New York City is now an epicenter of art, culture, and a booming economy amongst being one of the largest cities in America. Although, things have not always been this way. New York City also claims some of America’s richest history. Some struggling artists in today’s NYC may be having trouble paying for their outrageous rental costs and may be living on microwaveable noodles but if you dig a little deeper into the city’s history this is nothing in comparison to many of the city’s previous inhabitants who experienced many hardships and struggles in their lives.
In the early 1900’s, food was scarce, and life was hard, yet people all around the world were fleeing to America: hearing tales of oranges the size of baking potatoes; fields of grain waving under sunny skies; clean, dry houses with indoor plumbing and electricity. Most importantly, jobs were plentiful. Thousands of immigrants made way for Ellis Island with big dreams.
During this period many did not survive. There was a mass relocation of orphan children during this time. NYC is widely recognized as the beginning of documented foster care in America. It was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets. From 1854 to 1929 an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement.
Within this sea of immigrants, people had to figure out a way to survive starting at a young age. It was necessary to pick up a craft to survive. Instruments, shoemaking, tailoring, to name just a few. This was the birth of the what I call the “Original Creatives.” You had to be creative to stand out and provide for your family. This is a common thread between most of us, coming to America and building lives for our families. Look how far we’ve come!
Please share your stories on how your family came to America and found creative ways to survive, prosper and find love.
Working in advertising throughout my life has led me down this path. My team makes brands stand out and helps companies move the needle on the bottom line.