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Pictures from Jacob Riis, “How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York (1890)”

"The Slide That Was the Children's Only Playground"
“The Slide That Was the Children’s Only Playground”

The series of pictures taken by Jacob Riis shows the poverty problem of New York in the 1890s. This was the era of industrialism when the country was in transition from its former agricultural economy. We’ve discussed about the wealthy industrialists who are getting even wealthier and the birth of corporate giants like JP Morgan and standard oil but on the other hand, there are the people who were not as fortunate. People struggled on the streets to find places to sleep and some were even forced to live and even celebrate the Sabbath in coal cellars. The pictures vividly captures the severe problem of poverty but I specifically chose this picture to post because this really delivers the message that the problem is not just limited to one generation. The children are deprived of their opportunities as well as their childhood, yet still manages to find happiness in the little things – an idea that I find to be very Whitman.


Riis, Jacob. "The Slide That Was the Children's Only Playground. How the Other Half Lives: Study
     Among the Tenements Of New York (1890).
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