This work (Hells Kitchen and Sebastopol, by Jacob Riis (1849-1914)) is free of known copyright restrictions.
On the west side of the midtown area of Manhattan, New York, Hell’s Kitchen
was a raw, gang-infested neighborhood of tenements and industry. Home to Irish and
German immigrants from the 1850s until beyond 1900, it harbored aspiration and
desperation in conflict and collusion.
Just a few blocks down and over from Kati loomed the Manhattan Gas Works.
Stretching from Eleventh Avenue to the Hudson between Forty-Fifth and Forty-Sixth Streets…..The process converting coal to gas produced a highly flammable product that included hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, and other VOCs, volatile organic compounds. Byproducts included coke, coal tar, sulfur, and ammonia. These were environmentally destructive, and some were carcinogenic. Spills and waste were flushed directly into the Hudson. The acrid, stinging odors drifting from this plant, especially on a hot, humid day, would have affected breathing and left eyes burning.