I’m sure I’m behind the curve here, but I just heard yesterday that StoryCorps’ Grand Central Terminal booth is closing at the end of this month. I can’t say how sad this makes me. Having the booth there, knowing that people are telling their stories, asking their toughest questions, professing their love for one another has been so beautiful and amazing. Five thousand, three hundred sixty interviews were conducted in that booth, which is pretty impressive. I’ve taken such pleasure in listening to those stories on NPR, every Friday morning at 6:34 and 8:34. They stop me in my tracks and, more often than not, have me crying before they’re through. Those moments are so powerful.
I had wanted to take my aunt to the booth when it first opened. She was younger then and would have been more reliably able to answer my questions. She’s 93 now, no longer mobile, living in and out of a progressing dementia. My moment for bringing her to the booth has passed.
StoryCorps isn’t ending, not by a long shot. My Friday morning fix will continue to be broadcast, I’m sure. There’s another SC booth at Foley Square in downtown Manhattan. There are booths traveling the country. There’s even a branch of the project gathering solely the stories of African Americans. (It’s called “StoryCorps Griot“, in fact!) The stories go on. As SC founder Dave Isay said on the radio this morning, the project is still in its beginning stage, only four and a half years old at this point. The stories will go on.
But there’s something in the loss of that little patch of prime mid-town real estate, the main concourse at Grand Central, that just makes me sad.