Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 281
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 281
 
when they grow up, on what is truly “educational” in the bringing up of young citizens. The children will teach us something for a change that will do us lasting good.
 
 
Bone Alley.
 
  Half a dozen blocks away, in Rivington Street, the city’s first public bath-house has at last been built, after many delays, and godliness will have a chance to move in with cleanliness. The two are neighbors everywhere, but in the slum the last must come first. Glasgow has half a dozen public baths. Rome, two thousand years ago, washed its people most sedulously, and in heathen Japan to-day, I am told, there are baths, as we have saloons, on every corner. Christian New York never had an all-year bath-house until now. In a tenement population of 255,033 the Gilder Commission found only 306 who had access to bathrooms in the houses where they lived, and they would have found the same thing wherever they went. The Church Federation canvass of the Fifteenth Assembly District over on the West Side, where they did not go, counted three bath-tubs to 1321 families. Nor was that because they so elected. The People’s Baths took in 121,386 half dimes last year (1901) for as many baths, and more than forty per cent of their customers were Italians. In the first five months of the present year the Rivington Street baths accommodate 224,876 bathers, of

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