The Burglar Who Got Pants

A tour through some of the most popular stories around the Web.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

We searched far and wide, sifting through the most-read and e-mailed stories from the Panhandle to the Bering Strait, and we sicked our producer Ilya on his Midwest beat, and he came up with something good. It only means one thing, it's time to bring you another round of THE BRYANT PARK - what is the name of this show?

LUKE BURBANK, host:

I think we're calling it THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

STEWART: Thank you. And this is called The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

BURBANK: Can we have Jay-Z for The Most music? I was feeling that. Okay. The Most music is very good, too.

First up on The Most, we've got Dan Pashman - something from The New York Times.

DAN PASHMAN: That's right, guys. How are you doing? New York Times -interesting article here about the history of the Manhattan Project, of course, the development of the nuclear bomb, which we all sort of think of - I always think of something that happened out in New Mexico, in Los Alamos. It was always called the Manhattan Project. A lot of people may wonder why was it called the Manhattan Project. Well, it turns out it actually started out here in Manhattan. And the development of the atomic bomb in the U.S. has major roots here in Manhattan. This has all - comes from a book called "The Manhattan Project" by Robert S. Norris, a historian of the Atomic Age…

STEWART: Do you get a dollar every time you say Manhattan?

PASHMAN: I know.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: Let's get a bell. Ring that bell every time he says Manhattan.

(Soundbite of bell)

BURBANK: Yeah. All right.

PASHMAN: All right. And, so it's kind of interesting to think that this thing was developed in Manhattan without anyone knowing what was going on.

BURBANK: Ding.

(Soundbite of bell)

BURBANK: I'm sorry. I'm just distracting you from your point.

PASHMAN: Major amounts of uranium were stored here on this island where we're sitting right now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: And we actually have a piece sound from The New York Times Web video. Let's take a listen to that.

(Soundbite of New York Time Web Video)

Unidentified Man: A steady source of uranium was critical to the project's success. When people visit the famous Wall Street bull, they're just steps from 25 Broadway. The former offices of Edgar Sengier, a Belgian who provided two-thirds of the uranium the Manhattan Project used. He ran an import-export company and stored hundreds of tons of uranium on Staten Island.

BURBANK: They always store the uranium on Staten Island. I know, it always - which gets - you know, you think of, like, a place like New Mexico - clearly, people live there, but it seems like, in your mind, this open, deserty area - well, you spill a little uranium here and there, who knows? Manhattan - ding.

It's like everybody's here - it's - amazing to think of them working with this stuff in any degree in a place as populous as - or populated?

PASHMAN: Right. And a lot of the buildings still stand today, and they're -other purposes now, but they're the same buildings around Manhattan.

BURBANK: Ding. Thank you, Dan.

STEWART: M.J., you have a holiday.

M.J. DAVIS: Ooh, yes, I have a Halloween story.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Was that your…

DAVIS: That was my scary sound.

BURBANK: Terrifying.

DAVIS: This is from the Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. There was an Associated Press poll that said that 34 percent of people share a belief in visitors from beyond the grave. And so the Florida Sun-Sentinel folks decided to do some research into their own haunted history. And my favorite - there are tons of quotes of ghost stories in here, but my favorite is from Steve Galt, who's a Fort Lauderdale firefighter, who said that he has had his own encounter at the old Westside Station in 2002. And he's quoted as saying, "I fell asleep in the bunk room while studying for our test. I was out of it when I felt someone pulling off the covers and dragging them away. I thought it was a prank, so I looked under the bed, but there was no one there."

STEWART: Very scary.

BURBANK: That's good. That's what you want: a deluded irefighter.

DAVIS: Right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: As long as he knows where the hose is, I'm good with it.

Ilya, you have been on the Midwest beat.

ILYA MARRITZ: Oh, I'm not letting go of the upper Midwest.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: This is my baby. I want to - I - this is like the Midwest Park Project for me. This is the story of an attempted burglar, Benjamin C. Hoppe, 18, out in Wisconsin. This story's in the Journal Sentinel. It's one of their most-viewed. He invaded the home of a self-described old, fat bartender Michael Rieger who had returned home not that long before from his bartending job. Rieger managed to get Hoppe into some kind of headlock. Hoppe escaped, but he left his pants. He could not escape with his pants.

And police actually used his cell phone, which was in his pants, to track him down. They found him less than two hours later in a wooded area. According to reports, Hoppe was lying facedown in tall grass with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. He repeatedly asked the police, how long were you guys looking for me? Because I was in a really good hiding spot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: And as far as I'm concerned, West Bend, Wisconsin probably is a really great hiding spot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: That's where I'm going to hide out.

BURBANK: Oh, he was like a little kid, who, when you play hide and go seek and you find a super awesome place that's so good that your, like, little sister, brother can't find you, and you just get mad and come out of the closet.

MARRITZ: Hey, I want to go play hide and seek right now.

BURBANK: All right.

STEWART: I'll find you. No…

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Wait. We've got Rachel Martin…

RACHEL MARTIN: Hello.

BURBANK: …in the news booth.

MARTIN: So I have the most e-mailed story on The New York Times Web site, and this story tells the end of an era. Today, in San Francisco, the Castro Street party is no more. This is an annual Halloween party. It is totally fun. Everyone gets dressed up, a lot of drag. Castro is the main gay neighborhood of San Francisco, for those who don't know. And recently, there's been a lot of crime. People have said, you know, it's noisy. We're cracking down, you're not going to get this party anymore.

So people are upset. I'm sure some people are not so upset, because it was kind of a loud party. But the subtext of this article is really interesting. It's about how gay neighborhoods are perhaps becoming a little more diffuse, people are moving out of areas like the Castro that are just too expensive now and…

STEWART: And the breeders are moving in.

MARTIN: …are they worth saving…

BURBANK: Yes.

MARTIN: …yeah, the breeders - the families, the breeders, people with kids, heterosexual couples are moving in. And so there's this whole debate about are these places worth saving? Are things like the Castro Street parade…

BURBANK: The demise of the gay-borhood.

MARTIN: …worth saving. I know, exactly. So check it out. It's a really good -it's a good article.

BURBANK: They're still going to have a big throw down in West Hollywood, L.A. tonight, which is…

MARTIN: Oh, my neighborhood, the barricades have been up for three days.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: (unintelligible)

MARTIN: I'm ready. Batten down the hatches.

STEWART: Also, apparently - Kansas City apparently has a new, thriving gay community. This is where they're all moving. Rents are cheaper, so, who knows? Maybe a big party in Kansas City.

MARTIN: Rock on Kansas City.

BURBANK: Okay. We got 10 seconds left. Are we going to have to…

STEWART: Do we have time for Trisha?

BURBANK: Can we get Trisha McKinney? All right. Go for it.

TRISHA MCKINNEY: Hey there, guys. I have the - one of the most e-mailed stories off MSNBC.com. It's about a city in Brazil called Goiania. It's approved women-only buses in an effort to curb rush hour groping on crowded buses. Here's a little quote from the sponsor of a bill, "The beautiful women of Goiania are constantly being sexually harassed on our overcrowded buses by men who seem unable to control themselves." So in this Brazilian city, they're adding women-only buses at rush hour. And, apparently, Rio has also done something similar on the subway system.

STEWART: Good idea.

BURBANK: You start to get a little look into why that might be a slightly misogynistic culture when you hear the quote, "They're just so beautiful…"

STEWART: And we can't help ourselves.

BURBANK: "…we can't help ourselves."

STEWART: Yeah. That's a little - doesn't sound fun to me. I don't know.

STEWART: All right. That wraps up the Most for this Halloween, October 31st. Thanks, everybody.

BURBANK: Thank you. You can find these and other stories at our Web site npr.org/bryantpark.

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