Episode
August 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the Brooklyn Bridge may be getting some major upgrades as city officials explore the idea of expanding the promenade. In recent years, the bridge has earned a reputation for being congested with people. Between tourists, speeding cyclists, and busy commuters, the 133 year-old landmark isn’t that easy to cross. The issue has caught the attention of the city’s Department of Transportation, who are trying to come up with a solution to the problem. Vin Barone, a transportation reporter for amNewYork, has been watching the story and joins us to explain the latest push to fix the Brooklyn Bridge.

Next, an investigation between local and federal authorities led to the take down of a large-scale racketeering conspiracy ranging from Springfield, Massachusetts, to South Florida, and involved members from four of New York’s five Mafia families. And no, we’re not talking the Sopranos. But what does the modern Mafia look like? Author and journalist for ganglandnews.com, Jerry Capeci tells us about the power of the modern day Mafia, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that served as an alleged hub for criminal activity, and whether or not the authorities have had any success in cutting New York’s Mafia back.

Then, when Rutgers University joined the Big Ten conference, a collection of universities that organizes intercollegiate athletics, perhaps the most important goal was to bring in big bucks to New Jersey’s largest public university. But going big time in intercollegiate sports has actually cost Rutgers millions, and some argue that it has come at the expense of academics. Steve Adubato, co-anchor of New Jersey Capitol Report, weighs in on whether this prestigious university can remain a player in big college sports without compromising its academic reputation.

Finally, is it possible to be lonely in New York City? Surprisingly, even with 8.4 million people surrounding you, the reality is that human connection is not guaranteed. The case of 72 year-old George Bell exemplifies this notion. Bell died alone in his Jackson Heights apartment during the summer last year, but no one knew exactly when. The circumstances of his death were so troubling, they landed on the front of The New York Times. But is loneliness as distressing as we make it out to be? Olivia Liang is the author of a book that delves into that issue, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. She joins us to explain her interest in this subject and share how her thoughts on isolation changed through the course of writing this book.

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Clip
August 23, 2016 at 6:28 pm

An investigation between local and federal authorities led to the take down of a large-scale racketeering conspiracy ranging from Springfield, Massachusetts, to South Florida, and involved members from four of New York’s five Mafia families. And no, we’re not talking the Sopranos. But what does the modern Mafia look like? Author and journalist for ganglandnews.com, Jerry Capeci tells us about the power of the modern day Mafia, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that served as an alleged hub for criminal activity, and whether or not the authorities have had any success in cutting New York’s Mafia back.

Continue Reading

Clip
August 23, 2016 at 6:27 pm

When Rutgers University joined the Big Ten conference, a collection of universities that organizes intercollegiate athletics, perhaps the most important goal was to bring in big bucks to New Jersey’s largest public university. But going big time in intercollegiate sports has actually cost Rutgers millions, and some argue that it has come at the expense of academics. Steve Adubato, co-anchor of New Jersey Capitol Report, weighs in on whether this prestigious university can remain a player in big college sports without compromising its academic reputation.

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Episode
August 23, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, just this past weekend, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed that he would help Black Americans and Hispanic Americans in ways that Democrats, he alleges, have not done in the past. Although he is trailing in support among minority voters, and his previous statements regarding race have come across as inflammatory to many members of his party, many Americans still think he is exactly what the country needs. But what do we know about those who are supporting him? Author Alexander Zaitchik hit the trail to find the base of Trump’s supporters, traveling through six primary states all while conducting biographical interviews. The result is his book, The Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump’s America, which documents the everyday Americans who see Trump as a savvy patriotic businessman and tough talking savior.

Next, can something as simple as mentoring a child help them overcome poverty and change their life? Well, that’s what National CARES Mentoring Movement believes. Since 2005, the National CARES Mentoring Movement has recruited, trained and connected more than 140,000 caring mentors with more than 200,000 children in schools and local youth-serving programs in 58 cities. As part of our ongoing reporting initiative Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine and founder of National CARES Mentoring Movement, stops by to discuss how the program is allowing under-served children the opportunity to realize their dreams.

Then, it is one of the most controversial teaching methods in education today: common core. As part of our continuing series American Graduate, a project to help local communities find ways to keep students on the path to graduation, we look at common core and the growing movement to opt out of testing. Since the initial pilot phase in 2011, the common core standards have resulted in great frustration, and have drawn much criticism throughout the state. But some New York education officials still stick by them. Pass or fail, we look at the education conundrum.

And finally, they say dogs are a man’s best friend, but for almost 140 years, the American Humane Association has been the best friend of dogs and other animals around the world. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the American Humane Association’s animal rescue efforts, and its history of working with our nation’s military and first responders. Many of the animals helped by the American Humane Association go on to serve and protect the military servicemen and women who protect us, and it is their hope to soon increase the number of certified service dogs working with our nation’s veterans. Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, joins us with her special friend Axel, a service dog, to discuss the organization’s history of animal rescue.

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August 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Can something as simple as mentoring a child help them overcome poverty and change their life? Well, that’s what National CARES Mentoring Movement believes. Since 2005, the National CARES Mentoring Movement has recruited, trained and connected more than 140,000 caring mentors with more than 200,000 children in schools and local youth-serving programs in 58 cities. As part of our ongoing reporting initiative Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine and founder of National CARES Mentoring Movement, stops by to discuss how the program is allowing under-served children the opportunity to realize their dreams.

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Clip
August 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm

They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but for almost 140 years, the American Humane Association has been the best friend of dogs and other animals around the world. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the American Humane Association’s animal rescue efforts, and its history of working with our nation’s military and first responders. Many of the animals helped by the American Humane Association go on to serve and protect the military servicemen and women who protect us, and it is their hope to soon increase the number of certified service dogs working with our nation’s veterans. Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, joins us with her special friend Axel, a service dog, to discuss the organization’s history of animal rescue.

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Episode
August 20, 2016 at 5:27 am

Tonight, crime in New York City is at record lows, but not everyone is feeling all that safe. According to a new study from NYC Park Advocates, violent crimes soared 23 percent during a nine-month period compared to the year before. The NYPD responded by saying that crime in parks is rare, and that they are some of the safest places in not only the city, but the entire country. This comes as park safety has been dominating headlines, including the story of Karina Vetrano, the 30-year-old woman whose life was cut short while jogging in a Queens park. Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, stops by to discuss the study and what he thinks the city should be doing to make parks safer.

Next, this month will mark 30 years since Robert Chambers strangled and killed his then 18 year-old friend, Jennifer Levin, in Central Park. The killing and subsequent arrest made headlines as “The Preppy Murder.” CBS’ 48 Hours revisits the case with an exclusive interview with Chambers himself. 48 Hours Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky joins us to discuss the case and the impact it’s had on New York City.

Finally, next Thursday marks 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service. In the time that’s passed, the number of national parks has grown from 35 parks and monuments to now over 400 areas, covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. To commemorate this monumental anniversary, The National Park Service will light up the New York City skyline this Monday in a celebration that features Bill Nye, Questlove, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. The event hopes to inspire new generations to venture out and discover our country’s national parks. Karen Sloat Olsen, Chief of Interpretation and Education of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, will join us to talk about the celebration and The National Park Service’s centennial year.

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Episode
August 19, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, last week, a 13 year-old Staten Island boy committed suicide, claiming in a note that he was bullied and although he sought help at his school, there was no intervention. The boy, Daniel Fitzpatrick, is sadly just one example of the high costs of bullying. Nearly six years ago, 18 year-old Tyler Clementi became the victim of bullying when his roommate at Rutgers University publicly outed his sexual orientation online. The ridicule proved to be too much for Tyler and he ended his life. Tyler Clementi’s mother, Jane, and older brother, James, join us to talk about their personal tragedy and how through their tragedy, they hope to teach tolerance.

Next, although a motive is still being sought in the murder of an Imam and his assistant in Queens, mosque officials and those within the community are certain that the killing was carried out as an act of hate. And if that, in fact, is true, this would not be the first event of its kind in this borough of New York. In June, a man was beaten outside of his mosque in Jamaica, and two Muslim women were harassed on the subway for wearing hijabs. A new Huffington Post initiative is tracking these acts of Islamophobia across the U.S. in the hopes of confronting the hate that drives these attacks. Two journalists spearheading the initiative, Rowaida Abdelaziz and Christopher Mathias will join us to talk about their work and what they hope to achieve with it.

Finally, in April of this year, we reported on 50 New York millionaires who wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo asking to pay higher taxes to provide public programs and revitalize infrastructure. Among those signers was notable filmmaker and heir to the Disney empire, Abigail Disney, who shared her thought with us earlier this year. But is that solution realistic? Tonight we talk to Travis Brown, author of the book “How Money Walks,” and he’ll lets us know why this tax, although it sounds good, might cause more harm than good.

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August 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm

In April of this year, we reported on 50 New York millionaires who wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo asking to pay higher taxes to provide public programs and revitalize infrastructure. Among those signers was notable filmmaker and heir to the Disney empire, Abigail Disney, who shared her thought with us earlier this year. But is that solution realistic? Tonight we talk to Travis Brown, author of the book “How Money Walks,” and he’ll lets us know why this tax, although it sounds good, might cause more harm than good.

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MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross.

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