Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 85
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 85
 
rate. But, badly as we are off and shall be off for years to come,—allowing even that we are getting worse off in the matter of crowding,—we know now that we can do better. We have done it. We are every year wresting more light and air from the builder. He no longer dares come out and fight in the open, for he knows that public sentiment is against him. The people understand—to what an extent is shown in a report of a Tenement House Committee in the city of Yonkers, which the postman put on my table this minute. The committee was organized “to prevent the danger to Yonkers of incurring the same evils that have fallen so heavily upon New York and have cost that city millions of money and thousands of lives.” It sprang from the Civic League, was appointed by a Republican mayor and indorsed by a Democratic council! That is as it should be. So, we shall win.
  In fact, we are winning now, backed by this very understanding. The double-decker is doomed, and the twenty-five-foot lot has had its day. We are building tenements in which it is possible to rear homes. We are at last in a fair way to make the slum unprofitable, and that is the only way to make it go. So that we may speed it the more let us go with the capmaker a while and get his point of view. After all, that is the one that counts; the community is not nearly as much interested in the

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