New York City's "Five Points" neighborhood in lower Manhattan was well-known in the mid-to-late nineteenth century as a major locus of concern related to the problems of burgeoning American cities. Its prominence was highlighted in Martin Scorsese's 2002 film, The Gangs of New York, which even briefly portrayed the Methodists' Five Points Mission that the famous holiness leader Phoebe Palmer was instrumental in founding. (1) Both Philadelphia and Boston had similar neighborhoods to New York's "Five Points." Methodist mission outposts in both of these cities eagerly (if ironically) claimed the notorious "Five Points" label to remind donors there were rough neighborhoods closer to home which rivaled the destitution--and missionary opportunity--found in New York. (2)
Hartley, Benjamin, "Philadelphia's "Five Points": Evangelism and Social Welfare at the Bedford Street Mission" (2009). Faculty Publications - College of Christian Studies. 383.