A central highlight of the comprehensive exhibit Jacob Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half at the Museum of the City of New York is a map showing the places where Riis photographed in the city in support of his social reform efforts. While many of the photographs are concentrated in downtown areas like the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Riis and his team did venture as far uptown as Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper East Side.
Here is a sampling of Riis’ photographic haunts, featured in the current exhibit:
1. New York Tribune Press Office
The New York Tribune press office at 301 Mulberry Street. Photo by Jacob A. Riis, Museum of the City of New York Collection
For eight years, Riis worked the overnight beat for the New York Tribune in the press office at 301 Mulberry Street, located conveniently near the local police station. Though now part of fancy Noho, this area was once known as Cat Alley, and Riis would recount the clean-up efforts here (and other areas) his book The Battle With the Slum.
The wood-framed buildings of Cat Alley and the vicinity photographed by Riis no longer stand today, demolished as part of a street extension project in the late 1890s.