Five Points

Five Points is a gone but not forgotten neighborhood in Manhattan. The movie Gangs of New York is about life in this former slum. Bowery, Canal Street, Center Street and Park Row outlined the neighborhood. The site is now occupied by a section of Chinatown and the governmental buildings of the Civic Center. The name comes from the five-pointed star created by the intersections of Orange, Cross, Anthony and Little Water Streets. The first three streets now bear the names Baxter, Mosco and Worth Streets. Little Water no longer exists.

The area was originally a middle class residential area built atop reclaimed land from the Collect Pond. The work was poorly handled. Over time, the land and homes deteriorated. As middle class families moved out, poor immigrants moved in. The neighborhood became a center of rampant crime, disease and infant mortality. It was the epicenter for violent civil unrest, such as the infamous 1863 New York City draft riots. Calls to eradicate the slum began as early as 1831. A portion of the razed neighborhood was turned into the green space that is now Columbus Park.

The neighborhood has other gang connections. In the movie The Sting, mob boss Doyle Lonnegan said that he used to live there. Al Capone was a member of The Five Points Gang prior to moving to Chicago.


Try us out! Click on any of the links above to download and print a sample version of any of our Washington DC guide series.