The House on Henry Street: Ii. Children and Play
THE visitor who sees our neighborhood for the first time at the hour when school is dismissed, reacts with joy or dismay to the sight, not paralleled in any part of the world, of thousands of little ones on a single city block.
Out they pour, the little hyphenated Americans, more conscious of their patriotism than perhaps any other large group of children that could be found in our land; unaware that to some of us they carry on their shoulders our hopes of a finer, more democratic America, when the worthy things they bring to us shall be recognized, and the good in their old-world traditions and culture shall be mingled with the best that lies within our new-world ideals. Only through knowledge is one fortified to resist the onslaught of arguments of the superficial observer who, dismayed by the sight, is conscious only of ‘ hordes ’ and ’danger to America’ in these little children.
They are irresistible. They open up wide vistas of the many lands from which they come. The multitude passes : swinging walk, lagging step; smiling, serious—just little children, forever appealing, and these, perhaps, more than others stir the emotions. ‘Crime, ignorance, dirt, anarchy!’ Not theirs the fault if any of these be true, although sometimes perfectly good children are spoiled, as Jacob Riis, that buoyant lover of them, has said. As a nation we must rise or fall as we serve or fail these future citizens.
Their appeal suggests that social exclusions and prejudices separate far more effectively than distance and differing language. They bring a hope that a better relationship — even the great brotherhood — is not impossible, and that through love and understanding we shall come to know the shame of prejudice.
Instinctively the sympathetic observer feels the possibilities of the young life that passes before the settlement doors, and sincerity demands that something shall be known of the conditions, economic, political, religious, or, perchance, of the mere spirit of venture that brought them here. How often have the conventionally educated been driven to the library to obtain that historic perspective of the people who are in our midst, without which they cannot be understood! What fascinating excursions have been made into folklore in the effort to comprehend some strange custom unexpectedly encountered !
When the anxious friends of the dying Italian brought a chicken to be killed over him, the tenement-house bed became the sacrificial altar of long ago; and when the old, rabbinical-looking grandfather took hairs from the head of the sick child, a bit of his fingernail, and a garment that had been close to his body, and cast them into the river while he devoutly prayed that the little life might be spared, he declared his faith in the purification of running water.
It is necessary to spend a summer in our neighborhood to realize fully the conditions under which many thousands of children are reared. One night during my first month on the East Side, sleepless because of the heat, I leaned out of the window and looked down on Rivington Street. Life was in full course there. Some of the pushcart vendors still sold their wares. Sitting on the curb directly under my window, with her feet in the gutter, was a woman, drooping from exhaustion, a baby at her breast. The fire-escapes, considered the most desirable sleeping-places, were crowded with the youngest and the oldest; children were asleep on the sidewalks, on the steps of the houses, and in the empty pushcarts; some of the more venturesome men and women with mattress or pillow staggered toward the river-front or the parks. I looked at my watch. It was two o’clock in the morning!
Many times since that summer of 1893 have I seen similar sights, and always I have been impressed with the kindness and patience, sometimes the fortitude, of our neighbors, and I have marveled that out of conditions distressing and nerve-destroying as these, so many children have emerged into fine manhood and womanhood, and often, because of their early experiences, have become intelligent factors in promoting measures to guard the next generation against conditions which they know to be destructive.
Before I lived in the midst of this dense child-population, and while I was still in the hospital, I had been touched by glimpses of the life revealed in the games played in the children’s ward. Up to that time my knowledge of little ones had been limited to those to whom the people in fairy tales were real, and whose games and stories reflected the protective care of their elders. My own earliest recollections of play had been of story-telling, of housekeeping with all the things in miniature that grown-ups use, and of awed admiration of the big brother who graciously permitted us to witness hair-raising performances in the barn, to which we paid admittance in pins. The children in the hospital ward who were able to be about, usually on crutches or with arms in slings, played ‘Ambulance’ and the ‘Gerry Society.’ The latter game dramatized their conception of the famous Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children as an ogre that would catch them. The ambulance game was of a child, or a man at work, injured and carried away to the hospital.
Many years’ familiarity with the children’s attempts to play in the streets has not made me indifferent to its pathos, which is not the less real because the children themselves are unconscious of it. In the midst of the pushcart market, with its noise, confusion, and jostling, the checker or crokinole board is precariously perched on the top of a hydrant, constantly knocked over by the crowd and patiently replaced by the little children. One tearful small boy described his morning when he said he had done nothing but play, but first the ‘cop’ had snatched his dice, then his ‘cat’ (a piece of wood sharpened at both ends), and nobody wanted him to chalk on the sidewalk, and he had been arrested for throwing a ball.
A man since risen to distinction in educational circles, whose childhood was passed in our neighborhood, told me how he and his companions had once taken a dressmaker’s lay figure. They had no money to spend on the theatre and no place to play in but a cellar. They had admired the gaudy posters of a melodrama in which the hero rescues the lady and carries her over a chasm. Having no lady in their cast, they borrowed the dressmaker’s lay figure — without permission. Fortunately, and accidentally, they escaped detection. It is not difficult to see how the entire course of this boy’s career might have been altered if arrest had followed, with its consequent humiliation and degradation. At least, looking back upon it, the young man sees how the incident might have deflected his life.
The instruction in folk-dancing which the children now receive in the public schools and recreation centres has done much to develop a wholesome and delightful form of exercise, and has given picturesqueness to the dancing in the streets. But yesterday I found myself pausing on East Houston Street to watch a group of children assemble at the sound of a familiar dance from a hurdy-gurdy, and looking up I met the sympathetic smile of a teamster who also had stopped. The children, absorbed in their dance, were quite unconscious that congested traffic had halted and that busy people had taken a moment from their engrossing problems to be refreshed by the sight of their youth and grace. For that brief instant even the cry of ‘War Extra’ was unheeded.
Touching as are the little children deprived of opportunity for wholesome play, a deeper compassion stirred our hearts when we began to realize the critically tender age at which many of them share the experiences, anxieties, and tragedies of the adult. I cannot efface from my memory the picture of a little eight-year-old girl whom I once found standing on a chair to reach a washtub, trying with her tiny hands to cleanse some bed-linen which would have been a task for an older person. Every few minutes the child got down from her chair to peer into the next room where her mother and the newborn baby lay, all her little mind intent upon giving relief and comfort. She had been alone with her mother when the baby was born and terror was on her face.
I think the memory never left her, but it may be only that her presence called up, even after the lapse of years, a vision of the anxious little face inevitably contrasted in my mind with the picture of irresponsible childhood.
At about the same time we made the acquaintance of the K—— family, through nursing one of the children. The mother was a large-framed, phlegmatic, seemingly emotionless type, although she did show appreciation of our liking for her children. The father was only occasionally mentioned. We assumed that he was away seeking work, a common explanation then of the absence of the men of the families. One afternoon I stopped at their house to make arrangements for the children’s trip to the country. Early the next morning, awakened by a pounding on the door, I opened it to find little Esther beside herself with excitement, repeating over and over, ‘My mother she die! My mother she die!’ Following fast, it was not possible to keep pace with her. When, breathless, I entered their rooms it was to see the mother’s body hanging from a doorway. She had been brooding over a summons to testify in court that morning against her husband, who had been arrested for bigamy, and this was her answer to the court and to the other woman.
The frightened little children were scattered among different institutions. From one of these Esther was sent West to a home that was found for her. Possibly she was so young that the terrible picture faded from her mind. At least there was no mention of it in the first letter which she wrote, announcing that her new home was a farm and that they had ‘six cows, eighty chickens, eleven pigs, and a nephew.’ The nephew Esther eventually married.
In the first party of children that we sent to the country were three little girls, daughters of a skilled cobbler. The mother, a complaining, exacting invalid, spent a large proportion of her husband’s earnings for patent medicines. Annie, not quite twelve, was the household drudge, and the coming of the settlement nurse lifted only part of her burden. The new friends, determined to get at least two weeks of carefree childhood for the little girls, procured an invitation for them, through a Fresh-Air agency, from a farmer in the western part of the state. It was necessary to secure the mother’s admission to a hospital during the time the children would be absent from home — not an easy task, as she was not what is termed a ‘hospital case.’ When we met the children at the railroad station on their return, their joyousness and bubbling spirits attracted the attention of the onlookers; but as Annie neared home its responsibilities fell like a heavy cloud upon her, and before we reached the tenement she was silent. Her quick eye discerned the absence of the brick which had kept the front hall door open, and in a second she had darted into the yard and replaced it. Before we left, with sleeves rolled up she was beginning to wash the pile of dishes that had accumulated in her absence. Gone was the gayety. The little drudge had resumed her place. Later, when the child swore falsely to her age, and the notary public, upon whose certificate employment papers could at that time be obtained, affixed his signature to her perjury, the position she secured as cash girl in the basement of a department store was, to her, emancipation from hateful labor and an opportunity for fellowship with children.
Recalling early days, I am constantly reminded of the sympathy and comprehension of those friends who, though not stimulated as my comrade and I were by constant reminders of the children’s needs, from the beginning promoted and often anticipated our efforts to provide innocent recreation. We had not thought of the possibility of giving pleasure to large groups of children in picnics and day parties, when a friend, a few days after our arrival in the neighborhood, asked us to celebrate his sister’s birthday by giving ‘fun’ to some of our new acquaintances. I yet remember the thrill I felt when I realized that this gift was not for shoes or practical necessities, but for ‘just what children anywhere would like.’
Two memories of this first party stand out sharply: the songs the children sang, — ‘She’s More to be Pitied than Censured,’ and ‘Judge, Forgive Him, ’Tis His First Offence,’ — painfully revealing a precocious knowledge, and their ecstasy at the sight of a wonderful dogwood tree. Now, when the settlement children go on day parties, they have another repertory, and the music they learn in the public schools reflects the finer thought for the child.
During the two years that Miss Brewster and I lived in the Jefferson Street house we frequently made up impromptu parties to visit the distant parks, usually on Sunday afternoons when we were likely to be free. After a while it was not difficult to secure comradeship for the children from men and women of our acquaintance, and the parties were multiplied. In the winter, rumors of ‘a fine hill all covered with snow’ on Riverside Drive would be a stimulus to secure a sled or improvise a toboggan, and we found that, given opportunity and encouragement, the city tenement boys threw themselves readily into venturesome sport.
Happily some of the early prejudice against ball-playing on Sunday has vanished. We were perplexed in those days to explain to the lads why, when they saw the ferries and trains convey golfers suitably attired and expensively equipped for a day’s sport, their own games should outrage respectable citizens and cause them to be constantly ‘chased’ by the police. The saloons could be entered, as everybody knew, and I remember a father, defending his eight-year-old son from an accusation of theft, instancing as proof of the child’s trustworthiness that ‘all the Christians on Jackson Street sent him for their beer on Sundays.’
In our search for a place where the boys might play undisturbed, one of the settlement residents, a never-failing friend of the young people, invoked the federal government itself, and secured for them an unused field on Governor’s Island.
Now, in the summer-time, many of the organized activities of the settlement are removed from the neighborhood. Early in the season the ‘hikers’ begin their walks with club leaders. I felt a glow of happiness one Sunday morning when I stood on the steps of our house and watched six different groups of boys set off for the country, with ball and bat and sandwiches, each group led by a young man who had himself been a member of our early parties and had been first introduced to trees and open spaces and the more active forms of healthful play by his settlement friends.
The woeful lack of imagination displayed in building a city without recognizing the need of its citizens for recreation through play, music, and art, has been borne in upon us many times. New Yorkers need to be reminded that the Metropolitan Museum of Art was effectually closed to a large proportion of the citizens until, on May 31, 1891, it opened its doors on Sundays. It is interesting to recall that of the 80,000 signatures to the petition for this privilege, 50,000 were of residents of the lower East Side and were presented by the ‘Working People’s Petition Committee.’ The report of the Museum trustees following the Sunday opening, notes that after a little disorder and confusion at the start, the experiment proved a success; that the attendance was ‘ respectable, law-abiding, and intelligent,’ and that ‘ the laboring classes are well represented.’ They were also obliged to report, however, that the Sunday opening had ‘offended some of the Museum’s best friends and supporters,’ and that it had ‘resulted in the loss of a bequest of $50,000.’
When we left the tenement house we were fortunate to find for sale, on a street that still bore evidences of its bygone social glory, a house which readily lent itself to the restorer’s touch. Tradition says that many of these fine old East Side houses were built by cabinetmakers who came over from England during the War of 1812 and remained here as citizens. The generous purchaser allowed us freedom to repair, restore, and alter, as our taste directed. Attractive as we found the house, we were even more excited over the possibilities of the little back yard. Our first organized effort for the neighborhood was to convert this yard and one belonging to an adjacent school, with, later, the yard of a third house rented by one of our residents, into a miniature but very complete playground. There was so little precedent to guide us that our resourcefulness was stimulated, and we succeeded in achieving what the distinguished Bostonian who is President of the National Playground Association has called the ’Bunker Hill’ of playgrounds.
Along the borders we planted brightcolored flowers — which were not disturbed by the children. An old wistaria vine on a trellis covered nearly a third of the playground, and two ailanthus trees, usually regarded with contempt by tree lovers, were highly cherished by those who otherwise would have lived a treeless life. Window-boxes jutted from the rear windows of the two houses controlled by the settlement, and in one corner, shaded by a striped awning, we put the big sand-pile. Joy-giving ‘scups ’ (the local name for swings) were erected, and some suitable gymnastic apparatus, parallel bars and overhead ladder, placed. Baby hammocks were swung, their occupants tenderly cared for by little mothers and little fathers. Manual training was provided by a picturesque sailor from Sailor’s Snug Harbor who, at a stretching frame, taught the making of hammocks.
In the morning under the pergola an informal kindergarten was conducted, and in the afternoon attendants directed play and taught the use of gymnastic apparatus. Later in the day the mothers and older children came, and a little hurdy-gurdy occasionally marked the rhythm of the dance. So interested in the playground were the household and their visitors, that at odd moments an enthusiast would rush in from other duties and give the hurdy-gurdy an extra turn, to supplement the entertainment. At night the baby hammocks and chairs were stored away and Japanese lanterns illuminated the playground, which then welcomed the young people who, after their day’s work, took pleasure in each other’s society and in singing familiar songs.
On Saturday afternoons the playground was used almost exclusively by fathers and mothers, but it was a pretty sight at all times, and the value placed upon it by those who used it was far in excess of our own estimate. It was something more than amusement that moved us when a young couple, who had been invited to one of the evening parties, stood at the back door of the settlement house and gazed admiringly at the little pleasure place. Gowned in white, we awaited our guests, and as I rose from the bench under the pergola to cross the yard and give them welcome, the young printer said with enthusiasm, ‘This must be like the scenes of country life in English novels.’
It was a heaven of delight to the children, and ingenuity was displayed by those who sought admittance. The children soon learned that ‘ little mothers ’ and their charges had precedence, and there was rivalry as to who should hold the family baby. When (as rarely happened) there was none in the family, a baby was borrowed. Six-year olds, clasping babies of stature almost equal to their own, would stand outside, hoping to attract attention to their special claims. Once, when the playground was filled to capacity, and the sidewalk in front of the house was thronged, the Olympian at the gate endeavored to make it clear that no more could enter. One persistent small girl stood stolidly and when reminded of the condition said, ‘Yes, teacher, but can’t I get in? I ain’t got no mother.’
There was much illness, unemployment, and consequent suffering the next winter. One day, when I visited a school in the neighborhood, the principal asked the pupils if they knew me. She doubtless anticipated some reference to the material services which the settlement had rendered, but the answer to her question was a glad chorus of, ‘Yes, ma’am, yes, ma’am, she’s our scupping teacher.’ ‘Teacher’ was a generic term for the residents, and nothing that the settlement had contributed to the life of the neighborhood impressed the children as the playground had. It is worth reminding those who are associated with young people that the power to influence is given to those who play with, rather than to those who only teach them. Our children on the East Side are not peculiar in this respect. To this day I receive letters from men and women who try to recall themselves to my memory by saying that they once played in our back yard.
An organized propaganda for outdoor gymnasia and playgrounds crystallized in 1898 in the formation of the Outdoor Recreation League, in which the settlement participated. The tireless President of the League eventually succeeded in obtaining the use of a large space in our neighborhood, originally purchased by the city, during a brief reform administration, for a park. Some very undesirable tenement houses had been destroyed, and when a Tammany administration returned to power a hot summer was allowed to pass with nothing done to accomplish the original purpose. Unsightly holes, once cellars, remained to fill with stagnant water, amputated sewerand gas-pipes were exposed, and among these the children played mimic battles of the SpanishAmerican War, then in progress.
The accident that the Commissioner of Health, a semi-invalid, felt gratitude to a trained nurse who had cared for him, gave me an opportunity to approach him on the subject. He promised (and he kept his promise) to use his influence to get an appropriation on the score of the menace to the health of the city. The appropriation was sufficient to fill in the space and surround it with a fence, and the Outdoor Recreation League was able to demonstrate the value of playgrounds. In 1902 the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of a reform administration, at its first meeting, appropriated money for the equipment and maintenance of Seward Park, as it was named, — the first municipal playground in New York City. So much interest had been aroused in this phase of city government that two city officials left the board meeting while it was in progress to telephone to the settlement that the appropriation had been passed.
Many friends of the children combined to urge the use of the public schools as recreation centres, and in the summer of 1898 the first schools were opened for that purpose. Those of us who had practical experience helped to start these by acting as volunteer inspectors. The settlement then felt justified in devoting less effort to its own playground, and deflected some of the energies it required to meet other pressing needs.
The dramatic instinct is very strong in the Jewish child, and musical gifts are not uncommon. With encouragement, a high degree of talent is often developed. Perhaps the most impressive evidence of this has been given in the cycle of Hebrew ritual festivals in which gifted club leaders have worked out a poetical interpretation of the ceremonies cherished by the Henry Street neighborhood. The value of these is not limited to the educational effect on the children. They interpret anew to the community the rich inheritance of our neighbors, and the parents of those who participate give touching evidence of their appreciation. When a beautiful pageant based on the incident of Miriam and her maidens was in rehearsal, an intractable small boy was dismissed from the cast. In the evening his father, a printer, called and expressed the hope that if his son’s behavior was not unforgivable we would take him back. He wished that the boy might carry through life the memory of having had a part in something as beautiful as this festival. After a performance given before an audience of neighbors and people from other parts of the city, a woman who had suffered bitterly in her Russian home blocked for a moment the outgoing crowd at the door while she stopped to say how beautiful she thought it, adding with deep feeling, ‘I thank most for showing respect to our religion.’1
It is a delight to give the children stories from the Bible and the old mythologies, fairy tales, and lives of heroes, and we mark as epochal Maude Adams’s inspiration to invite our children and others not likely to have the opportunity, to see Peter Pan. She has given joy to thousands, but it is doubtful if she can measure, as we do, the influence of ’the everlasting boy.’ Through him romance has touched these children, anti not a few of the letters spontaneously written to Peter Pan from tenement homes, have seemed to us not unworthy of Barrie himself. Protest against leaving the big familiar farmhouse at one of our country places, when an overflow of visitors necessitated a division of the little ones at night, was immediately withdrawn when the children were told that the annex, perched on high ground, was a ‘Wendy House.’
The need of care for convalescents was early recognized, and the settlement’s first country house was for them. It was opened in 1899, the generous gift of a young woman, a member of the early group that gathered at Henry Street. We soon felt, however, that it was essential that children and young people as well as invalids should have knowledge of life other than that of the crowded tenement and factory; and from the time of the establishment of our first kindergarten we longed to have the children know the reality of the things they sang about, the birds and animals which so often formed the subject of their games. A little girl in one of the parties taken to see Peter Pan turned to her beloved club leader when the crocodile appeared and asked timidly if it was a field-mouse! A recent lesson had been about that ’animal.’ It seems almost incredible that the description, probably supplemented by a picture, should not have made a more definite impression upon the child’s mind; but I am inclined to think that little children can form no accurate conception of unknown objects from pictures or description. A neighborhood teacher took her class to the menagerie in Central Park just after a lesson on the cow and its ‘gifts’ — milk, cream, butter. She hoped that the young buffalo’s resemblance to the cow might suggest itself to the children who, of course, had never seen a cow. In answer to her question an eager little boy gave testimony to the impression the lesson had made on his mind when he answered, ‘Yes, ma’am. I know it. It’s a butterfly.’
We value the ‘day parties,’ for incidental education as well as for the pleasure they afford. Each year as spring approaches a census is taken of the surrounding blocks, that the new arrivals may be included in the excursions. The most treasured invitations for these parties come from friends whose country estates are near enough to offer hospitality, and to whose gardens and stables the children are taken. The larger parties, composed of women and children, usually go to the seashore in chartered cars, and these excursions, purely recreative, compete, and not unsuccessfully, with the clambakes and outings of the old-time political leaders.
The beautiful country places presented to the settlement for vacation purposes, and the comparative readiness with which money for equipment and maintenance of non-paying guests has been given, indicates the favor with which this development of neighborhood work is regarded. Opportunities for confidence and mutual understanding, not always possible in the formal relationships of clubs and classes, are afforded by the intimacy of country-house parties. The possibility of giving direction at critical periods of character-formation, particularly during adolescence, and of discovering clues to deep-lying causes of disturbance, makes the country life a valuable extension of the organized social work of the settlement. ‘Riverholm,’ overhanging the Hudson; ‘Camp Henry,’ on a beautiful lake; the ‘House in the Woods,’ ‘Echo Hill Farm,’ and a commodious week-end house in New Jersey, lent by friends during the summer months, give us the means whereby some of the plans we cherish may be carried out.
It would be inconsistent with settlement theories if these country places did not express refinement and beauty, — the beauty that belongs to simplicity, — not only in the buildings, but also in the service and housekeeping. It has seemed to us, therefore, worth the additional expenditure of effort to have small, distinct household units wherever practicable. People who live in crowded homes, walk on crowded streets, ride on crowded cars, and as children attend crowded classrooms, must inevitably acquire distorted views of life; and the settlement is reluctant to add to these the experience of crowded country life. Valuable training in housekeeping is possible in a household even of from fifteen to twenty-five persons,— a small unit according to New York standards, — and tactful direction can often be given toward acquiring those manners generally recognized as ‘good.' Many of the children who come to us know only foreign customs and foreign table-manners; and the extreme difficulty of maintaining orderly home life in the tenement makes it important to supplement the home-training or to supply what it can never give. Indeed, we recognize in this desire to protect our children from being marked as peculiar or alien because of non-essential differences, the same reason that urges the careful mother to insist on ‘manners,’ that her children may not be discredited when they mingle with the fastidious.
The ideal of limitation as to numbers cannot always be carried out, and naturally it does not apply to the camp, where a freer and less conventional life attracts and satisfies boys and young men.
The older members of the settlement, who are earning money, use the camp and country places as clubs, paying for the privilege and conforming to the regulations which they have had a share in establishing. At the time of writing, one of the men of the neighborhood has brought from a group of his associates an offer to erect a building to increase the accommodations at the camp, the privileges of which they appreciate for their sons. They are in hearty agreement with the democratic principle that all settlement members must meet on the same terms, and they make this offer in order that the membership of their sons may not be secured at the risk of taking the place of poorer boys.
Those who have promoted the various Fresh-Air agencies throughout the country may not realize that physical benefit is not all that has been secured. We are persuaded that opportunity to know life away from the city is the explanation of the increasing number of city boys who elect training in agriculture and forestry. Formerly when careers were discussed, the future held no happiness unless it promised a profession — law or medicine.
If I appear to lay too much stress upon the importance of play and recreation, it may be well to point out that it is one way of recognizing the dignity of the child. The study of juvenile delinquency shows how often the young offender’s presence in the courts may be traced to a play-impulse for which there was no safe outlet.
Perhaps nothing more definitely indicates the changed attitude toward children and play than the fact that last summer (1914) the police officers of the precinct called to enlist our coöperation in carrying out the orders of the city administration that during certain hours of the day traffic was to be shut off from designated streets, that the children might play there. The visit brought to mind years of painstaking effort to secure the toleration of harmless play, and the hope we had dared to express, despite incredulity on the part of the police, that some day the children might come to regard them as guardians and protectors, rather than as a fear-inspiring and hated force. One captain of the precinct, at least, had proved the practicability of our theory, and when he was transferred we lost a valuable co-worker. The Governor of New York, campaigning for reelection in the fall of this year (1914), advocated that public schools should be surrounded by playgrounds at ‘no matter what cost.’
Tremendous impetus has been given to the playground movement throughout the entire country by individuals and societies organized for the purpose. Wise men and women have expounded the social philosophy of play and recreation, pointing out that these may afford wholesome expression for energies which might otherwise be diverted into channels disastrous to peace and happiness; that clean sport and stimulating competition can replace the gang feud and even modify racial antagonisms. The most satisfactory evidence of this conviction is, of course, the recognition of the child’s right to play, as an integral part of his claim upon the state.
(To be continued.)
- Our beautiful Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street, opened in February, 1915, is the result of years of experience in the settlement’s dramatic clubs and festival classes. We believe that this well-appointed theatre will fulfill the expectations of those who built it by becoming a community theatre in the full meaning of that term. — THE AUTHOR.↩