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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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Episode
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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Episode
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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Episode
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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September 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm

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.

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Episode
September 21, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, who is the Chelsea bomber and did he have help? Yesterday, we followed reports of a shootout between police and Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect taken into custody for the New York and New Jersey bombings that hit both states this past weekend. And although they are scenes of what some are speculating to be acts of terror, New Yorkers remain calm and unfazed. Tonight, we look at new details that have surfaced about Rahami and his family, and how the attacks are making their mark on the election ahead of next week’s first presidential debate.

Next, after four years, $65 billion dollars in damage, and countless relief efforts, the region is still rebuilding the damage Superstorm Sandy left behind in its wake. Families and homeowners are still struggling to piece their lives back together, even after billions of dollars in relief money has been raised. So where did the money go? A new FRONTLINE documentary “Business of Disaster” follows the money trail and reveals who made a small fortune off of others misfortune. Correspondent Laura Sullivan, joins us to discuss the film and who makes their living off of disasters like Sandy.

Next, Wyandanch in the town of Babylon has earned a reputation for being one of the poorest communities on Long Island. Surrounded by some of the most well-to-do areas in the United States, this working class hamlet has struggled with poverty and crime. But that’s all changing. Wyandanch is currently is the middle of a $500 million redevelopment plan, which calls for affordable housing, commercial businesses, infrastructure and transportation improvements. In our continuing series, Chasing the Dream, Long Island Business Report anchor Jim Paymar takes us to this little corner of Suffolk County to tell us what the plan could mean for other struggling communities across our area and across the country.

Finally, back in 1939, Waitstill and Martha Sharp left their children behind in Massachusetts to rescue refugees and dissidents from the Nazis. Over the course of two years, the Sharps would save more than 130 people from the horrors of the Holocaust. Despite their heroics, the Sharps’ story remained largely untold for decades. Now it is coming to light as part of a documentary co-directed by their grandson and the filmmaker Ken Burns. Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War makes its PBS premiere tonight at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN. Ahead of its debut, we sit down with Artemis Joukowsky, the Sharps’ grandson, to talk more about the film and his grandparents.

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Funders

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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