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JAMA Revisited
December 24/31, 2019

The Sanitary Inquiry as to Tenement-Houses in New York City

JAMA. 2019;322(24):2447. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.15660

Originally Published December 29, 1894 | JAMA. 1894;23(26):991- 992.

A Commission, appointed by the Governor of the State at the instance of the last Legislature, has been engaged on an investigation of the evils of the tenement-house system in New York City. Public hearings have been had, from time to time, for several months. At a recent meeting it was shown that money-taking—proved conclusively to have been the order of the day in other departments—was not foreign to certain Tammany-appointed officers of the Department of Health. It was stated that one officer, concerned in the inspection of tenement-houses, stooped to take blackmail from a little boy who wanted to keep a few pigeons at his place of residence. Another case…that of a poor woman, who was keeping a cow under conditions contrary to the sanitary ordinances. Her testimony showed that she had thrice paid money to an alleged officer or officers of the Board of Health, to induce him or them to shield her from complaints against the cow; and her money had, in fact, bought “protection” for quite a while.