FEARS (B2-C1 Module)

Part 4: Fear in the City

a. Speak and share.

Which are more likely to give you a sense of unease?

  • Places that are very crowded or completely empty?
  • Tight-knit villages or impersonal large cities?

And why?

b. Collaborate and Write.

Get together with a partner or group. Think of a city that you all know. Make a list of 8-10 pieces of advice for tourists, with this title:

  • How to stay safe in the city: the “dos and don’ts”.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

c. Read the text and discuss which words you could use to fill the gaps.

As a traveller flying into New York in early summer 1975, you might have been handed a mysterious four-page brochure as you passed through the airport.

Inside, the booklet featured nine pieces of advice for tourists and business travellers planning to stay in New York. However, your eyes would have been drawn first to the front cover. This featured a disconcerting four-word text, “______ ______ ______ ______”, accompanied by a menacing image of a _________.

As its writers intended, the brochure caused a ruckus with city authorities…

Photo by Matthew Turner on Pexels.com (This is Chicago O’Hare airport, not New York, but it has the right mood!)

d. Let’s find out!

Click below to open a copy of the brochure, from the e-magazine ResearchDestroy:


  • How do you feel when you see this brochure for the first time?
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

e. Read the brochure in more detail. Write your responses.

Look at the nine points on pages 2-4.

  • Which is the most surprising piece of advice, and why?
  • Choose just one of the points and read it carefully. How does the choice of words create a sense of danger and fear?
  • Find 5 words that you don’t know very well. Look up their meanings in a dictionary and write an example sentence for each.

Read the introduction at the top of page 2.

  • Who wrote this document, and what do you think was their purpose?
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

f. Do Worksheet 4.

This is a reading activity based on the story of the 1975 brochure. Your task is to fit five missing sentences into the correct place in the text.

g. Discuss these two questions.

  • In what other situations is it possible for people to use fear as a strategy or weapon, to help them gain an advantage over others?
  • How are these situations similar to, or different from, the Fear City example?

Further Reading:

Two recent newspaper articles looking back at the iconic 1975 brochure:



Further Listening:

An informative 1975 report from Thames TV explaining the background to the dispute between city officers and the mayor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eCWfyggVgE

A hard-hitting 1977 documentary film from CBS showing the effects of political failure on citizens of one of the most deprived districts of New York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQkhD-2cWwY

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