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Uploaded on Apr 15, 2010
SUMMARY The view, photographed from an elevated camera position, looks down on a very crowded New York City street market. Rows of pushcarts and street vendors' vehicles can be seen. The precise location is difficult to ascertain, but it is certainly on the Lower East Side, probably on or near Hester Street, which at the turn of the century was the center of commerce for New York's Jewish ghetto. Located south of Houston Street and east of the Bowery, the ghetto population was predominantly Russian, but included immigrants from Austria, Germany, Rumania and Turkey. According to a description in a 1901 newspaper, an estimated 1,500 pushcart peddlers were licensed to sell wares (primarily fish) in the vicinity of Hester Street. At one point the film seems to follow three official looking men (one in a uniform) as they walk among the crowd. They may be New York City health inspectors, who apparently monitored the fish vendors closely.
From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: NEW YORK GHETTO FISH-MARKET. A fine panoramic view of this busy market on a Friday morning. Immense throngs of people are seen passing along the stands and making their selections of fish. A great character study. Code word Uramilique [code for telegraphic orders]. Length 165 feet. Class B. $19.80.
NOTES Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 20May1903; H32029. Camera, James Blair Smith. Photographed May 1, 1903.
SUBJECTS Markets--New York (State)--New York. Crowds--New York (State)--New York. Immigrants--New York (State)--New York. Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.) Actuality--Short.
RELATED NAMES Smith, James Blair, camera. Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)