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Prologue

Stories about rats in the city, from Kate Aurthur (former rat columnist for New York magazine), and from a Mark Lewis documentary called Rat. When rats arrive in our homes, we remember why we as a species wanted to tame nature in the first place.

Act Two: One Brave Man Stands Up For What's Right

Unlike Reykjavik, some cities don't coddle citizens in their idiosyncratic beliefs about nature. We hear New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani react (with vehemence) to a man who believes New Yorkers should have the right to keep ferrets in their homes.

Prologue

Ralph Gentles and five other people spent each summer creating a map of every crack, every depression, every protrusion, every pothole in the sidewalks of New York City. We hear why, and we hear all the things their map does not include.

Act Two: Fists And Guns

Geoffrey Canada, author of the book Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, talks about what it's like to carry a gun. He also talks about what poor neighborhoods in New York were like before the proliferation of handguns among young people.  When he grew up in the South Bronx, kids had fistfights in a very formal arrangement with formal rules that everyone lived by. He reads from his book and talks with Ira.

Act Three: Neighbors To The Mob

Jerry Capeci, dean of the New York reporters who cover organized crime, on the decline of the mob in recent years. And Alec Wilkinson of the New Yorker magazine, who discusses a photo his wife took of his old neighbors, the Gambino crime family.

Act One: Tarzan Finds A Mate

New York City locksmith Joel Kostman tells the story of an act of kindness he committed, hoping for a small reward. From his book: Keys to the City: Tales of a New York City Locksmith.

Act Three: Unkindness Of Strangers

How two next-door neighbors start treating each other badly, and how, once they start, they become obsessed with each other. Paul Tough reports.

Act Four: Chairman Of The Block

An odd occurrence at 124 East Fourth Street in Manhattan's East Village. For the last five weeks, a singer named Nick Drakides has stood on the stoop singing Sinatra songs late at night to the delight of his neighbors.

Act One: White Like Me

David Rakoff on how he tried to pass as a local once he moved from Toronto to New York. He claims that there must be a chip in his head — or something like it — that automatically tells him when someone or something famous is Canadian.