How the Other Half Lives

by datGurl!

On the Bookshelf:

riis  cover

Interesting book indeed.

How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York, written in 1890 was a work in photojournalism by Jacob Riis.  This work showed the awful conditions people were living in the slums of New York in the 1880′s.  This was how they exposed the conditions to the upper crust of that day. 


A horde of dirty children play about the dripping hydrant, the only thing in the alley that thinks enough of its chance to make the most of it: it is the best it can do. These are the children of the tenements, the growing generation of the slums; this their home. From the great highway overhead, along which throbs the life-tide of two great cities, one might drop a pebble into half a dozen such alleys.

I find it an interesting read because most of these people were immigrants, the author himself a Danish immigrant who lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan a mecca for the rich then and still even today.


Reading this book is a humbling experience and I don’t have two nickels to rub together that don’t belong to some bill collector, so I can only imagine how the ‘monied’ may feel…

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One Comment to “How the Other Half Lives”

  1. The new European immigration brought further social upheaval. In a city of tenements packed with poorly paid laborers from dozens of nations, the city was a hotbed of revolution (including Anarchists and Communists among others), syndicalism , racketeering , and unionization .

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