Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 290
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 290
 
of the laws of 1895 to the mayor, and reported that its task was finished. This is the law and all there is of it:—
  “The people of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:—
  “Section 1. Hereafter no schoolhouse shall be constructed in the city of New York without an open-air playground attached to or used in connection with the same.
  “Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.”
  Where the map was daubed with red the school pins crowded one another. On the lower East Side, where child crime was growing fast, and no less than three storm centres were marked down by the police, nine new schools were going up or planned, and in the up-town precinct whence came the wail about the ball players there were seven. It was common sense, then, to hitch the school playground and the children together. It seemed a happy combination, for the new law had been a stumbling-block to the school commissioners, who were in a quandary over the needful size of an “open-air playground.” The roof garden idea, which was at the start a measure of simple economy to save large expenditure for land, had suggested a way out. But there was the long vacation, when schools are closed and children most in need of

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