Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
was instant and overwhelming. Rather than keep up the fight, with no rent coming in, the landlords surrendered at discretion. In consideration of this, compensation was allowed them at the rate of about a thousand dollars a house, although they were really entitled only to the value of the old bricks. The buildings all came under the head of wholly unfit. Gotham Court, with its sixteen buildings, in which, many years before, a health inspector counted 146 cases of sickness, including all kinds of infectious disease, was bought for $19,750, and Mullens Court, adjoining, for $7251. To show the character of all, let two serve; in each case it is the official record, upon which seizure was made, that is quoted:
No.98 Catherine Street: The floor in the apartments and the wooden steps leading to the second-floor apartment are broken, loose, saturated with filth. The roof and eaves gutters leak, rendering the apartments wet. The two apartments on the first floor consist of one room each, in which the tenants are compelled to cook, eat, and sleep. The back walls are defective, the house wet and damp, and unfit for human habitation. It robs the surrounding houses of light.
The sunlight never enters was the constant refrain.