Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
was the explanation given in each case. They smash lamps and break windows. The storekeepers kick and there is trouble. That is how it begins. Many complaints are received daily of boys annoying pedestrians, storekeepers, and tenants by their continually playing baseball in some parts of almost every street. The damage is not slight. Arrests are frequent, much more frequent than when they had open lots to play in. This last was the report of an up-town captain. He remembered the days when there were open lots there. But those lots are now built upon, he said, and for every new house there are more boys and less chance for them to play.
The committee put a red daub on the map to indicate trouble. Then it asked those police captains who had not spoken to show them where their precincts were, and why they had no trouble. Every one of them put his finger on a green spot that marked a park.
My people are quiet and orderly, said the captain of the Tompkins Square precinct.
The police took the square from a mob by storm twice in my recollection, and the commander of the precinct was hit on the head with a hammer by his people and laid out for dead.
The Hook Gang is gone, said he of Corlears Hook. The professional pursuit of that gang was