episode
October 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, last Friday, we brought you the story of Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent Harlem in the State Senate. To the disgust of many, Girodes told NBC 4 I-Team’s Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace that he wanted to hand out “Kool-Aid, KFC, and Watermelons” at a campaign event. The predominately black community did not react well to Girodes’ attempt to win votes, and his comments were met with public outrage. But by nightfall on Friday, Girodes was arrested. Why was this Republican politician cuffed and put in the back of a squad car? Tonight, we have the rest of the story, and you won’t want to miss it.

Then, 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, becoming a ballerina is no small task, but becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre was all but impossible. Misty Copeland’s rise in ballet was the result of breaking through years of physical and psychological barriers, including the racism that is still prevalent in the dance today. Over the years, Misty has become a voice in the dance world; an inspiration for those who she says inspired her. “The little brown girls. I just feel like every performance, every time I’m given an opportunity to be seen and given a voice, it’s them I’m representing, it’s them I’m speaking for.” And Misty encourages them to chase their dreams of dancing en pointe, no matter their shape, size, or color. MetroFocus’ William Jones sits down with Misty Copeland to discuss her work with the American Ballet Theatre and how she uses that opportunity as a platform to encourage young girls to keep dancing, no matter what the rest of the world says.

Finally, there was once a time in China when government officials could get away with rape by claiming their victims were prostitutes. Those victims were not just adult women but included underage girls and those times, are no more. when six elementary school girls were allegedly sexually abused by their principal in southern China, activist Ye Haiyan, known as Hooligan Sparrow, started a protest that gained international attention and inspired a documentary that followed her advocacy for women’s rights and sex workers. Filmmaker Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about her POV documentary Hooligan Sparrow and shares how the film transcended its original intentions when the Chinese government got involved and tried to stop production. What began as a personal plight against China’s sex industry became a scorching expose of China’s surveillance state; a state that preyed on its underage girls.

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October 15, 2016 at 5:02 am

Tonight, New Yorkers in Harlem are furious with Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate running to represent their district in the New York State Senate. These feelings ignited after the candidate made promises to serve racially stereotypical food at a local campaign event. Residents of New York’s 30th District, a primarily Black community, are making it completely clear that they don’t approve of the Girodes’ comments to serve “Kool-Aid, KFC and Watermelons.” NBC 4 I-Team Investigative Reporter, Sarah Wallace broke the story and tonight, joins us to tell us more.

Then, what once was a place for New Yorkers to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in the middle of a bustling Manhattan has now become the dangerous backdrop for a number of robberies, assaults, and gang violence. Cell phone robbery and brutal assaults by roaming gangs have been on the rise in Central Park, with multiple incidents reported in the past month. This week, a woman in the park was robbed and assaulted before she managed to get away during an attempted rape. Her alleged assailant was arrested two days later after authorities tracked him down by using the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app. Luckily, that story has a better ending than most, but the public still remains on edge as these crimes become a trend, despite the fact that police say crime is down for the year in Central Park by about 35 percent. New York City Park Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft joins us to make sense of the statistics and share how the police plan to ensure the public’s safety.

Finally, tensions are hitting an all-time high in police forces across the country as countless videos come to light showing police shootings of unarmed black men. As Americans grow more irate over daily headlines, the debate over the use of force has come to the forefront of policing. Some veteran cops are even admitting to feeling uneasy when they don their badges, but what is the next generation of this occupation thinking? Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones heads to Monroe College in the Bronx where their criminal justice program is moving away from textbook learning in favor of putting their students on the virtual front lines.

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October 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

What once was a place for New Yorkers to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature in the middle of a bustling Manhattan has now become the dangerous backdrop for a number of robberies, assaults, and gang violence. Cell phone robbery and brutal assaults by roaming gangs have been on the rise in Central Park, with multiple incidents reported in the past month. This week, a woman in the park was robbed and assaulted before she managed to get away during an attempted rape. Her alleged assailant was arrested two days later after authorities tracked him down by using the victim’s “Find My iPhone” app. Luckily, that story has a better ending than most, but the public still remains on edge as these crimes become a trend, despite the fact that police say crime is down for the year in Central Park by about 35 percent. New York City Park Advocates’ Geoffrey Croft joins us to make sense of the statistics and share how the police plan to ensure the public’s safety.

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October 13, 2016 at 5:31 am

Tonight, 2017 is quickly approaching, and for Mayor Bill De Blasio, that means having to choose between running for re-election or passing the torch on to someone else. In 2013, De Blasio won the election by a landslide, with nearly 75% of the overall vote and 96% of the Black American vote. Nearly four years later, the polls may show very different results. In fact, an influential group of Black church leaders is so disappointed with the mayor and some of his economic policies that it’s trying to ensure he doesn’t get a second term. Reverend Dr. Johnnie Green, Pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, is the President of Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, the group that is trying to oust De Blasio. Reverend Dr. Green tells us why the mayor would have to “make a very sharp U-turn, and he would have to do it quick” in order to get the support of his organization back.

Next, Hispanic Heritage Month ends on October 15th, and MetroFocus is celebrating this vibrant community by sitting down with the legendary Gloria Estefan! This multi-talented and award-winning singer is part of the inspiration behind the hit Broadway musical On Your Feet!, but tonight, Gloria opens up about growing up Cuban and whether she and her husband, Emilio, will ever perform in their homeland. This Hispanic Heritage Month, PBS is honoring the people, ideas, and moments that inspire you by giving you the chance to share and be a part of a national conversation on what it means to be Hispanic! Share what you love by uploading a photo, video, or stories on social media using #MiHistoria.

Then, cases like the O.J. Simpson trial concerning the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, changed the way our country approached the issue of domestic violence. Today, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victims of domestic violence or abuse in their lifetime, and despite the new visibility of this issue, there is still much to be done. New York was one of the states to address domestic violence head on with the help of current New York State Supreme Court Associate Justice John Leventhal, who presided over the nation’s first felony domestic violence court in Brooklyn when it was founded in 1996. Judge Leventhal details his experience behind the bench and what needs to be done to end what he sees as the “epidemic” of domestic violence in his book My Partner, My Enemy: An Unflinching View of Domestic Violence and New Ways to Protect Victims.

Finally, Hummingbirds: they may be little, but they are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing fliers. Their unique ability to fly up, down, left, right, backward, and even upside down is a trait seen in no other species of bird on Earth. Super Hummingbirds, a new Nature documentary airing tonight at 8 p.m. on PBS, gives us a never before seen look into the lives of these amazing little birds. We sit down with producer and cinematographer, Ann Johnson Prum for a preview.

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October 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Hummingbirds: they may be little, but they are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing fliers. Their unique ability to fly up, down, left, right, backward, and even upside down is a trait seen in no other species of bird on Earth. Super Hummingbirds, a new Nature documentary airing tonight at 8 p.m. on PBS, gives us a never before seen look into the lives of these amazing little birds. We sit down with producer and cinematographer, Ann Johnson Prum for a preview.

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October 11, 2016 at 5:30 am

If you’re from New Jersey, expect an unpleasant surprise when you go to fill up your gas tank. The price per gallon for gas is going to hike up 23 cents, a price that Governor Chris Christie has agreed on with the state’s Democratic leaders. Where will the added nickels and dimes go? The state’s depleted transportation fund, which foots […]

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October 05, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, our nation’s first vice president, John Adams, described the job as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived, or his imagination conceived.” Is he right? As the person who is just a heartbeat away from the presidency, the vice president gets a unique window into history that only a select few could ever dream of having. This November, either Virginia Senator Tim Kaine or Indiana Governor Mike Pence will add their name to that historically unique roster. In anticipation of tonight’s vice-presidential debate and the election’s outcome, we look back at some of our best and worst vice presidents with presidential historian Tim Naftali.

Then, Silver and Skelos: They’re not just names that made headlines. They’re the disgraced former Speaker and Majority Leader of the Albany State House, a place that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara calls a “cauldron of corruption.” Bharara’s newest case is equally worthy of that title. Both his office and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have unveiled separate criminal charges against top state power brokers and prominent developers, including two former aides to Governor Cuomo and members of his inner circle, Joe Percoco and Todd Howe. All this is part of a wide-ranging corruption probe of major construction projects upstate tied to the government’s development program “Buffalo Billion.” As part of our ongoing series, Corruption Watch, we sit down with Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School to analyze this latest scandal in Albany.

Finally, best known for songs like “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and “Annie’s Song,” singer and songwriter John Denver was a unique voice in the music world with a legendary career that spanned nearly four decades. Proclaimed the “country boy” of his time, Denver loved to sing about the clear, blue skies and country roads in the state of Colorado. With the 19th anniversary of his passing this month, PBS remembers this classic performer with a reprise of the documentary John Denver: Country Boy. We relive the life and career of John Denver with Tom Crum, a close friend and Denver’s former partner in the creation of an environmental foundation.

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October 04, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Best known for songs like “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and “Annie’s Song,” singer and songwriter John Denver was a unique voice in the music world with a legendary career that spanned nearly four decades. Proclaimed the “country boy” of his time, Denver loved to sing about the clear, blue skies and country roads in the state of Colorado. With the 19th anniversary of his passing this month, PBS remembers this classic performer with a reprise of the documentary John Denver: Country Boy. We relive the life and career of John Denver with Tom Crum, a close friend and Denver’s former partner in the creation of an environmental foundation.

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episode
September 23, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, bad behavior in Albany is making headlines once again after two former aides to Governor Cuomo along with other members of his inner circle were charged with corruption. Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe are named as part of a 79-page criminal complaint unsealed this morning in federal court. The charges include counts of bribery, corruption, and fraud involving the governor’s upstate economic development programs. And it’s T-minus 4 days until the first presidential debate at Hofstra University. Anticipation is building as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to duke it out at the Long Island college during an event that could shatter the record for the most watched debate ever. (That title has been held since 1980 by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.) Here to share their perspectives on all this is Amy Holmes, a political analyst for the polling company Rasmussen Reports, and former Newsday columnist Ellis Henican.

Next, today, busy schedules keep many of us on a diet of fast foods and on-the-go meals, but what do we compromise by eating like this all the time? Do we really know how the food we eat gets to the table? The Slow Food movement encourages people to eat local, sustainable, and seasonally grown foods. MetroFocus’ Andrea Vasquez takes us to the eastern end of Long Island to meet some Slow Food supporters and see how they’re taking the guesswork out of the recipe.

Finally, it was a sitcom that started off in 1989 as a self-proclaimed show about nothing. Fast forward nine years and many successful seasons later, and Seinfeld aired its final episode to an audience of more than 76 million viewers. In 2016, it still remains as a recognizable facet of American culture, with fan-favorite episodes and relevant quotes that are still a part of our mainstream lives. A new book Seinfeldia celebrates creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, bringing fans behind the scenes of the show that became an American television phenomenon. T.V. historian, entertainment writer, and author of Seinfeldia, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong joins us to discuss how this show went from humble, comedic beginnings to a television series with a lasting impact.

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