The Irish famine led to a massive influx of Irish immigrants to New York during the late 1840s and 1850s. As the downtrodden Irish escaped the famine in their home country, however, they came to a place where life was just as tough. Disembarking from coffin ships, Irish newcomers were greeted with a new life of hardship, slums and tough, endless labor.
The Irish quickly made a name for themselves and not always for the right reasons. Cash-strapped and fleeing their country after years of hunger, it appears that some of the Irish in New York turned to crime and violence while women engaged in prostitution to earn money. By the 1850s, over half of those arrested in the city were Irish-born and a staggering percentage of those arrested for being drunk and disorderly also hailed from the Emerald Isle.Read More »