The Greatest Job in the World
(Above: A New York City street in 1893.)
Robin Nagle has my dream job. She's an anthropologist who works with the New York City Department of Sanitation. What does that mean? It means she gets to study the relationship between people and their trash.
I've long been fascinated by sewers, garbage collection, plumbing, and all of the things that make modern life relatively sanitary. It wasn't long ago that the world was a filthy, disgusting place. And New York City may have been one of the nastiest cities on earth.
Here's Ms. Nagle describing the average New York City neighborhood in the late 19th century:
Imagine, on your own block, that you can’t cross the street, even at the corner, without paying a street kid with a broom to clear a path for you, because the streets were layered in this sludge of manure, rotting vegetables, ash, broken up furniture, debris of all kind. It was called “corporation pudding” after the city government. And it was deep -- in some cases knee-deep.
Wow. The rest of Ms. Nagle's interview with onearth can be found here!