Books [Harlem Rent Parties]
A four or five room apartment was (and still is) often crowded to capacity with roomers. In many instances, two entire families occupy space intended for only one. When bedtime comes, there is the feverish activity of moving furniture about, making down cots or preparing floor-space as sleeping quarters. The same practice of overcrowding is followed by owners or lesees of private houses. Large rooms are converted into two or three small ones by the simple process of stragetically placing beaverboard partitions. These same cubby holes are rented at the price of full sized rooms. In many houses, dining and living rooms are transformed into bed rooms soon after, if not before, midnight. Even “shift-sleeping” is not unknown in many places. During the night, a day-worker uses the room and soon after dawn a night-worker moves in. Seldom does the bed have an opportunity to get cold.
In lower Harlem, sometimes referred to as the Latin Quarter and populated mostly by Cubans, Puerto Ricans and West Indians,