Monday, October 24, 2011
Nathaniel Philbrick was on the show this week to talk about one of the greatest American novels, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
"I think of all the classics, Moby-Dick is the most reluctantly read. It is so long, it is digressive. Just when you think you're figuring out where it's going, Melville throws in a short chapter about something completely different. And it's a real challenge," Philbrick explains. "It's a book I find, later in life, when you have some life experiences to bring to the book, you begin to see it in a different light."
The digressions are about things like the whiteness of a whale, and ambergris (which is whale vomit), and chowder—Melville even includes a recipe for chowder!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
High Line creators Joshua David and Robert Hammond said they were enthusiastic about a long-shot proposal to turn the Tappan Zee Bridge into an over-water park on today's Leonard Lopate Show. Asked about Greenburgh town supervisor Paul Feiner's suggestion to convert the cantilevered bridge into a pedestrian walkway, both David and Hammond said they found the idea "exciting" and that they'd "love to take a walk on it." The bridge is currently slated for demolition and details about Feiner's idea to re-purpose the link between Rockland and Westchester counties are few, but according to yesterday's New York Times it draws a fair amount of inspiration from the equally popular High Line park in Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson, further upstream. Construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge has been fast tracked by the Obama Administration.
Friday, October 07, 2011
Peace activist Leymah Gbowee was on the Leonard Lopate Show September 14, 2011, to talk about how she organized women across Liberia to force a peace in after 14 years of ravaging war. She united Muslim and Christian together and founded the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, launching protests and even a sex strike, to help bring an end to the devastating war. She shares the prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakul Karman, a pro-democracy campaigner from Yemen.
Friday, October 07, 2011
In the early 1970's, two high school students named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met in an electronics class. The rest, as they say, is history. The pair went on to co-found Apple Computers, changing the way the world thought of the machines that few of us can do without. In 2006, Leonard spoke to Wozniak about founding Apple, prank-calling the pope, and his relationship with Jobs.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Industrial hygienist Monona Rossol was on the show Friday, September 23, along with Miranda Massie of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, to look at the PCBs in schools and how to eliminate them. The segment got a lot of comments, and Monona offers responses to many of the questions listeners left that weren't answered during the interview on air. Listen to the interview and see Monona's responses here.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel show "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" just won an Emmy award for "Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming." The award went to Zach Zamboni and Todd Liebler, Directors of Photography, for this season's episode on Haiti. The show earned four nominations. Congratulations!
Recently, HarperCollins Publishers' imprint Ecco announced that it is giving Bourdain "an eponymous line of books." Bourdain will acquire books that reflect his eclectic tastes, and Ecco will publish three to five titles a year. Find out more about what Anthony Bourdain's eclectic tastes are here!
Friday, August 26, 2011
While the coverage of Hurricane Irene is taking over the news this weekend, back in 2008 did an Underreported segment that looked at whether New York City was prepared for a major hurricane. Listen to that here.
And you can find out how New York and neighboring states are preparing for Hurricane Irene on WNYC.org! Plug your address into an interactive flood zone map, follow the hurricane’s path on a storm tracker, and learn how to pack an urban survival kit. Be prepared!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Leonard Lopate Show will be marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by speaking to people about what happened that day as well as what has happened since—at Ground Zero, in the city, and in the country as a whole.
Throughout the week we’ll be airing short comments from people like Katie Couric, Henry Kissinger, and Gabriel Byrne, Bill Moyers, and others about life since 9/11.
Mark Hilan, former host of Morning Edition at WNYC who kept the station on the air on 9/11; Larry Ingrassia, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, who was part of the team that set up a newsroom within a few hours after the attacks and helped put together the Pulitzer Prize-winning edition of that paper, discuss having to make sense of events on 9/11, both personally, and professionally, on the fly.
Architect Daniel Libeskind discusses the master plan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center Site and his role in it. The basic plan is for 16 acres, a 9/11 memorial, four office buildings comprising 10 million square feet, a performing arts center, a transportation hub, retail and public space. He’ll also discuss the international architecture practice he’s created since moving to New York after winning the master plan competition a decade ago. Libeskind’s plan reconnects the World Trade Center site to the urban fabric and vibrant street life of Lower Manhattan, and includes a Wedge of Light—the public plaza will be defined by the angle of the sun on 9/11 at 8:46 am, when the first tower was hit, and again at 10:28 am, when the second tower fell.
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz discusses the 10th anniversary edition/re-release of Aftermath, his book of photographs he took that record the recovery efforts at Ground Zero. He was the only professional photographer granted entry to the site. A number of his photographs will be displayed in the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
Lauren Manning, former managing director and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, located in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, discusses how she overcame the severe injuries she received on 9/11, and about writing her memoir, Unmeasured Strength.
Susan Silberberg, Lecturer in Urban Design and Planning at MIT and planning consultant, and Robert Rogers, Principal at Rogers Marvel Architects, PLLC, discuss the physical changes to our public realm post 9/11. Susan Silberg has been studying how "security creep" is impacting city dwellers and the varied motivations for the securitization of urban space. Robert Rogers' firm, Rogers Marvel, has helped design sections of Battery Park City to insure security for the buildings in and around that neighborhood, developed new architecturally pleasing street elements for Wall Street insure security, and have developed a master plan for the area around the Pentagon.
Novelists Joseph O’Neill, Julia Glass, and Colum McCann discuss dealing with 9/11 in their writing, and in fiction in general.
Nadine Strossen, former head of the ACLU, joins us to talk about how civil liberties have changed since 9/11, from domestic surveillance, body scanners, and indefinite detention to an expansive national security establishment that remains largely hidden from view.
Restaurateurs Drew Nieporent, Michael Lomonaco (formerly of Windows on the World), and David Bouley discuss the restaurant scene in downtown Manhattan after 9/11.
Musicians Laurie Anderson, Dar Williams, and Joan Osborne talk about dealing with the issue of whether to stay in New York City after 9/11 or to leave, and what effect that day and its aftermath have had on their creative lives. Joan had been ready to leave, but felt she should stay here after 9/11; Dar left the city and now lives up along the Hudson. We’ll be taking calls from listeners on whether 9/11 made them consider leaving—or moving to—New York.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Leonard was on the air when yesterday's earthquake shook New York! He remained calm when he mentioned it, and when the shaking stopped he went back to wrapping up his interview with Mark Matousek on morals and ethics.
Leonard Lopate: Now I don't know if you felt this room trembling as I just did. There is the possibility that we just experienced a bit of an earthquake.
Mark Matousek: Or the subway.
LL: No. the subway doesn't..wouldn't do that to this room. It's never happened before.
MM: Is that true?
LL: Yeah. I'm wondering whether we're going to learn something after the show about earthquakes in Manhattan, something I didn't know could even happen.
MM: Well I'm from California. I don't even notice them anymore.
Listen here - at 19:50
Friday, August 05, 2011
Last fall, champion oyster shucker John Bil, from Prince Edward Island, demonstrated his skills on the Leonard Lopate Show. He and Chef Ted Grant, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada, explained the ins and outs of oysters and shellfish. Listen to that interview here. Watch the video!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Every seasoned New Yorker and every tourist riding on the subway for the first time knows how important clear signage is to help riders find their way to the right train heading the right direction. On today’s show graphic designer and typographer Paul Shaw explains how the typeface Helvetica was used to impose order over the chaos of the subway signage. Listen to that interview here.
Here’s a review of Paul Shaw’s book in The New Yorker’s The Book Bench blog.
History of Helvetica
The typeface Helvetica was developed by Max Miedinger with Edüard Hoffmann in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland. Helvetica’s name is derived from the Latin name for Switzerlant, Helvetia. In 1961 Linotype started marketing the font internationally. Swiss design and sleek, sans serif typefaces were popular at the time, and because Helvetica is a scalable font that can be resized without distorting its proportions, it soon appeared in corporate logos and on transportation signage—In 1966 Vignelli Associates designed the New York Subway sign system using Helvetica (more about that here). When Apple included Helvetica on Macintosh computers in 1984, the font became even more common and is now one of the most popular typefaces of all time.
More on Typography
We did a Please Explain on typography in 2009, and typographer Jonathan Hoefler, type designer and president of Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, explained how typefaces are designed, trademarked, and the ways type faces can communicate with just their shape. Listen to that interview here.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Today Patricia T. O'Conner was on the Lopate Show to talk about language and grammar and to answer listener questions on the topic, and Natalie from Westchester called to shared a trick she uses to figure out when to use "who" and when to use "whom" in a sentence.
She explained: If you would answer the question with "he" or "she," you should ask the question with "who." And if you would answer with "him" or "her," you should ask the question with "whom."
Which means "Whom does this shirt belong to?" is correct because the answer would be "It belongs to him (or her)." You would ask "Who is going uptown on the A train?" because the answer is "She (or he) is going uptown on the A train."
Knowing the difference between who and whom confuses many people, and this is the simplest trick for figuring it out that I've ever come across. Thanks, Natalie from Westchester!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It’s hot outside, hovering in the 90s, with the heat index reaching into the triple digits today.
Last summer we did a Please Explain on heat stroke, and Dr. Susi Vassallo, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, discussed the causes and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion and suggested ways to stay cool and healthy during the summer’s hottest days. Listen to that interview here.
Some facts we learned during that conversation:
The heat index takes heat and humidity into consideration. When the humidity’s high, it becomes impossible for sweat to evaporate, so the body has a hard time cooling itself.
When we’re hot our blood vessels dilate to bring blood closer to the surface of the skin, which is why we become flushed in the heat.
The elderly are especially vulnerable. Their ability to cool is compromised because their heart, which needs to pump harder in order to move blood to the surface, is generally not as strong. Over the counter cold medications and prescription drugs such as blood pressure medication can aggravate the body’s ability to cool itself.
Dr. Vassallo explained that heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches 106º and mental capacity is altered—there’s often confusion. She also said that “heat exhaustion is basically anything less than that.” The body temperature is normal or close to normal, but the person may feel hot, may be sweating, may collapse, may have stomach upset, or may vomit.
Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough circulating water, and we lose more fluid—through sweating, usually—than we replenish. If you’re sweating a lot, especially if you’re exercising, you should drink plenty of fluids.
The Mayo Clinic’s Web site stresses that you have any of the signs or symptoms of heatstroke, seek medical help immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that you should not try to treat at home.
Friday, June 17, 2011
The first coupon ever created was, unsurprisingly, invented by the Coca-Cola company in 1887. The coupons offered a free sample of the year-old drink, which was initially sold for 5 cents. In 1895--just 8 years later--Asa Candler proclaimed that Coca-Cola was sold and consumed in every territory of the United States.
By the early 1900s, coupons became so ubiquitous that this 1906 New York Daily Tribune article ironically proclaimed "A Great Future is Predicted for the Rebate Coupon." Then--as now, with Groupon--there were skeptics who weren't quite sure that all the savings were worth it:
"One may imagine the non-transferable feature of rebates amended so that the little checks and coupons may be included in legacies. The last will and testament of John Jones will bequeath to his beloved heirs 5,000 pink stamps, 2,263 brown coupons, 967 olive checks and a lesser assortment to complete the kaleidoscope."
The tongue-in-cheek article goes on to playfully suggest a political use for coupons: "It may be assumed that political parties and candidates already issue varieties of trading stamps that are mostly worthless after election. Pledges and platforms glow with the fading iridescence of true rebates. A few coupons guaranteeing a round of government seed, a front seat at an inaugural, the privilege of finding fault and voting on the other side next time, might heighten enthusiasm in a campaign."
A thought for the 2012 election, perhaps?
Monday, June 13, 2011
On June 12, the 65th Annual Tony Awards took place. Leonard has spoken to a number of the winners of the last few months and you can listen to those conversations by following the links.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Rooftop Films is screening the documentary, "Battle for Brooklyn," directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, who were on our show yesterday. I had the chance to talk to Dan Nuxoll from Rooftop Films after the show and learned that Galinsky and Hawley are among a group of directors who Rooftop has worked with over the years. Another filmmaker who has had multiple films screened through Rooftop is Todd Rohal whose "The Catechism Cataclysm" is screening in the parking lot across the street from BAM later this month. He is often grouped in with the mumblecore movement. However you might feel about that movement or just the word mumblecore, the fact that one of the stars is Steve Little, who is hilarious in the TV show "Eastbound & Down," may demand that you suspend judgment.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
On today’s show, Leonard spoke to Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, the co-directors of the new documentary, "Battle for Brooklyn," which explores the opposition to the Atlantic Yards project. As the film details, despite the original announcement that framed the project as a done deal, the entire process has been endlessly complicated, and eight years later construction has only just begun. The Lopate Show and WNYC have been following the story over the years, and if you want to catch up on the some of the back story or just hear different perspectives on the topic, you can listen to some of these segments: