New York Challenged
The Citys Response to Crisis and Change from Colonial Times
Document J - Charles Dickens, American Notes, (1843)
Let us go on again... and
plunge into the Five Points. But it is needful, first, that we take as
our escort these two heads of the police...We have seen no beggars in
the streets by night or day; but of other kinds of strollers, plenty.
Poverty, wretchedness, and vice, are rife enough where we are going now.
This is the place: these narrow ways, diverging to the right and left,
and reeking everywhere with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here,
bear the same fruits here as elsewhere. The coarse bloated faces at the
doors, have counterparts at home, and all the wide world over. Debauchery
has made the houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling
down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like
eyes that have been hurt in drunken frays.... hideous tenements which
take their name from robbery and murder: all that is loathsome, drooping
and decayed is here.