Letter from New York: BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts
For six years, Helene Hanff held captive audiences all over the world with her monthly broadcasts on the BBC's Woman's Hour. In five-minute vignettes, she managed to convey the essential New York City: life in a high rise apartment building (the last small town in America); annals of Chester-the-Sheepdog, Duke, the German shepherd, and their friends; the tree-lighting, magic and music of Christmas in New York. We meet Arlene, Hanff's high-flying friend who's social life (and wardrobe) put Hanff's one-and-one-half room apartment and simple writer's life in perspective. We walk through Nina's garden, 16 stories up and witness famous New York rites of passage from the hysteria of St. Patrick's Day to Shakespeare's Garden and the neighbors who saved it, to block parties, with their sizzling Italian sausages and shish kebab and flossy plates of pate and brie, all told in Hanff's inimitable style. We join Hanff as she flies to London to realize a lifetime dream at the Ambassador Theatre: opening night for the play, 84, Charing Cross Road. And we witness the elegant Arlene as she meets and falls in love with a New York City cop.
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