Typhoid Mary And A History Of Communicable Diseases

The story of Typhoid Mary is particularly interesting in an age where ebola and other serious diseases threaten the lives of many. Quarantined for what she considered to be a faulty diagnosis, Mary was one of the first “healthy carriers” of typhoid fever, an often-fatal communicable illness. Over the past century, Mary’s story has brought up many issues whose impact can still be seen today, especially those regarding civil liberties, public health, and how the government reconciles both. This is the story of Mary Mallon, the woman behind Typhoid Mary.

Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant who first came to the United States as a teenager. To survive, she held a number of domestic jobs, often as a household cook. In 1906, Mary was hired as a cook by Charles Henry Warren and his vacationing family. In early autumn, six of the 11 Warren household members were infected with typhoid fever. To determine how the family caught the disease, Warren hired sanitary engineer George Soper, who had experience with typhoid fever outbreaks.

Political Cartoon on Typhoid

An old cartoon shows that illnesses like typhoid can be prevented. Source: Monster Brains

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North Brother Island Is New York’s Best Kept Secret

Christopher Payne North Brother Island

Source: Smithsonian

As with many forgotten places, few people—even New York locals—know that North Brother Island exists. While the island was once home to the famed Typhoid Mary, it has since been overtaken by Mother Nature’s gentle yet unyielding hand. A dot on the East River that’s nestled between Bronx and Rikers Island, North Brother Island is now like the world’s other abandoned locales: overrun with lush trees, ivy and tall grasses, a mere shadow of its former self.

New York From Brother Islands

Source: Smithsonian

Abandoned Island New York City

Source: Slate

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30 Rockefeller Center, 1933

30 Rockefeller Center 1933

Had the stock market not crashed in 1929, there is a high likelihood that we would associate Rockefeller Center with an ornate opera house, not an ice skating rink. When John D. Rockefeller Jr. leased the space from Columbia University, he initially intended to build a Metropolitan Opera House on site, but financing troubles meant that he essentially would have to construct the building on his own.

Completed in 1939, Rockefeller Center’s construction was considered the largest private building project of modern times and one that employed a whopping 40,000 people in its nine-year development process. Interestingly enough, this private operation eventually became the site of a number of public agents like British Intelligence and the British Security Coordination, who occupied the space during World War Two.

Graffiti Tours: Bushwick, Brooklyn

Bushwick Graffiti Woman

Photography: Tyler Bird

Grit, grime and…Anna Wintour? What once was a hotbed for little more than arson, looting and crack smoking, Bushwick today is increasingly frequented by A-listers seeking inspiration–or just brick-oven pizza–from the neighborhood’s neon-stained streets. Creative types shack up in shared urban loft spaces; industrial-style galleries dot the street corners, and music can almost always be heard buzzing dimly into the distance.

As Bushwick’s frenzied–and occasionally fabricated–rawness and the work of its roughed up denizens have gained notoriety among art circles, rent has steadily climbed, forcing some of the neighborhood’s veteran residents out. At a time of heightened economic isolation and inequality, street grit has become an object of passing interest for the world’s most high-end tastemakers: street struggles, or at least their illusion, are quite literally en vogue. Life in decay is no longer purely a symptom of larger societal problems; it’s an aesthetic.

Equity issues aside, such an event is common in a place that remains in a constant process of re-invention. As with everything in New York City, the Bushwick we see today will likely be unrecognizable in five years. Without further ado, we give you Bushwick. For now.

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