Queens Archives - StoryCorps

Twin Mortician Brothers Look Back On A Life Of Caring For The Dead

At 69 years old, twin brothers Melvin and Marvin Morgan have both served as mortuary technicians for New York City morgues. 

They’ve worked through some of the city’s most horrific events –  moments like 9/11 and the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Just before Melvin’s retirement in 2023, they came to StoryCorps to look back on a life of caring for the dead.

Melvin Morgan and Marvin Morgan at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on April 22nd, 2023. By Eleanor Vassili for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Melvin Morgan and Marvin Morgan at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on April 22nd, 2023. By Isabella Gonzalez for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired May 26th, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

‘Your Heart is On Protein Powder:’ Reflections On Love and Family

 

Mason Best seems to have a lot on his mind. At 12 years old, he already has a lot of thoughts on life and love. Mason came to StoryCorps at his local Boys Club in Queens, NY. 

Roseann Smith and Mason Best on New Year’s Day 2023. Courtesy of Roseann Smith.

He decided to invite his mom, Roseann Smith, to sit down for a conversation. The duo got right to the serious stuff.

 

Top Photo: Mason Best and Roseann Smith at their StoryCorps interview in Queens, New York on March 25, 2023. By Julia Kirschenbaum for StoryCorps.

This recording was made possible by a partnership with The Boys’ Club of New York.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Originally aired April 28, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“That Moment Was Love Embodied To Me.” A Father And Daughter Remember a Dramatic Rescue

Driving can be hard … and perhaps some people are just not meant to drive.  In Danny Bell’s family, that’s his wife, Maritza. He came to StoryCorps in 2022 with their daughter, Sydia, to recount a particularly memorable driving lesson.
Sydia and Danny Bell at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, GA on July 9, 2022. By Alison Hopkins for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Sydia, Danny, and Maritza Bell with their dog (not Roxanna) in 2016. Courtesy of the Bell family.
This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Originally aired February 17, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

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“We’re Stuck With Each Other”: An Unconventional Quarantine Love Story

Neil Kramer and Sophia Lansky married in 1996, but it didn’t work out. After they divorced, Neil moved across the country, but they still leaned on each other. 

At the end of 2019, when the pipes in Sophia’s apartment burst, she was stuck with no place to stay. So she called the one person she knew she could depend on.

Neil Kramer and Sophia Lansky holding hands in Queens, New York, in October of 2021, on what would have been their 25th wedding anniversary. Courtesy of Neil Kramer.

Sophia moved in with Neil at the beginning of 2020. Coincidentally, Neil’s mother also moved back in with him around the same time, and the three of them decided to share the two-bedroom New York apartment for what they thought would be “a few weeks”. 

Elaine Kramer (left), Neil Kramer, and Sophia Lansky in Queens NY, in May of 2021. Courtesy of Neil Kramer.

Exes Sophia and Neil came to StoryCorps to talk about what they’ve learned from living together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early on during the pandemic, Neil started chronicling their odd living arrangements through a photography project. 

From left to right: Sophia, Neil, and Elaine watching the news in March of 2020. Queens, New York. Courtesy of Neil Kramer. 

He’s still taking photographs of their shared experience. And the three of them are able to collectively tap into the humor and absurdity of their life.

Top Photo: Neil Kramer and Sophia Lansky on February 9th, 2022 in Queens, New York. Courtesy of Neil Kramer.

Originally aired February 11, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

A Queens Family’s Tradition of Feeding Those in Need — 365 Days a Year

Since 2004, Jorge Muñoz has gathered with his family in their small kitchen in Queens, New York where they cook meals for those in need. Together, they’ve provided more than one hundred meals per day to day laborers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, in the city.

They’ve kept up the tradition year-round for the last 16 years, providing approximately 500,000 meals — until May, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Using StoryCorps Connect, Jorge spoke with his sister, Luz, to remember the beginning of their journey, and how their mother inspired them to give to those in need.

Top Photo: Siblings Luz and Jorge Muñoz spoke about how their meal program began in their recent StoryCorps interview from their home in Queens, NY.

Middle Photo: The Muñoz family, (from left to right) Jorge, Justin, Blanca, and Luz, prepares meals from their kitchen in 2010.

Originally aired December 4, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.