Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 276
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 276
 
square lay as the wreckers had left it for another year, until it became such a plague spot that, as a last resort, with a citizen’s privilege, I arraigned the municipality before the Board of Health for maintaining a nuisance upon its premises. I can see the shocked look of the official now, as he studied the complaint.
  “But, my dear sir,” he coughed diplomatically, “isn’t it rather unusual? I never heard of such a thing.”
  “Neither did I,” I replied, “but then there never was such a thing before.”
  That night, while they were debating the “unusual thing,” happened the accident to the children of which I spoke, emphasizing the charge that the nuisance was “dangerous to life,” and there was an end. In the morning the Bend was taken in hand, and the following spring the Mulberry Bend Park was opened.
  I told the story of that in “The Making of an American,” and how the red tape of the comptroller’s office pointed the way out, after all, with its check for three cents that had gone astray in the purchase of a school site. Of that sort of thing we had enough. But the Gilder Tenement House Commission had been sitting, the Committee of Seventy had been at work, and a law was on the statute books authorizing the expenditure of three

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