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August 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm

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.

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August 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm

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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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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August 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

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 17, 2016 at 5:54 am

Tonight, Oscar Morel of Brooklyn finds himself behind bars today for the alleged murder of a New York Imam and his assistant. Since the murders, New Yorkers and those living in the Queens community where the attack was perpetrated have speculated whether the Imam and his friend were targets of a hate crime or victims of a random act of violence. Police haven’t released Morel’s motive yet, but according to reports, his brother has mentioned that Morel felt hatred towards Muslims post-9/11. Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones goes to Ozone Park for reactions from the Queens community that Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin served.

Then, it was the news no New York City straphanger wanted to hear. The L train, one of the busiest subway lines in the world, is shutting down between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months starting in 2019. The MTA reached that decision earlier this summer as it tries to repair a Superstorm Sandy-damaged tunnel that connects the two boroughs. Now, hundreds of thousands of riders will need to find a different way of commuting. Vin Barone, a transportation reporter for amNewYork, has been following the story closely and takes us inside the impending shutdown.

Next, Hoosick Falls, a village in Upstate, New York, received news that their water was contaminated with levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, better known as PFOA. Residents were tested and the results showed high levels of this toxic chemical in men, women, and children alike. Fed up with inaction by the local and state government, the young adults of this community are making noise to get the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials to give solutions to their water crisis.

Finally, with a growing number of states establishing medical marijuana programs, in addition to the four states that have legalized recreational use of the drug, a new sector of unexplored business opportunities is emerging. Entrepreneurs, policy makers, and advocates came together to paint New York City green and make sense of this new money-making opportunity at the third annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition. Is cannabis prohibition coming to an end, or will political forces work to ensure former policies surrounding the drug? MetroFocus contributor Andrea Vasquez has your inside look at the Cannabis Expo held at the Jacob Javits Center.

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August 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Hoosick Falls, a village in Upstate, New York, received news that their water was contaminated with levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, better known as PFOA. Residents were tested and the results showed high levels of this toxic chemical in men, women, and children alike. Fed up with inaction by the local and state government, the young adults of this community are making noise to get the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials to give solutions to their water crisis.

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Episode
August 16, 2016 at 5:21 am

Tonight, late last year, Brazil saw unusually high numbers of a birth defects called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. The phenomenon was soon linked to a mosquito-borne illness known as the Zika virus. The epidemic soon spread beyond Brazil to most of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency, and now the virus has reached New York State, with over 530 people infected; 444 of those cases in New York City. Don’t panic, though. Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Mary Bassett joins us tonight to put your worries at ease and tell you about the real threat Zika poses, plus the city’s plan to deal with it. In addition, Commissioner Bassett will address how to stay safe during the ongoing heat wave hitting the metro area.

Next, ever wonder why New York City seems to feel the heat more than the rest of the area? Turns out, it’s not all in your head. New York Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder joins us to explain the “Urban Heat Island” effect and how New York City plans to battle it.

Finally, tonight, we continue our conversation on the Presidents with Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. This time, we take a look at the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. This election year, the PBS documentary series American Experience is taking us inside the oval office with its special presentation The Presidents, which looks at the critical moments of consequential modern presidents. The series continues this week with episodes featuring Jimmy Carter on August 15th, Ronald Reagan on August 16th and 17th, and George H.W. Bush on August 18th.

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August 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Late last year, Brazil saw unusually high numbers of a birth defects called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. The phenomenon was soon linked to a mosquito-borne illness known as the Zika virus. The epidemic soon spread beyond Brazil to most of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency, and now the virus has reached New York State, with over 530 people infected; 444 of those cases in New York City. Don’t panic, though. Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Mary Bassett joins us tonight to put your worries at ease and tell you about the real threat Zika poses, plus the city’s plan to deal with it. In addition, Commissioner Bassett will address how to stay safe during the ongoing heat wave hitting the metro area.

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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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