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The Fire that Transformed New York City

December 16, 1835 is a landmark date in the history of New York. This day can never be forgotten by anyone. The night of December 16, 1835 was a very cold night. The people all gathered onto the streets of New York, watching New York burn in front of their eyes. They witnessed the demolition of the entire financial district into pieces of ash. This awful fire destroyed property of almost half a billion dollars and leveled 17 city blocks. This fire came to be known as the Great Fire of 1835. That very night when the news of the fire breaking out was communicated to the volunteer firefighters, they could’nt reach on time as they had spent the entire previous night fighting another fire.

Another difficulty was posed by the zero degree temperature. Also the winds were so frigid that it became almost impossible for them to operate their fire hoses. Soon, it was evident that the fire fighters almost failed in putting off the fire. The ugly fire went off after sweeping 17 city blocks and covering 13 acres. Nearly, 700 buildings were consumed in the fire.

Surprisingly, only two people lost their lives in this tragedy. But indeed this tragic fire changed the city of New York in numerous ways. As the city regrew, better plans like broadened streets were put into execution. The failed fire fighting system resulted in the building of an aqueduct that tapped water from the Croton River, making clean drinking water accessible to New Yorkers that could also be used in putting off fires as well. Soon, the fire became an event of the past, but the transformations that it brought to the city were worth appreciating.

By: Anuja Arora