I have always enjoyed the history of New York City; in particular that history which surrounds the Five Points in lower Manhattan. In this paper I will examine the class structure of the Five Points beginning with geographic and architectural significances that assisted in the class structuring; then I will examine the archeological evidence which further sheds light on the lives of those who resided in what became known as America's first slum. The Five Points, called so because of the five corners of streets that merged together within the ward; Mulberry Street, Anthony (now Worth Street), Orange (now Baxter Street), Little Water Street (no longer in existence) and Cross (now park street). .
George G. Foster (Sixth Ward Map)1.
Walking Down Mulberry Street, which is the only street converging into the historic Five Points area that has kept its' original name,2 I am completely relaxed and in awe of its' simple beauty. This street is lined with quaint restaurants, one of a kind clothing shops and rough brick apartment buildings that I have gotten to know intimately in years past as a real estate rental agent. The sidewalk is narrow, however manicured and every few feet a tree is growing in its' allotted space as designated by the neighborhood's appointed designer. Very few exceptionally tall buildings are located in this area; mostly five or six story, narrow brick buildings with a longer east to west diameter than north to south, making each storefront quite narrow and seem as though one is intimately connected to the other. It is a relatively quiet stretch of street with many affluent people walking along the sidewalk or in and out of buildings. A few homeless people also are taking up space near the basketball court to the east of Mulberry. As I am enjoying this beautiful spring day in 2014, it is very hard for me to imagine what life was like for the people who lived in this area in the 1800's.