Have you seen Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York? Or perhaps read Herbert Asbury’s book, The Gangs of New York, from which most of the historical material in the film is drawn? You might also have come across Tyler Anbinder’s book–highly recommended, if the subject interests you–on the infamous Lower Manhattan neighborhood which is now subsumed by Chinatown. I became interested in the district after seeing Mr. Scorsese’s film, and spent some time reading, thinking about, and visiting it.
For my esteemed colleagues teaching in New York City, I can assure you from direct experience with my own students in The Bronx and Manhattan that this reading on the Five Points is generally of high interest to kids in the Five Boroughs. Here is the reading’s accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.
If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.