Found in the Street revolves around a young woman, Elsie, who has recently moved to New York City. In the beginning of the book Elsie is working as a waitress in a diner, where she makes the acquaintance of two men from the neighborhood. One is a lonely older man who tries to give her moral advice, and develops an unhealthy obsession with her as she begins to avoid him. The other is a well-off, artistic married man, who introduces her to his family and friends, starting her life down a new path.
The primary plot device in this book is the lonely man following Elsie. For me, though, this book was really about everyone watching, and to some degree obsessing over, Elsie: the married man, his wife, Elsie's new social circle, and eventually the public, when she becomes a fashion model.