This article examines depictions of the relationships between antebellum Irish and African-American residents in a particular space – the notorious, impoverished New York neighborhood called Five Points – from a spatial and performance perspective. In descriptions of this destitute area, journalists, reformers, and writers of sensation narratives portrayed spaces where black and white New Yorkers lived together as evidence of the depravity they associated with both poverty and ‘amalgamation’. Contestations over sharing this space took many performative forms as black and Irish residents experienced riotous mob violence in the streets, socialized in underground saloons, competed in dancing contests, and were the object of minstrelized enactments, while bourgeois voyeuristic spectators were drawn to Five Points streets and stages as ‘slum tourists’.