Brooklyn Archives - StoryCorps

A Grandmother Gives Advice On Living Through “Crazy and Consequential Times”

As a young girl growing up during WWII, Jane Isay heard stories about how both of her grandparents had died during the 1918 influenza pandemic, leaving her mother an orphan from a young age. 

Now, as the United States contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, Jane made time to sit with her grandson, Tobey Isay, 11, to impart some of her hard earned wisdom. They recorded this conversation using StoryCorps Connect, not long after Tobey had contracted and recovered from COVID himself.

Editor’s note: Jane Isay is the mother of Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps. Tobey Isay is the son of Dave Isay.

Top Photo:  Jane Isay and Tobey Isay at their StoryCorps interview in Brooklyn, New York on April 11, 2020.
Middle Photo: Tobey Isay and Jane Isay. Photo courtesy of Jane Isay.


For Brooklyn’s Bianco Brothers, Keeping it Sharp is a Labor of Love

Small family businesses have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re going to hear from one of them.

Bianco Brothers Instruments is owned by twin brothers Joe and Vinny Bianco. They took over the shop from their father, and now their sons are working beside them, expertly sharpening all types of tools. Over the years, their business has grown to include manufacturing a wide array of sharp instruments, from chefs knives to dental cement spatulas.

In a remote interview recorded through StoryCorps Connect, Joe and his son Peter reflected on their craft, and the legacy they are carrying forth in their Brooklyn storefront.

Top photo: Joe Bianco and Peter Bianco.Courtesy of Peter Bianco.
Bottom photo: Joe Bianco grinding at the wheel at the family shop in the 1980s. Courtesy of Joe Bianco.

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