THE CONDITION OF BROOKLYN'S STREETS AND HOUSES.Brooklyn Daily Eagle 9 May 1885 (NOTE: In some places, the page has been cut off and I have inserted "(missing)" to indicate this)
A CITY SURVEY The Condition of Brooklyn's Streets and Houses. Picturing the Pest Holes Disgraceful State of Some of the Thoroughfares-- What is Seen in the Italian Settlements-- Among the Bone and Rag Collectors-- Five Families in a Room and Soap and Water at a Premium-- The Slaughter House Nuisance-- Darby's Patch and Jackson's Hollow-- The Work of the Health Department-- What Commissioner Raymond Says About It-- More Inspectors Needed-- Street Cleaning Favoritism-- Interesting Vital and Other Statistics-- The Creek Nuisance-- Mortality in Public Institutions-- The Flooded Districts-- A Visit to "Slab City" in the Twelfth Ward-- Mayor Low's Experiences There-- A Paradise for Pigs and Goats-- Local Industries-- Important Points About the City's HealthWith the threat of cholera hanging over it, with deadly epidemic of mysterious origin raging at Plymouth, Pa., and with yellow fever and smallpox hovering on the southern border of the United States, it behoove Brooklyn especially this year to look at herself and see whether she is prepared to meet and stamp out any disease as soon as it gains her shore, or whether she contains in her most central parts and among her most dense populations such pest holes as would prove reservoirs for cholera from which it would flow forth to every home in the city. The Board of Health may have made all the improvements it claims it has made, but that which remains to be done makes one almost totally forgetful of the progress already made. Are dirt and corruption prejudicial to public health? Sanitary science says they are, but practical investigation as well as medical men who have given the matter much study in Brooklyn all agree that the health of our dirtiest people is a "satire on sanitary science," as Dr. PALMER puts it. The death rate is extraordinarily low in the Italian quarters and among the shanties (missing) fever to several playmates and if a few more physicians fail to make reports, there will be an epidemic of scarlet fever in Public School No. 15. "We have a splendid system," said Sanitary Inspector CRUIKSHANK, "and the only difficulty in regard to it is that doctors will not report all their cases of contagious diseases to us. I get my notification sin regard to contagious diseases early in the morning and make my rounds. After seeing sanitary regulations carried out and giving printed directions concerning fumigation and care of infected articles and so forth I fill out the blanks on a printed card, with the name and number of other children still attending school from the same house. I send this is the school immediately, and those children are kept away till they can bring a certificate from me to say that they can safely be readmitted." "Measles," Dr. CRUIKSHANK said, "is not reported at all usually, whereas it is very contagious and frequently leads to complications." Many other sanitary inspectors complained of this same inattention and disobedience of sanitary rules by physicians.
THE STREETSIt is with deep feeling that the writer approaches the subject of streets. Brooklyn has many things to be ashamed of, but the shame of her streets eclipses all. With very few exceptions -- upon the Heights and Hill, in addition to the main thoroughfares, Fulton street, Court street and Flatbush and Atlantic avenues -- the are simply execrable. Certainly no city of Europe, except it be in Turkey, and just as certainly no city in America has thoroughfares so dirty, so rough and bad to look upon, walk upon, or drive upon. A ride over the cobblestones here is equal to a month in the penitentiary and a walk on the sidewalk on a windy day to a term in purgatory. The old cobblestones not only lame horses, break the wheels off vehicles and jolt the breath out of drivers, but they help to retain dirt. The patent street sweeper is not used on cobblestones because the brush cannot get down into the rural vales which lie between the stones. In some places the square granite block is happily superseding this nuisance. Talking about the patent street sweeper, it may be well to remark that the habits of this useful article are most curious in some respects. It associates itself usually with a watering cart and the two saunter through the streets sweeping and watering evidently with the very best intentions, but certainly with very poor judgment. Some of the actions of the worthy couple are actually idiotic. Generally the brush will get the lead and go down some street about 7 o'clock in the morning throwing up a terrible cloud of dust and dirt all over the unfortunate workingmen and women who throng the sidewalk. When the brush has gone past the watering cart will come spluttering along behind totally winded and hopeless of ever catching up to and getting ahead of the brush. All this is very amusing to the gentleman who drives the watering cart through the dust. It may, perhaps, also be considered a little hard upon the men and women on the sidewalk. The watering cart and brush do not venture out late at night when would be most useful and ornamental. Possibly their lungs are weak and the night air hurts them. Brooklyn has a tenement house population of fully 200,000. It is increasing very fast and its quality is getting down to that of the New York slums. There are ways in which tenement houses can be kept in decent order. They must have janitors (missing). Though the Sixteenth Ward has a larger area and more than twice as large a population, it only gets one-fifth as much cleaning done in it. The reader can make many other interesting comparisons. Of Brooklyn's 546 miles of street, 376 are paved and 170 yet to be paved; there are 310 miles of sewers completed and 236 to be built. The work of paving and putting in sewers is going on rather slowly. In 1883 only 1,782 feet of paving was done, and the miles of sewer laid were only three and a small fraction. In 1884 there was an improvement over the figures of 1883. The extent of paving was 3.41 miles and 8½ miles of sewers were laid. A great deal of street repairing was also done by the Department of City Works last year, and fifty-five ponds in sunken lots were filled in, either in whole or in part, in the Seventh, Eighth, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-second and Twenty-fourth wards, the heaviest work being done in the Twenty-second Ward. The city charges the lot owner nothing for filling in his lot -- which is very nice for the lot owner. The city is supposed to get back its money expended on filling in by increased valuation of property.
DEATH RATE BY WARDSIn considering the death rate by wards it is necessary to take into account the position of the public charitable institutions and the jails and hospitals and so forth, as deaths in these are included in the ward mortalities, and a comparison of ward death rates, which left this fact out of consideration, would be very misleading. Last year the death in public institutions numbered 1,072, divided as follows: Wards Population Est 1884 Death in Public Total Deaths Institutions First 10,811 1 316 Second 10,031 None 33 Third 19,654 51 362 Fourth 13,638 12 282 Fifth 19,731 None 507 Sixth 37,719 262 1,037 Seventh 34,057 3 617 Eighth 18,722 None 512 Ninth 16,350 14 326 Tenth 29,185 None 709 11th 23,318 121 600 12th 24,605 None 561 13th 22,384 4 380 14th 27,522 None 720 15th 25,926 1 10 16th 46,301 None 1,221 17th 33,368 None 674 18th 26,534 282 1,073 19th 29,448 3 576 20th 25,741 56 422 21st 33,965 13 826 22nd 27,653 13 505 23rd 15,994 34 298 24th 9,597 192 363 25th 20,713 13 486 Totals 611,945 1,072 14,116 (Transcriber's note: I did not add up these columns to see if the totals were correct as some of the numbers were difficult to read and I guessed at them.) Thus it will be seen that the Sixth, Eleventh, Eighteenth and Twenty-fourth wards can clear themselves of any imputation of being unhealthy and that the death rates of the Third, Twentieth and Twenty-second wards have also been materially affected by deaths in their public institutions. It is unfair to credit these deaths to the ward in which they occur, and they ought to be separated from its proper mortality in the statement given to the public. The deaths at public institutions should be kept separate. Below will be found the result of the writer's travels and observations in the various sanitary districts of Brooklyn:
FIRST SANITARY DISTRICT Conditions Which are Regarded as Extremely Liable to Produce Disease.The First Sanitary District is bounded on the north by the East River, on the south by parts of Johnson and Court streets, on the east by Navy street and on the west by Atlantic avenue. It contains the First, Second and Fifth Wards. The Sanitary Inspector is Mr. MATTISON.
Among the RagpickersNo matter what the writer may say on the subject--however strong his language--it must fall to convey any good idea of the horrors of a ragpickers' tenement. So filthy are the rooms, so foul the air and so bestial the details that those who have not seen for themselves would hesitate to believe that human beings could exist in such a fashion, much less that they could enjoy life, be healthy and merry and have no ambition to improve. Yet of the health of the ragpicking community there can be no doubt. Physicians who know the Italians well vouch for it, their appearance shows it, their natural increase is high, their death rate low. They are merry amid their dirt, and live their lives out with as hearty a zest as the happiest dwellers on the Heights. "No good to go with me," said Dr. MATTISON(sic) when asked to show the writer through the First Sanitary District, in which the Italian colony of his Second Ward lies. "I do not enter any houses at all when inspecting. I merely ask for complaints. When I get a complaint I send the plumber and the plumber goes through the house from top to bottom." This would be all very well if the plumber could be guaranteed to have more conscience than any other know business man. As it is, he may be interested much more in figuring on his bill than in putting the house in good condition. He is said by residents and physicians to be almost as superficial in his examination as the front door sanitary "inspector". Beside, the Italian colonists have about as much use for plumbers as the Hottentots would have for professors of ethical culture. As the Sanitary Inspector did not profess to have any personal knowledge of his district the writer was forced to seek another guide. He found the man he was after and together they visited the ragpickers' quarters in Adams, Front, Pearl, Main, Water and Mercein streets, in addition to those in Howards court and Fleets alley. They began with the three houses on the south side of Front street, near the corner of Adams -- Nos. 108, 110 and 112. These are old wrecks of frame houses, with broken stairs and floors, cellars filled with fifth or rags, ceilings composed of cobwebs, floors that have not seen a broom since the present occupants moved in, rooms in each of which eight people on an average live, yards reeking with refuse and cesspools overflowing. Everywhere, over houses and neighborhood, hangs a horrible odor, or rather, collection of odors, for every room had its peculiar and distinctive one. Around the corner in Adams street, separated from the Front street tenements, were found four other Italian domiciles. These are very old and tumble down wooden structures either two stories and basement or three stories in height. Front rooms on the first floors of two of these are occupied by Italian grocery-men, who, in a space ten feet square, had room enough, by hanging goods from the ceilings, for themselves and their customers. There they retail cheese, hard as a rock, green and white in color and actually putrid. Also rancid bolognas, goat's milk cheese, back number in sausages, bacon that possibly was once offered for sale in the war times of twenty-five years ago, very salt little fish strange to American palates and hard beans which have to be soaked for a day before teeth will make any impression on them. Next door to these grocery stores is an Italian lagar beer saloon about twelve feet square, where the cheapest kind of beer is sold all day and night and every day and night. Over grocery stores and saloons and behind them in the rear, every room contains its family or collection of (missing) dirt so thickly that they could shake it off their clothing and hair and skins in clouds. They were sorting the rags.
An Italian WakeAfter leisurely walking over the four Italian frame tenements on the west side of Adams near Front street, and the five other frame tenements also inhabited by Italians in Fleets alley behind the spot mentioned, and finding everything in both places unspeakably foul and overcrowded, the writer and his guide walked to Memsine street, a narrow little cul de sac, which runs from Garrison street, between York and Front, halfway through the block to Fulton street. Here a big five story tenement with ten families and a multitude of boarders was found. On the top floor in a front room a great number of women were sitting about a little white bier whereon, clean for once, and robed in spotless white clothes and flowers, lay a dead child. At the head of the corpse were three big candles and three more rose on each hand. It was an Italian wake. There was not the least difficulty in telling who the mother of the child was. She was the holloweyed woman with disheveled hair who looked up with a very appealing glance at the strangers. She had just finished a Neopolitan lazzaroni chant to the Virgin, and her eyes were streaming with tears. Not a bright spot could be seen in her clothing, not an ornament in her ears or on her fingers. The other women all wore big brooches and earrings of gold and rings of the same metal covered their fingers. Red, blue and yellow silk handkerchiefs ornamented their heads, and their faces wore the very complacent expressions of those who are having a good time. The child had died of croup. In another part of the same house a sick man was suffering from some trouble of the lungs; a child on a floor a little lower down had croup, and away down under the stairway in the damp, dark cellar, a lonely woman was nursing her newly born child. Around on Front street, between Garrison and Fulton, on the south side, were found two more Italian tenements; in fact there was three right here as one was a front and rear house. Junk dealers dwelt in the rear place and in the front were a band of rag pickers. Down stairs in the dark cellar was a curiosity -- and Italian lager beer saloon underground. Thirty kegs a week are disposed of here over a counter made of two rough boards, with two tin cups as the only drinking vessels. Cobwebs line the ceiling, junk, rags and general filth are on the ground, and a tallow candle furnishes the light. The entrance is through a broken door, which looks as if it has not been used for years. Here it is that Italians "rush the growler" every day of the week. They generally cover the alleged complainant up with a cloth or newspaper when carrying it through the streets. In a big wooden house next door to this live another tribe of Italians, two and three families in a room. In this house three Irish women who are living with Italian men were found. They had the traits of the Italian women and their own to boot; two are old and enfeebled by drink, and the other is a tall young virago, with an alleged bad reputation. Maggie is the name she is know by among the English speaking people who enjoy her acquaintance. Maggie had just come to the house. She had been living with an Italian in another part of Front street, but he had turned her out on account of her violent temper and because his wife had just arrived from Italy. In the morning of the day the writer visited his house Maggie had gone to his room intoxicated and smashed whatever was breakable over his head. He bore the marks of her beating. To the credit of the Italian men it is to be said that there are few cases of wife beating among them. In this instance the man, who is a big fellow capable of throwing Miss Maggie out of the window, took her blows in silence and without any attempt to strike back. On many other occasions he has acted likewise, merely sending for a policeman and giving her in charge. When Maggie saw the visitors she thought they wanted to arrest her and swore terribly, but on finding that they had not come for the purpose was even more annoyed, and begged them to "take her," mingling her appeals with oaths and profanity. Immediately across Front street from these tenements, which are only 100 yards from Fulton street, is a big wooden house which fifty years ago was an ornament of old Brooklyn. There is a good deal of fancy carving in the wood- work over the doors and windows, and the quality of the interior woodwork, or rather they dirty, splintered portions of it which remain, is a proof that the solidly built old frame structure once help up it head rising about eight feet high. Behind it, the other Italians said, a man and his wife lived alone. This was the first and only attempt the visitors saw at anything like seclusion for families. Upstairs were found a sick man and a sick child and down in the basement a little grocery store, into which one to go stooping to avoid being hit on the head by the stock. Nine familles with their boards occupy the house. Howard's court -- a little lane running from Main street, 200 feet toward Fulton, between Front and Water streets -- was next visited and explored from top to bottom. The Italian tenements here consist of five brick houses, each having two stories and a basement. They are the only brick Italian tenements in the First Sanitary District colony and are not nearly such old and wretched structures as the others. Their condition is as filthy, however, and they swarming occupants have succeeded in making them quite as great a nuisance to the neighborhood. Recently these tenements have passed out of the hands of Mr. BURNHAM, the New York lawyer, who owned them. The Italians and neighbors declare that a man name SMITH is the happy possessor. Which SMITH it was they failed to say. On Main street, immediate below the entrance to Howard's court, are three Italian houses. The front rooms on the first floors in the first two are used as barber shops, where a shave costs five cents and hair cutting ten cents. The front room of the third is used as a saloon. All the upstairs rooms are tenanted by Italians, who have rendered the three houses offensive to an almost unbearable degree. On Water street, at the corner of Washington, were found two tenements in which Italians herd by the dozen. They are the property of Mr. KERRIN, the Water street iron dealer. There is also on Water street a big tenement between Washington and Main. These places all possess in a marked degree the characteristics found in the other Italian houses. They were the last of the Italian tenements visited. On the whole there are upward of forty tenements occupied by Italians in the Second Ward, all of which is in the first sanitary district. The total Italian population here is estimated at two thousand, and it is constantly increasing by emigration and from natural causes. It has two hundred votes already, and this number is being doubled every year or two. Already the Italians have become an "influence" in Second Ward politics, for their votes are cast solidly for the candidate with whom the Italian boss can make best terms. It is said that no Italian man, or woman, or child here was every known to wash his or her person or clothes. Clothes are worn till they drop off. An Italian, like those in question, never buys clothes. He find them thrown out on the street by his neighbors. He buys nothing, in fact, except a junk cart and some of his provisions. Other provisions he finds in ash barrels or in gutters; at least those who know the Italian colony very well say that this is true. What these people sell costs them nothing. The rags they pick up anywhere and everywhere and the bottles they also find. Many of them were, until recently, collectors and storers of badly smelling bones, till the Second Precinct police, or rather Officer THIMIG, one of the most efficient men of that force, made six arrest for breach of city ordinances and Judge WALSH imposed in fines. The feeling against THIMIG in the Italian quarter is very bitter, and nothing but his fearlessness and known willingness to engage the whole colony singlehanded saves him from being stilettoed. When making an arrest the other day four brothers did attempt to interfere, but his actions were so prompt and vigorous that they decided to let him alone. Now he is met with smiles and soft words in English and curses and threats in Italian, which he does not understand. The storage of bones, however, has not been altogether discontinued. The writer and his companion found some newly collected in a sack which lay under half a dozen other empty sacks. The proprietor of the room in front of which this sack was found denied all knowledge of the bones, and pretended to rage at the other Italians for bringing them near him. Away down in the cellars, too, which the Italians have divided and subdivided into closets, there are doubtless many tons of bones stored away. Under ordinary conditions they would be rooted out, but the stenches of an Italian tenement are so numerous and varied that it would need a connoisseur to distinguish the smell of decaying bones from the other balmy odors. The Italians will not tell of each other and conviction is difficult. They handle filthy rags and their food alternately, and eat with the same knives and forks and spoons and tin dishes year in and year out without cleaning. One pot and one kettle found in a vacant lot and a stove from the same quarter, probably serves for all culinary purposes. The stoves are all rusty and the cooking vessels battered and indescribably dirty. To see four beds in a room, twelve by fourteen feet in dimensions is common. Each bed has two or three old mattresses upon it as a rule. These are not bought. They are either found or given to the Italians by housekeepers desirous of getting rid of them. The games played by the Italians include no athletic sports. "Sweep" is a game of cards played for small amounts of money and also for drinks. A game with small wooden balls, the object of which is to pitch closest to a given mark, and one played with the fingers exclusively for beer comprise the usual amusements in the Italian quarter. The game with the fingers is played in this wise: Any number of men crowd in a circle and each holds his right hand up. A spokesman calls "four" "two," "three," "one" sharply, and as he calls each must hold up the number of fingers called for. Failure to do this results in the delinquent paying for a can of beer. Over all these games there is a great deal of vociferating and laughing, with here and there an angry outburst. Drinking and gambling are the most frequent sources of quarrels in the Italian quarter. The men settle all their troubles even to their knife cuts and pistol bullets between themselves by payments of money, and it is seldom, indeed, that one will invoke the courts against another. The Italians are not usually quarrelsome when sober, though they are very revengeful. They are said to be as grateful for favors as they are spiteful for injuries received. When drunk and playing cards, though, they are apt to fight, and with them the knife is the first resort. As the rags come back to the American public from these tenements only in the shape of paper; the one danger is that their multitude and vileness and the promiscuity with which they are selected they may develop healthy and enterprising disease germs. The bottles which these people pack up are sold to brewers and druggists and so are used again and come back to the public containing beer and medicine and so forth. It is to be hoped that the buyers thoroughly cleanse them, for the Italians do not. Another article which comes direct to the public from these tenements is horsehair. This picked out of ash barrels and from among vegetable and animal refuse and taken to furniture dealers or harness makers. It is to be hoped that these latter cleanse the horsehair, for the Italians do not. There is said to be still another article made in the Second Ward Italian colony deserving attention: It is the cigarette manufactured out of ground up cigar stubs collected by Italian boys. Of the existence of such a trade, however, the visitor has no certain knowledge. He has only heard of it in the form of rumor. Brooklyn people eat a great deal of maccaroni(sic) made by local Italians, but of this they need have no fear. There are only two factories in this city. One is situated on Front street and the other in Water, both between Main and Fulton. The premises are clean, machinery and dies are unimpeachable in purity, and the flour is the best in the market. These can be inspected at any time. The properties of women to men in the Italian colony is now three to four. Girls marry at thirteen and get quickly aged. Husbands are usually good to their wives and children. Fights about are infrequent, and the marriage relation, though entered into more as a matter of bargain, is pretty rigidly observed. These people are Catholics. They reject the Pope, though they profess allegiance to the church of which he is the head. Garibaldi is their idol and they speak well also of Victor Emmanuel and King Humbert. No priest visits them, and they never attend mass or show a desire for religious services except in case of the dying or dead. Evidently that they have religious feeling is found in the fact that almost all their rooms contain one or more very cheap prints of the "Madonna and Child," the "Archangel Michael Triumphing Over Satan, "St. John the Baptist," etc. Bad as the condition of the tenements in which they live it might be worse, for when the writer visited the same places over a year ago a frescoing made by eight inches of solid rags hung from the ceiling of every room where they had been placed to dry and passages and stairways were choked with kitchen refuse and garbage of all kinds, over which all who entered must walk. About two weeks ago, an Italian inspector was hired by the Board of Health and sent through the tenements of this colony with Officer THIMIG. The inspector found plenty to report and cartloads of dirt to remove, but the task was Herculean and the force employed far too small for it accomplishment. The families who were living in cellars were compelled to move above ground. Three or four seizures of bones were made and a few vaults and cellars were cleaned and disinfected. A physician said it was the Board of Health's usual Spring demonstration, intended to allay public feeling in regard to dirtiness. Now that the spurt is over the cellar dwellers will return, the vaults will be choked to overflowing and yards and passages and rooms all over will resume their former unspeakably dirty condition. None of these tenements except the one last mentioned upon Front street near Fulton, have fire escapes. If a fire broke out at night among them the loss of life would be appalling. The general health of the Italian colonists is good. An allopathic physician said, speculatively, that perhaps the homeopathic doctrine that like cures like would account for this. They eat their bread dry, with plenty of vegetables and little meat. They was a meal down with plenty of beer and avoid tea or coffee, especially the latter, which they declare is very hurtful. They seldom send for a physician unless there is something serious the matter, and this is also pointed to as a cause of longevity by the unkind. Dirty surroundings may be health enough for them because born and brought up amid them, on the same principle that some men can drink fifty glasses of beer per day and keep it up for years, without being apparently the least bit the worse for it. If the cholera should come every Italian colony would be a reservoir for cholera germs and every roaming Italian would be an itinerant cholera dispensary. Surroundings and personal habits of the people are precisely such as cholera microbes are said to delight in. The only practical remedy Brooklyn has for the evils produced by her Italian colonists, in the opinion of those who have given attention to the subject, is to drive them outside the city limits. This could be secured by constantly prosecuting all landlords who harbor them.
MORE NUISANCESAfter leaving the Italian quarter the writer and his companion walked over to Furman street and paused in front of an alleyway which opened up a little west of Doughty street. "Here is a famous tramps' lodging house," said the guide. "Right under the noes of the Heights, you see." Advancing one hundred feet up the alley, past stables which opened out on every side, the visitors came to a number of low sheds, built against the sharp, perpendicular line of the Heights. The ground was filthy and heaped with refuse, and a very foul odor ascended to the back windows of the mansions on Columbia street. "Rather too early in the season for the tramps yet only two of them here, you see.," continued the writer's companion. "If you came to this place on a Summer night you would find them here by the score. I have frequently seen as many as seventy sleeping here. Most of them are all round thieves as well as tramps, but river thieves prevail." The stores on the river front were found to be thoroughly clean and in excellent sanitary condition, but the gratings let into the sidewalks in front of them give out a sickening, unhealthy smell at low tide caused by the decaying vegetable matter left by the water upon the stones on which the storehouses rest. The gratings are necessary ventilators, or at least they are alleged to be. The negro quarters in Hart's alley were found in excellent shape, generally speaking. Dodd's stables on Nassau street, near Washington will bear examination. The row of three story wooden tenements at the corner of Hudson avenue and York street need aspects and immediate looking after. Their closets are in a filthy condition and their back years and interior highly dangerous from a sanitary point of view. Mrs. VOORHIES is the owner. To mention every place in the First Sanitary District which needs looking after would take too long an occupy too much space. Those only which appear to be the most flagrant are spoken of specifically, but is may be well to say generally that Tallman street, which is much improved of late, will bear still more improvement; that Prospect street is also susceptible of improvement, and there are houses which need a good deal of watching on Navy street and Hudson avenue, especially the row of frame houses on the corner of Navy and Sands streets. Though most of these have sewer connections, their vaults are old and the bricks which compose them have rotted. The cellar population which existed in the first sanitary district has been partly cleared out. The condition of the streets in the first district, especially along Navy street and Hudson avenue, and the waterfront is bad. Garbage and refuse choke the gutters and decaying animal and vegetable matter lies till it rots to nothing. One or two of the streets have just received a very perfunctory cleaning, the first and only one they are likely to get this year. They have been covered up with garbage again and are nearly in as bad a state as ever. Another alleged nuisance of the First Sanitary District is the slaughter house region of Hudson avenue. This comprises eight or nine slaughtering establish- ments situated on Hudson avenue below Concord street. The proprietors say that they are all clean and in excellent condition. At certain periods of each week, however, when the proprietors are boiling offal or rendering fate the odor that fills the air is so bad that it prevents those working in neighboring factories from continuing their labor, and a good deal of the unusually large amount of sickness in the neighboring tenements can be traced, so attending physicians declare, to conditions produced by the slaughter houses. Men and women who live in these neighboring tenements say that they cannot eat their meals with any relish and cannot sleep at night because of the odor.
IN THE SECOND DISTRICTOpportunities for Sanitary Improvements in the Sixth and Twelfth Wards. The Second Sanitary District also rivals the first as a breeder and preserver of nuisances, is bounded on the east by Atlantic avenue, on the south by Court street and Fourth avenue and on the north and west by the East River and Gowanus Bay. It has the Sixth and Twelfth wards within its limits and among the feathers in its cap are Slab City, Red Hook Point, Smoky Hollow and an Italian quarter. The Sanitary Inspector, William Ernest PALM, has a hard time of it. Many of the sewerless streets of this district are densely populated. In Hamilton avenue, between Ninth and Court streets, the sewage goes to vaults and cess pools. Coles street suffers from an inadequate sewer between Hamilton avenue and Columbia street. In this part the ground is so much lower than the street that it is impossible to properly connect the vaults. Waste water here with all kinds of refuse in it is thrown into the street gutter and empties into the Columbia street basin. Seabring street, which is a continuation westward of Coles street, is sewerless though lined on each side by houses. It is also unpaved and causes a great deal of annoyance to the firemen of the neighboring truck and engine company. They have to make a long detour every time they were to a fire south of Columbia street. Luquer street, though having a big population in tenements and shanties, has no sewer at all. Columbia street, from Hamilton avenue to the bay, and Hicks, Henry and Clinton streets, between the same points, all are without sewers and need them badly, for they have very large shanty populations living upon them. Many of these streets are unpaved, notably Clinton, Henry and Hicks below Hamilton avenue, though there is a part of Hicks in that locality which boasts a bad attempt at paving. Richards street has a defective sewer, and away down on the Point are Wolcott, Elizabeth, Fern, Delevan, Browne and Tremont street, and also part of Conover street, all sadly in need of sewers and pavement. It is only fair to say that these defects are in a part of the city which was, not long ago, all under water and which, were it not for the streets and breakwater, would be buried out of sight at high tide. The East Basin, the Brooklyn Basin and the Atlantic Basin with their piers and breakwaters, first bid defiance to the flood. Behind these intrenchments the city advanced lines of streets parallel with narrow Red Hook, and raised thirty feet above the level of the marsh. As the streets advanced the dumps followed and in the wake of the dumps came the shanty dwellers who have (?) -- in the square mile of territory between Hamill avenue on the east and the East River channel and Gowanus Bay on the north, west and south -- over (?) shanties, with upward of 2,000 inhabitants, exclusive of fully 1,000 goats and great herds of pigs, flocks of gees and ducks. The filth of this part of the city is indescribable. In some respects it is worse than the Italian quarter of the Second Ward, and that Italians do not live in as filthy manner as they possibly can, but because the dwellers in "Slab City" -- as this shanty town is called, possess superior natural advantages for being dirty. For instance, all dry spots here are raised heaps of ashes and refuse. With their dwellings built up by refuse heaps and the aforesaid immense pig walls (?) their backs, and another big pig wallow across the street from them, the "Slab City" people can get along very nicely and never find it necessary to go to Saratoga or the South or the mountain regions to restore their health. A sunken lot, in which the contractor's carts are dumping ashes and the mixed refuse which people put in which them, presents a very busy scene. ...old women and little boys and girls mingle with the men and horses engaged in many strange occupations. Here, for instance, is one engaged in collecting cinders and coal either for her own home or for sale to her neighbors, for "Slab City" people have sworn not only not to pay rent, but also not to patronize the coalmen. Here is a group of little girls piling up fruit cans. When their fathers come home from driving teams or working along shore or doing something similar they will well a little space of ground in and put a wire netting over it and start a fire under the netting, and when they have got a very good fire they will pike the fruit and tomato cans upon the netting and then solder from them will all drip through while the tin will remain above and the cinders will float on top of the solder and they will skim the cinders off and let the solder cook, and when this is done they have a big slab of solder to sell and the cost of it will fill many a "growler". Rag and bone picking are carried on to a great extent by some of these shanty people and they have other strange trades too numerous to mention, by which the dumps help them to a livelihood if not competency. The young girls are trained up as professional Cinderellas from their babyhood and the little boys become junkmen before they are 7 years old. In the lower border of this "Slab City" territory, from Brush(sic) street between Clinton and Columbia, the tide ebbs and flows through the drains which connect the sunken lots with the bay, with strength sufficient to carry out small boats. Above this point the overflow from the pig wallows at the bottom of the other lots comes down through drains beneath the filled in streets. At high tide the water backs up through these drains as far as Huntington street. The furthest inland of the chain of ponds thus formed is only a block away from Public School No. 27, on Nelson street, near the corner of Columbia, at which 1,500 children attend. Within 100 yards of the public school is a vast public dumping ground, running westward for a long block, from Delevan street, between Dwight and Richards. A great deal of putrid and offensive matter lies on this dumping ground, mingled with the ashes which the contractors' men bring there. Among the worst of this decaying animal and vegetable matter may be classed refuse from the sugar refineries in the neighborhood. Last spring Mayor LOW, with Dr. PALMER, the Sanitary Inspector of the district, the Commissioner of City Works, Chief Engineer VAN BUREN, and Commissioner RAYMOND, of the Board of Health, went through this shanty district. When the "Slab City" people found who was among them there was a great commotion. The result of the visit was seen in the fact that the city appropriated $23,000 for improvements in that locality. It has spent most of that amount already. Hamilton avenue splits Dr. PALMER's district in half, and on each side of this central division line there is a totally different class of people, and the conditions of life are also totally different. Westward of Hamilton avenue is the solid Twelfth Ward, with it populous shanty town; eastward the equally compact Sixth Ward, with many peculiar charms of its own. In the Twelfth Ward among the shanties are portions of the big marsh which once dominated the whole district. In the Sixth Ward all is high and dry. Against the advantages enjoyed by the shanty dwellers the residents of Sixth Ward tenements can put their possessions of city water and the connection which their tenements maintain with sewers. There is an extensive Italian quarter in the Sixth Ward, but it does not bear comparison with that of the Second Ward in point of dirtiness. The tenements occupied by Italians here are principally situated upon Union, President and Carroll streets, between Columbia street and Hamilton avenue, Union street being the central point of the colony. The Italians are of a very different class generally from the bone and rag and old metal collectors of Adams street and its vicinity. Some of them are merchants and manufacturers, and most of the others are mechanics, many being shipwrights. About half the block on the west side of Union street, between Hamilton avenue and Van Brunt street, belong to Mr. KANE, a wholesale liquor dealer. He owns twenty houses and they are nearly all occupied by Italians. The houses upon Union street are good three story brick tenements occupied by Italians, but the vaults and cellars of these houses are in bad condition, sanitary regulations are not complied with and plumbing work is not attended to. Behind No. 22 Union street, which is one of the tenements belonging to Mr. Kane, stretches a row of brick two story cottages which are overcrowded. The vaults here need cleaning and many other sanitary measures would not by any means be out of place. In the rear of the cottages which have been described as running back from No. 22 Union st, Mr. KANE has a big brick stable, the upper portion of which comprises two stories of a tenement house in which about thirty families live. All the Italians of this neighborhood seem to be careless in disposing of their refuse or the street gutters, as may be most convenient. No. 14 Union street and its rear house have a model tenement landlord, an old German gentleman who bears the English name of BENNETT. He exhibits as much assiduity in complying with all the requirements of the Board of Health as Admiral PORTER did in "polishing up the knocker of the big front door" when he served his term in the lawyer's office. His tenements are pictures of neatness. On the opposite side of Union street, facing the Italian tenements owned by Mr. KANE, Inspector PALMER point to a good looking red brick tenement house. "That can be called a smallpox hole," he said. "I have taken a good many cases out of there during the last few years. I don't know how they came to occur there, except through the sailors who come off the ships at this point." Two pork factories were inspected in this district, BAXTER's in Degraw street, near Van Brunt, and GORMAN's, Nos. 150 to 156 Columbia street. In GORMAN's, which is much the larger establishment and which some times packs fifteen hundred hogs a day, the floors are wooden. The rendering room had a smell that seemed to be worse than anything the writer had experienced in the way of bad odors. The disposition made of waste matter is not good. A man was observed throwing something out of the second story gangway door, for instance, as the writer and his companion approached. The matter was examined and found to be "scrap" -- not a peculiarly nice article to throw upon the public street. In BAXTER's packing house the floors are kept dry. Disinfectants are mingled with the "scraps" and they are speedily disposed of in such a manner as to render them inoffensive.
OLD SMOKY HOLLOWOne of the most interesting portions of the Sixth Ward used to be Smoky Hollow, but its glory has departed to a great degree. All that is left of it is the block of old tumbledown frame rookeries belonging to PATCHEN estate, bounded by Hicks, Columbia, Pacific and Amity streets. As an illustration of the pristine simplicity of life in Smoky Hollow, and a trustful faith in the generosity of mankind, it may be well to give one incident. A gentleman has a a stable the manure vault of which obtrudes itself upon a portion of the property on which the houses of the Hollow stand. Time and again the gentleman aforesaid has, in compliance with the mandate of the Board of Health, covered over this vault with good solid boards and nailed them securely down. The inhabitants of Smoky Holly saw in this action a delicate method of presenting them with so much lumber, and with much emotion and more axes they modestly approached and removed the gift with all the delicacy observed in its presentation. After this ceremony had been repeated several time, the gentleman who owned the manure vault grew tired from some unexplained cause and the vault remains uncovered. Buckingham Palace, another notable place, is a three story tenement situated at the corner of Pacific and Hicks streets. Its condition a few months ago as regarded the filth of apartments, hallways, vaults, cellars and all else connected with it was very bad. Vigorous action on the part of the sanitary inspector has induced N. H. FROST, on behalf of the FROST estate, of which it is a distinguished portion, to make necessary repairs and renovations and it shows great improvement as a residence. It has one great advantage over rival tenements of the locality. It is situated on the boundary between the Third Precinct, the width of Pacific street alone separates it from the Third Sub Precinct. It affords the greatest pleasure and entertainment to the ladies and gentlemen who inhabit the palace to sit at their windows on pleasant Sunday morning and "bullyrag" the officers of the Third Sub Precinct, who are powerless to cross the street to make an arrest. This dignified amusement is now one of "Buckingham Palace's" chief attractions. Of Nos. 9, 11 and 13 Emmett street, Mr. Hugh DUFFY is agent. The owner lives in New York and the agent is not empowered to make some of the necessary repairs, and so the houses are in a bad way. The apartments in No. 13 which were examined served as specimens of all. They were in a dirty condition. The vaults in the back yards, used by upward of fifty families, were found in a similar state and their surroundings were equally bad. The condition of Emmett street affords room for criticism. It gutters are filled with refuse and dirty water. A large brick double tenement house, Nos. 363 and 364 Hicks street, which contains nearly fifty families, will bear watching. The principal trouble apparently is in the back yard, which is used as a refuse dump by the families. The reputed owners is A. H. HOWE. All the streets in the Sixth Ward, with the exception perhaps of Atlantic avenue, need cleaning. They are ill paved and dirty.
A TOUR THROUGH THE THIRD DISTRICT Some Objectionable Italian Tenements and Pentilential Dumping GroundsGeneral speaking, the sanitary condition of the Third District is good, but there are some portions which are very bad and will give the Sanitary Inspection, Dr. CRUIKSHANK, a great deal of trouble. This district is bounded on the east and southeast by parts of Johnson and Navy streets, on the north by parts of Fulton street, Boerum place and Court street, on the south by parts of Fourth and Second avenue, and on the west by Fourth place. It forms therefore an irregular oblong square, stretching southeast from Johnson street to Fourth place. The shanty population which once thrived among the dumps and frog ponds of Third and Fourth avenues is almost all gone. Only twelve of the squatter families remain, and against them, Dr. CRUIKSHANK says he has made complaints. The sunken lots, which two years ago were twenty feet below the street surface, are being filled in fast nominally with ashes, but really with lobster and fruit cans, waste paper, rags, old boots and in some instances, garbage and street refuse. Fifty or sixty teams and wagons are now filling in the great sunken lot on the corner of Carroll and Fourth avenue. It extends a whole block. In it center, away down thirty feet below the street level, there is a big frog pond, 150 feet broad and 200 feet long, walled in on all sides by the dumps which slope down to it. Pigs, geese, ducks and small boys in herds and flocks and troops wallow and swim and wade and experience much delight, apparently, while above, mingling with the ash carts are hundreds of goats, weary and cynical of aspect, munching back numbers of the EAGLE and washing its hard facts down with cinders and fruit cans. "Oh, don't ask me," said Dr. CRUIKSHANK, when asked to whom the goats and pigs and geese and ducks belonged. "I never was able to find an owner for any of them and I never heard of a man who was able to find an owner. Pigs should not be allowed in the city limits, and it might mend matters a little if the inspectors were allowed by city ordinance to shoot a pig on sight." In the subsequent afternoon's (?) among the tenements of the Third District the following cases were noted: On Bergen street, between Nevins street and Third avenue, a very hard case of poverty was found. A tall, bronzed, bewhiskered man occupied the front room of the first floor of a miserable tenement there. He is a widower and was staying at home to nurse his eldest little girl, a child of 10, who is just recovering from the scarlet fever. The disease has left her in a very peculiar state, her flesh being just like putty. The inspector pressed his thumb hard against the calf of her leg. It left a deep, round, white indentation, which remained there for fully five minutes. The little patient sat in one corner of the room near the window. Her clothes were filthy rags and she seemed very listless. Away in another corner sat the younger sister, aged about 8, also very ragged trying to sing a song from a book left her by some charitable lady. On the bed was a little boy of 4 or 5 years, with the scarlet marks of disease on his breast and arms. The poor father looked very wistfully at the doctor as he received directions. Behind a big wooden tenement in Baltic street, near Nevins, a very small colony of Italians was found. It was the opening wedge of a new Italian posthole. The colonists did not number more than twenty or thirty, and they had just come into the old tumbledown two story frame rookeries. Already, however, they were in bad order and metaphorically with the fifty families of other nationalities who used the same yards and conveniences. They had set the example of throwing refuse indiscriminately into the yard, and their example had speedily been followed, and now sinks were stopped up and vaults overflowing. From one of the dirtiest rooms of one of the dirtiest houses an Italian emerged with two big cans of ice cream, which he had made inside. He put them upon a hand truck, and set off around the city on a peddling tour. His principal customers are the school children. Two rooms of the tenements in which the Italians live are occupied by an old woman who takes as boarders servant girls who are out of employment. Half a dozen were found lounging about slipshod and unkempt. They said the others had gone down town to the registry offices. The appearance of the rooms was far from being a recommendation of them. All the tenements and cottages here and each and every apartment are in bad condition and threatening to public health in case of cholera. In a cellar on Warren street near Nevins an old widow with three children held out. The place was dark and damp, the air foul and the furniture an old broken chair, a rusty stove and a dirty, miserable mattress with a few rags for covering. The children were almost naked, but their faces were plump and ruddy. "Yes, sir, yes, sir," said the old woman, recognizing the inspector, "it's all clean and nice in here, you see." "How is it they are not out of here?" said the Inspector to the landlady, who lived upstairs and was looking out in some trepidation. "Why don't you tell them to go yourself? They say they don't want to go." "That is not my duty. You have them out within a week or I'll proceed against you." "Humph!" continued the Inspector, as he and the writer turned away, "that old woman knows what she ought to do just as well as you or I do." Invading a miserable tenement in President street, between Third avenue and Nevins street, to the consternation and wrath of the denizens the Inspector and the writer penetrated the house from top to bottom, and found it vile throughout. In the topmost room a middleaged man was sleeping off a drunken stupor on the floor. Two dirty faced, ragged little boys who owned him as a father looked at him with grinning callousness and went downstairs to ply. They had no dinners, but they were used to that. The back yard was a pool of filth and the cellars were unclean. A junkman was found sitting in them sorting rags, of which there was a very large store. An examination showed that the tenants and landlord between them were violating every sanitary rule. Across the street from this house in President street were two brick tenements, which the Inspector said had been greatly improved of late in consequence of his action. They would stand a good deal more improvement, chiefly in the apartments of the tenants, which are in a bad condition. They were laughing and watching the movements of the Inspector and his companion with great interest. Smoke in dense volumes came puffing past their faces from the interior of the rooms. The smoke and odor which met the visitors when they opened the door of the room in which the children were were almost unbearable. The young ones were alone, and had been alone all day since their mother went out washing. They were "taking care of the house," and could get their dinner of stale bread out of the rat ridden cupboard any time they wanted it. The smoke was caused by some defect in the flue, with which the rusty old stove connected, apparently. There are some specimen tenements in the district. Now is the most favorable time to see them, as the Board of Health has been making its annual Spring-time descent upon the landlords. A little later on they will be more neglected and will reek with corruption from cellar to roof if they are not closely watched. On Navy street, near Myrtle avenue, another kind of tenement was found. It was a very large three story frame house, which ran back like a barracks. On both sides of a central passage rooms, in each of which a whole family dwelt, opened out. These rooms are almost all overcrowded and dirty and the air in them is foul. The passage and public parts generally are pretty clean, having been recently scrubbed and calcimined. But tenements are not the only cause for complaint in the Third District. The streets are in a miserable condition. The department has not cleaned many of them for six months, and they have grown so dirty that the matter which goes under the name of dust upon them is really pulverized corruption and disease germs of all kinds. All the streets crossing Third and Fourth avenues, from Dean down to Fifth street, need cleaning very badly. Of the condition of Fourth avenue, upon which many people have to drive and walk, it is almost unnecessary to speak. A cloud of dust, like a sand storm in the Sahara, rises from under the wheels of each cart and the feet of each horse and precipitates itself upon every one who is walking to leeward and upon the fronts of all the houses. Taken upon the whole, it is perhaps in a worse condition than any street in Brooklyn. The stables of the Atlantic avenue Railway Company are situated in the Third Sanitary District and in a very well built up part of it -- the corner of Atlantic and Third avenues. Generally they cannot be regarded as objectionable, and the company endeavors to render them inoffensive, but periodically -- about once a week, perhaps -- when cleaning up day comes, they emit a very bad odor. The Royal Baking Powder Company's works, on Ninth street, near the Gowanus Canal, is an institution of which the neighbors complain. A very well known gentleman, whose lumber mill is in the neighborhood, said he had complained about the Baking Powder Company's works to Health Commissioner RAYMOND, but that the fumes from the cream of tartar building of which he complained were prejudicial to public health. He did not feel like assuming this burden of proof, and so said no more. The company denies that there is any cause for complaint against it.
THE FOURTH DISTRICT Good Work on the Sunken Lots -- Twenty-Eighth Street Sewer -- A contractor's Generosity -- The Lakes in Prospect Park.The Fourth Sanitary District, of which Dr. John J. GLEAVY, of 391 Dean street, is inspector, is bounded on the north by parts of First, Second and Fourth avenues, on the east by Flatbush avenue and on the south and west by the city limits. In extent it is one of the largest district in Brooklyn, but Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery cut into its area somewhat. It is a district which formerly was one of the bad spots of Brooklyn, but recently there has been a great improvement. The big sunken lots upon which Darby's Patch stood a year and a half ago have all been filled in with thousands and thousands of tons of ashes and fresh earth. The patch began at the corner of Degraw street and Fifth avenue and crossed through to Fourth avenue, forming a regular street of shanties two hundred yards long. Other shanties were scattered all about the dumps, and for many a year before well built Brooklyn advanced toward the sunken lands which lay on either side of Third, Fourth and Fifth avenues. Darby's Patch was a densely populous shanty town containing over a thousand squatters who paid no rent and acknowledged no rivals except the grim and dignified goat, the phlegmatic hog and the independent flocks of geese and ducks which went sailing down the filthy ponds between the great heaps of ashes and refuse which the city was kind enough to throw there.
DARBY'S PATCHThe men of Darby's Patch were junkmen, teamsters, longshoremen and day laborers, when they chose to labor, but their wants were few, living as they did was very cheap, the location was airy, the prospect suited their aesthetic tastes, the dumps contained all kinds of treasure for those of archaeological or antiquarian proclivities and life there was happy as a typical May morning. These were the bright days of the patch and neighbors were always willing to fight or drink on invitation. But as the city, with its pestiferous notions about cleanliness and filling up waste places, advanced upon them the inhabitants of the patch retired one by one. A year and a half ago they got notice to leave their places, and when they did not go Deputy Sheriff HARDY and a posse of men went down and threw their furniture out upon the road. Some of the ladies and gentlemen of the patch objected to these summary proceedings and there was an exciting discussion and much strong language was used. When the Sheriff's officers went away the squatters moved their "furniture" back, and when they received notices of dispossession they gave them to the goats to read. Through some error or another the goats eat the notices and the squatters staid where they were, and Bridget FLINN(?) and old Patsy McGAHANU expressed the opinion that "Nathur HARDY ner all de sogers dat cud be brung wud make us leve de patch." A grave catastrophe thus threatened the people of the United States. It was averted by a German gentleman, whose name has never been disclosed, but who was supposed to be the representative of Prince Bismarck. He mediated between the belligerants with such success that the squatters all consented to forego their claims and remove to a more secluded spot, which they did. The sunken block upon which the shanties stood is now the property of a gentleman named LYNCH. He is selling city lots in it. They would not have brought $500 each a year ago, when there were thirty feet below street level in some places. The surface of these lots is clean earth, but the substratum is ashes and refuse. Some of the surrounding sunken lots have not fared as well as this, however. Water has been stagnant in them for years and they are used as dumps for all kinds of offensive garbage as well as (illegible). However, a great deal of filling in has been done here during the past year, and an excellent portion of the city is growing up in consequence. Sunken lots upon Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth avenues and Sixteenth, Thirty-sixth and Thirty-ninth streets have come to the surface or are rapidly arriving at it. Little in fact is left of the vast expanse of dirty marsh through which the streets named have run. During the past year nearly half square mile of filling twenty feet deep has been put in here. The theory of maintenance is that this marsh with (?) odors, should have bred intermittent fever and (?) and ague, but if it did the denizens of the shanty towns on it borders never found it out. In regard to the vacant lots which yet remain in that district covered with stagnant water it may be well to suggest that it is possible to get rid of this water merely by drilling through the hard bed which the water has formed for itself. It will then disappear into the sea(?). This remedy has the advantage of cheapness and it has proved efficacious in other similar cases. The offensive sights of the Fourth District hardy came up to the average of other portions of the (?). Nevertheless, they were not by any means altogether absent. On Nineteenth street, between Third avenue and Gowanus Canal, the roadway was found to be unpaved and residents of the three frame houses upon it claim that they were unable to dispose of their refuse, as the garbage wagons and men dumped all their collections for the neighboring streets on the small vacant lot in front of the poor people's doors. The families living in the houses were Germans, and their domiciles and yards were as clean as possible. They said that they had spoken to Alderman KANE twice about the garbage wagons and the condition of their surface drains, and he had promised to call the attention of the Board of Health to the matter. Nothing has resulted, however. These houses are built on low ground, and the kindness of the contractor in making a public dump of the vacant lot in front of them has so arranged matters that the rain water from the lot in question and also from the property between there and Third avenue flood into them. When it rains, they are flooded, and the surface drains become a nuisance instead of a help, the drains are so elevated that the ends of the perimeter are actually lower than the ends of the street. Connection with the canal which is only sixty or a hundred feet away, would remove all the trouble. That much complained of nuisance, the Twenty-eighth street sewer, is in this district. Its mouth is close in shore and whatever filth it empties into the bay is washed back very promptly and rots upon the shore, depreciating the neighboring property and making those who reside upon it wish they were dead. This Twenty-eighth street sewer ought to be a rather sore matter with the city, as it has already cost the authorities more than $26,000 in law suits. However, it is probable that the new sewer, which will be finished at this point by May or June, will obviate the evil. It goes without saying that the streets in this district are in a very bad way, both as to paving and dirt, are all the streets in Brooklyn, with a few notable exceptions. Twentieth, Twenty-first, Twenty-second, and part of Nineteenth street; Third avenue, from Fifteenth to Twenty-fourth street; Fifth avenue, from Eighth street, from Second to Third avenue, and Ninth street, also from Second to Third avenue is the worst off in this respect. They are very ill paved and very unclean. The cobble stones are of the roughest description. No disease has been traced by the inspector either to the condition of these streets or the Twenty-eighth street sewer, but he says that as the inhabitants of the houses upon the streets named have the fall sweep of air from bay to ocean, and as those near the sewer have the strong breeze from uninfected parts of the bay, the explanation may be that the natural healthiness of the location overcomes the artificial sources of ill health. From Twenty-eighth to Sixtieth street cesspools exist all the way, as there is no sewer beyond Twenty-eighth street. Exclusive of this there are few cesspools in the district. The inspector claims that they have decreased 50 percent in the past four years. Ninth street has a row of them, however, between Third avenue and Gowanus Canal. This part of Ninth street is all built up with cottages, which get rid of their waste water by means of surface drains connected directly with the street gutters. The result is very offensive, as the gutters are often brimming with foul smelling water, and a sewer is urgently needed. All the sewers which empty into Gowanus Bay may be said to be offensive. None of them go further out than the bulkheads and as the water of the bay is very much sheltered the garbage floats back to the shore. If they can be carried out to tidewater it would afford relief.
PROSPECT PARK LAKESAlthough, as said before, Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery are within the bounds of Dr. GLEAVY's fourth district, he has never felt impelled to devote special study to their sanitary condition. He is convinced, however, that they are both very healthy, especially Greenwood, as he has never had a complaint from any of the permanent residents of that place. Having often heard it remarked that some of the smaller ponds of Prospect Park appeared to be shallow, stagnant water with a mud bottom, that they were filled throughout with vegetation which formed what looked like a solid surface over them; and dead leaves blown into them by thousand lay where fate carried them; that the dense vegetation fringing the bank trailed down into the water and stayed there until Winter came to kill it, and that the ponds generally looked as if they were excellent propagator of typhoid fever and fever and ague, the writer went to see what Colonel John Y. CULYER had to say on the subject. Mr. CULYER said: "The plant which causes that green appearance you speak of is a very minute species of duckweed called Lemna Minor. If the purest water be only shallow enough, still enough and warm enough, this plant will appear. It is not deleterious to health. In fact it help to purify the water. The only objection that can be urged against it is that it is unsightly when viewed from a distance. Looked at closely you will see that the plant is a beautiful and wonderful one. Croton Lake is so covered with the plant that you will almost think that you can walk across ti, and no one will say that the waters of Croton Lake are impure. Dr. SILLIMAN, who made a report on the presence of this species of duckweed in the Central Park reservoir, says it is not at all harmful. There is no decaying vegetable matter in the waters nor is there any plant in quantity except this duckweed. I don't admit that these waters are contaminated or can be. One source of purification of water is evaporation. What do you think the evaporation of water from Prospect Park lakes is upon a day when the thermometer stands at 90? Well, it is 500,000 gallons. Still, Prospect Park is the people's ground and if it spoils their pleasure to see the duckweed in the little ponds, or if it frightens them, it must go if we can get rid of it, and we have already taken steps this year to exercise greater vigilance to keep the growth down as much as possible. To get rid of it altogether we would need a sufficient water supply to produce a strong current. We cannot get this without a very considerable outlay. Little scares have frequently been gotten up concerning the condition of Prospect Park lakes, but there never was any foundation for them. A writer in a New York paper tried to start a panic on the subject a year or so ago, but his misstatements were so glaring and they offered such a splendid opportunity for refutation that it was a very easy matter to answer him. He said, for instance, that the unhealthy exhalation from Prospect Park lakes were so well known and so much dreaded that land up in this neighborhood had decreased in value in consequence and property could not be sold. A man had only to glance at this part of the city to see how much it had grown and how rows upon rows of fine houses were going up in all directions. These facts you see were a complete answer in themselves."
IN THE FIFTH DISTRICT Defective Vaults, Badly Paved Streets, Unclean Vacant Lots and a Few Dirty TenementsThe Fifth Sanitary District is bounded by Flushing, Washington, Franklin, Flatbush and Atlantic avenues at the various angles. It runs southwest to the city line from Flushing avenue, and includes a shanty section out in the neighborhood of the reservoir and a tenement section down by Flushing avenue. On the whole it is an excellent part of the city, having some of the choices streets of the Hill within the limits, and their names are sufficient to insure their good sanitary condition. The streets on the Hill are, as a rule, very well paved and in an excellent state of cleanliness, but away from the Hill are the exceptions referred to. Between Atlantic avenue and the city line the pavement is wretched and the streets are uncleaned year in and year out. Gutters here are filled with filthy water and emit a very unhealthy oder. Some of the streets of this neighborhood are not paved at all, and others are paved with round top cobblestones, more irregular and exasperating to drivers of vehicles than a section of worn out old corduroy road in a swamp region. Dr. DENISON is the District Inspector. The shanties in this district are all situated between the city line and Atlantic avenue. They are bout fifty in number and cannot be said to constitute a nuisance as they are widely scattered over a large area of unbuilt territory, through much of which streets have not yet been cut. The inhabitants of these tenements keep a large number of animals, but they have plenty of room for them and no one complains that the shanties and their surroundings are injurious to health. St. Marks avenue, between Grand and Washington avenues, needs a sewer very badly, but beyond this defect the sewerage of this part of the district appears to be adequate and good. The cellar population of the Fifth Sanitary District has lately been moved out by the action of the health authorities. There were about thirty-five families living in cellars before this. The condition of vacant lots in the region above Atlantic avenue is bad. People of the neighborhood have for years been throwing refuse of all kinds upon them. It has now become the duty of the Department of Public Works to clean them off, and they need it. After they have been cleaned off, owners should be compelled to fence them in, and then a few arrest of persons found throwing refuse on these lots would suffice to keep them clean. The stench from them is prejudicial to public health, but as the part of the city about them is sparsely populated they are not yet a crying evil. There are two soap factories in the Fifth Sanitary District. One blongs to Charles S. HIGGINS. It occupies half a block, stretching eastward from the corner of Park and Clinton avenues. The other, which is the property of Mr. John DOSCHER, is situated at the corner of Raymond and Bolivar streets. Mr. HIGGINS' soap factory is new and by some means he has been able to avoid all stench in carrying on his manufacturing. No complaint has ever been made to the Health Department against him. Mr. DOSCHER's factory is old. Two years ago complaints against him were frequent, but that seems to have straightened its affairs up and is now odorless. No smell was observable when the writer visited it recently. There is also a pork packing establishment here belonging to Mr. LOCKITT. It is situated in Division street. It is clean apparently and seems to have no stench. Next door to LOCKITT's pork packing establishment on Division street is a large brick tenement, owned by the same gentleman. It is new, contains thirty-two families, with capacity for eight or ten more and is a model in its way. Fifty or sixty Italian families have settled in an old row of frame tenements on Flushing avenue near Vanderbilt, and have converted it into a very disagreeable spot. The vaults and front and back yards are in very bad order. An old frame house at the corner of Bedford and Canton streets, containing twenty negro families, needs immediate attention. The rooms are overcrowded and filthy, the back yard filled with refuse, and the cellar and vault in very bad condition. It constitutes one of the few cases in the city in which a house inhabited by negroes comes down to the level of the Italian dwellings. At the corner of Canton and Tillary streets a large brick tenement, containing thirty-five families of respectable working people was found. An inspection showed that all public parts were scrupulously clean, the passages well scrubbed, the cellar dry and void of all that might prove offensive, and the back yard mud closets in the very best order. The private apartments were neat and well kept, and all the usual drawbacks of tenement life appeared to be absent. The janitor complained that he had trouble in getting the refuse of the houses removed promptly, the carts for that purpose not having made their appearance on two of the appointed days. He explained the neatness of the tenements under him by saying that the vast majority of the people with whom he had experience wanted to live in cleanly fashion, and that if the careless minority were repressed all went well. If he found a family incorrigibly given to uncleanly habits they were ousted promptly, and plenty of others could be found who would take their places and live decently. The principal nuisances of the Fifth Sanitary District are, therefore, defective vaults, badly paved and dirty streets, unclean vacant lots and a few dirty tenements in the neighborhood of Flushing avenue. Dr. DENISON suggested as a remedy for the present condition of the streets the passage of an ordinance compelling owners of property to clean the thoroughfares in front of their estates, leaving the dirt piled up in such a manner that the city could remove it with ease. Many of the residents of the Hill streets do this now and do not find it at all a burden. He also suggested, when asked his opinion, that all owners of tenement houses be required to keep a janitor, who would be responsible to the landlord as the landlord is to the Health Board for the good sanitary condition of the house.
THE CONDITION OF THE SIXTH DISTRICT
Jackson's Hollow and the Flooded Section of the City the Chief Causes of Complaint.The Sixth Sanitary District is the only one which boasts any shape. It is a perfect oblong square, bounded on the north by Flushing avenue, on the south by Lafayette avenue, on the east by Yates avenue and on the west by Washington avenue. Dr. E. PENDLETON is the sanitary inspector. Jackson's Hollow formerly extended from Ryerson street to Classon avenue and from Myrtle avenue to Gates. It was one of the worst of Brooklyn's numerous shanty towns. The poorer portions of this once famous aggregation of toughness have disappeared, and though a few old shanties remain on DeKalb avenue near Grand, they are fast disappearing. An Italian settlement is to be found in Skillman street, below Park avenue, in two houses, a three story front and two story rear, both frame. Conditions here are as filthy as usual and the houses themselves are an offense to the community. The families are all in the junk and rag business. They are overcrowded and their premises are buried in accumulated refuse of all kinds. The hay barges in Walworth street, between Park and Myrtle avenues, is another salubrious locality. The houses composing it are built on the front and rear plan. They have a crowded population and are unclean throughout. Cellars are choked with ashes and refuse vaults are in as bad a condition as it is possible for them to get. Branch Public School No. 24, on Ellery street, as well as Public School No. 33, on Hayward street, is overcrowded. Their sanitary condition seems to be good, with this exception. Some of the finest tenements in the whole city are to be found on Lewis avenue, near Stockton street. They are three story brick houses, each governed by a janitor. The portion of Flushing avenue which bounds the Sixth Sanitary District is almost all within the "flooded district," as it is called. At any rate, the floods extend from Walworth to Whipple street on Flushing avenue. The floods sometimes extend down as low as Franklin avenue, and the horses drawing the Flushing avenue cars are half covered by the water at times, while passengers have to stand on the seats. Some of the floods here have been so severe that people narrowly escaped drowning. The flooding is caused by the sewer backing up. The storm sewer does not afford the expected relief. There are overflows at Broadway and Walworth street, just a few yards outside the Sixth District, and at Broadway, Throop avenue and Middleton and McKibben streets. On Myrtle avenue, near Nostrand, the water backs up. Harrison avenue and Wallabout street also suffer. Cellars here are filled with sewage laden water at high tide, but they are drained by direct connections when the water subsides. People who live in this district have suffered for years from this evil of periodical flooding. The cause is low ground. The houses are built over the beds of two old creeks which once ran into Wallabout Bay. The street cleaning and garbage collection are conducted badly in this part of the city. That is to say, the collection of garbage is not done at all and the street cleaning is done according to the Biblical text "To him that shall be given." The clean streets get all the cleaning.
THE SEVENTH DISTRICT
It is in Pretty Good Condition Although It Has Three Horse Car Stables In It.The Seventh Sanitary District is bounded by Lafayette, Gates and Albany avenues on the north and east and by Atlantic, Washington and Franklin avenues and the city line on the south and west. Its slope is from northeast to southwest, and it takes in a very large territory, about three-fourths of which is unbuilt. Between Atlantic and Lafayette avenues are many fine streets, the houses on which will compare favorably with the best that other parts of the Hill can show. On Atlantic avenue, however, are some tenements and between Atlantic avenue and the Penitentiary the buildings are of a very poor class generally. Dr. G. NAUGHTON is sanitary inspector of this district. During last year he says the general health of the people in his territory has been good. The contagious diseases have been confined to a small number of cases of diphtheria and a few cases of scarlet fever. Typhoid fever has been very rare. Cases of diphtheria have occurred as frequently in the best houses as in the tenement houses. Inspection consists of occasionally visiting those parts of the district which are known to be in bad condition. No regularity is observed about this. Houses of the better class are not visited at all. Few houses in the district are without separate water service. The inspector says he know of none except the shanties. The number of cellars in this district used as sole dwelling places by families is about twenty-five. Dr. McNAUGHTON (sic) claims that they are dry and light and have comparatively good air, being free from positively bad odors. Most of the tenement houses are situated on Atlantic avenue, north side, between St. James place and Grand avenue, but there are detached houses of this kind all along Atlantic avenue up to a point above Bedford. About 125 familles in all inhabit them. Garbage is deposited in the cellars of most of these houses. The inspector orders them cleaned when they are found dirty, but according to his own account there is no regularity of inspection. Yet he has so far failed to see any disease which could be directly attributed to the bad sanitary condition of these tenements. In explaining his meaning on this point, he said: "If an epidemic was found prevailing in a block, I could reasonably suppose that the bad sanitary condition of the block was...... others are served by means of dumb waiters from a separate kitchen. Contagious diseases, he says further, are quickly stamped out at both places and the death rate is very low.
CONDITION OF THE EIGHTH DISTRICT Rural and Therefore Clean -- Some Bad Spots, Though -- Cow Stables and Car Stables -- The Shanty People.The Eighth Sanitary District is the largest in the city. It stretches from Flushing avenue on the north, between Sumner avenue and the eastern city line to the city line on the south. It, therefore, contains the Twenty-fifth ward and parts of the Eighteenth, Twenty-first, Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth wards. Dr. J. CORBIN is the Inspector. More than two-thirds of the territory is yet unoccupied by buildings and half the houses which are built are new. There is, therefore, no excuse for over- crowding, and the chief nuisances are caused by lack of sewers. There is also such a large area of vacant lots that the garbage contractors' carts have not succeeded in making them offensive dumps yet. Beside, they are too far for the garbage carts to come without inconveniencing the drivers. "Quinn's Flats," over by St. Mary's Hospital is one of the bad spots of this district. QUINN is an old man who has built a shanty which contains twenty or thirty rooms. These he lets for fifty cents per week each and a very dissipated and filthy crowd have gathered in the '"flats". As Mr. QUINN is a squatter his receipts are pure profit. The "flats" are not offensive to any one, as Mr. QUINN does not live near any one except the Crow Hill negroes, whose shanties are scattered all about in the locality which once rejoiced in the name of Weeksville. These negro colonies are in a rather filthy condition. Animals and men and women all dwell together with harmonious indiscrim- inateness. This shanty region extends to the city line, from Schenectady and Utica avenues. In the Summer time the negro men support their families by farm work; in the Winter the women take in washing and the men have an easy time. There is a pork packing establishment in this district. It is situated on Chauncey street, near Fulton. Harry KNEELAND is the proprietor. He claims to have some new process by which rendering is made inodorous. No unpleasant smell is perceptible in the rendering room or in any other part of the place. The floors are wooden. There are two car stables in this district, that of the Troy and Sumner avenue and one of the Bergen street line. Both are situated on Bergen street, near Albany avenue. They are quite new and their manure vaults are legally constructed. A great number of the streets here are unsewered, among them being Hull, Hopkinson, Herkimer and a part of Howard avenue, where the Manhattan Building Company is putting up a large number of fine Queen Anne houses. The Howard avenue sewer is carried up hill part of the way, and the builder has found to his astonishment that water will not flow upward. The sewer only runs up to Marion street from Broadway. It should at least run to Herkimer street, as Herkimer street needs sewer accommodation. There are two cow stables in this district; one in Dean street near Utica avenue. It belonged to one EVANS, but is now said to be owned by a woman. The surrounding region is quite built up and the cows re complained of by neighbors. The stable people say that the premises are as clean as they can be kept. The piggeries have all be driven out of the district.
THE NINTH DISTRICT NONE TOO CLEAN Dutchtown's Tenements -- An Unsewered Locality -- Newtown Creek Nuisances -- Breezes from the Bone Boilers; Blood from the Slaughter Houses.The Ninth Sanitary District, the inspectors of which is G. WIEBER, M.D., takes in the Sixteenth Ward and a portion of the Eighteenth. It is bounded on the west by a part of Broadway, on the north by Ninth street, on the east by Metropolitan avenue and on the south by Flushing avenue. The Sixteenth Ward, which is within this sanitary district is essentially a tenement house ward, but the houses are of a peculiar kind. They are neat frame buildings, painted white and with the conventional green shutters. These houses are almost invariably three stories in height and contain at the most six families, except in extraordinary cases. Usually the owner is a German of moderate means, who lives in the house himself, occupying part or whole of the first floor and looking after his property himself. Usually also the tenants are of the same nationality as the landlord. As a rule, they are cleanly and are respectable working people, who take pride in having bright, cheerful homes. The houses are much crowded in this ward, however, front and rear houses being found upon the same lot more frequently than in any other part of the city. The population is over 50,000 now and the number of tenement houses 1,500. This would give a tenement population of 37,000 if five families be taken as the average number per house and five individuals as the average family. The death rate in the Sixteenth Ward is conspicuously high, and has been so for a long time. In 1868, when the average annual death rate per 1,000 of Brooklyn's population was 25 and a small fraction, it was 39 and a fraction here. It is hard to understand why this should be the case, as the Germans are usually supposed to be a robust people. They suffer from the overcrowding alluded to, but in other parts of the city where tenements of the same size contain from twice to eight times the number of families, and where the surroundings are filthy, a lower death rate prevails. Some of the theories of physicians are to the effect that the large consumption of malt liquor among the Germans affects their health in the long run. Equally competent theorists, however, believe that the good health of our ten or twelve thousand Italian colonists is largely due to the fact that they drink beer and eschew tea and coffee. That portion of the Eighteenth Ward which lies within this district is of much the same character as the Sixteenth Ward where it is built up, but a great deal of it is yet unbuilt. It has a high death rate, but it has also an excellent excuse for it, as St. Catharine's Hospital stands within its bounds, and all the deaths occurring there are credited to the district. There are a number of factories in the Eighteenth Ward; WATERBURY's rope works, for instance, and a great number of breweries -LIEBMANN's, SEITZ's, HUBER's, UHLMANN's, CLAUS Bros., LIEBMANN's Sons. All the slaughter houses of the Eastern District are situated on the Johnson avenue plank road in that portion of the Eighteenth Ward which lies within the Ninth Sanitary District. They are seven in number, chief among them being the establishment of Moses MAY. Meat Inspector HOBDAY, an employe of the Health Department, is continually on hand here watching for diseased meat and looking after the general sanitary condition of the premises. The floors are washed down with hose immediately after the killing has been done, and the intestines and all waste are removed each day to New York. There is one bad thing about these slaughter houses which needs remedy, and that is the disposal of blood and refuse. There is no sewerage out to the slaughter houses and the blood runs from the floors into open channels which conduct it through the ground to Newtown Creek. A large population has settled about these slaughter houses, but as the people of the neighborhood either work in the slaughter houses themselves or are dependent upon them for custom, they would not complain, no matter what was done. A more aggressive nuisance than that of the slaughter houses is found in the bone boiling establishments that have taken up a position on the east side of Newtown Creek, opposite Meeker avenue. From their secure location in Queens County they bombard the Eighteenth Ward and portions of the Ninth and Eleventh Sanitary District with most appalling stenches. Talking about Newtown Creek, too, it may be as well to say that this portion of it is far from savory. When the tide is low nothing but mud is left of Newtown Creek at Grand street, and this mud has a very bad smell. Though the tenement houses in the Ninth Sanitary District are in excellent condition, as a rule, there are some exceptions. In Moore street, between Ewen and Graham avenue, there are four or five houses inhabited by Bohemians, who average sixteen families to a house. The houses are now four story frame buildings but the tenants are almost as filthy in their habits as Italians. They throw refuse into the street and yards. The vaults, though new are beginning to be offensive, and several times the yards have become so obnoxious that Mr. SCHLITZ, the undertaker, who lives opposite, has paid for having them cleaned. The region between Siegel street and Flushing avenue and between Humboldt street and Bushwick avenue has no sewers, though the population is dense. Consequently the houses in it are in a more or less filthy condition. The buildings are old and dilapidated, and there are more shanties among them than in any other part of the Sixteenth Ward. Cook street has some bad spots too, and Hope, between Tenth street and Union avenue, has a row of brick houses which though connected with the sewer, are in a filthy condition. They are also overcrowded. In Montrose avenue, near old Bushwick avenue, there is more overcrowding. Maujer street, from Waterbury to Newtown Creek, is dirty, and one house, owned by a non resident, is in a disgraceful condition. In Grand street, between Humboldt street and Bushwick avenue, are other houses in bad condition, though the vaults have sewer connections. People say that the sewer is not wide enough, and the health Inspector thinks that they are obstructed. Union avenue, from South First to South Second street, is in poor sanitary condition throughout. Italians are living in the houses at the corner of Ainslie street and Union avenue. Their houses have no sewer connections, and they are filthy and overcrowded. Nos. 396 and 398 Grand street, old, rotten, three story frame rear houses, with a butcher shop and a lager beer saloon in front, are in very bad condition. The streets of this Ninth Sanitary District are filthy. Most of them have the animal and vegetable accumulations of six months upon them and this, too, in the overcrowded Sixteenth Ward. Graham avenue has been cleaned once this year, but it is now as bad as ever, to judge from appearances. Its gutters are filled with foul smelling water and the pavement is thickly carpeted with refuse. All the streets in the Sixteenth Ward running north and south are especially unclean, yet the sanitary inspector says that on the whole the street cleaning was never better done. With the exception of Graham avenue and Grand street it has not been done at all this season. The cars on Graham avenue have to keep their windows closed, as clouds of dust fly through them if they are opened. Johnson avenue has a layer of refuse two inches thick upon it, and Johnson avenue is only a fair example of many others. Wherever a vacant lot is found there is found also an immense rubbish heap, for a vacant lot here is regarded as a general dumping ground. A few arrests have been made by the police of the Sixth Precinct for throwing ashes and refuse on the public streets, but the results of these arrests cannot be seen in any improvement except in the immediate locality. The pavements are of cobblestone, in a shameful state of dilapidation. It is positively dangerous to drive over some of the streets. Montrose avenue is especially bad, and Bushwick avenue throughout the district is neither graded nor paved. The garbage collector's "system" does not appear to have reached the Ninth District at all yet.
IN THE TENTH DISTRICT. Some Rather Bad Tenements and a Scarcity of Garbage Collectors.The Tenth Sanitary District comprises the Thirteenth and Nineteenth wards, being bounded by North Second street and Broadway on the East, the East River on the North, Ninth street on the South and Flushing avenue on the southwest. Dr. S. N. FISK is the sanitary inspector. The good character of the Nineteenth Ward is well known to everybody who knows the Eastern District of Brooklyn. It is a ward of four story brown stone dwelling houses, the homes of some of the wealthiest of Brooklyn's citizens. The Thirteenth Ward, too, is an excellent one on the whole, so that the Tenth Sanitary District has not so many sore spots to show, as the long water front and large population might be held as indicating. Nevertheless there are some tenements here which vie with the worst the Sixth or Second wards can show. In North Second street, between Sixth and Seventh streets there stands what is know as Delap's row. The houses here are four story tenements, ten in number. They contain about 800 or 1,000 Italians who devote most of their time and attention to the gathering of rags and paper. Their quarters rival those of their countrymen in Adams street and nothing worse can be said of them. Five families in a room 14 feet square is nothing extraordinary and the handling of refuse is accompanied with no ceremony. It is thrown out of the window into the back yard or the street, or out of the doors into the passages or cellars, or under the beds. The people appear to be health and strong. There are plenty of women among them and troops of children. Their houses have no sewer connections and their vaults and their surroundings are indescribably filthy. Stacks of junk lie in the yard and half naked children play among them. Rows of junk carts stand in front of the houses. "Dem Eyetalians is no good," said a saloon keeper of their neighborhood looking at them in disgust. "No dey don't come no stale beer racked on me. Dey came to me at first for it, but I sed naw and den dey had to buy fresh beer. But dere no good even den. Dey work de growler an' we don't make no profit on the growler business. I'm glad de row is to be torn down for dat's wot Delap says. De Eyetalians must go." Another Italian tenement is on Maujer street between Union avenue and Lorimer street. It is a small place, but as full as a rabbit burrow. The yard is always packed with old junk and old bones and rags. No sewerage is found here and the place is dirtiness itself. Another similar row of tenements is found in Union avenue, between Ainslie and North Second Streets. Many re two story frame houses, filled with Italians and muck and rags. There is another small Italian colony in South Fifth street, near Twelfth. In North Third street near Fourth, also is a similar encampment of the ragpickers. They have just got into this place, but it's rapidly bringing it up to the average Italian standard of filth. The Italian inspector is said to be in the habit of visiting these places and remonstrating with the tenants. Dr. FISK says an improvement has been effected. If this is the case its original condition must have been something to be remembered. The Italians are not by any means the only unclean people in the Tenth Sanitary District, however. The famous Battle Row is in South Fifth street, between First and Second streets. There are ten or twelve old frame houses in this row. The vaults have defective sewer connections, the waste pipes are broken, the cellars damp and filthy and the back yards choked up with refuse. The belligerent character of the ladies and gentlemen who inhabit the row gives it the name it possesses. The property is in the hands of Agent POLHEMUS. There was great difficulty in collecting the rents of this property some years ago, but it has now disappeared. On South Third street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, are some houses which formerly belonged to the James WATERBURY estate and which, like other portions of estates in litigation, fell into dilapidation. The front houses are four story brick and the rear three story frame. There are five houses and ten or twelve families to a house. Scarlet fever and diphtheria made considerable inroads among the people living here within the past twelve months. The vaults stand in the unpaved yard between the front and rear houses. They are legal vaults, but the bricks are saturated and the result is highly offensive. Cellars are dark, damp and unventilated and the property is generally dilapidated. On South Eighth street, near Second, is a row which will shortly be abolished. The houses stand gable end on toward the street fronting on a narrow court yard. They are three story brick houses containing ten or twelve families each. The vaults are situated at the end of the court yard right under the front windows of the furthest houses. Several fatal cases of diphtheria have occurred here lately. The owner is a ship building. Dr. FISK called his attention to the condition of the houses lately and he responded that they were to be torn down and the ground used for good dwellings. On North Second street, at the corner of Third, there is a row of four dilapidated four story brick houses containing about forty-eight familles. They are in a filthy condition and their old fashioned vaults, although legal are highly offensive. Opposite Father MALONE's Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, on Second street, between South Second and South Third, stand five double houses, three story bricks, old and dilapidated. Vaults, yards, cellars and inhabitants here are filthy throughout. Most of the property is owned by New York people. Near Rush street, on Wythe avenue, are some four story houses lately changed into tenements. They are dilapidated and somewhat offensive. They are a part of the estate of old VALENTINE, an Irish miser, who would squeeze a cent till it shrieked. Nothing but the courts would ever make him lay out any money on improvements. Now his heirs have fallen to quarreling over the property he scraped together, and his tenants fare worse than ever. Other isolated tenements in this district might be specified in considerable numbers as afflicted with very bad sanitary conditions. Perhaps the Clymer street row near the Fifth Sub-precinct is the worst yet mentioned. The Wallabout region contains some bad tenements with rough, dissipated occupants. A row of tenements on Kent avenue near the Wallabout Bridge, is one of the worst of these spots. More or less contagion is in all the time. When the bridge was being built through it swept away a regular barracks of a place ten times worse than Battle Row ever knew how to be. The BURNS family was queen of them all. Just at present the measles has invaded the fine houses of the Nineteenth Ward and is having a successful run through them. Street cleaning in the Tenth Sanitary District is said by the inspector to be "better than every before." It is tolerable on Broadway and Grand street and the fine streets of the Nineteenth Ward. On the streets where the poor people live, such as North Second street, it has not been done at all. The garbage collected has not yet got his "system in working order in this locality.
THE ELEVENTH DISTRICT Filthiness of Newtown and Bushwick Creek -- Too Much Protection for Navigation -- A Pleasant Surprise in the Polish Quarter.All Greenpoint is included in the Eleventh Sanitary District, which takes in everything west and north of Second street and Metropolitan avenue. Dr. A.M. BURNS is the inspector of this district and he has not nearly such a hopelessly bad task as Western District people suppose. There are no tenements in Greenpoint which can begin to match the filth of those in North Second street or in the Italian colony in the Second Ward. A Polish colony was found in Oakland avenue, near Box street. Instead of the filth which the writer expected from having imagined that poor Polish people lived much the same as poor Russians, the houses and the private apartments in them were found very clean and bright. The floors are scrubbed carefully and all the kitchen utensils shine with much polishing. Flowers blossom in the windows and the women and children are clean, well dressed and refined looking. Each family has three rooms, one of which is large with windows. The other two are used as sleeping rooms. They have no windows. Most of the families have boarders who sleep on the floor at night. The men work in the sugar houses, from which they and the Italians are driving the Germans because of their cheap labor. Some tenements are to be found in Dupont, Eagle, Box and Craig streets, convenient to the great Oakland avenue dump. This locality is called Dangertown, and it enjoys one of the most unenviable reputations possessed by any collection of houses in Brooklyn. The houses are two and three story frame structures, with three or four or, in some cases, half a dozen families per house. There is no special look of dilapidation or demoralization about the buildings, and their condition is rather good compared with the average tenement of the poorer kind. Their floors are cleanly and the apartments tolerable, but the vaults are unconnected with the sewers, and some of them are very offensive. The men of Dangertown are a hard working set in the day time, but too much hilarity and high spirits at night have got them into trouble with the police. The dump referred to above extends from Oakland avenue south till it joins the meadows caused by the overflow of Newtown Creek. It comprises ten or twelve acres of land filled in with ashes and filthy refuse. Goats, cows, pigs, Italian rag pickers and small boys troop over it and find wonderful treasures. The Italians come from New York and the police of the Seventh Precinct have to keep an eye on them all the time to prevent them from being stone to death by the gangs of roughs who hang upon the borders of the dumps. These roughs have pre-empted the dumps to a certain extent and hold orgies in them nightly. A few months ago they had two shanties built upon them, and two young men's "growler" associations were formed to occupy them. Pedestrians on the streets near the dumps were "stood up" for the requisite amount of money, and after the "growler" had been worked several times the association was ready for anything from robbing a bobtail car driver to assaulting the police. The manufacturing places within the Eleventh Sanitary District are pretty respectable, from a sanitary point of view. The oil refineries are complained of as a nuisance on account of the smell emitted by them, but no one pretends or claims that the smell makes them sick. It is simply very unpleasant. The oil refineries have another bad quality, also. The have flooded Bushwick and Newtown Creeks with oil so that a match would set them blazing and all houses in the vicinity of the creeks and the oil refineries stand in constant danger of conflagration. Against the sugar refineries nothing can be said except that they periodically emit a very unpleasant odor. People has got used to them and are tolerant. There is, therefore, nothing much to complain of in regard to Greenpoint manufactories now that the bone boilers have fled into Queens County and the cream of tartar works of the Royal Baking Powder Company have been chased to South Brooklyn. But Newtown and Bushwick creeks are nuisances themselves. The are indescribably filthy, and they ooze through their slimy beds, not bearing the sewage thrown into them away to the East River, but carrying it slowly about till low tide comes and gives them a chance to deposit it in any of the swamps which constitute their banks. An old general law stands in the way of an improvement of Bushwick Creek, such as would be made if it were gradually filled in at the southern end. It was navigable and is protected from interference by law made to protect navigable rivers. Now that the stream is no longer navigable, even for a rowboat, the result of the law is ridiculous. Swing bridges are put across it, though there is no more use for a swing bridge than for a tunnel. The same thing is found at the southern end of Newtown Creek, where the Long Island Railroad Company has had to put a swing bridge. The Nassau and Norman avenue sewers empty into Bushwick Creek, and the factories also send their waste water there. Newtown Creek fares as badly. The people of Greenpoint are delighted just now, and fancy they are on the high road to prosperity. Their population is growing quickly, their houses now are being constructed, and the electric light has been introduced. To crown all, the city is paving parts of Manhattan avenue, Fourth street and Greenpoint avenue with granite blocks. The streets are in the same condition here as elsewhere in the Eastern District. Where the wealthy live the highway are tolerably well kept, but where the poor live they are not kept at all. (End of article) Transcribed by Carol Granville Back to EASTERN DISTRICT Main Back to TOWN Main Page Back to STREETS Main Back to BROOKLYN Main