Timed for Black History Month, Pineapple Street Studios has released a five-part narrative series called Love Thy Neighbor that looks back at the events surrounding the four-day race riot that broke out in the New York neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn in August 1991.
The ugly event divided the neighborhood’s Black and Lubavitch Hasidic community. It was set off by a deadly car accident of a young Caribbean boy, sparking off four days of turmoil that ended with the killing of an Orthodox man and hundreds of arrests. It put the civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton into national headlines as he led protests through the streets. And federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani would eventually ride the controversy and defeat New York's first Black mayor, David Dinkins.
The podcast is hosted by Collier Meyerson, who not only lived in Crown Heights for eight years, but also has a unique perspective as someone who is both Black and Jewish.
“There’s a little known riot that happened 30 years ago on the streets of Brooklyn, but what came to be known as the Crown Heights Riot impacted politics and policing in this city forever," says Meyerson. “Telling this story through a new lens can teach us a lot about how we got to where we are, not just as a city, but as a nation.”
Through what Pineapple Street says are deeply personal, new and archival interviews with residents, scholars, and activists, Love Thy Neighbor will show how those four days in 1991 were a flashpoint that shaped a dark new era of politics, policing, antisemitism and anti-Black racism in New York City.
“Collier’s thoughtfully reported and at times personal approach to exploring the Crown Heights riot offers a 360 degree perspective of an event that shaped New York history,” said Pineapple Street cofounders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky in a joint statement. “Her ability to break down the intense dynamics of the four days that changed New York will take listeners back thirty years and shine a light on similar forces still at work today.”
Love Thy Neighbor launches today (Feb. 15) with all five episodes available to binge exclusively on the Audacy app. It will be released weekly on other apps, with new episodes available weekly on Tuesdays through March 15.