International Disarmament Institute News

NYC Nuclear Archive


The history of the development of nuclear technology and the subsequent protest against its use is hidden in the office buildings, universities campuses, apartment buildings, parks, and streets of New York City. The city’s role as an international center of business and scientific research also made it the epicenter of numerous visible protest movements. The dark side of this prominence is that New York also came to be seen by many as a potential target for nuclear attacks. 

By looking at spaces within New York City and the way that people have projected nuclear fears onto the city, the NYC Nuclear Archive aims to make the sprawling story of the nuclear age more manageable while bringing to light the hidden story of nuclear New York. 

The NYC Nuclear Archive is based largely on the “Nuclear New York” online archive compiled by Catherine Falzone. Her work has been republished here with her permission. Some pages have been added or edited by other authors, who are credited on the individual pages.


1. Introduction

2. Invention of the Nuclear Bomb

a. J. Robert Oppenheimer

b. The Manhattan Project

c. Research at Columbia University

3. Espionage

a. Soviet Spies in New York

b. Greenglas and Rosenberg

4. Civil Defense and Propaganda

a. Public Events

i. 1948 Atomic Energy Exhibits

ii. 1952 Civil Defense Exhibit

iii. Preparedness Events in Harlem

b. Civil Defense Research

c. Civil Defense in New York

i. “Operation Alert” Drills

ii. Protecting the City

5. Nuclear Missiles 

6. Antinuclear Movement, 1950s-1960s

a. SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy

b. Protest

i. SANE’s First Event

ii. Hiroshima Days

iii. Easter Marches

iv. Madison Square Garden Rally

v. Anti-Civil Defense Drill Protests

c. Women Strike for peace

d. Communism

7. Nuclear Freeze Campaign, 1970s-1980s

8. Nuclear Power

a. Nuclear Power Plant in Queens

b. Indian Point

9. A Nuclear-Free Harbor, 1980s-1990s

10. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

11. New York Nuclear Imagry

12. New York City Council Resolutions on Nuclear Weapons

13. Further Resources




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