New York City Tenements

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What exactly are tenements? The term “tenement” was defined in 1867 to describe the urban poor’s housing situation. As mentioned before, tenements were often very crowded due to the large wave of immigrants coming from Europe. These immigrants were stuffed into buildings that were inadequately made. In 1914, the streets below fourteenth street, which was one eighty-second of New York State’s total land area, had one sixth of the city's population (Urban Castles). Showing how in a relatively small piece of land, many people lived there. Most of the people who lived there lived in tenements. There were 22,000 slum tenements that held 500,000 people in 1881. However 14 years later in 1895 there were 40,000 slum tenements holding 1.3 million people …show more content…
Those diseases include, but are not limited to, yellow fever and cholera. There were many laws that tried to combat the poor health conditions but those laws were very weak and poorly enforced (A History of Housing in New York City). People wondered why there was so much disease in the different tenements. This was most likely due to the lack of space in tenements which would make it easy to spread diseases between people. Soon people found a correlation between the amount of light and the amount of fresh air (or the lack thereof) and how the disease spread (A History of Housing in New York City). Another cause of the diseases was the gridiron of New York City. The Manhattan gridiron was the way that the lots in Manhattan were split up. Manhattan was broken up by twenty-five by one hundred foot lots that had houses facing in a north-south direction which had the southern facing buildings get sunlight but not the northern facing buildings (A History of Housing in New York City). This contributed to the lack of ventilation that tenements had, especially in the apartments that were in the cellar. The people who ran these tenements were called landlords and in the next couple of paragraphs we will see how much they did to improve the conditions of the

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