Since I got on this topic a few days ago… That’s the middle of a block of tenements, in the first decade of the 1900s. The drying laundry is obviously the first thing you notice. But on second glance, take a look at the tallest building there. Despite the Gothic style, that’s a school.
Even today, in a lot of outer-boroughs neighborhoods, the schools are the tallest buildings around, since they are four and five stories and tower above the one- and two-family houses. When you’re on an el, you can pick out one school after another as the train moves along.