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to get one picture. That was so dark, them. Most of them were lodgers and almost black, from over-exposure as to be slept there for “five cents a spot.” There almost hopeless. But where there is life no pretense at beds. When the there is hope, if you can apply that maxim report was submitted to the Health Board to the Potter's Field, where there are none the next day, it did not make much of an but dead men. The very blackness of my impression—these things rarely do, put picture proved later on, when I came to in mere words—until my negatives, still use it with a magic lantern, the taking dripping from the dark-room, came to feature of it. It added a gloom to the reinforce them. Fiom them there was no show more realistic than any the utmost art appeal. It was not the only instance of of professional skill might have attained. the kind by a good many. Neither the

So I became a photographer, after a landlord's protests nor the tenant's plea fashion, and thereafter took the pictures "went” in face of the camera's evidence, myself. I substituted a frying-pan for and I was satisfied. the revolver, and Aashed the light on that. I had at last an ally in the fight with It seemed more homelike. But, as I said, the Bend. It was needed, worse even I am clumsy. Twice I set fire to the than in the campaign against the police house with the apparatus, and once to lodging-houses, for in that we were a commyself. I blew the light into my own pany; in the Bend I was alone. From eyes on that occasion, and only my spec- the day-1 think it was in the winter of tacles saved me from being blinded for 1886-when it was officially doomed to life. For more than an hour after I could go by act of legislature until it did go, see nothing and was led about by my nine years later, I cannot remember that companion, helpless. Photographing Joss a cat stirred to urge it on. Whether it in Chinatown neariy caused a riot there. was that it had beer. bad so long that It seems that it was against their religious people thought it could not be otherwise, principles. Peace was made only upon or because the Five Points had taken all express assurance being given the guard- the reform the Sixth Ward had coming to ians of Joss that his picture would be it, or because, by a sort of tacit consent, hung in the gallery at Police Head“

the whole matter was left to me as the quarters." They took it as a compliment recognized Mulberry Bend crank-whichThe “gallery” at Headquarters is the ever it was, this last was t' e practical turn rogues' gallery, not generally much de- it took. I was left to fight it out by sired. Those Chinese are a queer lot, myself. Which being so. I laid in a stock but when I remembered my Christian of dry plates and buckled to. friend of the nursery I did not find it in The Bend was a much jollier adversary me to blame them. Once, when I was than the police lodging houses. It kicked taking pictures about Hell's Kitchen, I back. It did not have to be dragged into was confronted by a wild-looking man а

the discussion at intervals, but crowded with a club, who required me to subscribe in unbidden. In the twenty years of my to a general condemnation of reporters as acquaintance with it as a reporter I do * hardly fit to be flayed alive," before he not believe there was a week in which it would let me go ; the which I did with a was not beard from in the police reports, right good will, though with somewhat of generally in connection with a crime of a mental reservation in favor of my rivals violence, a murder or a stabbing affray. in Mulberry Street, who just then stood in It was usually on Sunday, when the Italians need of special correction.

who lived there were idle and quarreled What with one thing and another, and over their cards. Every tight was the in spite of all obstacles, I got my pictures, signal for at least two more, sometimes a and put some of them to practical use at dozen, for they clung to their traditions once. I recall a midnight expedition to and met all efforts of the police to get at the Mulberry Bend with the sanitary police the facts with their stubborn “ fix him that had turned up a couple of character: myself.” And when the detectives had istic cases of overcrowding. In one given up in dismay and the man who was instance two rooms that should at most cut had got out of the hospital, pretty soon have held four or five sleepers were found there was news of another fight, and the to contain fifteen, a little baby among feud had been sent on one step. by far

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BOTTLE ALLEY, QUARTERS OF THE WHYO GANG, MULBERRY BEND the most cheering testimony that our I could not have laid it out for him to Italian is becoming one of us came to me suit my case better than he did. It was a year or two ago in the evidence that on in the silly season, and the newspapers two occasions Mulberry Street had refused fell greedily upon the sensation I made. to hide a murderer even of its own village. The Bend, moreover, smelled rather worse That was conclusive. It was not so in than usual that August. They made “the those days. So, between the vendetta, people's cause their own, and shouted the mafia, the ordinary neighborhood treason until the commission charged with feuds, and the Bend itself, always pictur- condemning the Bend actually did meet esque if outrageously dirty, it was not and greased its wheels. But at the next hard to keep it in the foreground. My turn they were down in a rut again, and scrap-book from the year 1883 to 1896 is the team had to be prodded some more. one running comment on the Bend and It had taken two years to get a map of upon the official indolence that delayed the proposed park filed under the law that its demolition nearly a decade after it authorized the laying out of it. The had been decreed. But it all availed commission consumed nearly six years in nothing to hurry up things, until, in a condemning the forty-one lots of property, swaggering moment, after four years of and charged the city $45,498.60 for it. that sort of thing, one of the City Hall The Bend itself cost a million, and an officials condescended to inform me of the assessment of half a million was laid upon real cause of the delay. It was simply surrounding property for the supposed that “no one down there had been taking benefit of making it over from a pigsty any interest in the thing.

into a park. Those property-owners knew

better. They hired a lawyer who in less I The Italians here live usually grouped by " villages," that is, those from the same community with the same

than six weeks persuaded the Legislature patron saint keep close together. The saint's name day that it was an injury, not a benefit. The is their local holiday. If the police want to find an Italian scamp, they find out first from what village he town had to foot the whole bill. But at hails, then it is a simple matter, usually, to find where he is located in the city.

last it owned the Bend.


Instead of destroying it neck and crop, cumulative, each passing year saw the loss it settled down complacently to collect the of just so much to the cause of decency rents; that is to say, such rents as it could that was waiting without. Eight millions collect. A good many of the tenants had been thrown away when they finally refused to pay, and lived rent free for a came to ask a million and a half to pay year. It was rare chance for the for the Mulberry Bend Park, and then reporter, and I did not miss it. The city they had to get a special law and a special as landlord in the Bend was fair game. appropriation because the amount was The old houses came down at last, and more than “a million in one year.” This for a twelvemonth, while a reform gov- in spite of the fact that we were then in ernment sat at the City Hall, the three the Christmas holidays with one year just acre lot lay, a veritable slough of despond closing and the other opening, each with filled with unutterable nastiness, festering its unclaimed appropriation. I suggested in the sight of men. No amount of prod- that to the powers that were, but they ding seemed able to get it out of that, and threw up their hands: that would have all the while money given for the relief of been irregular and quite without precedent. the people was going to waste at the rate Oh for irregularity enough to throttle of a million dollars a year. The Small precedent finally and for good! It has Parks Act of 1887 appropriated that made more mischief in the world, I verily amount, and it was to be had for the ask- believe, than all the other lawbreakers ing. But no one who had the authority together. At the very outset it had asked, and as the appropriation was not wrecked my hopes of getting the first

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school playground in New York planted over it, and the Park Department, in in the Bend by simply joining park and charge of which it is, exercises none. school together. There a public “ The numerous old cellars are a source school in the block that went with the rest. of danger to the children that swarm over The Small Parks Law expressly provided the block. Water stagnating in the holes for the construction of “such and so will shortly add the peril of epidemic many" buildings for the comfort, health, disease. Such a condition as that now and instruction" of the people, as might prevailing in this block, with its dense be necessary,

But a school in a park! surrounding population, would not be The thing had never been heard of. It tolerated by your department for a single would lead to conflict between two depart- day if on private property. It has lasted ments! And to this day there is no play here many months. ground in the Mulberry Bend, though the “ The property is owned by the city, school is right opposite.

having been taken for the purposes of a It was, nevertheless, that sort of thing park and left in this condition after the demthat lent the inspiration which in the end olition of the old buildings. The undermade the old Bend go. It was when, in signed respectfully represents that the the midst of the discussion, they showed city, in the proposed Mulberry Bend park, me a check for three cents, hung up and is at present maintaining a nuisance, and framed in the Comptroller's office as a kind that it is the duty of your honorable Board of red-tape joss for the clerks to kowtow to see to it that it is forth with abolished, to, I suppose. They were part of the to which end he prays that you will prosystem it glorified. The three cents had ceed at once with the enforcement of the miscarried in the purchase of a school rules of your department prohibiting the site, and, when the error was found, were maintaining of nuisances within the city's checked out with all the fuss and flourish limits.” of a transaction in millions and at a cost, If my complaint caused a smile in I was told, of fifty dollars' worth of time official quarters, it was short-lived, except and trouble. Therefore it was hung up in the Sanitary Bureau, where, I fancy it to be forever admired as the ripe fruit of lurked. For the Bend was under its winan infallible system. No doubt it will be dows. One whiff of it was enough to there when another Tweed has cleaned determine the kind of report the health out the city's treasury to the last cent. inspectors would have to make. That However, it suggested a way out to me. night, before they got around, some boys Two could play at that game. There is playing with a truck in the lots ran it a familiar principle of sanitary law, ex- down into one of the cellar holes spoken pressed in more than one ordinance, that of and were crushed under it, and so put no citizen has a right to maintain a nui- a point upon the matter that took the sance on his premises because he is lazy laughter out of it for good. They went or it suits his convenience in other ways. ahead with the park then. The city is merely the aggregate of citi- When they had laid the sod, and I came zens in a corporation, and must be subject and walked on it in defiance of the sign to the same rules. I drew up a complaint to “keep off the grass,” I was whacked in proper official phrase, charging that the by a policeman for doing it, as I told in state of Mulberry Bend was “detrimental the “ Ten Years' War." But that was all to health and dangerous to life," and form- right. We had the park. And I had ally arraigned the municipality before been "moved on” before when I sat and the Health Board for maintaining a nui- shivered in reeking hallways in that very sance upon its premises.

spot, alone and forlorn in the long ago ; I have still a copy of that complaint, so that I did not mind. The children and, as the parting shot to the worst slum who were dancing there in the sunlight that ever was, and, let us hope, ever will were to have a better time, please God! be, I quote it here in part :

We had given them their lost chance. “The Bend is a mass of wreck, a dump- Looking at them in their delight now, it ing-ground for all manner of filth from is not hard to understand what happened: the surrounding tenements. The Street the place that had been redolent of crime Cleaning Department has no jurisdiction and murder became the most orderly in


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