founding the boys’ club -- 12/10/21
Today's selection -- from Inside Money by Zachary Karabell. Train magnate E.H. Harriman founds the Boys’ Club of New York:
"[The ultra-wealthy E.H.] Harriman was … conspicuous in his consumption, with his sprawling and lavish estate, yachts and many of the outward trappings of wealth. Yet when he was twenty-eight, before he had considerable means, he had founded the Boys' Club of New York.
"In 1876, he heard about an unfortunate boy who was part of a small gang that spent days on the streets with nothing to do. The boy had thrown a rock through the window of the Wilson Mission School for Girls on Avenue A and had then been roughed up and hauled off by the police. Something about the story affected Harriman deeply. 'I can't blame the boy any more than I blame the rock. The boy was there; the rock was there. But for the want of excitement and something to do, he wouldn't have thrown it.'
"And so he created the Boys' Club, which at first was little more than a gymnasium where poor boys could let off some steam. That was all Harriman could afford. Later, when he had more means, he purchased an entire building for the Boys' Club on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and contributed ever more money as the club expanded and as Harriman grew richer."