The founder of Fi2W reflects on our organization’s quinceañera.
Tag: radio documentary
A look back at the team that produced our debut on public radio.
For generations, immigrants who came to the US were forced to make a clean break with home. Today, with cell phones, the Internet, videoconferencing and cheap air fares, many immigrants remain in constant contact with their home countries. For them, the key to survival is not just learning how to live in America, but learning to live in two places at once.
Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis) and set in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods, Feet in Two Worlds is an award-winning documentary featuring stories by reporters from the city’s ethnic newspapers, as well as WNYC reporters who regularly cover immigrant communities.
Read the story of how Feet in 2 Worlds got started.
Most of these stories have only been available to readers of small ethnic newspapers. Now public radio listeners have a chance to get an insider’s perspective on immigrant experiences in one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.
This emotionally charged and sound-rich hour of radio features a soundtrack produced by DJ Rekha, an innovator in the city’s music scene.
Listen to stories from the documentary.
Human Smugglers Turned Kidnappers by Cindy Rodriguez
A Polish pharmacy in Brooklyn is an oasis for Poles far from home by Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska
Videoconferencing keeps an Ecuadorian family together by Cindy Rodriguez
Remittances are an economic lifeline for Haiti by Macollvie Jean-Francois
Gay South Asians in New York City by Arun Venugopal
An African immigrant waiting for asylum by Marianne McCune
The program includes introductory and closing essays by Frank McCourt and pieces reported by:
Macollvie Jean-Francois, reporter, Haitian Times
Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, reporter, Nowy Dziennik (Polish Daily News)
Marianne McCune, reporter, WNYC, New York Public Radio
Cindy Rodriguez, reporter, WNYC, New York Public Radio
Arun Venugopal, reporter, India Abroad
Producer: John Rudolph
Editor: Karen Frillmann
Technical Director: Wayne Shulmister
Associate Producers: Jocelyn Gonzales and DJ Rekha
Engineers: Rob Christiansen, Curtis Fox, Ed Haber, Jennifer Munson and Rob Weisberg
Project Director: Andrew White, Center for New York City Affairs
Originally broadcast in May 2005, Feet in Two Worlds won two prestigious awards from the Society of Professional Journalists—the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Radio Journalism and the New America Award, “for excellence in collaborative public service journalism during 2005 by ethnic and mainstream news media working together to explore and expose a subject of significance to ethnic or immigrant communities in the United States.”
In conjunction with the release of the Feet in Two Worlds documentary, the Center for New York City Affairs hosted a town hall on May 10, 2005 featuring panel discussions on transnational communities in New York City, excerpts from the documentary and music by DJ Rekha. The event was taped for broadcast on The Brian Lehrer Show and aired the following day, Wednesday, May 11, on WNYC 93.9 FM / AM 820 from 10 am to noon.
Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.
Opening the door for new generations of immigrant journalists
He was born in New York, reared in Limerick, Ireland, and then returned to the U.S. as a young man. After decades as a public school teacher, fame found him when he published Angela’s Ashes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of growing up in a poor Irish family. Even in his later years he had “unfinished emotional business” with the city of his childhood.
Author Frank McCourt, who died Sunday at age 78, truly had his feet in two worlds. Hence, it was fitting that he provided his words –and his unmistakable Irish accent– for the narration of the radio documentary that gave birth to the Feet in 2 Worlds project, back in 2005.
Feet in 2 Worlds. Immigrants in a Global City was set in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods and told by immigrant reporters. McCourt’s first lines —read the full transcript here–– were:
You arrive here as an immigrant and make a new life for yourself, but you never completely leave the country where you were born. It’s hard to find a home away from home.
In the introductory segment, McCourt said:
My name is Frank McCourt. I was born in New York and taken to Ireland when I was three. I returned to the U.S.A. when I was nineteen. Since then I’ve returned to Ireland frequently, even thought of going back and living there, but that’s another story.
Yes, going back and forth can be confusing. You wonder who you are, where you belong. Sometimes people ask me, “Do you consider yourself Irish or American?’” For a long time I didn’t know how to answer that question. I love both countries, but the people asking the questions were not satisfied, and I wasn’t quite satisfied till, somehow, the answer came: I am a New Yorker. This is where I was born. This is where I came when I was nineteen, and this is where I’ve decided I’ll live forever.
You can listen to the Feet in Two Worlds radio documentary at the WNYC, New York public radio, web site (on Real Audio.)
And you can read more about the documentary here.