The Memory Palace

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Episode 81:
Below, from Above

Jan 27, 2016

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera


* We start off with Wien, by Labradford.
* The guys head out to the work site to Piano 3, from Jon Brion’s score to Synecdoche, New York.
* Then we hear a bit of Metamorphosis by Vladamir Ussachevsky before being bombarded with bits of Fast Pasture by Todd Reynolds.
* There’s a long stretch of Fog Tropes by Ingram Marshall
* Followed by Fragment I by Library Tapes
* Before ending on Berceuse, by Alexandra Sileski.

* This is a story I’ve been wanting to do forever. In fact, falling in love with the story of the Brooklyn Bridge was one of the things that sent me on a path to doing The Memory Palace at all. So, most of this stuff I just kind of already knew. But it was a particular pleasure to go back and read David McCullough’s masterful, lovely The Great Bridge. And to read a ton of contemporary accounts of its construction, particularly the New York Time’s piece where the reporter heads down into the Brooklyn Caisson.

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14 Comments | Leave a Comment

14 Comments on Below, from Above

  1. john says:

    That was just amazing…well done.

  2. Kate says:

    Masterful! The explanation of caissons was both accurate and poetic (hard to do). Most of all, I appreciate that you told the story from the workers’ perspective — this is something I wanted more of from McCullough. I think of all of this whenever I see the Brooklyn Bridge. Glad you have another teammate so we can have more TMP.

  3. Katherine says:

    I was transported by this fascinating story. It drives home the true labor, hardship, uncertainty, craftsmanship, science, art and heart required to build NYC into the incredible city that it is today. Thank you for this!

  4. Barry says:

    Riveting, haunting and beautiful.

  5. Tim says:

    Reminded me of the days during the late 70’s and early 80’s when I worked deep inside the bowels of Chicago’s Deep Tunnel Project alongside my Irish, Polish, German, Latino, African American and Asian brothers. Go !!!

  6. jennifer l baum says:

    these are such wonderful and complete little dreams. and i really love the fade at the end, into nothing. maybe you will consider doing the credits at the beginning? everyone is sure to hear them and that drifting off to contemplate is pretty precious.

  7. Ben Kronk says:

    As a construction guy my self. This was powerful and really took me somewhere of empathy and enlightenment. Thank you.

  8. Donald McGrath says:

    Beautiful piece! As usual Nate. Listening, I remembered reading somewhere that, when he was writing his great poem The Bridge, Hart Crane took a room with an impressive view of it. And that was apparently he same room where one of the chief engineers, had lived while building it. And it was in sight of the bridge that Crane would eventually leap, years later, from the deck of a ship returning from Mexico. His jacket was found folded over the back of a chair.

  9. Rose says:

    Love your podcast! Wanted to leave feedback about the credits section. What if you did it at the beginning? That will allow you to let story resolve as it has but you will still be giving credit!

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  13. Mike says:

    Do enjoy the episodes; however, some easy to check facts cause me to wonder about what other details are exaggerated. The caissons were only 78 and 44 feet deep on the New York City and Brooklyn City sides (as they were then known), respectively. They were not a hundred, let alone hundreds of feet deep.

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