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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Lower East Side Photograph Collection
 PR 251

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Kelly McAnnaney

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Historical Note

When New York City's Williamsburg Bridge, originally called the East River Bridge, was designed, a plaza was provided at each end. It was decided that a clear space, at least 32 feet wide, was needed on each side of the bridge to protect the structure from fire, as well as to prevent accident to adjoining buildings. This design required the city to clear all existing properties from an area measuring 150 feet, along the south side of Delancey Street, from the East River, west to Clinton Street.

Construction of the bridge began on November 7, 1896. The following year, the East River Bridge Commission began to purchase the needed properties from their owners. However, after some legal issues, the commission was forced to acquire the majority of land through condemnation. An estimated 10,000 people in the Lower East Side neighborhood were displaced by the project.