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What Went Down in Crown Heights (and 5 More Podcasts Worth Trying)

Photo-Illustration: Vulture

Hey everyone! Welcome to my personal brand. Anyway, tell me what you’re listening to. You can reach me at nicholas.quah@nymag.com or find me on Twitter.

Love Thy Neighbor

Four days that changed … everything? 
Available on all platforms. Listen here

In the summer of 1991, several days of violence gripped the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights after a car, which was part of a motorcade for the leader of the Chabad religious movement, accidentally struck two children of Guyanese immigrants. One died, the other was seriously injured. The accident brought existing tensions between the neighborhood’s Caribbean American and Lubavitch Hasidic community to a fever pitch, and the resulting chaos would lead to several subsequent deaths and hundreds of arrests. As the broad historical narrative understands it, the violence ultimately contributed to the defeat of New York City’s first Black mayor, David Dinkins, in the 1993 mayoral elections. Besting Dinkins was none other than Rudy Giuliani, who ran hard on the notion of New York as a city beset by crime; the riots were thought to have supported his narrative. It probably goes without saying that Giuliani’s win ushered in a harsh new era for the city, particularly as it pertains to policing and the city’s Black residents.

As the swelling pool of deeply researched history podcasts should instill in us by now, a wildly consequential event like this is consistently worth revisiting and reinterrogating. Here, Love Thy Neighbor, the latest original limited-run podcast from Pineapple Street, steps up to take on the task. The five-part series is led and hosted by the journalist Collier Meyerson, who brings a personal thread into the mix. Meyerson is a half-Black and half-Jewish New Yorker, and she negotiates the space between those two aspects of her identity to find a deeper understanding of what happened that summer in 1991 and how it directly fed into the New York City we have today. The series is co-written with Noah Remnick and produced by Jess Jupiter. It’s edited by Joel Lovell.

Conversations With People Who Hate Me

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a person.
Available on all platforms. Listen here

Not to be mistaken with a certain Sally Rooney novel, Conversations With People Who Hate Me turns on a simple but captivating premise: What happens when a purveyor of anonymous online vitriol is made to come face-to-face with the target of their speech? The resulting interaction is both utterly fascinating and, just as often, surprising in the humanistic warmth that the series is able to tease out.

The show is created by Dylan Marron, who some podcast listeners might recognize as the voice of Carlos on Welcome to Night Vale and others might recognize as the creator of the “Every Single Word” video project. At its heart, Conversations With People Who Hate Me wrestles with a central question: What has the anonymized velocity of online speech done to the way we relate to each other? It’s a high-wire conceit that Marron executes with remarkable durability — in no small part because of the show’s constant evolution.

Conversations With People Who Hate Me has been publishing episodes since 2017, starting out with Marron centering the episodes on himself as he sets out to engage with individuals who’ve written dreadful online messages about him. The show has broadened out since, with Marron brokering meetings between the purveyors and recipients of digital antagonism. Some of the targets are known public personalities — Amanda Palmer, Hank Green, Milana Vayntrub, and so on — but most are ordinary people. Nowadays published by TED, the show returned with a new season last month, and soon, it will be accompanied by a book adaptation written by Marron himself, out later this month.

Meanwhile …

Since The Trojan Horse Affair came out last month, it’s been met with bewildering resistance by large swathes of the British press and establishment. This despite the fact that it quickly became an unambiguous limited-run series hit, drawing over 13 million downloads in the first three and a half weeks. I spoke with hosts Hamza Syed and Brian Reed about the response and how they feel about the whole thing.

Looks like Sam Sanders is my colleague now. Eyy!

Crooked Media has spun out Offline, Jon Favreau’s weekly interview series about the internet, into its own separate podcast feed, which you can find here. It was previously distributed through the flagship Pod Save America feed.

I might’ve been the only person who completely missed the fact that there’s a Netflix adaptation of Getting Curious With Jonathan Van Ness and that the series dropped in January. The crossover didn’t really work for me, alas, and I remain glad that Van Ness is still making podcast episodes. (I should add that show back into my rotation.)

Sometimes, Ishmael gets his whale. Shout-out to Conor Ratliff, who has succeeded in bringing Tom Hanks onto Dead Eyes to extract a reason as to why Hanks fired him from the set of Band of Brothers all those years ago. That episode will drop later this week on March 10.

We’ve started to roll out our frequently updated “Best Podcasts of 2022 (So Far)” list! You can find it here.

Reader Pick: The Gilded Gentleman

Available on all platforms. Listen here.

“If watching The Gilded Age is making you wish you knew more about that period in history, check out the new podcast The Gilded GentlemanA social, literary, and culinary historian, host Carl Raymond is joined by a variety of other engaging experts to explore America’s Gilded Age, with plans for France’s Belle Epoque and late Victorian and Edwardian England. Topics covered in the first ten episodes have included the first American to marry a member of the Monaco royal family (not Grace Kelly!), an NYC political mover and shaker with a deeply buried secret, the story behind the original Metropolitan Opera House, the real Mrs. Astor, the role of spiritualists, and the real Ward McAllister. In addition to the fascinating topics told in a living and delightful manner, one thing I appreciate is that the episodes are relatively short — each about a half-hour long. You can listen to them in any order, too.” —Elisa D.

And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! Hope you enjoyed it. We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at nicholas.quah@vulture.com.

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What Went Down in Crown Heights (and 5 More Podcasts to Try)