How the Other Half Lives

by Jacob Riis
Start Free Trial

How did The Bend neighborhood get its name in How the Other Half Lives?

The Bend neighborhood in How the Other Half Lives gets its name from that part of Mulberry Street that "crooks like an elbow." In other words, the name of this most notorious of New York slums is derived from a curve in the road.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 6 of How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis delves deep into the filth and squalor of a notorious neighborhood of New York City called The Bend. Apparently, the neighborhood gets its name from its location on that part of Mulberry Street that "crooks like an elbow."...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In chapter 6 of How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis delves deep into the filth and squalor of a notorious neighborhood of New York City called The Bend. Apparently, the neighborhood gets its name from its location on that part of Mulberry Street that "crooks like an elbow." That is to say, The Bend gets its name from a bend in the road.

As Riis proceeds to inform us, this is a truly rotten part of town, even by the low standards of the slums he's already visited. Chronically overcrowded, squalid, and infested with crime, this is the ultimate urban hellhole, a place which people would avoid like the plague if they had the choice.

To be sure, the picture that Riis paints of this benighted area isn't entirely negative. He draws attention to the much lower death rates of a model tenement, where good management and decent quarters have combined to ensure that the hearse only visited twice that year.

Even so, Riis is at pains to point out that such accommodation is very much the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, the people of The Bend are crammed into filthy hovels owned by heartless, greedy landlords who simply couldn't care less about the wellbeing of their tenants.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team