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Rachel Serkin

Interior of the passenger car used in Alfred Beach’s subway, 1870.

Problems with public transport are almost as old as New York itself. One proposed solution was nothing but hot air.

Hester Street’s pushcarts, by Berenice Abbot, 1935.

The pushcarts of the Lower East Side epitomised New York’s bustling immigrant community. The drive to Americanise brought about their demise and changed the streets forever. 

Street Types of New York City: Emigrant and Pretzel Vendor, Alice Austen, c.1896. Courtesy Library of Congress

Faced with an extortionate rise in the price of kosher meat, Jewish women in New York’s Lower East Side employed protest tactics borrowed from the radical political movements that prospered in their neighbourhood.