Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 224
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 224
 
understand, who is permitted to buy a live hen at the market, but neither to kill nor keep it in his tenement, and who on his feast day finds a whole squad of policemen detailed to follow him around and see that he does not do any of the things with his fowl for which he must have bought it? Or the day laborer, who drinks his beer in a “Raines law hotel,” where brick sandwiches, consisting of two pieces of bread with a brick between, are set out on the counter, in derision of the state law which forbids the serving of drinks without “meals”? 1 The Stanton Street saloon keeper who did that was solemnly acquitted by a jury. Or the boy, who may buy fireworks on the Fourth of July, but not set them off? These are only ridiculous instances of an abuse that pervades our community life to an extent which constitutes one of its gravest perils. Insincerity of that kind is not lost on our fellow-citizen by adoption, who is only anxious to fall
Note 1. The following is from the New York Herald of April 8, 1902: One of the strangest sandwich complications so far recorded occurred in a saloon in Columbia Street, Brooklyn, on Sunday. A boy rushed into the Amity Street police station at noon, declaring that two men in the saloon were killing each other. Two policemen ran to the place, and found the bartender and a customer pummelling each other on the floor. When the men had been separated the police learned that the trouble had arisen from the attempt of the customer to eat the sandwich which had been served with his drink. The barkeeper objected, and, finding remonstrance in vain, resorted to physical force to rescue the sandwich from the clutches of the hungry stranger. The police restored the sandwich to the bartender and made no arrests. [ back ]

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