Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 287
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 287
 
37,000 vacant flats, so that it seems those builders were either “talking through their hats,” or else they were philanthropists pure and simple. And I know they were not that. The whole question of rehousing the population that had been so carefully considered abroad made us no trouble, though it gave a few well-meaning people unnecessary concern. The unhoused were scattered some, which was one of the things we hoped for, but hardly dared believe would come to pass. Many of them, as it appeared, had remained in their old slum more from force of habit and association than because of necessity.
  “Everything takes ten years,” said Abram S. Hewitt, when, exactly ten years after he had as mayor championed the Small Parks Act, he took his seat as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Small Parks. The ten years had wrought a great change. It was no longer the slum of to-day, but that of to-morrow, that challenged attention. The committee took the point of view of the children from the first. It had a large map prepared, showing where in the city there was room to play and where there was none. Then it called in the police and asked them to point out where there was trouble with the boys; and in every instance the policeman put his finger upon a treeless slum.
  “They have no other playground than the street,”

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