November 17, 2005
Book Report #2
How the Other Half Lives
The book How the Other Half lives, is one of those books that definitely affects you as soon as you read it. Jacob Riis the author of the book, wrote it exactly for the purpose, to affect people and get them to realize how bad the conditions were back then in New York City. He goes into full depth, of what the living conditions were like, who lived in them, and how they were affected by them. Mostly how each ethnic group lived in the tenements, and what the city did to improve them.
Genesis of the Tenement In thirty-five years the city of New York went from less then a hundred thousand people to at least harbor a half a million souls, in which housing had to be found. In the beginning of the tenement housing it came as a blessing to people living there, because with the low income they were getting it was perfect price to buy. There big rooms were all broken up into small ones, and they basically disregarding light and proper ventilation. The rent was lower, with small apartments and the actual floor that you were on. The tenements were never really cared for, unless the people living in them really took care of them. The people who owned them really didn't care. "Neatness, order, cleanliness, were never dreamed of in connection with the tenant-house system, as it spread its localities from year to year; while reckless slovenliness, discontent, privation, and ignorance were left to work out their invariable results, until the entire premises reached the level of tenant-house dilapidation, containing, but sheltering not, the miserable hordes that crowded benath mouldering, water-rotted roofs or burrowed among the rats of clammy cellars(How the Other Half Lives,p.10)." The only thing the landlord was after was the rent that he wanted, and he didn't care about the actual comfort of the tenants. Because of the living conditions of the tenements, the tenants