air pollution

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Features, History, Policy

Remembering New York City’s days of deadly smog

By Michelle Cohen, Wed, March 22, 2017

Smog covering the Empire State Building. New York, NY, US, November 21, 1953, LIFE Magazine.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1966, the layer of smog that hung above New York City killed about 200 people. An estimated 300–405 people died during a two-week smog episode in 1963. In 1953, as many as 260 died from breathing the city’s air over a six-day stretch.

6sqft reported recently on Donald Trump’s proposed budget and subsequent concerns about the impact significant funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency totaling $2.6 billion or 31 percent–including staff reductions and program eliminations–might have on the city’s drinking water and air quality. A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio assured us that these federal cuts won’t impact NYC’s high quality water supply. But what about the air?

But what about the air?

From Our Partners, maps

nyc air pollution

You might be able to get some fresh air in Manhattan—if you hang out in Central Park all day. Otherwise, the hazards of breathing city air change just about as quickly as it takes for your Uber to arrive at your destination, according to a new study from MIT Senseable City Lab.

The MIT team came up with a new tool for determining the air-quality conditions and exposure hazards of different areas of the city: cellphones. Using cellphone data collected from New Yorkers over 120 days, and focusing on the prevalence of PM2.5 (a specific noxious particle) at different times of day, the researchers found that New Yorkers who live and work in Manhattan are exposed to more toxic pollution than residents who leave their Manhattan jobs and go home to the far reaches of the outer boroughs.

READ MORE AT METRO NEW YORK…

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