THE NEW YOEK TENEMENT-HOUSE EYIL AND ITS
By EENEST FLAGG,
ARCHITECT OF ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL, ETC., ETC.
Chief Causes of the Present Evil—Restkictions Imposed by the Conven¬
tional City Lot—Types op Tenements—Danger from Fire—Need of
Radical Changes—Ignorance in Regard to Economic Building—The
Art of Commercial Planning—The Problem in Oteier Cities—Extrava¬
gance OF Present Methods Shown—Suggestions for Improvement—The
Question of Light—Reform a Matter of Business Advantage.
rriHE greatest evil w^hich ever befell New York City was the di-
I vision of blocks into lots of 25 x 100 feet. So true is this,
that no other disaster can for a moment be compared with it.
Fires, pestilence, and financial troubles are as nothing in compari¬
son ; for from this division has arisen the New York system of tene¬
ment-houses, the worst curse which ever afilicted any great com¬
The object of this paper is to show that the evils of the system
lie almost entirely in the plan ; that with another plan, light, air,
health, and comfort can be furnished at the same, if not at less, cost
than the great majority of the inhabitants of this town are now
forced to pay for dwellings not fit for the lower animals. Unfor¬
tunately, the same division of the land which led to the plan for
these houses is the chief obstacle in the way of reform.
The houses are built on lots 25 x 100 feet, and generally about
^Ye stories high. A regulation of the Board of Health now limits
the depth to ninety feet, so that there is a space of ten feet by the