Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 19
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 19
 
worst thing that could happen to New York; and, if it could have burned sense into men’s minds as it burned up the evidence of their lack of it, they would have been right. But forty per cent—the rent some of the barracks brought—is a powerful damper on sense and conscience, even with the cholera at the door. However, the fear of it gave us the Citizens’ Council of Hygiene, and New York heard the truth for once.
  “Not only,” it ran, “does filth, overcrowding, lack of privacy and domesticity, lack of ventilation and lighting, and absence of supervision and of sanitary regulation still characterize the greater number of the tenements; but they are built to a greater height in stories; there are more rear houses built back to back with other buildings, correspondingly situated on parallel streets; the courts and alleys are more greedily encroached upon and narrowed into unventilated, unlighted, damp, and well-like holes between the many-storied front and rear tenements; and more fever-breeding wynds and culs-de-sac are created as the demand for the humble homes of the laboring poor increases.” 1 The Council, which was composed of sixteen of New York’s most distinguished physicians, declared that by ordinary sanitary management the city’s death-rate should be reduced thirty per cent. Its judgment
Note 1. Council of Hygiene’s Report, 1866. [ back ]

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