This summer we sat down with fellow neighbors at various local strolls, street festivals, and block parties. They were kind enough to tell us their favorite memories of Bay Ridge. This is Alan’s story about reclaiming the neighborhood’s legacy and pride in building, and pushing for bold new infrastructure plans.
About our Oral History Project
At Radio Free Bay Ridge, we are committed to telling stories from local communities that may not have a voice, and providing a progressive platform for those who wish to use it.
However, while collecting interviews and information for our podcast, we also ended up with a lot of interesting discussions on the cutting room floor, which didn’t tie into an episode narrative. We soon realized we could easily begin organizing this audio not for a full-length episode, but for distribution as small bite-sized stories.
So in the summer of 2018, we set out to collect oral histories from anyone who wished to participate, across the political spectrum. We had a mobile studio set up at local street fairs, block parties, and senior centers… anyplace that would host us. Our all-volunteer staff would help conduct the interviews, and gather basic release forms from the participants allowing us to publish their stories and determine how they wanted to be credited. Each interview was conducted with a simple icebreaker question. For 2018, we asked, “What is your favorite Bay Ridge memory?”
The result of these interviews is our series “Short Stories About Bay Ridge”, a nonpartisan look into who makes up our community.
We have published all interviews for which we have a release form (in the case of children under 13, for whom we also received in-person parental permission), and which we felt the participant was in a sound state of mind (i.e. intoxicated), not indulging in hate speech against a protected class of people, and not using our platform to harm another person or for some other explicitly self-serving interest. We have published only the first name of individuals, unless they requested to remain anonymous. Some interviews have been lightly edited for time and clarity.
This oral history was recorded live at the Fifth Avenue Festival. Co-host Rachel Brody conducted the interview. Special thanks to the Bay Ridge 5th Avenue BID for hosting us!