In one of my regular rambles around the internet searching out the flotsam and jetsam of our Earth’s existence that might capture my interest, I found this article about a hot New York City summer in 1852. On the surface, as I first started reading and mentally shuddering over accompanying pictures, I thought it was very interesting. It struck a think-of-this-when-you-gripe-about-malfunctioning-AC kind of chord.

The more I read, the more I felt drawn into the scenes of squalor, illness, horrific smells, and the sickening concept of the alarming amount of manure produced in just one day by just one of the estimated 25,000 horses clipclopping their way through the streets of the city that never sleeps. I can’t really explain my interest in all aspects of Victorian living in great cities like New York and London. I just know that authors such as Charles Dickens, Anne Perry, and Caleb Carr have painted such vivid word images for me that I feel almost as if I’ve toured it all for myself. The squalid and the splendid, often rubbing shoulders physically, even as the people of either station lived in oblivious blindness to each others existence.

The above titled article sticks with the horrors, using the hot summer of 1852 and the already unbearable conditions it made worse as a spring board for social, cultural, and ethnic commentary on the times. The wider article about the 1852 article goes into ways the author was influenced by Dickens’ (an author who taught me about my own wider world) writing and how Caleb Carr (whose The Alienist is among my large list of favorite novels) was interested in the article. I really enjoyed the way this one headline led me to a fascinating old article wrapped in an equally fascinating new article about it.

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