As you may have read in our newsletter, on this day in 1966 New York City experienced the smoggiest day in the city's history... and the details read like a horror movie. After 9/11, the NY Times touched upon three particularly smoggy years in the city, saying "Most of the horrors of New York's environmental past, like the grim air episodes in 1953, 1962 and 1966, were chronic and cumulative. Most past events had a thousand sources and causes — a vague diffusion of responsibility that made no one responsible."
According to this briefing, key motivations for congressional action included a 'Killer Smog' in London in 1962 and similar inversions in New York. In November 1953, smog killed between 170 and 260 people in NYC; 10 years later it killed 200; and in 1966 it killed 169. The 1953 smog is often mentioned in relation to Dylan Thomas's death. He died in November of 1953, and a turning point in his health "came on November 2nd, when air pollution rose to levels that were a threat to those with chest problems."
Back in 2006, the EPA declared "that 68 out of every million New Yorkers is at risk for getting cancer just from breathing the air." It looks like next year we can expect a progress report regarding air pollution in the city. In the meantime, we wonder if an upcoming season of Mad Men might revolve around the 1966 smog.