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259-The Astor Place Riot

259-The Astor Place Riot

The second-bloodiest riot in the history of New York was touched off by a dispute between two Shakespearean actors. Their supporters started a brawl that killed as many as 30 people and changed the institution of theater in American society. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Astor Place riot, "one of the strangest episodes in dramatic history." We'll also fertilize a forest and puzzle over some left-handed light bulbs. Intro: In 1968, mathematician Dietrich Braess found that installing a traffic shortcut can actually lengthen the average journey. What key is "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" written in? Sources for our feature on the Astor Place riot: Nigel Cliff, The Shakespeare Riots: Revenge, Drama, and Death in Nineteenth-Century America, 2007. Richard Moody, The Astor Place Riot, 1958. Lawrence Barrett, Edwin Forrest, 1881. Joel Tyler Headley, Pen and Pencil Sketches of the Great Riots, 1873. H.M. Ranney, Account of the Terrific and F