By the end of the 19th century, New York was one of the filthiest cities in the world. Though mortality rates from preventable disease rivaled those of medieval London, entrenched political corruption continued to fuel this decades-old crisis—that is, until 1896, when a Civil War officer named George Waring and the broom-wielding army he marshaled brought about a new day for New York.
Robin Nagle, the director of NYU’s Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program and the New York City Department of Sanitation’s anthropologist-in-residence, will recount this little-known, but vital, passage in the city’s history in a lecture titled “How Street Cleaners Saved the City: Garbage, Government, and Public Health in New York,” on Monday, July 26, 5:30 p.m. at NYU School of Medicine, Smilow Multipurpose Room, 550 1st Avenue (enter facility at main entrance--550 1st Avenue at E. 32nd Street; once inside, signs direct you to Smilow Multipurpose Room).
As sanitation commissioner, Waring improved the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. He also permanently changed our expectations of the city’s role in maintaining basic standards of public hygiene and public health.
Reporters interested in attending must RSVP to James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.