It's summertime and school's out. Lots of city kids are spending their vacations playing games outside, venturing to summer camp, or mastering ever popular video games to pass the time until the new school year begins. School wasn't always mandatory, until the Compulsory Education Law of 1894 required that children 8 to 12 years-old attend school full-time. [Read more.] Josephine Baldizzi (a resident at 97 Orchard from c. 1928-1935) recalled that the schools were the facilities most utilized by her family. [Read more.] That made me wonder, how did children of the Lower East Side spend their time outside of school? I’ve pulled a few photographs that capture what life was like for the children of the tenements in the mid-20th century to give you a taste of the incredible visual material now available on the museum's online photo database.
Kids playing hookey from school c. 1948
Young boys play on a tenement building c. 1935
Boy sits looking out over a tenement rear yard c. 1935
Boy and girl on Clinton Street c. 1946
Haven't had a chance yet to browse the photo database? Search for other keywords of interest (e.g. the street you grew up on or “Baldizzi” or “fire escape”) to learn more about the history of the Lower East Side.
-posted by Devin