New York Works

Series produced by Radio Diaries

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Audio Portraits of a Vanishing City

94-year old Selma Koch runs one of New York's last old-style bra fitting shops. Walter Backerman still delivers seltzer along the same route worked by his father and grandfather. Frank Sabatino is one of two commercial fisherman left in Jamaica Bay. Charlie Zimmerman builds the rooftop water tanks that dot Manhattan's skyline. New York Works tells the stories of those who keep the city's past alive.


7 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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One of the last fishermen left in the Brooklyn Harbor

Bought by KUT, The Story, PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes and more


  • Added: Jun 26, 2004
  • Length: 07:40
  • Purchases: 8
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Cali Rivera makes cowbells, timbales and other percussion instruments in his small shop in the Bronx.

Bought by KUT, PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes, and WFUV


  • Added: Dec 08, 2003
  • Length: 04:29
  • Purchases: 5
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Pasquale Spensieri spends his days driving around Brooklyn looking for dull blades.

Bought by PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes, New Hampshire Public Radio, and KGLT


  • Added: Dec 08, 2003
  • Length: 06:13
  • Purchases: 5
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Frank Schubert is the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States.

Bought by KCRW, PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes, Marfa Public Radio and more


  • Added: Dec 08, 2003
  • Length: 03:15
  • Purchases: 6
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94-year old Selma Koch runs the Town Shop, one of New York's last old-style bra fitting shop.

Bought by KUT, KUOW, PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes and more


  • Added: Dec 08, 2003
  • Length: 07:39
  • Purchases: 7
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Look up from nearly any street in Manhattan and you'll see the rooftop wooden water tanks that Charlie Zimmerman has been installing for 23 years.

Bought by The Story, PRX Remix, Remix Radio, PRX to iTunes, and WFUV


  • Added: Dec 07, 2003
  • Length: 06:05
  • Purchases: 5
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When Walter's grandfather drove his cart there were thousands of seltzer men in the city; today Walter is one of the last.

Bought by WNPR, PRX Remix, PRX to iTunes, and WFUV


  • Added: Oct 29, 2003
  • Length: 08:03
  • Purchases: 4