In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island

By Edward Corsi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
LIFE ON THE EAST SIDE

WHEN I was old enough for my first job, I went to work as a lamplighter, rising at four in the morning to put out the lamps on my route before the noisy movement of the day had set in. Then I would have breakfast and get to school by nine o'clock.

All through my boyhood I worked at various odd jobs, paying my own way through school and at the same time contributing what little I could to the very limited family income. I was in turn lamplighter, messenger, and clerk in a telegraph office. The few hours that remained for play, and they were few indeed, I spent in the streets. I enjoyed the excitement, the crowds and the good fellowship of the East Side, and I enjoyed, too, the company of youngsters like myself, many of whom have risen above the handicaps of their surroundings to useful careers in the community.

Down the street on which I lived there was a little brownstone house, which to many in the neighborhood seemed shrouded in mystery. It was a settlement house, which some of our parents feared had been put there to draw Italian children to the Protestant faith. So deeply was this fear impressed upon us that we not only did not dare dream of entering it, but would not even so much as drink out of the W.C.T.U. fountain which adorned its simple entrance.

The day came, however, when we decided to investigate that house and find out for ourselves what it was there for. The gang of

-25-

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In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Author's Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Part I 1
  • Chapter I I Behold America 3
  • Chapter II The Abruzzi 8
  • Chapter III Exile 11
  • Chapter IV A Career Ends in Glory 17
  • Chapter V The Migration 19
  • Chapter VI Pathways of a Youthful Immigrant 22
  • Chapter VII Life on the East Side 25
  • Chapter VIII A Summons to the White House 30
  • Part II 33
  • Chapter I Before Becoming Guardian of the Gate 35
  • Chapter II Great Sectors of the Caravan 39
  • Chapter III America Closes the Gate 47
  • Chapter IV Ellis Island's Romantic Background 57
  • Chapter V I Return to the Island 62
  • Part III 69
  • Chapter I A Picture of 1907 71
  • Chapter II Depression Turns the Tide 93
  • Chapter III America's Last Long Mile 96
  • Chapter IV Listening to Reminiscences 113
  • Chapter V Racketeers and Human Contraband 129
  • Part IV 149
  • Chapter I Vignettes Out of the Long Ago 151
  • Chapter II Matching Wits with John Chinaman 159
  • Chapter III Those "Bad, Bad Radicals"! 177
  • Chapter IV Royalty and Fakers in the Caravan 201
  • Chapter V Storms of the Present and Past 224
  • Part V 259
  • Chapter I Little Tales of Flood-Tide Days 261
  • Chapter II The Caravan's Most Amazing Character 268
  • Chapter III Who Shall Apologize? 281
  • Chapter IV The New Deal 296
  • Index 317
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