From the 1840s to the 1900s, a huge spike in population rose in New York City, as immigrants started to settle and find homes that were being sold by land and lot owners as well as new job opportunities. However, as a result from such stress and pressure in population, NYC started to become overcrowded which led to several housing dilemmas. Many of the houses lacked sun light and healthy air quality, plumbing, space, and sanitation.
Over the span of 16 years, 1840 to 1856, Manhattan and Brooklyn expanded, and people started to buy lots to sell. This was a main source of income for them, and they were successful because these new homes drew immigrants from foreign countries. As more and more immigrants started to arrive, homeowners had no choice but to fit everyone in such small spaces, ignoring the required limit given by the law. Housing issues started to rise making everyday living for immigrants difficult.
From 1890 to 1900, the population of New York City went from being 1.5 million to 3.4 million because of the consultation of the five boroughs. This caused housings to be compact which dispersed bad air quality. The “Lung” Block became an epidemic because of the high pressure in population. People were diagnosed with tuberculosis because of the bad air quality in the homes. City officials had to kick everyone out of their homes on that block and demolish the buildings that carried the disease. Lot sizes were another reason why there was such bad air quality and a lack of sunlight. All the buildings were literally touching each other and allowed no space for air travel between them and no sunlight to shed inside, making the buildings to be unpleasant to live in.
Another negative condition people had to live by was inadequate sanitation. There was poor plumbing and no sewage systems. Using the water closets in these buildings was the most uncomfortable issue tenants faced. All the tenants had to share one single bathroom. It got to the point where bathrooms were being built in the backyard, and all the excretion went no where but to bottom of the pit that were also built. In addition to the issue of sanitation, manure left by horses was found on the streets causing horrid stenches to linger in the streets of NYC. Weeks would pass and no one took the initiative to clean it up.
This crisis mirrors to today’s current situation by its over crowdedness. Sanitation and other living condition have improved over the years and it still is, however, immigrants from around the world still come today seeking for new job opportunities and living spaces.