CHAPTER XXXIX. CHATHAM STREET.

Chatham street begins at City Hall Place and ends at Chatham square. It is not over a fourth of a mile in length, and is narrow and dirty. It is taken up, principally, with Jews and low class foreigners. There are also some cheap hotels and lodging houses, several pawnbroker's shops, and half a dozen concert saloons in the street. The lowest class Jews abound in this quarter, and vile, filthy wretches they are. They deal in imitation jewelry, old clothes, and cheap clothing. There is little, if any, honesty in the street, and any one buying an article within its limits must expect to be cheated. The streets running off to the right and left, lead to the Five Points and kindred districts, and it is this wretched part of the city which furnishes the greatest number of customers to Chatham street. The buildings are generally constructed in the old style, a new house being a rarity in this locality, and are foul and dingy. The shops are low and dark, and smell horribly. The men and women who frequent them look like convicts, and as they sit in their doorways watching for custom, they seem more like wild beasts waiting for their prey, than like human beings. They have no respectable customers, except the poor, who come into the neighborhood hoping to save money in their purchases. They fall victims to the sharpers who line the street, and the articles they buy are dear at whatever price they may pay for them. It is said that stolen goods frequently find their way to Chatham street, and that a very large part of the traffic of that locality is carried on in violation of the law. However this may be, we have but one simple warning for all persons visiting the great city.Buy nothing in Chatham street, and keep out of it after dark.

                     FORCED SALES.

When business is dull in this locality, the "merchants" resort to many artifices to fill their coffers. One of their manoeuvres is called a "forced sale." A man walking along the street, will be seized and dragged into a clothing shop. He may protest that he does not wish to buy anything, but the "merchant" and his clerks will insist that he does, and before he can well help himself, they will haul off his coat, clap one of the store coats on his back, and declare it a "perfect fit." The new coat will then be removed and replaced by the old one, and the victim will be allowed to leave the shop. As he passes out of the door, the new coat is thrust under his arm, and he is seized by the proprietor and his assistants, who shout "stop thief!" and charge him with stealing the coat. Their noise, and the dread of being arrested upon a charge of theft, will frequently so confuse and frighten the victim that he will comply with their demand, which is that he shall buy the coat. This done, he is suffered to depart. A refusal to yield would not injure him, for the scoundrels would seldom dare to call in the police, for fear of getting themselves into trouble, as their tricks are well known to the officers of the law.