Invisible Cities takes its inspiration from Italo Calvino’s novel of the same name. Originally produced by Eleanor McDowall for BBC Radio 3’s Between the Ears, this documentary features contributions from writers, urban explorers and mapmakers, and invites us to eavesdrop on the hidden, fantastical and surreal stories caught between the cracks of the modern city.
Rats have been enjoying a close relationship with humans for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Humans derive no benefits from having rats around, but rats get all sorts of perks. Most notably: food, shelter and water. Often this has little effect, but in some cases, rats go too far, and their impact on human populations becomes unbearable. These 10 cities are among the most rat-plagued places on the planet, although rodent control efforts are (in most cases) always ongoing to try to keep the tally in check. But first up, let’s visit one place where that’s definitely not the case.
In 1733, shortly after the colony of Georgia was founded, an epidemic (thought to be Yellow Fever) started killing off the settlers. Because Savannah’s only doctor died early on, a ship carrying Sephardic Jews was allowed entry on the condition that a doctor onboard, Samuel Nunis, would treat the sick.
Soon after their arrival, the Jews organized what would later become Congregation Mickve Israel, one of America’s oldest Jewish communities. Robert Haas, Mickve Israel’s current rabbi, explained to me that at one point as much as 35 percent of Savannah’s population was Jewish. (Today the number is closer to 2.5 percent.)
Savannah has had several Jewish mayors and judges; Jews have been involved in prominent social clubs, and helped found the city’s Rotary Club and Girl Scout troop. Savannah’s Jewish Education Alliance had several competitive athletic squads.
Savannah enters the picture via a sidebar: “Savannah: Charleston’s younger, drunker sister.”
The piece establishes Savannah as plenty nice, too, despite having “more ‘purdy’ real estate you can’t afford,” but then turns an appreciative eye to the ordinance allowing drinking outdoors in most of downtown.
“It’s a revelation: a bar crawl without the finishing up,” Hemming writes.
The author advises visitors to avoid the “waterside tourist trap” of River Street and to start an informal pub crawl at the Crystal Beer Parlor. Next up, Pinkie Master’s Lounge, and then down to West Congress Street for stops at a trio of diverse local favorites — The Rail Pub, The Jinx and Hang Fire.
Sometimes I read travel articles and am left wondering if the writer even came to Savannah, but this pithy sidebar sure feels authentic.
Some folks around town don’t want Savannah to be known for its to-go cups, but they are undoubtedly part of the city’s being.
Vacated reverse engineers Google Street View to highlight the changing landscape of various neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The project finds buildings constructed in the past four years using the NYC Department of City Planning’s PLUTO dataset, and it leverages Google Street View’s cache to visualize absent lots just before new buildings were constructed.
For Envision 2017’s website, the ages of other buildings on these same blocks are also shown in each scene.
At Craig’s Bar-B-Q in DeValls Bluff, AR, Robert Craig is carrying on the work of his father and uncle. Lawrence and Wes Craig opened Craig Brothers Café in 1947. Today, Craig’s is best known for sliced pork sandwiches topped with a slaw that includes green apple and bell peppers. Their signature sauce was developed over the kitchen stove of the Craig family home.