Institutions for the Poor in Early New York


New York City built a series of institutions for poor or homeless individuals and families. The locations of a number of these structures, usually built on the city's outskirts, are denoted on this map from 1833. Also noted on this map are locations that played important roles in the lives of the poor and homeless in early New York. Map Credit: The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. Images courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Nineteenth Century Institutions for Children


Orphan asylums and other institutions for children proliferated in the 1800s. Many of these asylums provided refuge for orphans, those who had lost one parent, or children whose families were simply too poor to care for them. Other institutions attempted to reform children who had broken laws or were living on the street. The locations of some of these institutions are shown on this map from 1860. Map courtesy the David Rumsey Map Collection. Except where noted images courtesy the New York Public Library.

Settlement Houses in New York City: 1886 to 1929

Settlement Houses

This map shows the original locations of several settlement houses in the poorest neighborhoods of New York at the time. Settlements were important service providers in these communities and catalysts for Progressive Era social reform. Today many of these organizations continue to be important social service providers, some in the same locations.

Public Housing and Urban Renewal in Postwar New York City

Remaking New York City

This map shows the public housing and urban renewal projects developed by the city from the 1930s through the 1960s. These projects transformed the landscape of New York City and contributed to a movement of poor families within the city. Map courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Where has poverty moved?

Concentration of poverty

Over time the most concentrated areas of poverty in the city have shifted as have the areas with few poor persons.