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SmogNY

Smog in New York City as viewed from the World Trade Center in 1988. Author: Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.

NYEastRiver From WTC

A World Trade Center view of the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, and the East river in 1992. Author: Fanghong.

BackgroundEdit

It is situated on one of the world's largest natural harbours. New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a separate county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single major city in 1898.

GeographyEdit

During the Wisconsinan glaciation period, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet (300 m) in depth. The ice sheet scraped away large amounts of regolith, leaving the bedrock that serves as the geologic foundation for much of New York City today. Later on, movement of the ice sheet would contribute to the separation of what are now Long Island and Staten Island.

In the pre-colonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the western portion of Long Island, including the area that would become Brooklyn and Queens; Manhattan; the Bronx; and the Lower Hudson Valley.

History=Edit

Colonial era historyEdit

In 1664, the city was named after then Duke of York, and future King of England James II. Charles II, King of England, James's older brother, had named him proprietor of the former territory of New Netherlands and its main city of New Amsterdam, which had recently been seized from the Dutch.

American War of IndependenceEdit

The Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the American Revolutionary War, was fought in August 1776 within the modern-day borough of Brooklyn.

The 19th centuryEdit

In the 19th century, the city was transformed by development relating to its status as a trading center, as well as by European immigration. The city adopted the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which expanded the city street grid to encompass all of Manhattan. The 1825 completion of the Erie Canal through central New York connected the Atlantic port to the agricultural markets and commodities of the North American interior via the Hudson River and the Great Lakes. Local politics became dominated by Tammany Hall, a political machine supported by Irish and German immigrants.

Several prominent American literary figures lived in New York during the 1830s and 1840s, including William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, John Keese, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and Edgar Allan Poe. Public-minded members of the contemporaneous business elite lobbied for the establishment of Central Park, which in 1857 became the first landscaped park in an American city.

The Great Irish Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants, of whom over 200,000 were living in New York by 1860, upwards of a quarter of the city's population. There was also extensive immigration from the German provinces, where revolutions had disrupted societies, and Germans comprised another 25% of New York's population by 1860.

Modern historyEdit

The opening of the the many rival subway lines occurred in 1904.

New York became the most populous urbanized area in the world in the early 1920s, overtaking London. The metropolitan area surpassed the 10 million mark in the early 1930s, becoming the first megacity in human history. The difficult years of the Great Depression saw the election of reformer Fiorello La Guardia as mayor and the fall of Tammany Hall after eighty years of political dominance.

Returning World War II veterans created a post-war economic boom and the development of large housing tracts in eastern Queens. New York emerged from the war unscathed as the leading city of the world, with Wall Street leading America's place as the world's dominant economic power. The United Nations Headquarters was completed in 1952, solidifying New York's global geopolitical influence, and the rise of abstract expressionism in the city precipitated New York's displacement of Paris as the center of the art world.

The 1966 New York City smog was an air-pollution event, with damaging levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. Smog covered the city from November 23 to 26, which was that year's Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It was the third major smog in New York City, and followed events of similar scale in 1953 and 1963.

On November 23, a large mass of stagnant air over the East Coast trapped pollutants in the city's air. For three days, New York City had high levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. Smaller pockets of air pollution pervaded the New York metropolitan area. On November 25, regional leaders announced a "first-stage alert". During the alert, leaders of local and state governments asked residents and industry to take voluntary steps to minimize emissions. Health officials advised people with respiratory or heart conditions to stay indoors. The city shut off garbage incinerators, requiring massive hauling of garbage to landfills. A cold front dispersed the smog on November 26 and the alert ended.

In the months that followed, scientists and doctors studied the smog's impact. It became clear that the smog had been a major environmental disaster with severe public health effects. One study estimated that 10% of the city's population suffered adverse health effects, such as stinging eyes, coughing, and respiratory distress. City health officials initially maintained that the smog had not caused any deaths. Later, a statistical analysis found that 168 people had likely died because of the smog.

The smog catalyzed greater national awareness of air pollution as a serious health problem and political issue. New York City updated its local laws on air pollution control. Prompted by the smog, President Lyndon B. Johnson and members of Congress worked to pass federal legislation regulating air pollution in the United States, culminating in the 1967 Air Quality Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act. The 1966 smog is a milestone that has been compared with other pollution events, including the health effects of pollution from the September 11 attacks and pollution in China.

In the 1970s, job losses due to industrial restructuring caused New York City to suffer from economic problems and rising crime rates. While a resurgence in the financial industry greatly improved the city's economic health in the 1980s, New York's crime rate continued to increase through that decade and into the beginning of the 1990s. By the mid 1990s, crime rates started to drop dramatically due to revised police strategies, improving economic opportunities, gentrification, and new residents, both American transplants and new immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Important new sectors, such as Silicon Alley, emerged in the city's economy. New York's population reached all-time highs in the 2000 Census and then again in the 2010 Census.

The New York Bight (ocean waters off the mouth of the Hudson River), was used as a sewerage and rubbish dump by New York City causing a significant decline in oxygen concentrations in waters near the seafloor between 1949 and 1969.

Additionally companies like General Electric and General Motors were regularly draining and leaking chemicals into the Hudson River as a whole during 1965.

Scientific warningsEdit

Dr. Helmut F. Landsberg, a climate scientist with the federal Weather Bureau, predicted in 1963 that the Northeastern and Great Lakes regions could anticipate a major smog event every three years due to the confluence of weather events and trends like growing population, industrialization, and increased emissions from cars and central heating.

In early 1966, Dr. Walter Orr Roberts—director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research—warned of the imminent threat of a smog event with the potential to kill as many as 10,000 people.

Roberts identified Los Angeles or New York City as the cities most vulnerable to a large-scale lethal smog in the United States, and London, Hamburg, or Santiago as other the most vulnerable internationally.

The eventEdit

A mild haze or light smog had occurred on a few days in the 1940s. The local topography and weather usually dispersed the pollutants, unlike in LA, thus making the overall risk of it worth living with.

1953Edit

Smog obscures view of Chrysler Building from Empire State Building

Many buildings and skyscrapers are seen from a great height, surrounded by smog. Unlike the previous image above, no horizon can be seen as the entire sky is blotted out by the smog. If the position of the prior photo was "above" a blanket of smog, this photo is completely underneath and within it. The Chrysler Building as seen from the Empire State Building on November 20, 1953, during the 6 day smog that caused at least 200 deaths. Artist: Walter Albertin.

It was more of a traditional 'smokey' smog (poor air circulation + heavy fog, smoke and ash). Later smogs would be photochemical smog in nature. The 6 day smog that caused at least 200 deaths.

1962Edit

A mild haze or light smog had occurred on a few days.

1963Edit

A mild haze or light smog had occurred on a few days.

1966Edit

The 1966 New York City smog was an air-pollution event, with damaging levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. An acute smog in New York City; lesser smog throughout the New York metropolitan area during a eat inversion over East Coast. In 1966 the city had only a single air quality measurement station, at the Harlem Courthouse. Smog covered the city from November 23 to 26, which was that year's Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It was the third major smog in New York City, and followed events of similar scale in 1953 and 1963. The smog kills at least 169 people on November 23rd-24th, 1966, in New York City. It had a population of 7,781,984 in 1960.

On November 23, a large mass of stagnant air over the East Coast trapped pollutants in the city's air. For three days, New York City had high levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. Smaller pockets of air pollution pervaded the New York metropolitan area. On November 25, regional leaders announced a "first-stage alert". During the alert, leaders of local and state governments asked residents and industry to take voluntary steps to minimize emissions. Health officials advised people with respiratory or heart conditions to stay indoors. The city shut off garbage incinerators, requiring massive hauling of garbage to landfills. A cold front dispersed the smog on November 26 and the alert ended.

In the months that followed, scientists and doctors studied the smog's impact. It became clear that the smog had been a major environmental disaster with severe public health effects. One study estimated that 10% of the city's population suffered adverse health effects, such as stinging eyes, coughing, and respiratory distress. City health officials initially maintained that the smog had not caused any deaths. Later, a statistical analysis found that 168 people had likely died because of the smog.

The smog catalyzed greater national awareness of air pollution as a serious health problem and political issue. New York City updated its local laws on air pollution control. Prompted by the smog, President Lyndon B. Johnson and members of Congress worked to pass federal legislation regulating air pollution in the United States, culminating in the 1967 Air Quality Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act. The 1966 smog is a milestone that has been compared with other pollution events, including the health effects of pollution from the September 11 attacks and pollution in China.

On November 23, a large mass of stagnant air over the East Coast trapped pollutants in the city's air. For three days, New York City had high levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. Smaller pockets of air pollution pervaded the New York metropolitan area. On November 25, regional leaders announced a "first-stage alert". During the alert, leaders of local and state governments asked residents and industry to take voluntary steps to minimize emissions. Health officials advised people with respiratory or heart conditions to stay indoors. The city shut off garbage incinerators, requiring massive hauling of garbage to landfills. A cold front dispersed the smog on November 26 and the alert ended. New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Philadelphia all smogged up at about the same time that year due impart to similarly unfavorable weather.

On November 25, 1966, the front page of The New York Times featured this image, taken the morning before, of the view looking south from the Empire State Building. Roy Popkin of the EPA said the "surrealistic" image made Lower Manhattan look like a science-fiction "Cloud City".

In the months that followed, scientists and doctors studied the smog's impact. It became clear that the smog had been a major environmental disaster with severe public health effects. One study estimated that 10% of the city's population suffered adverse health effects, such as stinging eyes, coughing, and respiratory distress. City health officials initially maintained that the smog had not caused any deaths. Later, a statistical analysis found that 168 people had likely died because of the smog.

The smog catalyzed greater national awareness of air pollution as a serious health problem and political issue. New York City updated its local laws on air pollution control. Prompted by the smog, President Lyndon B. Johnson and members of Congress worked to pass federal legislation regulating air pollution in the United States, culminating in the 1967 Air Quality Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act. The 1966 smog is a milestone that has been compared with other pollution events, including the health effects of pollution from the September 11 attacks and pollution in China.

1973Edit

SKYSCRAPERS OF MANHATTAN VEILED IN SMOG - NARA - 548360 edited

A morning skyline of New York City, with docks and the ocean visible at the bottom and progressively thicker haze into the distance. Only the outlines of far buildings can be seen, with details like windows or architectural features impossible to distinguish in in the smog in May 1973. By 1972 New York City had cut levels of sulfur dioxide and particulates by half from their peak. Author: EPA.

A heavy smog had occurred on several days.

1988Edit

SmogNY

Smog in New York City as viewed from the World Trade Center in 1988. Auteur: Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.

A mild haze or light smog had occurred on sevseal days.

Hudson River EstuaryEdit

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East RiverEdit

.

Present dayEdit

A photogenic haze has hit the city center on a few days each year since the early 1990s, such as during 2014.

The cureEdit

An industrial plant, with a mess of household trash items strewn haphazardly on the ground in front of it.

The incinerator plant at Gravesend in Brooklyn, pictured in 1973. The 1966 smog event demonstrated the ways in which disparate problems of urban life, such as waste management and air pollution, are interconnected. Author: Arthur Tress, 1940-, Photographer (NARA record: 1100153).

In 1953, the city opened a laboratory to monitor pollution that would become its Department of Air Pollution Control. The department quantified pollution with an air quality index, a single number based on combined measurements of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and haze or smoke levels in the air. The city laboratory recorded the presence of those three pollutants, as measured by amount (concentration in parts-per-million, or ppm) and duration (time).

The data for those three pollutants were combined into a single number using a formula developed by department co-founder Moe Mordecai Braverman. The index average was 12, with an "emergency" level if the index was higher than 50 for a 24-hour period. he average, 12, was determined from data collected between 1957 and 1964, and the "emergency" level of 50 was announced in 1964.

The index system used by the city in 1966 is not in use anywhere today and was unique to the city even at the time; the 1966 smog itself prompted scientists to reexamine and improve the city's methodology for recording air-pollutant levels.

The smog catalyzed greater national awareness of air pollution as a serious health problem and political issue. New York City updated its local laws on air pollution control. Prompted by the smog, President Lyndon B. Johnson and members of Congress worked to pass federal legislation regulating air pollution in the United States, culminating in the 1967 Air Quality Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act. The 1966 smog is a milestone that has been compared with other pollution events, including the health effects of pollution from the September 11 attacks on the WTC and pollution in China.

Calls for greater air pollution regulation in this era culminated with the passage under President Richard Nixon of the 1970 Clean Air Act, which supplanted the Air Quality Act and has been described as the most significant environmental legislation in American history. The 1970 Clean Air Act significantly increased the role of the federal government and, for the first time, imposed air quality requirements on states.

The most widely recognized legacy of the 1966 smog was the political reaction to it, which galvanized the nascent environmental movement in the United States and prompted demand for sweeping air-pollution control laws. The smog has been remembered for various purposes by scientists, historians, journalists, writers, artists, activists, and political commentators.

New York City has focused on reducing its environmental impact and carbon footprint. Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States. Also, by 2010, the city had 3,715 hybrid taxis and other clean diesel vehicles, representing around 28% of New York's taxi fleet in service, the most of any city in North America.

ProminenceEdit

The smog is commonly still cited as one of the most-visible and most-discussed environmental disasters of the 1960s in the United States, alongside the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire.

Also seeEdit

  1. Photogenic smog
  2. German river pollution
  3. Birmingham, Alabama smogs of the 1960s and 1970s
  4. The Mexico City Photogenic Smog and other environmental issues
  5. The 'Golden Gutter' pollution affair
  6. The 1970's Los Angeles Photogenic Smog

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