For immediate release
January 15, 2002
Contact: NPR
Laura Gross,

Stacy Anne Laufer,

New York Works Captures New York's Vanishing Professions

Bra Saleswoman, Seltzer Delivery Man, Lighthouse Keeper, and others

New York, January 2002 - 94-year old Selma Koch runs one of New York's last old-style bra fitting shops; Walter Backerman still delivers seltzer along the same route worked by his father and grandfather; Frank Sabatino is one of two commercial fisherman left in Jamaica Bay; John Klein runs the last family farm in New York City. What do they all have in common? Each holds a job that is slowly becoming obsolete in and around New York City.

A co-production of WNYC's The Next Big Thing and Radio Diaries, New York Works documents a vanishing city. Through audio portraits, the radio series takes listeners to jobs that are slowly disappearing; and celebrates people who keep alive an older way of life. The series airs weekly from January 19th through February 4th on The Next Big Thing and Wednesday afternoons on All Things Considered® from NPR News.

New York Works profiles include:

Selma Koch, Bra Saleswoman Selma Koch runs The Town Shop, a fourth-generation family business that emphasizes personal service and custom bra fitting. She still works every day alongside her son and grandson, but doesn't worry about the future of the business: "That's the good thing about old age."

Walter Backerman, Seltzer Man Walter Backerman is one of a few seltzer deliverers in New York City; at one time there were hundreds. Some customers, like Mildred Blitz, have been on the family route for over 50 years. Walter's grandfather delivered by horse and wagon along the streets of the Lower East Side.

Frank Schubert, Lighthouse Keeper Frank Schubert started working in a lighthouse in 1937. Today at 85, Schubert works at the lighthouse off Coney Island. He is the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States.

In Their Own Words: New York Works Captures New York's Vanishing Professions
Bra Saleswoman, Seltzer Delivery Man, Lighthouse Keeper, and others

Frank Sabatino, Fisherman Frank Sabatino went on his first overnight fishing trip when he was 8 years old. Since then, he has spent nearly 40 years on lobster boats, clam boats, and huge fishing vessels. Today, he operates a 27-year-old wooden trawler, the Tammy Gale, with his son Mike.

New York Works is produced by Emily Botein, senior producer of The Next Big Thing, and Joe Richman, creator of the acclaimed Teenage Diaries and Prison Diaries series and founder of Radio Diaries, Inc., a non-profit production company committed to producing innovative and original first-person documentaries.

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