Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09

Student: Taylor Hoge

Mentor: Matthew Aldredge 

Title: Lower East Side: A Historical and Social Overview


The reason I chose this topic for my Senior Project was because I knew a great amount of historical background about New York City. I still was unsure about certain areas of the city, such as the Lower East Side, which has seen so much rapid change within the last few years. Not only is it one of the most rapidly transforming neighborhoods in New York, it also remains one of the most historical and integrated portions of the city. I created a book that shows various pictures of the Lower East Side from the 1850s all the way up to current changes due to gentrification. I also focused on creating a unification collage of various menus from all the neighborhood restaurants that show the diversity of such a small area. The pictures used are personal photographs and pictures that I was able to gather from the internet.



Images (1, 2, 3, 4

My project mainly centered around the Lower East Side and focused mainly on two areas of study of the neighborhood. These two subjects are the history of the neighborhood and it being considered the true center of the American Melting Pot moving through the both World Wars and then continuing through to the Post World War decline of many American Cities traveling through the introduction of gentrification to where the neighborhood stands today at the forefront of becoming apart of the Lower Manhattan Scene or what most consider SOHO. The other area of study is the focus of gentrification and the role that is having on the neighbor. The main study for the historical portion was to better understand the history that took place between the immigration period in the late 1800s to the current time with the rapid gentrification and expansion of modern highrise Condominiums in the neighborhood. The second portion of my study was the focus of the rapid gentrification that was occurring in the neighborhood and documenting the effects of the neighborhood and the changes that have occurred this includes new high end hotels and cafes and numerous new restaurants and shops. The historical potion of my project was researching and gathering information on the historical significance the neighborhood had when it was especially a center of immigration and considered to be the most densest part of the world and to be the unofficial capital of the melting pot. The historical photographs that I gathered included numerous depictions of how the daily lives of both New Yorkers and Lower Eastsider's would act out. 

For my product I wanted to show both a book and a slide show that could be used to show both my own and historical photographs of the neighborhood. I also described in my paper the historical background of the neighborhood and certain aspects that make the neighborhood what's it has been known for such pictures include street life in the lower east side. The pictures that I took mainly focused on was the gentrification of the affects it was taking on people who were both new to the neighborhood and to the people who were leaving the neighborhood. I asked an assortment of people about there experience and why they were in the Lower East Side. I took a number of pictures of many prominent and famous landmarks in the neighborhood and how some are endangered to the wrecking ball.  I also wanted to show new landmarks in the neighborhood and with the pictures what its affects had on the area around it. I felt that his project helped me learn and have a better understanding on neighborhoods and what can occur in one place such as the Lower East Side.

Works Cited

American Studies Today Online. 2000. Viewed 2008. <>. 

Dolkart, Andrew. Biography Of A Tenement House: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street. Santa Fe: The Center For American Places, 2007. 

Hammett, Jerilou Hamett and Kingsley. The Suburbanization of New York: Is the World's Greatest City Becoming Just Another Town?. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007. 

Jackson, Kenneth and Hilary Ballon. Robert Moses And The Modern City: The Transformation of New York. New York: W.W Norton & Company, 2007.

Kroesseler, Jeffery A. New York Year by Year: A Chronology Of The Great Metropolis. New York: New York University Press, 2002. 

Lower East Side District Management Association,Inc. Lower East Side Business Improvement District. 17 Dec. 2008. Viewed Oct.-Dec. 2008. <>.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Tenement Museum. 2008. Viewed Oct.-Dec. 2008 <>. 

Community Member (Details)

Outside Consultant: For my project I choose Andrew Meyers as my outside consultant. Mr. Meyers is currently the head of the history department for the Fieldston School in New York. He also is one of the tour guides for Big Onion and also teaches the Urban Case Study Class for the Columbia Summer Program.