It has become cliche to say that the roots of modern New York City can be found in the 1970s. But in his book, "Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York," Daniel Levy argues that the leveling of 700 buildings in lower Manhattan is truly the key moment. The fire devastated lower Manhattan, left thousands homeless or out of work and exposed several ways New York was being held back from becoming great. From improvements in firefighting to a public water system, Levy argues that the time period before the Civil War should be remembered for how New Yorkers banded together to build their city into one that would become America's signature metropolis. We also discussed how fires and devastation have often set New Yorkers on the path to renewal, Levy's writing career, and how research can be a painstaking but worthwhile process.
Information on his book from Oxford University Press can be found here
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