Sounds of the City: Immigration, Identity and When NYC Becomes ‘Home’

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Adi Talwar

Leigh Beckett does not speak with an American accent. So he is very much at home in New York.

Emigrating to a country can be challenging, especially for someone in their 40s. In 2001, Leigh Beckett moved to New York City to be with his new bride. After more than a decade of working as a senior manager in the corporate world of information technology in the United Kingdom, Beckett reinvent himself to find meaningful work in his new hometown. An electrical engineer by training, he turned to his childhood passion for photography. Today Beckett is a commercial and portrait photographer.

It’s one thing to get used to being married or working a new job. It’s another to reach the point where a new place becomes home.

Being an immigrant myself, I have often wondered when that switch happened for me. Beckett speaks below about when it happened for him.

If you hail from a different place, you might ask yourself, when did New York City became home, if it has become that for you.

If you were born here, you might instead ask yourself: When Beckett talks, do you hear a foreigner speaking or a New Yorker?

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Audio edit created as a result of The Solid Gold Radio Storytelling Workshop taught by Lu Olkowski at the Bronx Documentary Center in early 2017. Workforce Development Institute funded the workshop.

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