Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 295
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 295
 
horse and wagon, if you can afford it. But we can’t. Why, there isn’t enough to run the city government.”
  So the labor of weary weeks and months in the children’s behalf was all undone by a third-rate clerk in an executive office; but he saved the one thing he had in mind: the city government is “run” to date, and his pay is secure.
  It is a pity to have to confess it, but it was not the only time reform in office gave its cause a black eye in the sight of the people. The Hamilton Fish Park that took the place of Bone Alley was laid out with such lack of sense that it will have to be worked all over again. The gymnasium and bath in it that cost, I am told, 90,000, was never of any use for either purpose and was never opened. A policeman sat in the door and turned people away, while around the corner clamoring crowds besieged the new public bath I spoke of. There were more people waiting, sitting on the steps and strung out halfway through the block, when I went over to see, one July day, than could have found room in three buildings like it. So, also, after seven years, the promised park down by the Schiff Fountain called Seward Park lies still, an unlovely waste, waiting to be made beautiful. Tammany let its heelers build shanties in it to sell fish and dry-goods and such in. Reform just let things be, no matter how bad they were, and broke its promises to the people.

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