Ric Burns was our guest at the Faculty Resource Network seminar on Wednesday. We screened the seventh episode of New York: A Documentary Film (“The City and the World [1945 – Present]) in the morning and then engaged in a conversation with Ric about the making of the film and about the craft of documentary in the afternoon.

Early in the afternoon session, Ric told us a story about one of his first nights as a resident of the city: lying in bed with the window open, he suddenly became aware of the “roar” of the city — that omnipresent background noise — and he burst into tears. Not out of sadness, he said, but because he felt overwhelmed by the city. New York: A Documentary Film was his attempt to understand the history, meaning, and emotional power of that roar.

Ric cited the work of Joseph Schumpeter and Rem Koolhaas’s