UNSANITARY AND NON-FIRE-PROTECTED TENEMENTS.
PROBABLY even the East End of London cannot compete with New York city in the squalor, filth, and unsanitary construction of its tenement houses. A visit to these buildings, especially on what may be called the middle East Side, including the densely populated district round Ludlow, Essex, Rivingtou, Chrystie, Mulberry, Pell, and Mott streets, reveals an amount of misery and vice, such as is hardly to be equaled, is certainly not surpassed elsewhere. There are other isolated cases on the lower West Side; but in the localities referred to the evil is on a gigantic scale, as there people of all ages and sexes are huddled together, in most cases by scores, in many by hundreds, in dilapidated, out-of-date buildings, in many of which the sweating business is carried on by probably a dozen or more people, who,with the children of the family and the lodgers, make one room serve for all domestic (we dare not say home or family) purposes, as well as for carrying on the tailoring work for outside contractors. Notwithstanding the many ordinances of the city and the State laws against sweating and overcrowding, to say nothing of the requirements of the health officials and the building and fire departments of this city, it will be found that the sanitary laws are most glaringly set at defiance. Water supply, plumbing, water closets, all are defective. The fire escapes, when provided (and, so far as the letter of the law is concerned,these are attached), are fire escapes only in name, and so ill-adapted for their purpose that, were it not for the men of the fire department and their ladders, and the rescue work done by them and the police, a fire would hardly ever occur in a tenement house without loss of life and personal injury, even when the fire itself was of very small PROPORTIONS-JIS was the case last week, when five persons of one family were carried out at the point of death from suffocation by smoke,(two did die ultimately). When to this risk is added that of fire escape landings being blocked up, as they constantly are, in defiance of every law to the contrary and in defect of proper police supervision, the wonder is that the loss of life is not a hundredfold greater. The buildings themselves are mere fire traps, old and ramshackle, apparently put up and kept up as if with the express intention of courting the spread of a fire—buildings which cost nothing for repairs— for none are ever asked for, or made, if asked for, but for which exorbitant rents are extorted from the unfortunate tenants and punctually paid under threat of instant eviction in default. The owners of these tenements, it may be added, are, as a rule, not poor people but of the wealthy class, who boast, and truly, that there is more money in tenement property than in any other kind of real estate. Of these some are rich corporations, ecclesiastical or secular, or are wealthy families, whose real estate business is transacted on a large scale—-and it may be noted.their tenements are generally of tiie worst class—though their tenants pay the highest rents. That being so, it is full time, from every point of view, und not least from that of a sanitary and fire protection standpoint, that some steps were taken to remedy such a condition of affairs, and that such a foul blot should be removed from the good fame of the met ropolis of the Western world. The erection of up-to-date tenement houses would prove apaying speculation pecuniarily, just as that of the Mills hotels and buildings of the same class has paid financially, and we are glad to see that a movement in this direction has been begun not only in the columns of the respectable papers of this city, but also, more practically, by those interested in the question of the better housing of the poor East Siders. The announcement is made that a tenement house, the forerunner, we hope, of many others, constructed after the plan of Professor Fairchild, of Hartford, Conn., is to be erected in Manhattan. The building will be a fireproof structure, eleven stories high, and covering an entire block. This house will have a single entrance leading to a court, whence separate entrances will lead to the separate elevators. In, the basement of the house twill be baths, laundry heating and lighting apparatus, and a cold-storage plant—this last to cool refrigerators in each flat. The rente are to be moderate.