Who lived at Five Points?

A Picture of Five Points in 1827

Five Points in 1827 as depicted in Valentine's Manual, 1855

To outsiders, Five Points was a frightening slum; from the inside it was a thriving working-class neighborhood.

A picture of the Collect Pond circa in 1798 Diagram of tanneries along the Collect Pond outlet Through the study of the artifacts recovered in 1991, the daily lives of the people who lived at Five Points become visible. A team of 17 archaeologists, conservators, and historians is currently analyzing the 850,000 artifacts recovered from the Foley Square courthouse block. Out of the analysis will come a richer story about the working-class residents of Five Points, the neighborhood's reputation as New York's most notorious slum, and its overcrowded tenement neighborhood teeming with newly arrived immigrants struggling to succeed in an alien city.

A Diagram of Couthouse Block Overview of 1991 archaeological excavation on 472 and 474 Pearl street

This virtual exhibit includes artifacts from 4 of the 22 excavated features.

Backyard features (abandoned privy shafts, cisterns, wells) subsequently used as trash repositories are often the focus of urban archaeology. A wealth of information can be derived from people's garbage--information about their private lives, their personal choices, and even their political allegiances.

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