ready to read about refuse.
September 13, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn about garbage removal in early New York.

I recently visited Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn and was amazed. I also love Luc Sante's Low Life - a book about crime in New York from the 1840s to the 1920s. Can Metafilter recommend any similar books (or podcasts or articles) about early efforts at sanitation in NYC?
posted by DaveZ to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
On quick Googling, the name Robin Nagle turns up as one possible source for good information about NYC's historic garbage; just look at her syllabus for Garbage in Gotham (.pdf), which includes this promising lead:

Miller, Benjamin
2000 Fat of the Land: A History of Garbage in New York, the Last 200 Years. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Does it have to be garbage? Clean water is super important for sanitation and I found Water for Gotham by Gerard T. Koeppel pretty fascinating. Lots of fun stories about corrupt NYC politics and the effort to try and get clean water to NYC.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stuff You Should Know Podcast had an interesting episode about Typhoid Mary and there was plenty of discussion about sanitary efforts in NYC.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:10 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Smithsonian Channel did an interesting series called Trashopolis, here is a link to their New York episode.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

You might also be interested in the relevant sections of Robert Sullivan's "Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants." (OTOH, the entire book is a good read in and of itself.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:41 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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