99% Invisible - The Sunshin...
99% Invisible - The Sunshine Hotel
Dive into the underworld of NYC's last standing flop hotel
5 years ago
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Co-founder, Pop Up Archive
This is one of the best things I've ever heard "on the radio." The narrator is the manager of the hotel, so there's not sanitized other guiding you but a voice from the place itself, and the ambient sounds are so rich it almost sounds like a radio play. The Sunshine Hotel is one of the those pieces that really transports you to a time and place.
This is my absolute favorite episode of the excellent 99% Invisble podcast: "The Bowery, in lower Manhattan, is one of New York’s oldest neighborhoods. It’s been through a lot of iterations. In the 1650s, a handful of freed slaves were the neighborhood’s first residents. At the time, New York was still a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam, and the Lower East Side was farm land. In the early 1800s, The Bowery had become a bustling thoroughfare with elegant theaters, and taverns, and shops. But by the late 1800s it had become a much seedier place, full of saloons, and dance halls, and prostitution. By the 1940s, The Bowery had become New York’s skid row—a place where down-and-out men could go and rent a cheap room for the night in one of the neighborhood’s many flop houses. Now, of course, the Lower East Side affords no room for a skid row. The Bowery, like the rest of that area, is full of expensive places to live, and fancy grocery stores. But back in 1998, before the last of the flop hotels closed their doors, David Isay and Stacy Abramson spent months documenting one of the last of these places: The Sunshine Hotel."
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I loved the part about the former military guy that does errand runs for tenants that don't want to leave the building. Interesting to learn more about the people who live in cheap motels and their backgrounds.