THE ICE AGE & THE CITY

Journey back in time for a view of prehistoric New York and how it left its mark on our city.

Aired on June 19, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> 2.6 MILLION YEARS AGO NEW YORK CITY LAY UNDER A SHEET OF ICE SO THICK IT WOULD HAVE BURIED TODAY'S TALLEST SKY SCRAPER.

AS THE ICE MELTED IT SHAPED OUR CITY INTO THE UNIQUE LANDSCAPE WE SEE.

IN FACT MANY NEIGHBORHOODS TAKE NAMES FROM LEFT OVER EMPHASISES FROM THE PHENOMENON.

FOREST HILLS.

PARK SLOPE, CROWN HEIGHTS AND PROSPECT HEIGHTS TO NAME A FEW.

JOINING TO US EXPLAIN HOW THE ICE AGE SHAPED NEW YORK, THIS IS THE SCIENCE ADJOURNIST AND SENIOR WRITER FOR 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' WILLIAM J. BROAD.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

BILL, THE LAST ICE AGE BEGAN OVER 2 THE.5 MILLION YEARS AGO BUT BEGAN TO MELT ONLY 18,000 YEARS AGO.

RIGHT.

WHAT CAUSED THAT GLOBAL WARMING?

WHAT CAUSED THAT CLIMATE CHANGE?

TO WE KNOW.

THOSE -- THEY HAVE- GEOLOGISTS HAVE LOTS OF INFORMATION ABOUT THIS.

BUT IT'S A VERY, VERY, VERY COMPLEX PROBLEM.

IT'S EASIER IN SCIENCE TO ZROIB THAN EXPLAIN.

OAK.

A LOT OF IT HAS TO DO WITH ORBITAL ISSUES, WHERE IT TILTS HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT FALLS ON THE PLANET AND THERE ARE COMPLEX CYCLES THAT THEY'RE WORKING OUT.

BUT THERE ARE FACTORS THEY STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND.

IT'S A HOT RESEARCH TOPIC.

THE REASON I ASK, TIME MAGAZINE CAME OUT WITH AN ARTICLE TALKING ABOUT OU ANTARCTICA'S ICE IS ICE IS MELTING SO FAST.

AND I WAS WONDERING IF THE SAME FACTORS MIGHT BE INVOLVED OR IS IT JUST CAN CARBON EMISSIONS.

IT'S A COMPLEX PROBLEM.

YES.

PEOPLE TALK ABOUT OCEAN RISE.

IT'S A REAL ISSUE.

ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK, RIGHT.

RIGHT.

FROM ANDY AND ALL THAT.

BUT HOW LONG HAS THE OCEANS BEEN RISING, SINCE THE END OF THE ICE AGE.

18,000 YEARS AGO.

THE COAST USED TO BE OUT THERE, ANOTHER 100 MILES BEFORE YOU GET TO THE OCEAN.

THE OCEAN HAS BEEN RISING A LONG TIME.

HOW ABOUT THE MELTING BEGINNING 18,000 YEARS AGO CREATE THE LANDSCAPE OF NEW YORK AS WE KNOW IT TODAY.

THIS ENORMOUS GLACIER -- YOU NAILED IT IN THE OPENING.

THE HUNL THING, HIGHER THAN THE FREEDOM TOWER.

THAT'S AMAZING.

I KNOW WHEN I WAS WALKING AROUND WITH GEOLOGIST HE SAID BY THE WAY THE ICE WOULD HAVE COVERED THE FREEDOM TOWER.

AND I'M SLACK-JAWED AND SAYING THAT'S PRETTY GOOD.

YES.

THESE GLACIERS THAT WERE DOWN HERE ACT LIKE CONVEYOR BELTS, HAULING RUBBLE, PEBBLES, BOULDERS OVER THOUSANDS OF MILES.

AND SOME OF THE BABIES CAME FROM WAY UPSTATE.

THE GLACERS STARTED IN CANADA.

THERE WAS A CONDUIT FROM CANADA THAT WENT THROUGH LAKE CHAMPLAIN REGION, DOWN THROUGH THE HUDSON RIVER GORGE, RIGHT DOWN TO WHERE WE ARE.

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE BIG MELT COMES.

AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE AT THE FRONT AT THE LEADING EDGE WHERE THE GLACIER WAS IS A HILL.

WHAT GEOLOGISTS CALLED A TERMINAL MORAINE.

AND THAT MORAINE AS IT TURNS OUT WEAVES THROUGH QUEENS, BROOKLYN, THROUGH STATEN ISLAND.

IT'S ON AVERAGE IT'S ABOUT 200 FEET HIGH.

AND LO AND BEHOLD YOU CAN SEE IT TODAY.

RIGHT.

TELL US SOME OF THE PLACES ARE THAT WE CAN STILL SEE THE WALL TODAY.

THE WAY I GOT ONTO THIS STORY WAS I WAS UP ON TOP OF OUR ROOF UP ON 110th STREET LOOKING AS I USUALLY DID PAST THE ST. JOHN TO BE -- THE CATHEDRAL, ST. JOHN THE DIVINE.

OFF IN THE DISTANCE I HAD SEEN A HILL.

AND I SAW A MAP THE PREVIOUS DAY.

AND IT TURNED OUT THE HILL I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT FOR A LONG TIME WAS PART OF THE TERMINAL MORAINE.

YOU CAN SEE IT WHIPPING THROUGH ALL THE BUROUGHS, OUTER BUROUGHS.

WHEN THE CITY WAS DEVELOPED.

THEY WENT FOR THE ESZ THINGS FIRST, FLATLAND.

RIGHT.

AND THAT'S EASY.

AND THERE IS NOT THE WEIRD MIX OF ROCKS AND PEBBLES AND THAT STUFF.

THEY DIDN'T USE THAT.

AS A RESULT THIS MORAINE TODAY IS A STRING OF PARKS, GOLF COURSES, CEMETERIES, REALLY OLD CEMETERIES, GREENWOOD CEMETERY IN BROOKLYN.

BATTLE HILL, THE HIGHEST POINT.

YES.

IN BROOKLYN IS PART OF THIS TERMINAL MORAINE.

ONCE I STARTED, YOU KNOW, GETTING ONTO THIS -- PIE WIFE SAID I HOPE THE STORY RUNS SOON BUSY CAN'T HEAR YOU BABBLING ABOUT IT ANY LONGER.

AND THEN THEY FIGURED OUT WE COULD BILLED ON IT TOO.

I LIVE IN PROSPECT HEIGHTS I CAN'T COMPLAINT.

BEAUTIFULLY LANDSCAPED, ALL THE TREES.

AS YOU SAID IN THE OPENING A LOT OF THE NAMES COME FROM THE WOODINESS AND THE HILLINESS.

BAY HIJ, WHO KNEW.

AND ALSO SOMETHING LEFT -- THERE ARE THINGS CALLED ERRATICA THAT WERE LEFT.

TELL US WHAT THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY SEE THEM.

THESE ARE MOTHER BOULDERS CARRIED DOWN BY THE GLACIER.

THEY GET DROPPED ALL OVER THE CITY.

BUT LO AND BEHOLD CENTRAL PARK HAS THESE THINGS.

AND THE CLUE IS THAT THEY TEND TO BE ROUNDED.

YES.

BECAUSE THEY GOT GROUND AROUND BY THE GLACE YEARS.

LIKE LITTLE PEBBLES.

YEAH, EXCEPT THEY'RE HUGE, RIGHT.

RIGHT.

AND THEY DON'T LOOK LIKE THE LOCAL ROCK.

YEAH.

THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT.

THEY CAME FROM 100 MILES UPSTATE.

YES.

AND AS THE GLACE YEARS MELTED KERPLOP.

AND A GEEIST -- I SAW IT THROUGH THEIR EYES- DSH TO THEM CENTRAL PARK IS AN ICE AGE MUSEUM.

THEY GO AROUND AND SAY, BING, BING, BEGINNING.

THANKS FOR WRITING THE ARTICLE.

MY PLEASURE.

INTERESTING TO TALK ABOUT.

ABSOLUTELY MY PLEASURE.

THANK YOU.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO TONTD, TODAY IS JUNETEENTH, INDEPENDENCE DAY.

FOR SOME NOT IN THE KNOW IT'S KNOWN AS FREEDOM DAY.

A UNIQUELY AMERICAN HOLIDAY THAT KMEM RATES THE JUNE 19th, 1865 ANNOUNCEMENT THAT SLAVERY WOULD BE ABOLISHED IN THE U.S. STATE OF TEXAS, AND CELEBRATES THE EMANCIPATION OF ENSLAVED AFRICAN-AMERICANS THROUGH THE CONFEDERACY.

JUNE 19th IS A SPECIAL DAY OF OBSERVANCE IN 45 STATES.

ONE OF THE LEADERS OF ABOLITION MOVEMENT AND FORMER SLAVE HARRIET TUBMAN MADE 13 MISSIONS TO RESCUE APPROXIMATELY 70 SLAVES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS FROM BONDAGE, PULLING TOGETHER A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO WERE FIERCELY PASSIONATE ABOUT ENDING SLAVERY.

WITH THEIR HELP, TUBMAN USING A NETWORK OF SAFE HOUSE OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD BECAME KNOWN AS THE MOST HE IS OF HER PEOPLE WHO NEVER LOST A PASSENGER ON THEIR WAY TO FREEDOM.

BUT FEW KNOW TUBMAN'S HISTORY HERE IN NEW YORK.

SPECIFICALLY, AUBURN, A PLACE JUST 4.5 HOURS NORTHWEST OF MANHATTAN THAT EVENTUALLY BECAME HER HOME.

IT'S THE TOWN WHERE SHE LIVED OUT LATER YEARS, CONTINUED TO HELP OTHERS AND BECAME AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE ZION CHURCH AND THE LOCATION THAT WOULD BECOME HER FINAL RESTORING PLACE.

BUT HER LEGACY CONTINUES LONG AFTER HER PASSING.

WHEN SHE PASSED IN 1913 SHE LEFT THE PROPERTY TO THE CHURCH SHE LOVED, THE TUB MANY HOUSE WAS TLARD A LANDMARK IN 1974 WITH THE AME ZION CHURCH SHOURLDING THE BULK OF THE MAINTENANCE.

THEN IN 2014, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SIN SIGNED A MEASURE MAKING THE HOME AND THE TUBMAN HOMESTEAD PART OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

THIS IS THE ONLY AREA IN THE NATION -- A LOT OF PLACES CLAIM HARRIET TUBMAN.

HER NAME IS POPULAR NOW.

BUT THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE HARRIET TUBMAN LIVED WORKED AND DIED.

ALL OF HER ART FACTS ARE HERE IN THIS AREA IN CONJUNCTION WITH SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY WE ARE TRYING TO RESTORE FOR A LARGER MUSEUM.

WE WILL BE RIGHT HERE IN AUBURN, NEW YORK, MAKING SURE THAT THE LEGACY AND THE LAND ON WHICH SHE SERVED AND WORKED AND DIED WILL BE PRESERVED FOREVER.

IT WAS NEW YORK THAT GAVE SOLACE, COMFORT, RESOURCES, MONEY AND PHYSICAL HELP.

THE JOHN BROWN WAS A MEDICAL CENTER ON THIS SAME PROPERTY THAT HARRIET TUBMAN STARTED SO THAT PERSONS COULD RECEIVE THE KIND OF MEDICAL TREATMENT THAT THEY HAD BEEN DENIED THE TIMES THAT THEY WERE IN SLAVERY OR THE MALADIES AND ILLNESSES THAT THEY MAY HAVE THE CONTRACTED COMING THE GREAT DISTANCE BY FOOT, MOST OF THE TIME, THAT THEY HAD TO MAKE IN ORDER TO GET TO NEW YORK.

NEW YORK WAS THE LAST BASTION OF REST FOR THEM BEFORE MAKING THAT FINAL PUSH INTO CANADA.

1859, THE PROPERTY WE ARE ON RIGHT NOW WAS ACQUIRED BY TUBMAN.

NOT ONLY TO LIVE OUT HER FINAL DAYS BUT TO BUILD A PLACE WHERE PERSONS WHO WERE AT RETIREMENT, BEFORE SOCIAL SECURITY COULD FIND A PLACE WHERE THEY COULD PEND THEIR FINAL DAYS.

THIS IS SACRED GROUND.

YES.

THIS IS HOLY GROUND.

WE ARE TRYING TO RESTORE NOW THE OLD BRICK HOUSE THAT YOU SEE UP HERE.

THAT'S IN THE PROCESS NOW OF RESTORATION.

GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS PROMISED FUNDS FROM THE STATE AND THE LEGISLATURE HAS BEEN VERY COOPERATIVE IN ASSISTING US SO THAT WE COULD RESTORE THE HOME AND THE BARN, HER BARN.

THEY CAN EXPECT SOME PICTURES AND ART I FACTS OF HISTORY THAT THEY HAD NOT SEEN.

THEY WILL BE ABLE TO SEE SOME OF THE ACTUAL FURNITURE, THE ACTUAL BIBLE OF HARRIET TUBMAN.

THEY HAVE ALL OF THESE SMALL MEMENTOS OF HER LIFE IN SNIPPETS.

WE ARE IN THE PROCESS HOWEVER OF PROPOSING A MUCH LARGER WELCOME CENTER WHEN WE HAVE THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

SHE GOT UP EARLY.

THAT'S RIGHT.

BEFORE THE BREAK OF DAY.

WHEN I HEARD ABOUT HARRIET TUBMAN, SHE WAS A BAD SISTER.

OH, YES, SHE WAS.

BECAUSE HARRIET TUBMAN HAD A WAY IN WHICH SHE WOULD LEAVE ON SATURDAY NIGHT.

BECAUSE IF SHE LEFT ON SATURDAY NIGHT NEWSPAPERS WOULD NOT REPORT RUN AWAYS UNTIL MONDAY MORNING.

[ APPLAUSE ]

THIS PROCESS, COME TO THIS PLACE, BEING ON THE GROUND, LOOKING AT AT ARTIFACTS HAVE GIVE AND REED SENSE OF CONNECTION WITH THIS PERSON WHO WE THINK OF BEING LARGER THAN LIFE.

BUT HARRIET TUBMAN WAS ONLY 4'11'. SO MAJORITY LUTHER KING JUNIOR NOT GREAT OF STATURE PHYSICALLY BUT GREAT OF PROMINENCE AND GREAT OF CHARACTER.

ANNOUNCER: FUNDING FOR IN PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

ANNOUNCER: CORPORATE FUNDING FOR METROFOCUS WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY, AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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