Journalist Karl Grossman and historian Christopher Verga have teamed up for the new book Cold War Long Island, out now from the History Press. In it, they detail the productive and tumultuous post-Second World War years on Long Island.
With an influx of returning soldiers and sailors and an increase of military spending on Long Island to counteract an alleged threat from communism, Nassau and Suffolk Counties saw rapid growth. Aviation companies like Republic and Grumman became household names and a housing boom, epitomized by suburban communities like Levittown, brought many people to the area.
Grossman and Verga also highlight the challenges that came with the prosperity. Neighborhoods like Levittown denied homes to Black veterans. Widespread anxiety led to a rise in prescription drug abuse. Nuclear missiles were stationed across the Island and the everyday use of nuclear power was promoted by the government with little or no acknowledgement of its dangers. And that’s not even mentioning Plum Island.
This is a wide-ranging discussion on the 1950s, 60s, and 70s – everything from Nazi scientists to the United Nations, space tourism, and the Rolling Stones.
You can listen to the podcast here.
The Long Island History Project is a podcast featuring stories and interviews with people passionate about Long Island history. It is co-hosted by academic librarian Chris Kretz and local historian and preservationist Connie Currie.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.