Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 292
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 292
 
information imparted to me as secretary of the committee by our late Tammany mayor—and may he be the last—that we had “as much authority as a committee of bootblacks in his office”—it is all of less account than the fact that the field has at last been studied and its needs been made known. The rest will follow, with or without the politician’s authority. One of the two suggestions carried out was for a riverside park in the region up-town, on the West Side, where the Federation of Churches and Christian Workers found “saloon social ideals minting themselves upon the minds of the people at the rate of seven saloon thoughts to one educational thought.” “Hudson-bank” (it is at the foot of West Fifty-third Street) has been a playground these three years, in the charge of the Outdoor Recreation League, and it is recorded with pride by the directors, that not a board was stolen from the long fence that encloses it in all that time, while fences all about were ripped to pieces. Boards have a market value in that neighborhood and private property was not always highly regarded. But this is “the children’s”; that is why, within a year now, the bluff upon which the playground is will have been laid out as a beautiful park, and a bar set to the slum in that quarter, where it already had got a firm grip. Hard by there is a recreation pier, and

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