Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Early Edison Films

Few things capture turn-of-the-century life on the Lower East Side better than art, which we'll explore in this week's series.

Thomas Edison shot some of the world's first movies in his West Orange, NJ studio (pictured above). When he decided to branch out to other locations in the mid 1890s, it's no surprise he often chose the big, bustling city only 20 miles away - and that some of his short, soundless films feature Ellis Island and the Lower East Side. The Library of Congress has a great selection of these early experiments in motion picture technology. So, of course, does YouTube.

The market in the following film was located on the Lower East Side, probably somewhere near Hester Street, where thousands of pushcart owners were licensed to sell fish.

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