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Hot Time in the Old Town

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A discussion of a deadly heat wave that hit New York in 1896

This summer’s heat may have given us something to gripe about, but it pales in comparison to what New Yorkers suffered through in August of 1896. A 10-day heat wave claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people in Manhattan alone. One local newspaper described the city as “an inferno of brick and stone.”

On this week's Cityscape, we talk with author Edward Kohn about this largely forgotten natural disaster in U-S history. His new book is called Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt.