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January 5, 2007

The Super

In 1980's New York City, rent is rising: it seems out of control, and residents struggle to keep up. So Jack Hitt helps organize tenants, and threatens a rent strike. This does not go over so well with his building super, who, as it turns out, is a very dangerous man.
This and other stories of the mysterious hold supers have on their buildings, or their buildings have on them.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass visits an Upper East Side building in Manhattan where Peter Roach has been the super for about ten years. (3 minutes)

The Super Always Rings Twice

Reporter Jack Hitt tells the story of how he helped organize tenants and threaten a rent strike in a New York City building back in the 1980s. Before long, Bob, the building super, became his enemy. The situation got pretty ugly. Mobster ugly. Bob began to brag about how important he was in his native Brazil, how he could kill a person and be immune from prosecution. It was only many years later that Jack found out how dangerous Bob really was. (21 minutes)

Super Duper

Josh Bearman's favorite story was told to him by his super. It involved these elements: A gas station, a beautiful woman, an orchid, a snowman, Indonesia, and a check for $30,000. But when Josh decided to try and publish the story in a magazine, it changed everything. (13 minutes)

Please Re-lease Me

A man we're calling "Dennis" inherits his father's job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He's tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent. He sets up a payment plan for them, teaches them how to make a budget, helps them with their personal problems. For six years, he stops himself from kicking them out. (17 minutes)
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