E7 - Cities

  • A new generation...on a wild new frontier. Rising into the sky leaning towers of steels.
  • A bold new urban landscape, may be America's greatest invention: the modern vertical city.
  • We are pioneers and trailblazers. We fight for freedom. We transform our dreams into the truth, Our struggles will become a nation.
  • America Land of invention - Hot-dogs, jazz, the elevator, skyscrapers.
  • This is the story of the greatest innovation of all The modern vertical city.
  • One world famous icon has come to symbolize it. Amazingly, we very nearly didn't have it.
  • It's 1885 and New York City has a big problem. A magnificent gift but with some assembly required.
  • Scattered across Bedloe's Island in New York harbor in 214 crates. They contain the largest statue in the Western world. It's been donated by the people of France to celebrate the centenary (100) of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Built in Paris, broken down into 350 massive pieces For the journey to America.
  • That's the problem. The cost of reassembling it would be astronomical -- Money, New York does not have. At least 6 other US cities are jockeying to give it a home.
  • New York City is in danger of losing the Statue of Liberty. Not if this man can help it.
  • Joseph Pulitzer, tenacious newspaper magnate Immigrant, a self-made man. He owns the biggest paper in the US: "The New York World.”
  • And he's determined to keep Liberty in New York harbor through his chain of newspapers.
  • Pulitzer launches the biggest fund-raising campaign ever seen in North America.
  • "It would be an irrevocable disgrace to New York city and the American republic to have France send us this splendid gift without our having provided even so much as a landing place for it."
  • "We must raise the money!" More than a million people read Pulitzer's papers every day.
  • Enclosed please find 25 cents, is my contribution to...It contains my little savings......I resolved to send you the contents of the first jackpot. You will find enclosed 4 dollars...the money we saved to go to the circus with.
  • Donations flood in from all across the country, Rich and poor, East and West. Pennies and nickels...fives and tens. Even thousands of dollars. In all, a staggering 121,000 donations.
  • More than enough to keep this iconic statue in New York. I think a statue is not just a statue.
  • I think symbols really matter. I think they signify, in a big way. In fact, may be they do more than reams and reams and reams of legislation and paper and print.
  • Now the real work begins. To hold a statue 150 feet high, the pedestal will be the biggest concrete structure in the world.
  • Over 200 men work through a grueling winter to complete it. As the last of the cement dries.
  • Workers toss in their own silver dollars for good luck. Next, Liberty's enormous iron skeleton.
  • It's designed by Gustave Eiffel, who will build famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.
  • The skeleton is 151 feet tall and with the pedestal, it's the height of a 30-story office block.
  • Now for the outer layer. Wrapping around the skeletons are 60,000 pounds of hand-sculpted copper.
  • The sandal is 32 times bigger than a human foot. Equivalent of the size of 879 shoes.
  • It's all on the job training. Often and 300 feet in the air, it's as difficult as it is dangerous; they need to fix 300 pieces of copper shell to the framework with more than 300,000 rivets.
  • Her robes have over 4,000 square yards to cover her outstretched arm is 42 feet long. A finger nail weighs 3.5 pounds. The scale of Liberty is unimaginable.
  • After 6 months of hazardous construction, there's no fatalities, the Liberties 17-feet faceis finally winched to position. It's bigger than Lincoln's on Mount Rushmore.
  • It's said the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi modeled the face on his own mother.
  • It takes 25 years Liberty to acidize and turn green. A functioning lighthouse until 1902.
  • The statue's official name is: "Liberty, Enlightening the World." At first, the symbol of the alliance and friendships between France and the 13 colonies in the American Revolution.
  • It will come to represent much more. At the entrance to New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty becomes a beacon to the world and a welcome to millions.
  • Later, a poem by Emma Lazarus in her base, celebrates America as a land of refugees:
  • "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
  • Over the next two decades, more than 12 million immigrants pass the Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island. The first stop for most new Americans.
  • Imagine what it took for someone to leave eastern Poland or Lithuania, or some village in the mountains of Northern Italy and come all the way to this strange place with nothing.
  • Today, more than 100 million Americans can trace the roots back to ancestors who came through Ellis Island. If you go back only 150 years in our 200-and-almost-50 years history, 95% of the people were... not here. They are no roots, they all came from someplace else. So, to me, America represents the best of the human's sprit.
  • A guidebook prepares arrivals for a new life in a new world. "Forget your customs and ideals. Select a goal and pursue it with all your might. You would experience a bad time, but sooner or later, you will achieve your goal. Don't take a moment's rest. Run."
  • And from Ellis Island, they spread out across the continent. For the most part, Irish, Russians and Italians to big cities. Germans to the Midwest. Scandinavians to farmland. At the dawn of the 20th century. Eventually, there will be more Italians in New York than in Rome.
  • From 1880 to 1930, nearly 24 million new immigrants arrive in the U.S...A new era in US history is about to begin.
  • By the early 20th century, new urban megacities around America are bursting to the seams and look to expand in a new direction: Up. But building these great towers demands a critical ingredient that's much too expensive: Steel. One man will change all that, and with it, the face of America.
  • He'll risk everything, and almost lose it all. Its 1872 and Andrew Carnegie, a 5-feet-3 Scottish immigrant iron millionaire, is in Sheffield, England. He's looking at the future...a revolutionary way to make steel.
  • Steel has been around for thousands of years, but so expensive to produce, it's always been a luxury item. Two-thousand years ago it's used in Oriental swords. It is even used in designer jewelry. But America stands at the brink of a new age.
  • To build it, they need steel-- and lots of it. It's the only material strong enough for the towers that will touch the sky. An English bullet maker is showing Carnegie a new but simple method to producing steel. He's stunned. Blast hot air through molten iron. Carbon impurities burn off You get the wonder material Steel...For the first time, it can be produced quickly and inexpensively.
  • If Carnegie can use this Bessemer process to mass-produce it, he'll own the future. Carnegie returns to the states, to Pittsburgh, to start building the biggest steel plant in the world. It'll be larger than 80 football fields. It's a massive gamble. Carnegie risks everything he's got on the new plant.
  • But only months into construction...disaster: a catastrophic stock-market collapse. The economy is in free fall. He has to borrow even more money and barely scrapes through.
  • August 1875: Against all odds, Carnegie's giant furnaces are ready to test. Steel production is phenomenally dangerous. Inside, 5 tons of molten metal. Three-thousand degrees...Hot enough to vaporize a man in seconds. If it works, it will make Carnegie one of the richest men in the world. But there's a lot more at stake: Skyscrapers, cars, washing machines, airplanes, even space travel.
  • None of it can happen if steel can't be mass-produced. It's a success; Carnegie is the first ever to mass-produce steel. Prices plummet by over 80%. Output rockets from a few thousand tons in 1860...to 11 million by 1900.
  • So many American stories of success are diligence, perseverance; but there's an awful lot of luck involved too. His timing couldn't have been better.
  • It was steel that built American cities; It was steel that built American railroads; It was steel that built American shipping.
  • By the beginning of the 20th century, he was one of the wealthiest men in America. Pittsburgh transforms from a sleepy town to the industrial heart of the nation.
  • Its Population triples. Driven by a new steel railroad, millions of tons of steel are transported across America...the raw material to build the modern city.
  • And the grandest of all is New York. It's an era of obscene opulence. New York is a playground for super rich industrialists and financiers. Widely extravagant, they smoke cigars rolled in 100 dollar bills. Their wives' hats - studded with diamonds. This is the Gilded Age.
  • Land values are the highest in the world. There's only one place to go: Up.
  • By 1902, 65 skyscrapers are being constructed in Manhattan. This is one of them. It's called "Walking the steel." This man is 30 stories above the street. His first time at this height. No harness or safety rope. One slip...And he's dead. Veterans are called "Fixers." The novices are "Snakes,” because working with them can be deadly. The old hand knows just how dangerous it can be.
  • "The thing I hate worse than poison is to take a new man when we're near the top. They all get used to it or get killed."
  • No hard hats, just a 280-foot drop; A sudden gust of wind and it's all over. They're up here eight hours a day. Meals when they can. No bathroom breaks. They're called roughnecks.
  • European immigrants and Mohawk Indians...many were sailors and bridge workers, so they're used to heights. The guys balancing on the beams...I think it took a lot of bravery; I think it took a lot of skill, a lot of physically--physically challenging, but I also think it--you had to be a little crazy.
  • The stakes couldn't be higher; It's a risk they're willing to take; the pay is 4 dollars a day, twice the going rate for manual labor. Foreman William Starrett sums up his dangerous job:
  • "Building skyscrapers is the nearest peacetime equivalent of war; even to the occasional grim reality of an accident or a maimed body, even death remind us that we are fighting a war of construction against the forces of nature."
  • He makes it, many aren't so lucky. Two roughnecks out of five die or are disabled on the job. Whether it's a builder or an architect or... whatever, whoever had the imagination to design and build some of the great structures of New York. I'm inspired by.
  • In 1902, in New York, this is what the future looks like the Flatiron Building. Its triangular footprint determined by the intersection of three streets, not two. The steel frame means the outside can be hung in sections like a suit of clothes. Now the walls don't take the weight; the steel does. It's so radical, when people first see it, they think it will blow over and kill them. A lawsuit is filed claiming winds focused by this Flatiron's extreme shape damage a nearby shop.
  • Today it's one of our best-loved buildings. Inside, the other breakthrough that lets towers rise into the clouds: The elevator. Before it, the tallest buildings stop mostly at five floors. No more walking up stairs now, so the sky's the limit.
  • For the first time, the higher the floor, the higher the rent. You think it's a fairly humble invention, but when Otis invented the first really safe elevator, it enabled the growth of the modern city, where people could come in, build much taller buildings, get a much higher density of people, and sure enough, by the end of the 19th century, the urban population has increased 87 times over.
  • In Chicago alone, in just 10 years, they built 50 steel-frame buildings; and in 20 years, it's population more than doubles to almost 1.7 million.
  • American cities are exploding, but for many, living in the shadow of these new towers will prove even harder than building them.
  • In America in 1890, crime and poverty are rife on the streets, but these mavericks are about to make a difference. Gangsters, murders, thieves and fear are on the streets. New tabloid newspapers splash crime all over the front pages. In Chicago, you can rent a gun by the hour. In the Sears Catalog, you can buy one for 12 dollars.
  • In New York, a policeman finds a list on a murdered gangster--his rate card. Punches: 2 dollars; Nose and jaw broke: 10 dollars; ear chewed off: 15 dollars; The big job: 100 bucks and up. Detective Bureau Chief Thomas Byrnes--
  • A man who follows his own set of rules he's shrewd. And he's very tough. Among his methods is a technique his detectives call "The third degree." First degree: Persuasion. Second degree: Intimidation. Third degree: Pain.
  • In 4 years, Byrnes claims he's arrested 3,300 criminals. He solved the biggest heist of the 19th century ...Nearly a 3 million dollar Manhattan bank robbery. Reporters called him the greatest crime buster.
  • In the history of the New York City police force. "His very manner; the size of him; his menacing shoulders and arms; the bark of his voice; Pickpockets! Forgers! Whoever cracked the safe, unscrupulous rogues. Crooks are now afraid of their shadows."
  • They lead double lives. But tracking down criminals isn't easy; there's no official ID; No birth certificates or driver's licenses. If a criminal is known in one town, he just moved to the next. Criminals are anonymous. Byrnes is tackling this problem head-on...and bringing police work into a new age.
  • This is his rogues gallery; mugshots of 7,000 known lawbreakers using photography to identify criminals will change detective work forever. Annie Reilly. Alias: Middle Annie, Deceitful servant.
  • The mug shots are distributed to police departments around the country, but these are more than just pictures. Byrnes is also building psychological profiles of criminals. Rufus Minor. He comes from a very good family. It's a pity he's a thief.
  • This is the first attempt to create a national crime register. A city as diverse as ours is going to have a significant crime problem that you've gotta be on top of. Even today, mugshots still catch criminals. 12 million are taken every year nationwide. That's more than the entire population of Ohio.
  • And it all began with the rogue's gallery over 120 years ago. Any questions? But crime isn't the only problem plaguing urban streets.
  • In many cities, slums are reaching epidemic proportions. Multiple families crammed into one small room. Human waste pours into the streets, alleys and open courtyards. People were crowded in, there were windowless tenements.
  • Sometimes you had no internal plumbing; just provides in the basement, in the backyard and the Lower East Side during these years was the single most crowded place in the entire world.
  • Jacob Riis, Danish immigrant, crime reporter, photographer. He gets leads for stories from Chief Inspector Byrnes.
  • Now he's about to expose the hell of tenements. Jacob Riis knows what it's like to be poor. 15 years ago, he lost his job in a stock market crash. It's midnight, but Riis has a new technology that will change the public perception of poverty forever...an explosive powder that produces enough light to photograph in the dark.
  • This is one of the first-ever photographs of slum life....Go! It shocks millions. Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Jacob A.Riis...and this is how the other half live and die in New York City. Magazines refuse to print his work. So Riis puts on his own "Magic lantern" shows.
  • His mission: to show the nation's wealthy...something they've never seen before; filth and desperation on their doorstep.
  • In this block, nine dead were carried out this year alone. Five in baby coffins. What he demonstrated was that there is another reality; that all that prosperity didn't trickle down all the way to the bottom and there was some deplorable living conditions, and this country was not just forced to confront those conditions, but then was moved to begin to deal with them.
  • Riis publishes his pictures in a book called "How the Other Half Lives." It will sell more than 28 million copies. Within 2 decades, the worst of New York's slums are torn down.
  • Tenements sell at auction for as little as a dollar. Riis' campaigning forces all New York schools to build playgrounds and landlords to install toilets inside apartments, not outside. It is the first step in tackling the slums.
  • But as cities keep on growing, an even bigger challenge remains. In New York alone, nearly 40,000 die in one year from diseases...because of this: filth. But one clean crusader is about to change everything.
  • 1895. Our major cities are drowning in filth. 120,000 horses dump half a million pounds of manure into the New York streets every day; wagons are blocked by 3-foot-high piles of human and animal waste.
  • Into this world steps a man on a white horse: Colonel George Waring. Civil War veteran; legendary sewer engineer, "Apostle of Cleanliness.” He's the Head of New York Sanitation Department.
  • "The city stinks with the emanations of putrefying organic matter. Black rottenness is seen and smelled on every hand. The crowded streets are a veritable hell."
  • Wearing recruits an army of 2,000 sanitation workers in white uniforms. Some dismiss him as a crank. They call his men "White Ducks" but Waring means business. Tons of garbage, normally dumped into the river, is recycled.
  • Ash becomes landfill on Rikers Island. Organic waste boiled into oil and grease. Waring is America's first "Eco-warrior.” His men clean 433 miles of street. Death rates decline; water quality improves.
  • Waring save the lives of thousands. The measure spread across America. Just 16 years after Colonel Waring, half of all cities have waste collection. And it's not just waste.
  • By 1907, every large city in the nation has sewers. By 1909, there are 42,040 miles of sewers in America. The battle against filth, crime and poverty has begun.
  • But one of the city's greatest innovations is still in its infancy. One man will change the urban landscape forever. Menlo Park, New Jersey, 1879. Thomas Edison: inventor, entrepreneur, showman. He was taken out of school as a boy, but that won't stop him from becoming synonymous. With inventions that define the modern era, he pushes his team hard, 24/7.
  • In one of the world's first R&D labs. It will generate more than 1,000 patents. America still lights the night in the dangers flick candles, gas and kerosene. Edison thinks he has a better idea. If he can get a filament to burn slowly in a vacuum: the electric light bulb. Platinum. Edison locks himself in his lab, doesn't sleep for days.
  • The stakes are high. His backers have sunk 130,000 dollars into his research. Millions in today's money. He claimed to have gone through 6000 materials from the plant world alone in his search for the perfect filament. Turn on the lamp, Jack. Spruce. Beard. Fish line. Thread. Teak.Boxwood. Celluloid, parchment. Then something extraordinary happens. Cardboard. A piece of carbonized cardboard burns for 300 hours.
  • It's going to change the way people live forever. What Edison does is nothing less than to banish the darkness. Now think of the meaning of that. Think of what that means to daily life.
  • New Year's Eve 1879. Edison shows off his new invention. Thousands of people flock to his lab to see the future take shape. The Pennsylvania Railroad arranges special trains to accommodate the crowds.
  • When Thomas Edison invented that light bulb, that electric light bulb, what a-- how magical that must have been. You know, to sit there and just all of a sudden, without a match, without kerosene or gas, and just flip a switch and...light.
  • In just 2 years, Edison builds more than 5,000 power plants, generating electricity for cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and New Orleans. Over the next 5 years, he builds over 127,000 more.
  • By 1902, 18 million bulbs in use. The impact is massive. Sports, entertainment, factories, stores. All can now operate at night and as electricity comes to the cities. More and more people arrive with it.
  • By 1900, nearly 4 million women are working in US cities. In just 40 years, that figure has more than quadrupled. Urban factories are pounding out 75% of all consumer products in the US. Places like this, modern steel-frame buildings equipped with all the latest technology.
  • Otis electric elevators, Bell telephones, Singer sewing machines. But packing so many people into tall buildings is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • The United States is hurtling into the modern age. Symbolized by megacities rising up all across the continent. By 1909 Americans are spending nearly 23 Billion dollars a year on ready-made clothes. This factory is producing 12,000 garments a week.
  • Known as shirtwaists, they're the latest fashion for the working woman. New York City, March 25, 1911. 4:45 PM. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, 8th floor. 260 girls work here, most of them teenagers.
  • Someone-- we don't know who--tosses a match, or maybe a cigarette into the scrap bin. Eva Harris, a seamstress, smells burning. Fire. There's a fire, Mr. Bernstein. Production manager Samuel Bernstein grabs one of the three fire pails...But the fire is already spreading. There's a mad dash for the exit, but it is too narrow.
  • Only one at a time can pass through. It's been designed that way so their bags can be checked for stolen fabric. There's a fire hose...But it's not working. No water! The only way to warn the floors above is through the switchboard 2 floors up, on the 10th floor.
  • Hello, switchboard? 10th floor. Fire, there's fire. Put me through to the 9th floor! She drops the phone and runs to get help. The message never reaches the 9th floor.
  • Samuel Bernstein races up the main stairs to help the 160 workers trapped there. But blocking the front door, there's a barrel of motor oil. On the 9th floor, flames already shooting through the walls and windows, the girls on 9 rush to the fire escape, but it's locked. Only 2 escape routes are left on the 9th floor: The elevator and the metal fire escape.
  • Kate Weiner makes it to the elevator door, but she's lost her sister. "Everyone was knocking and crying for the elevator comes up. Suddenly the elevator came and the girls rushed in. I was searching for my sister, Rose, but I couldn't find her. The flames were coming toward me and I was being left behind. I felt the elevator was leaving the 9th floor for the last time.”
  • She's the last person to get to the last elevator. More than 100 girls are left behind to die. The only escape route left is the metal fire escape, but it collapses. Firemen arrived with the biggest ladder in New York City, But it's 30 feet too short. 4:58 PM. The girls trapped on the 9th floor are out of options; in desperation... they jump 5.15 PM. The entire blaze is over in less than half an hour. 146 people die in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire
  • There's a trial, but the owners walk free. It remains the deadliest workplace disaster in New York City history...until September 11, 2001. But some good does come out of it.
  • This dramatic tragedy sparks a wave of reform, so you begin to get new restrictions and a new conversation about what to do to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening.
  • But it did not stop, of course, that tragedy itself. Unions force management to take responsibility for the lives of their workers.
  • The Life Safety Code now used in all 50 States is a direct result of this fire. It's why doors now open outwards in public buildings; why automatic sprinkler systems or multiple exits are now the law.
  • The US and the modern city grew up together. Typically new, enormous and fast-paced, the megacity is one of America's great inventions.