Episode
May 20, 2016 at 5:56 am

Hamilton! It’s the Broadway smash musical about America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton that is making history with a record sixteen Tony Award nominations, and with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award wins. Good luck getting tickets: the show is always sold-out. But if you can’t get tickets, a new book titled Hamilton: The Revolution, written by the show’s creator and lead performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and theater critic Jeremy McCarter, contains the play’s complete libretto, as well as an account of the groundbreaking hip-hop musical’s creation. We look at the evolution of the revolution called Hamilton with the help of McCarter, who shares what it was like to be in the room where history was made.

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Episode
May 18, 2016 at 5:56 am

Gentrification. The word has become ingrained in our society as it spreads across the country. As gentrification changes the nature of cities across America through displacement of long-time residents, a new short documentary Degentrify America, which is part of the Take 5: Justice in America series from AMC Networks’ SundanceNow Doc Club, looks at this trend’s impact closer to home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. This past March there were 60,000 people in New York City’s homeless shelter system. Over 23,000 were children. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is the head of the city’s largest shelter organization called Women in Need, and invited us to look at how they are helping families rebuild their lives. Next, he’s been to the moon and back, but now he’s taken one giant leap onto MetroFocus. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin continues to explore and advocate for space travel 46 years after the Apollo 11 mission landed him on the moon. We meet Aldrin in the Space Shuttle Pavilion on the deck of the Intrepid Museum where he opens up with us about his famous journey, and talks about the lessons he’s sharing in his new book No Dream is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked On The Moon. Finally, the Big Apple is home to a variety of exotic wildlife, and we’re not talking about pigeons and rodents. You might not think wildlife when you hear New York City, but endangered animals inhabit the surrounding waters and face constant danger. Cristián Samper, the President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, shares what the organization is doing to ensure their survival.

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Episode
May 17, 2016 at 5:50 am

Tonight, Amy Goodman, a veteran journalist and host of Democracy Now, breaks down all that is wrong with the media’s coverage of Election 2016, and shares her experiences on the ground covering under-served communities and under-reported stories in her new book Democracy Now: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America. Then, can your trash be another man’s treasure? For some Americans, called Recyclers, gathering bottles, cans and other materials from our nation’s vast rivers of trash is a way of life and their only source of income. In the new documentary Dogtown Redemption, filmmakers Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush chronicle the lives of three recyclers over seven years as they navigate the streets of West Oakland in search of recyclables. Finally, why is a girl from Queens singing country tunes? Cyndi Lauper burst onto the music scene in the 1980’s with the iconic pop song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and has covered everything from Rock and Roll to Broadway with her hit show “Kinky Boots.” Now, the music legend is exploring another genre: this time with a good ole’ Nashville country album titled “Detour.” Lauper tells us why her fun isn’t found just with pop music, but country classics that have had a big impact on her life.

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Clip
May 16, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Amy Goodman, a veteran journalist and host of Democracy Now, breaks down all that is wrong with the media’s coverage of Election 2016, and shares her experiences on the ground covering under-served communities and under-reported stories in her new book Democracy Now: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.

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Episode
May 14, 2016 at 5:58 am

The Bronx is on fire, but probably not the way you’d think. A new report from the Real Estate Board of New York shows that the city’s often forgotten outer boroughs, The Bronx and Staten Island, are hot with buyers. Over the last twelve months, these boroughs have seen a 35% surge in home sales; the largest gains in the metropolitan area so far this year. Reporter Ivan Pereira of amNew York has an inside look at what’s behind this outer borough housing boom. Then, Ally Hilfiger’s childhood was not easy despite being the daughter of renowned fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. Her arduous health ordeal began at the age of seven when she was bitten by a tick. Her test was inconclusive, and for years she dealt with unbearable pain and misdiagnoses, from rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, to fibromyalgia and a developed marijuana habit that ultimately led to her being committed to a psychiatric hospital. In her new book Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, Hilfiger opens up about her personal battle with Lyme disease, and shares how she hopes to help others. Finally, In 1981, six gay men and their supporters gathered in playwright, author and LGBT rights activist Larry Kramer’s living room to address what was being called “gay cancer” at the time: AIDS. That meeting would provide the foundation for the first HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy organization now known as Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Anthony Hayes, the organization’s vice president of public affairs and policy, joins us to celebrate their 35th anniversary and to discuss their annual AIDS walk happening this Sunday May 15th in Central Park.

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Clip
May 13, 2016 at 6:26 pm

In 1981, six gay men and their supporters gathered in playwright, author and LGBT rights activist Larry Kramer’s living room to address what was being called “gay cancer” at the time: AIDS. That meeting would provide the foundation for the first HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy organization now known as Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Anthony Hayes, the organization’s vice president of public affairs and policy, joins us to celebrate their 35th anniversary and to discuss their annual AIDS walk happening this Sunday May 15th in Central Park.

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Episode
May 13, 2016 at 5:30 am

He was once one of the most powerful lawmakers in New York. Now, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is facing the possibility of spending the next decade behind bars. On the heels of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s 12-year prison sentence last month, Skelos and his son Adam will learn their fates in a Manhattan courtroom today. They were convicted last December of charges including bribery, conspiracy and extortion after the elder Skelos used his office to get his son roughly $300,000 worth of consulting work and a no-show job. Tonight, we are breaking down what happens in court, and taking a look at what is next for ethics reform in Albany. Then finally, he replaced Johnny Carson and made a name for himself on The Tonight Show, and now late-night legend Jay Leno joins us in a one-on-one interview to dish about his time on The Tonight Show, the current state of comedy, his car show Jay Leno’s Garage, and the presidential election. You won’t want to miss it.

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Clip
May 12, 2016 at 6:28 pm

He was once one of the most powerful lawmakers in New York. Now, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is facing the possibility of spending the next decade behind bars. On the heels of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s 12-year prison sentence last month, Skelos and his son Adam will learn their fates in a Manhattan courtroom today. They were convicted last December of charges including bribery, conspiracy and extortion after the elder Skelos used his office to get his son roughly $300,000 worth of consulting work and a no-show job. Tonight, we are breaking down what happens in court, and taking a look at what is next for ethics reform in Albany.

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Episode
May 11, 2016 at 5:58 am

Statistics are showing that young Americans are dying at rates not seen since the end of the AIDS epidemic. What is the cause of these deaths? It may surprise you: drug overdose. It turns out that since 1999, deaths caused by drug overdoses have multiplied five-times among young, white Americans. The New York Times investigative reporter Sarah Cohen joins us with a look at the data she’s been collecting, and explains the importance of geography in determining who is dying from the disease. Next, dragon, smack, dope. Whatever you may call it, heroin has made a big comeback across the nation, and the consequences are fatal. In New York City alone, over 400 deaths in 2013 were due to the drug, a number that outpaced all other drug overdoses and even the city’s homicide rate. In his new book, Sheer Madness: From Federal Prosecutor to Federal Prisoner, Andrew McKenna details his own struggles with heroin and how he went from convicting criminals to living alongside them. Then finally, in many cases, the shrinking gender gap would be celebrated, but in the case of heroin use, the number of women who are heroin addicts has just about doubled in the last decade. In upstate New York, an Albany-based addiction treatment center called The Next Step has seen this growing trend first-hand, and is working to help recovering heroin addicts find their next step in life away from the drug. A group of women at the facility share their story with us about what their lives were like on heroin and the everyday struggle it takes for them to stay clean.

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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, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross, and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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