October 13, 2017

In the Shadow of the City

Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.

An updated version of an episode from 2006.


Every city's got a place like this: that weird no man's land on the outskirts of town, with junk yards and landfills. Charlie Gregerson grew up near that stuff, on Chicago's far south side, and he remembers finding debris from famous Louis Sullivan masterpieces in the garbage dump after those buildings were demolished. (4 minutes)
Act One

Brooklyn Archipelago

Out for a simple pleasure cruise with two friends, Alex Zharov was planning to see Jamaica Bay in New York City. But this end-of-the-day excursion, which should have only lasted 40 minutes, turns into an out-of-control adventure that left him lost, stranded, and bleeding—all within sight of the Empire State Building. Brett Martin reports. (23 minutes)

Act Two

Troubled Bridge Over Water

There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to die by suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers. Reporter Mike Paterniti tells his story of meeting Mr. Chen. A story Paterniti wrote about Mr. Chen appears in GQ Magazine. (15 minutes)

Suicide prevention doesn't usually look like pulling people off a bridge. Learn more about everyday ways of helping someone at risk at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Act Three

Yes, In My Backyard

The story of the government cracking down on smokestack emissions at a city factory—even though the residents like the emissions. We hear from Jorge Just, who explains the one, magical secret about Chicago that no one outside Chicago ever believes is true. Then we hear from Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs for the American Lung Association in Chicago and Julie Armitage, Manager of Compliance and Enforcement for the Bureau of Air at the Illinois State EPA. (9 minutes)


“The Land of Chocolate” by Death By Chocolate