Discussion # 5

As I profoundly observe the image my mind disperses into various modes. It brings out a reflective sadness by knowing that living conditions nearly a century ago were vastly different. Yet, it also brings out a little worry, as a human being it makes you think, what if our current situation wasn’t so far away from reaching such an extreme poverty and unemployment rates. However, knowing that this is history, it brings reflective thoughts, and it makes me know what and where I wouldn’t want to go as an individual and as a citizen of this nation. On another note, it makes me somewhat upset at the unappreciativeness, ignorance and insensibility that some American citizens become forgetful of where we came from as a nation and the potholes that we have stepped as a nation as well. Because of that, as a nation we also find ourselves just looping upon similar problems that we shouldn’t be in because they already occurred in history or once again have at least given us an example of what not to do and head into a more prosperous direction.

Nonetheless, I must be grateful that we are in different times and different lifestyles from what is shown in the image. One can only imagine what it feels like to be deemed to live in such lifestyle because of unfair circumstances and points in life out of our control.

Discussion Thread #5

Hooverville at West Houston and Mercer Streets; Berenice Abbott, October 1935

Hello everyone, what you are looking at here is called a Hooverville. There were thousands of such squatter camps and shanty towns across the United States throughout the 1930s, including incredibly a massive one in Central Park. They were called Hoovervilles because Herbert Hoover was President of the United States at the onset of the Depression. The one in the image above was at West Houston and Mercer Streets. The image was taken by photographer Berenice Abbott on October 25, 1935, eighty five years ago this month. Ms. Abbott took this–and and many other Depression Era photographs–as part of her work with the WPA Federal Art Project. Express your thoughts in 100-300 brilliant words.

(image/NYPL Digital)