For immediate release
NPR DOCUMENTARY VISITS LAST BOWERY FLOPHOUSES
Stories from Skid Row Reveal Men Living in Wooden Cubicles in Hotels that Time Forgot
WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, September 18, NPR's® All Things Considered® will premiere The Sunshine Hotel, award-winning producer David Isay's fascinating audio portrait of men living in the final vestiges of the Bowery, New York's notorious skid row. The documentary is narrated by Nathan Smith, long-time resident and manager of the Sunshine Hotel. (Please check with your local NPR station for broadcast time.)
Rows of wooden cubicles. Rooms smaller than prison cells. A bed. A locker. A bare bulb and a chicken wire ceiling. Starting at $4.50 a night, Bowery flophouses are the cheapest form of housing available. It's a lifestyle that many might assume disappeared decades ago. But six Bowery flophouses still remain, including the Sunshine Hotel -- opened in 1922 and virtually unchanged since. From an architect who abandoned his family, to a 425 pound man eating himself into seclusion, the backgrounds of the men in the Sunshine run the gamut.
With unprecedented 24-hour access to the Sunshine Hotel in recent months, Isay and associate producer Stacy Abramson offer a up-close account of a world which has rarely before been documented. "It was like stepping into King Tut's Tomb," Isay said. "The Sunshine is this fascinating, self-contained society full of unbelievable characters. While it's a profoundly sad place, it is, at the same time, home to men with powerful and poetic stories to tell."
David Isay is one of America's most acclaimed radio documentary producers. The riveting features he produced with two teenagers from a Chicago housing project, Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse, were among the most popular in NPR history, winning numerous major broadcasting awards. The pieces were the basis for the book Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago.
National Public Radio®, a membership organization of 600 public radio stations across America, is the producer and distributor of such noted programs as Morning Edition®, Talk of the Nation®, All Things Considered®, Jazz Profiles® and Car Talk®.
The Sunshine Hotel was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Greenwall Foundation.