Who Lived on Broome Street in the 1850s?

Using the EISB data, we can determine that 98 of these people, or about 64% of the sample, were natives of Ireland. The following map plots out every legible address from the EISB Broome Street sample. The map is layered by origin country in order to better visualize the demographics that made up Broome Street during this time period. Those of Irish origin are denoted by a green marker; those from Germany, a black marker; Americans are a light blue; the British are white; and one Frenchman is yellow. The purple markers denote EISB customers who did not have a nativity written. The red markers show the addresses where different nationalities overlapped.

In contrast to the way that some histories, such as Tyler Anbinder’s “From Famine to Five Points: Lord Lansdowne’s Irish Tenants Encounter North America’s Most Notorious Slum,”¹ paint the Irish in New York at this time as tight-knit communities defined by Irish county lines, the information from the EISB sample paints Broome Street in a different light. Not only were these Irish immigrants living on the same street and in the same buildings as a multitude of other nationalities, Germans chief among them, but they were also sharing intimate spaces with other Irish immigrants from a range of counties.

The following map, using spatial data sourced from the University of Edinburgh and Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, contextualizes the diversity of Irish counties represented in the EISB Broome Street sample.

Though many counties only had between 0 and 3 representatives in the sample, as demonstrated by the light yellow coloring, the darker areas correspond to an increasing number of representatives in the sample, with Counties Tyrone and Cavan coming out on top with 15 each. EISB’s Irish customers who lived on Broome Street do not seem to have originated en masse from one source in Ireland but rather to have converged upon Broome Street from all directions, enabling a mixture both within varying Irish cultures and identities and amongst the cultures and identities of their neighbors from other parts of the world.

¹Anbinder, Tyler. “From Famine to Five Points: Lord Lansdowne’s Irish Tenants Encounter North America’s Most Notorious Slum.” The American Historical Review 107.2 (2002): 351-87. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.