172 years ago on May 10th, 1849
A rivalry between Shakespearean actors fuels the Astor Place Riot at the Astor Opera House results in 120 injuries and the deaths of 25 people
One actor was American and one was British, which stoked Revolutionary War sentiments, and the conflict would end with the largest number of civilian casualties since the Revolutionary War. As many as 10,000 people lined the streets as the performance began, and the American actor's fans sought to disrupt the British actor's performance. After losing control of the crowd, law enforcement called in the militia, who fired into the air and then into the crowd, killing both bystanders and rioters. In response to the killings, a crowd of thousands met the next night in City Hall Park and marched north to Astor Place to challenge the police, but law enforcement was better prepared and the confrontation stayed under control.