Episode
November 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, nearly 60,000 people are sleeping in New York City shelters every night, according to the most recent statistics from City Hall. That number is up 18 percent since Mayor de Blasio took office two years ago, but city officials say congestion in shelters would be much worse if not for large investments in homeless programs. For many people on the streets, part of the problem is that they don’t know where their families are or how to contact them. That’s where Miracle Messages steps in. The organization uses videos and social media to track down and reunite the homeless with their families. The group’s founder, Kevin Adler, joins us tonight to talk more about the city’s homeless problem and the miracles his organization is facilitating every day.

Next, Koko the Gorilla isn’t your average ape. This 45-year-old primate was taught sign language as a youngster by an animal psychologist who has gone on to become her surrogate mother. For decades, Koko has received worldwide recognition for her ability to communicate with humans. But some in the scientific community are skeptical about her true ability to understand and respond to what people are saying. The documentary, Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks, from PBS and the BBC explores this remarkable animal’s life and the controversy surrounding her. Tonight we take a look at the film and sit down with the documentary’s producer to go inside Koko’s story.

Finally, while you snuggle up with your loved ones in front of the TV, what are some of the top films sure to get you in the holiday spirit? Our friends from Fandango share their list of the best season-starters.

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Episode
November 22, 2016 at 5:43 am

Tonight, the challenges of having a president-elect living in the heart of Manhattan are posing unprecedented problems for New York. News this weekend that future First Lady Melania Trump will stay in the city as Barron Trump finishes out the school year is only expected to further complicate plans to protect the incoming first family while also allowing New Yorkers to go about their daily lives. Former New York City traffic commissioner and leading transportation advocate Sam Schwartz, otherwise known as Gridlock Sam, tells us what the city can do to prevent “Trump-lock Armageddon.”

Next, President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare, which he often called a catastrophe. But his recent interview on CBS 60 Minutes suggests he may have changed his mind about completely repealing the Affordable Care Act. Is the new posture merely a change in tone? And if he does still intend to at least radically reform Obamacare, how will the changes affect us here in New York? Paul Howard, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, explores what healthcare could look like under a Trump administration.

Finally, for more than 140 years, New York city’s 92nd Street Y has been a valuable center for the arts, culture and the community. They are now expanding their reach to connect people and communities around the world with their newly named Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. We look at how the new addition is re-imagining the role of the community center in the digital world, allowing everyone to give back and transform lives.

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November 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm

The challenges of having a president-elect living in the heart of Manhattan are posing unprecedented problems for New York. News this weekend that future First Lady Melania Trump will stay in the city as Barron Trump finishes out the school year is only expected to further complicate plans to protect the incoming first family while also allowing New Yorkers to go about their daily lives. Former New York City traffic commissioner and leading transportation advocate Sam Schwartz, otherwise known as Gridlock Sam, tells us what the city can do to prevent “Trump-lock Armageddon.”

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Episode
November 19, 2016 at 8:22 am

Tonight, after multiple setbacks and numerous protests, New York City is pressing play on its body camera program. The NYPD will be moving forward with a $6.4 million contract with the company VieVu to provide cameras and data storage for what would be one of the country’s largest body camera programs. Across the river in New Jersey, another city is already testing out police body cameras: Camden, one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the country. But now, after decades of economic downturn and violent crime, change is coming with help from the newly formed police force. MetroFocus producer William Jones takes to the streets of Camden, where officers are testing out this new technology to improve policing.

Next, as life expectancy reaches an all-time high, we as a city are aging. More than 1.4 million New Yorkers are 60 years of age or older. By 2030 that number is estimated to swell to more than 1.8 million, or 20% of city residents, raising demand for affordable housing and health and social services. We get a look at how the nonprofit Selfhelp is answering that call, providing care and services to thousands of aging New Yorkers.

Finally, maybe you’ve caught a compelling story on The Moth Radio Hour on WNYC, downloaded a podcast, or been to a live “story-slam”. The Moth has been dedicated to the art of simple storytelling, told live on stage with no script, just a microphone, a spotlight and a room full of strangers. We caught a behind the scenes look at one woman’s personal storytelling journey from the rural mountains of Nepal to women’s health advocate as part of The Moth’s global community program “Women In The World,” recently performed at Jazz At Lincoln Center.

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Episode
November 18, 2016 at 5:46 am

Tonight, Mayor de Blasio and President-Elect Donald Trump met for more than an hour yesterday where they discussed, among many things, Trump’s campaign promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and build a wall along the Mexican border. But what are the realities of his policies, and are the fears of undocumented immigrants legitimate? Michael Wildes, the immigration lawyer who defended the citizenship status of Melania Trump, joins us with his take on the future of immigration under Donald Trump.

Next, we’ve witnessed a significant increase in hate crimes across the country following last week’s election, including here in New York, where Governor Cuomo launched an investigation after swastika graffiti was discovered at student accommodation buildings at SUNY Geneseo. President-Elect Donald Trump has recently confronted the issue on 60 Minutes, but that has done little to assuage the fears of many who have been targeted. We discuss it all with Huffington Post journalist and Muslim-American Rowaida Abdelaziz and New York City Council-member Ritchie Torres.

Then, when natural disaster strikes, one New York-based organization is there to wade through flood waters and dig through debris to save animals. They’re the Guardians of Rescue, but they do much more than just enter disaster zones. Founder Robert Misseri joins us with a look at their mission protecting the well-being of animals in our community that are homeless, helpless and in need of a hug.

Finally, scattered across the five boroughs of New York City are vibrant organizations serving children and adults of all ages and from every walk of life. These are the settlement houses: centers that provide help and new opportunity to our urban population. The new documentary Treasures of New York: Settlement Houses, which airs tonight at 8pm on WLIW, explores how the 130-year old settlement house movement remains integral to New York City.

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Episode
November 16, 2016 at 5:30 am

New York City is once again stepping up security after ISIS stated in their magazine, Rumiyah, that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was an “excellent target” for an act of terrorism. The threat goes on to suggest the use of a car or vehicle to maximize destruction, reminiscent of the recent attack in Nice, where a 20-ton truck plowed through a crowded Bastille Day celebration. So is this a real threat? And if it is, what safety measures are being put in place to protect this holiday tradition? On tonight’s Listening In, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, John Miller discusses his assessment of this Thanksgiving threat and how New York City law enforcement will answer it.

One of the most notorious jails in the country is located in the East River, right across from the Manhattan skyline. Rikers Island is New York City’s largest correctional facility and the abuse and corruption that runs rampant within its walls have been well documented by authors, journalists, and detainees alike. Yet almost 80 percent of the more than 7,500 men and women detained at Rikers on any given day have not been convicted of the charges they face. Whether guilty or innocent, all the detainees find themselves in a culture of violence and fear that forces them to do whatever is necessary to survive. In this installment of Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America, we take a look at a candid and harrowing documentary by Bill Moyers, Rikers brings viewers face to face with the men and women who have endured the correctional facility and lived to tell the tale. Tonight, award-winning director, longtime colleague of Bill Moyers, and producer of the film, Marc Levin joins us with Glenn E. Martin, a former Rikers detainee and President of JustLeadershipUSA, to discuss the film and the horrible truths within the walls at Rikers Island.

In the United States alone, more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or elderly loved one during any given year. Caregiving is a job that can take its toll physically and emotionally, as the duty of looking after loved ones can add additional pressure to life’s day-to-day responsibilities. T.V. host and advocate Leeza Gibbons understands this struggle after taking care of her own mother during her fight with Alzheimer’s and going through additional health problems with her father. But while others might feel overwhelmed, Leeza is empowered to help other caregivers cope with the unique role of looking after their loved ones with her charity, Leeza’s Care Connection, using the money she won on President-elect Donald Trump’s former program, The Celebrity Apprentice. Tonight, in honor of National Caregivers Month, Leeza Gibbons joins us to talk about her organization, share her advice, and support other caregivers around the country.

You can’t see where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. At least, that’s the way the Museum of the City of New York sees it in a new exhibit, “New York at Its Core.” The permanent display takes visitors through a comprehensive history of the Big Apple, from its colonial beginnings as a Dutch village to the beloved mecca of art, culture, and innovation it is today. MetroFocus’ Andrea Vasquez takes us to the first-of-its-kind exhibit before its premiere this weekend and shows us how the history of our city comes alive and helps us envision its bright future.

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November 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

New York City is once again stepping up security after ISIS stated in their magazine, Rumiyah, that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was an “excellent target” for an act of terrorism. The threat goes on to suggest the use of a car or vehicle to maximize destruction, reminiscent of the recent attack in Nice, where a 20-ton truck plowed through a crowded Bastille Day celebration. So is this a real threat? And if it is, what safety measures are being put in place to protect this holiday tradition? On tonight’s Listening In, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, John Miller discusses his assessment of this Thanksgiving threat and how New York City law enforcement will answer it.

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November 11, 2016 at 6:27 pm

According to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives in 2014, which accounted for 18 percent of all suicides in America. That number is staggering but reveals the harsh reality that our nation’s veterans return to when they leave the battleground. Thankfully, there is someone in their corner. Dr. John Draper, […]

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Episode
November 04, 2016 at 5:48 am

Tonight, Long Island’s gang violence epidemic continues to rage on in Brentwood as another name is added to the growing list of casualties. The skeletal remains of 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez, a known gang member, were recently discovered in the woods behind the abandoned Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center. Many are beginning to worry that there are still more bodies to be found, and authorities remain on high alert as they investigate each murder and their possible connections to the notorious MS-13 gang. Tonight, in an exclusive MetroFocus interview, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini gives us an update on the investigations.

Then, with Election Day just around the corner, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that our nation could be just days away from witnessing the ascension of our first female president. After 227 years of presidents and first ladies in the White House, many are bemused by the fact that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, that would make Bill a former president and… the nation’s first first gentleman? This thought has not escaped Gerald Weaver, an acclaimed author, political analyst, and former chief of staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. For his second novel, The First First Gentleman, Weaver wraps a love story and a thriller into one, all while providing honest and insightful commentary on the nation’s political system. Tonight, he joins us to discuss the book and the current state of politics.

Finally, Shakespeare may have said all the world’s a stage, but one theater group in particular has been using the stage to change the world since 1991. The Tectonic Theater Project has initiated dialogues on social and political issues with ground-breaking experimental plays such as The Laramie Project. As part of Tectonic’s 25th anniversary, the theater is putting on a benefit show featuring plays of the past and present. This star-studded event will be hosted by Academy Award-winning actress, Jane Fonda, and is sure to be a night to remember in the theater. Tonight, a founder of this illustrious theater, Moises Kaufman, and Emmy award-winning actor Michael Emerson, will give us a preview of the benefit and a look back at Tectonic’s ground-breaking work.

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