as the streets surrounding Mulberry above Canal Street are generally occupied by Chinese residents and shops. Mulberry Street below Canal (i.e. Bayard Street) is almost entirely the domain of the Chinese.

In 1904 there were only 119,050 Chinese people living in the United States. Today the flourishing, vibrant Chinese population in New York City is 573,388.

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