Today on Gotham, associate editor David Thomson speaks with Stacy Horn, author of the new book Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th Century New York, about the dark history of Blackwell's Island, known more commonly today as Roosevelt Island.
By Naomi Adiv
In the summer of 1870, New York City got its first municipal bath: swimming pools sunk into the rivers, through which river water flowed. An 1871 New York Times article describes them: “baths are of the usual house-like model, and have a swimming area of eighty-five feet in length by sixty-five feet in width. They are… provided with sixty-eight dressing-rooms, have offices and rooms in an additional story, and are well lighted with gas for night bathing.” In the year after they were built, the Department of Public Works reported that they were regularly used to their capacity, particularly on hot summer days. At their height, there were twenty-two such baths around the waters of New York City.
Do We Want to Exhibit a Clean or Unclean City? Private Contractors, Scavengers, and Waste Disposal at the 1939 New York World’s Fair
By Stephen Petrus
New York City is again confronting a surge in heroin use and opioid addiction in general. According to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fatal drug overdoses increased in New York by 66% from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, 556 New Yorkers unintentionally overdosed on heroin. The Bronx and Staten Island were the hardest hit boroughs. Heroin use, once largely associated with African Americans and Latinos, affects white New Yorkers more than any other group. They had the highest death rate from heroin overdoses in New York in 2015.
“Does the United States Need a Medical Revolution?” Communism, Birth Control, and National Health Insurance in 1940s New York
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