Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 302
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 302
one day swarming over her stoop in such shoals that she could not enter, and asked them why they did not play tag under the trees instead. The instant shout came back, “’Cause the cop won’t let us.” And now even Poverty Gap is to have its playground—Poverty Gap, that was partly transformed by its one brief season’s experience with its Holy Terror Park, 1 a dreary sand lot upon the site of the old tenements in which the Alley Gang murdered the one good boy in the block, for the offence of supporting his aged parents by his work as a baker’s apprentice. And who knows but the Mulberry Bend and “Paradise Park” at the Five Points may yet know the climbing pole and the vaulting buck. So the world moves. For years the city’s only playground that had any claim upon the name—and that was only a little asphalted strip behind a public school in First Street—was an old graveyard. We struggled vainly to get possession of another, long abandoned. But the dead were of more account than the living.
The Seward Park.
  But now at last it is their turn. I watched the crowds at their play where Seward Park is to be. The Outdoor Recreation League had put up gymnastic apparatus, and the dusty square was jammed with a mighty multitude. It was not an
Note 1. The name bestowed upon it by the older toughs before the fact, not after. [ back ]



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