NPR miscellany #2

NPR Logo

I heard a great story yesterday on This American Life that was apparently a repeat, but I hadn’t heard it before so it was new to me. I only caught the first act1, but it was a hilarious true story of a kid named Alex who got shipwrecked on a desert island in the middle of New York City. The island he got stuck on is Ruffle Bar which is situated in the middle of Jamaica Bay to the Southeast of New York City, within two miles of civilization on all sides. The story involves drinking and some generally irresponsible behavior which I should say I don’t condone. What makes this story so entertaining is the irony that someone could get stuck on a deserted island so close to civilization.

I can’t link straight to the episode because This American Life has a horrible archiving system (no permalinks!), but if you want to find it (to order a CD or whatnot), go to This American Life, click the 2006 archive on the left sidebar, and look for the episode that originally aired February 3 titled “In the Shadow of the City”. What I can provide a link to, though, is the streaming audio feed for this particular episode: Listen. Enjoy! 


  1. This American Life is typically broadcast in two to five acts, usually different stories on a similar theme. The theme of this episode (in three acts) is strange places within short distances of major metropolises. The third act, about the government cracking down on smoke stack emissions in Chicago even though the residents like the emissions, sounds like it could also be entertaining, but, as I mentioned, I haven’t heard it, yet. 
  • Tom

    You heard about the TV show they’re coming out with? Check out the trailer.

  • Joey

    Yeah, I caught the piece about the TV show on All Things Considered back in December: “‘This American Life’ Is Ready for Its TV Close-Up” (Listen). It looks great. I’d love to watch it when it comes out, but I don’t get Showtime.

  • Haha. “Sinister gulls circle overhead.” Quite entertaining.

  • I just listened to it this evening and found your site by googling “Ruffle Bar.” This act was so good that I made my boyfriend (who’s from the USSR) listen to it when I got home.

    Hopefully they have the TV episodes on iTunes when the show starts!