Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Men's Lodging Room in West 47th Street Station

Men's lodging room in West 47th Street Station (Source)
This image seen in Jacob Riis' How The Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York (1890), depicts a mens lodging room in West 47th Street Station. Riis uses this image to show how many lodgings within New York in the 1880's were incredibly basic in their amenities. Firstly, the image shows men sleeping on the floor with no mattress or any form of bedding. This would be very uncomfortable. Secondly, the far left corner, a pile of wood can be seen, more than likely to be used in the small chiminea in the center of the room. This would be the only source of warmth provided to the tenants, which is astounding, especially since the New York winter has average lows of -3C and record lows of -26C.

This clearly shows how the typical users of the lodging room would not be able to afford lodgings which provided a bed. This was possibly due to the abolition of in welfare in New York and Brooklyn (then a separate city) in the 1880's, which would have left much of the population without the money to invest in housing or adequate temporary living conditions.

The closest type of lodging available in NYC today would be a hostel. The closest one geographically to the lodging room in West 47th Street Station is the Times Square West Hostel, which is located only a few blocks away.
Bedroom at the Times Square West Hostel (Source)
The above picture clearly shows how the lodgings in the area have changed dramatically as the standards of the living conditions in New York City have improved. This can also be seen outside the lodgings in places such as Times Square, which is also partly on 47th Street. 

Times Square, which is located partly on 47th Street. (Source)

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