The City of Dreadful Night (Henry)

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The City of Dreadful Night
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: During a heatwave, residents of an apartment building were forced to sleep in a park, leading to discomfort, confusion, and unexpected connections among the diverse group of tenants.

During a heatwave, the Park Commissioner and the Commissioner of Police decided to allow people to sleep in the parks until the temperature dropped. As a result, thousands of people from various communities flocked to Central Park to sleep on the grass. Among them were the tenants of the Beersheba Flats, who were forced to leave their homes by Officer Reagan.

Officer Reagan — police officer; enforces the park sleeping order; authoritative.

The tenants struggled to adapt to their new sleeping arrangements, as they were used to the comforts of their apartments. They brought blankets and kindling wood to start fires, but many found it difficult to sleep on the ground. Throughout the night, there were disputes and misunderstandings among the tenants, as they tried to find their own families and friends in the dark.

At midnight, a well-dressed man approached one of the tenants, Carney, and asked why everyone was sleeping in the park.

Carney — narrator; express wagon driver; resourceful, observant.

Carney explained the situation, and the man revealed that he was the owner of the Beersheba Flats.

Beersheba Flats Owner — wealthy man; decides to raise rents after seeing tenants in the park.

He decided to raise the rent by fifteen percent the next day, as he believed the park's fresh air and greenery provided extra benefits to his tenants.

‘God bless the grass and the trees that give extra benefits to a man’s tenants. The rents shall be raised fifteen per cent. to-morrow. Good-night,’ says he.

Carney sarcastically explains the forced park sleeping situation to his friend Patsey, suggesting that it's a poorly thought-out plan by the authorities.

Patsey Rourke — Carney's friend; flute player; discontented with the park situation.

‘Tis a scheme to reach that portion of the people that’s not worth taking up to North Beach for a fish fry.’

Patsey complains about the difficulties of sleeping in the park, highlighting the discomfort and inconvenience experienced by the tenants.