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Act One

Writer and poet Imani Brown takes us through her experience at the parade that takes place in the early hours before the parade.

Act Two

Producers Marlon Bishop and Nadia Reiman go inside a heated steel pan competition and meet a mother and daughter who could be competing together for the last time.

Act Three

Our regular host Ira Glass talks to some Hasidic Jews who also live in the neighborhood to get a different take on the parade.  (10 minutes)

Act Four

One of New York’s biggest and most successful masquerade bands goes down the parade route for the last time.

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.

Prologue

Host Alex Blumberg talks about New York City’s long-standing ban on ferrets. And how, after years of forbidding them, the city is now poised to lift the ban.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass introduces a story on the most ambitious and hopeful solution to urban poverty in the country—the Harlem Children's Zone. The project's goal is nothing less than changing the lives of thousands of children in Harlem, starting at birth and continuing until they go to college.

Act One: Harlem Renaissance

Paul Tough reports on the Harlem Children's Zone, and its CEO and president, Geoffrey Canada. Among the project's many facets is Baby College, an 8-week program where young parents and parents-to-be learn how to help their children get the education they need to be successful.

Prologue

Every day each American produces 4.8 pounds of garbage. Where does it all go? Ira talks with Robin Nagle, a anthropology professor at New York University who's been studying garbage,and says that most of us want garbage to be invisible.

Act One: Oh, Mr. San Man

The people who pick up our trash don't call themselves garbagemen. They're san men ("san" being short for "sanitation").

Prologue

Ira talks with two New Yorkers on their reactions to seeing something they could never have believed possible. They acted in ways that they never had before, just ran around and around in circles.

Act One: In The After Of Before And After

Lynn Simpson worked on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center. She escaped, along with the rest of her office, and now is trying to figure out what it means that's she's alive, and how her life is different now.

Act Two: Watching From The River's Edge

David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.

Act Four: Far From Home

David Sedaris talks about American and French reaction to the recent news in Paris, where he lives. He's the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other books.

Prologue

Ira talks with producer Blue Chevigny about how a prank caller taught her that when it comes to pursuing happiness, Carole King, the world of independent cinema and the New York City Police Department have a lot more in common than she ever imagined. He also talks with MIT Professor Pauline Maier, author of the book American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence.