This weekend, listen to a collection of articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote them.


Written and narrated by Jesse McKinley

On its 315-mile journey from the Adirondacks to New York City, the Hudson River stretches from gentle stream to mighty byway, flows past ghost towns, bombed-out factories and the state capital, and teeters between stretches of pure beauty and fetid intrusions of chemicals, bacteria and other toxic backwash.

And it is in that unpredictable mix that British endurance athlete Lewis Pugh intends to dive next month, wearing nothing more than a Speedo, cap and goggles, with the intention of swimming the length of the Hudson – a month-long dive intended to draw attention to both the ongoing rescue of the river and the work still to be done, here and elsewhere.

“I’ve been looking for a river for many, many years that could tell the story of all rivers,” said Mr Pugh, 53, whose previous long-distance swims have included the length of the English Channel, some 325 miles. “And always, every time, it comes back to the Hudson.”

Written and narrated by James Poniewozik

In Hollywood, the cool kids joined the strike.

James Poniewozik writes that he means no offense, as a writer, to the screenwriters who have been on strike against film and television studios for more than two months. But writers know the score. They are the words, not the faces. Picket’s smartest joke is no match for the attention-focusing power of Margot Robbie or Matt Damon.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing television and film actors, joined the writers in a walkout about how Hollywood splits the cash in the streaming age and how humans can thrive in artificial intelligence. With that star power comes an easy cheap shot: Why should anyone care about a bunch of privileged elites whining about a dream job?

But despite all the focus that a few big names will get in this strike, Poniewozik invites you to consider a term that has come up a lot in the current negotiations: “background actors.”

Written by Christopher Maag and Raúl Vilchis | Narrated by Christopher Maag

Around 7 in the morning one day last August, the first migrants sent to New York by the governor of Texas arrived with little warning on a bus, and entered sleepily into their new life.

By June, the city counted more than 80,000 newcomers. About half moved into public shelters, and the city’s shelter system reached 100,000 that month. City officials added up the costs of housing them: about $4.3 billion by next summer. Mayor Eric Adams pleaded for federal help, scorned President Biden and warned the city was “destroyed.”

But unseen and unheard were economists and social scientists, who point out that the immediate controversy overshadowed an established truth: The city was built by waves of migrants who settled, paid taxes, strengthened the workforce, started businesses and generally uplifted the communities they joined.

This latter group would do the same, they argued.

Written and narrated by Aurelien Breeden

Guilhem Gallart used to speak with a thick, southern French accent, his voice deep and slightly nasal, punctuated by a faint lisp.

Then, in 2015, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, an incurable neurological disease that slowly paralyzed his muscles from head to toe, leaving him bedridden and forcing him to use voice synthesis computer software to speak.

Losing his distinctive voice, he said, felt like surrendering an essential part of himself, because sound was his life’s passion. Better known as Pone, he is a music producer and beat maker who once belonged to one of France’s most popular old-school rap groups, the Fonky Family.

To recapture his signature vocal sound, Pone, 50, embarked on a slightly quixotic and still unfinished quest. Since there weren’t enough old recordings of his voice to feed a computer and create a synthetic replacement, he asked a comedian to record an imitation of what he used to sound like – and used that as a base instead.

Written by Ben Casselman and Jeanna Smialek | Narrated by Ben Casselman

The recession was supposed to have started already.

Last year, as policymakers steadily raised interest rates to combat the fastest inflation in decades, forecasters began talking as if a recession — economic contraction rather than growth — was a question not of “if” but of “when.” Maybe in 2022. Probably in the first half of 2023. Probably by the end of the year.

But the year is more than half over, and the recession is nowhere to be found. Not, certainly, in the labor market, as the unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, hovers near a five-decade low. Not in consumer spending, which continues to grow, nor in corporate profits, which remain robust. Not even in the housing market, the industry that is usually most sensitive to rising interest rates, which has shown signs of stabilization after a downturn last year.

At the same time, inflation has slowed significantly, and appears to be continuing to cool – offering hope that interest rate hikes are nearing an end. All of which is leading economists, after a year spent surprised by the resilience of the recovery, to wonder if a recession is coming at all.


The Times’ narrated articles are done by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Dan Farrell, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Emma Kehlbeck, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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