SUNSET PARK — A lifelong Sunset Park resident is sharing stories from one of Brooklyn’s most diverse neighborhoods with a new podcast series that launched last month.
Rob Aguilar, 40, decided to start “The Sunset Park Podcast” when he realized locals didn’t have a platform to talk about their history, culture or little-known community issues, he said.
“For a long time, the neighborhood felt neglected,” said Aguilar, who produces other podcast shows with his wife, Ana Maria.
In the first episode, which launched July 22 and has been downloaded hundreds of times since, Aguilar talks to Tony “Sunset Parker” Giordano, a community leader in Sunset Park whose seven-month-old Facebook page has become an informal community gathering space online.
While speaking to longtime locals and business owners, Aguilar also hopes to highlight Sunset Park’s diverse immigrant communities, which spans from Mexican to Chinese residents.
Sharing local stories could help build an identity for the heavily-populated neighborhood, where language barriers and the transient nature of some immigrant families could contribute to the lack of a community outlet, said Giordano.
“If we don’t define ourselves, then other people define us,” he said.
Along with stories, some episodes will feature walking tours of the neighborhood for tourists, newcomers or even local residents to learn more about the waterfront community.
“There’s a lot of people who have lived here for a long time who don’t know historical landmarks in the neighborhood,” said Aguilar, who also owns a civil engineering consulting company and lives with his wife and son in Sunset Park.
“We want to also create a sense of pride,” he said.
Community and social issues won’t be ignored in the podcast, said Aguilar who will be interviewing the director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District and hopes to schedule a debate between State Assemblyman Félix Ortiz, the district’s incumbent, and Community Board 7 member Ceasar Zuniga, who is running against him.
The podcast episodes, which will be streamed in English, will be released every two weeks but Aguilar plans to make it weekly.
“There is no other neighborhood in New York City that has a dedicated podcast to it,” he said.
“We might set a trend.”
To listen to episodes from the Sunset Park Podcast, visit this website.