19 Century Essayist Our Village

19 Century Essayist Our Village-72
Greenwich House provided similar services as the West Side Branch, with art, cooking and academic classes as well as children’s classes.They also had a ‘penny bank’ service that accepted sums too small to be deposited in a regular bank and encouraged practical savings habits.In 1903-1904 alone nearly 1,200 new apartments were constructed, as opposed to the average of 250 for the few years preceding that.

Upper and middle class settlement workers were, for the most part, both wealthy and educated, often at the college level and had an educational interest in the working class – both to educate themselves on urban conditions and to educate workers.

They essentially gave up their privileged status to move into ‘slum’ districts to tackle social issues and improve the relationship between the working and upper-classes.

One survey, conducted by Louise Bolard More, Wage-earners' budgets: a study of standards and cost of living in New York City analyzed the incomes and expenses of two hundred village families, reporting statistics on their condition.

Detailing the lives of twelve of the two hundred families, More gave faces to the largely invisible working class of Greenwich Village and shed light on the diversity of both the community and the issues plaguing them.

On the heels of the emergence of settlement houses was the creation of several community organizations aimed at bringing together village residents.

At this point, it is clear that Greenwich Village is moving towards a new era of progressive movements.Society was changing, and Greenwich Village was at the forefront, fostering social movements as well as cultural and artistic activity.The late 19th century development of tenement sections had a direct impact on the formation of settlements in Greenwich Village.Increase in immigration to the area in the late 19th century lead to the formation of Italian and Irish enclaves to the west and south of the park, with the upper-class remaining on the north side.With the wave of immigration came a boom in building; development was on the rise, and Greenwich Village was rapidly changing.There was an increasing amount of interest from the upper and middle-class in the conditions of the poor and working-class areas of the city, and the social issues that resulted from growing industrialism..Settlements were not unique to New York City, but many major settlements did their work in Greenwich Village.West Side Branch’s programs for children proved to be immediately popular; by 1901 thirty students were enrolled in the kindergarten and nearly five-hundred were a part of one of the house’s clubs.Their encouragement of learning, whether it be academic, artistic or practical is represented in the classes they offered, ranging from dance and music classes to debate classes.The village was on its way to becoming a center for some of the century’s most important social and cultural movements.Settlement houses, community forums and organizations were founded and flourished in Greenwich Village in the first decade of the 20th century; and would become the foundation and support of many later social movements.

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