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Arts & Culture

FILTHY CITIES: Industrial New York

Host Dan Snow with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, New York City.
Courtesy of © BBC 2011
Host Dan Snow with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, New York City.

Airs Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Host Dan Snow standing next to vintage Ford Model-T car.
Courtesy of © BBC 2011
Host Dan Snow standing next to vintage Ford Model-T car.
Host Dan Snow on the Coney Island boardwalk, New York City.
Courtesy of © BBC 2011
Host Dan Snow on the Coney Island boardwalk, New York City.
Host Dan Snow with a contributor at the Staten Island Rubbish Plant, New York City.
Courtesy of © BBC 2011
Host Dan Snow with a contributor at the Staten Island Rubbish Plant, New York City.

Do you have to dodge the contents of bedpans or step over rotting corpses on your way to work? Well, you may have had to if you'd lived in London, New York or Paris when they were filthy cities. Historian Dan Snow presents this immersive three-part series, which brings these cities' stinking histories vividly to life. Taking the travelogue in a whole new direction—with extraordinary, hands-on demos and stunts—it excavates the murky past in gruesome detail during defining periods in history. You'll find out how each of these modern capitals was forged in the muck of the past, emerging from 'filthy cities' into three of the world's model metropolises.

Episode 3: "Industrial New York" airs Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 10 p.m. - With ground breaking CGI historian Dan Snow travels back to a seething Manhattan in the throws of the industrial revolution. Millions fled persecution, poverty and famine in Europe in the 19th century in search of the Promised Land. When they arrived what they found was even worse than what they'd left behind.

New York was a city consumed by filth and corruption, its massive immigrant population crammed together in the slums of Lower Manhattan. Dan succumbs to some of the deadly disease-carrying parasites that thrived in the filthy, overcrowded tenement buildings. He has a go at cooking with some cutting edge 19th century ingredients—clothes dye and floor cleaner—added to disguise reeking fetid meat. And marvels at some of the incredible feats of engineering that transformed not just the city, but the world.

Historian Dan Snow is on Facebook, Instagram and you can follow @thehistoryguy on Twitter.

FILTHY CITIES is a BBC/Discovery co-production.

Rotten Sausage Anyone? FILTHY CITIES - Episode 3 Preview
FILTHY CITIES Series Preview
Filthy Graphics - FILTHY CITIES

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