Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 309
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 309
 
for there has been no increase of violence in Little Italy or wherever else the crowd went that moved out. It is that the light has come in and made crime hideous. It is being let in wherever the slum has bred murder and robbery, bred the gang, in the past. Wait, now, another ten years, and let us see what a story there will be to tell.
  Avail? Why, it was only the other day that Tammany was actually caught applauding 1 Comptroller Coler’s words in Plymouth Church, “Whenever the city builds a schoolhouse upon the site of a dive and creates a park, a distinct and permanent mental, moral, and physical improvement has been made, and public opinion will sustain such a policy, even if a dive-keeper is driven out of business and somebody’s ground rent is reduced.” And Tammany’s press agent, in his enthusiasm, sent forth this pæan: “In the light of such events how absurd it is for the enemies of the organization to contend that Tammany is not the greatest moral force in the community.” Tammany a moral force! The park and the playground have availed, then, to bring back the day of miracles.
Note 1. To be sure, it did nothing else. When the people asked for 5000 to fit up one playground, Mayor Van Wyck replied with a sneer that “Vaudeville destroyed Rome.” [ back ]

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