The original Tombs Prison was built at Centre Street in 1838. It was constructed with 148 double cells which, in accordance with the practice of that period, gave it a capacity for 296 prisoners. This existed until 1897. The second Tombs Prison was opened in 1902 and was the largest and busiest detention institution; it consisted of a main building and two annexes. This prison was connected by a "Bridge of Sighs" with the Criminal Courts Building on the Franklin Street side. This prison had a normal capacity of 591 cells; it was a massive stone structure with steel cells. The building was abandoned in 1941 when a new prison, known as the City Prison Manhattan, was occupied on Sunday, November 8, 1941.
The Tombs Prison, New York City
Standing on Centre Street at Leonard Street, the prison was built in 1840 with granite from the old Bridewell Prison in City Hall Park.
Map of the Five Points in the 1800s
* The Five Points intersection.
1 The Old Brewery. It was torn down in 1852, and replaced by the Five Points Mission in 1853. The triangle across the street is Paradise Square.
2 St. Philips African Episcopal Church, destroyed in the riots of 1834.
3 African Society for Mutual Relief.
4 65 Mott St, location of the first NYC tenement in 1827.
5 Chatham Square. Used as a huge open air market up until 1820.
6 The Tombs prison, erected 1838.
7 Five Points House of Industry, built 1856.
8 The Bowery Theatre.
9 Cow Bay.
10 Mulberry Bend. It was considered one of the worst slums in NYC. The entire block was demolished in 1896 and turned into a park.
11 Bottle Alley, and (12) Bandit's Roost were two of the many alleyways inside the Mulberry Bend.
13 The Tea Water Pump was a natural spring fed well that supplied much of Manhattan with water up until the end of the 18th century. NYC would be without a reliable water supply until 1842 with the opening of the Croton Aqueduct.