Episode
August 02, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the year was 1968, and our nation was divided by political parties and heated ideological clashes. An unforgettable election season, one filled with triumphs and tragedies. It was marred by violence and assassinations, Vietnam, and a culture clash between the old and young… It was a year that forever changed this country. Then rose a politician who was unafraid to speak his mind, a politician who appealed to the alienated working white voter who was convinced the government had abandoned him. That politician… was George Wallace, but does he remind you of someone else who is currently running for President? Is history repeating itself in the form of Donald Trump? Boston Globe columnist and author Michael Cohen joins us to discuss his latest book, American Maelstrom, which documents the 1968 election and the politics of division. We discuss the 1968 election, how George Wallace and Donald Trump compare, and the significance of both the election of 1968 and 2016.

Next, Claressa Shields, also known as T-Rex, made history at 17 years old. In 2012, she was the first U.S. woman to take home the gold for boxing at the London Olympics. But Claressa’s story wasn’t always gold medals and historic wins; instead it’s an inspiring tale of how with hard work, determination, and perseverance anyone can overcome hardship and struggle. Zackary Canepari is one of the directors for a documentary showcasing the young Olympian, T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold. He stops by to tell us how Claressa Shields became the subject of his film and shares the road they took to follow her journey to Olympic success.

Then, the year was 1936. America was in the midst of the Great Depression. The world was turning its eyes to Berlin for the Olympics and the nation was struggling. Nine working-class young men from the University of Washington were given the opportunity to represent the country in rowing, beating out not only their prestigious Ivy League counterparts here at home, but going on to take the gold medal against Adolf Hitler’s elite German rowers. Hear their story in the new American Experience PBS documentary called The Boys of ’36 premiering tomorrow, August 2.

Finally, have you ever met a 94 year old style maven? Born and bred New Yorker Iris Apfel is known for her oversized glasses and original sense of style. She is the subject of a new documentary titled Iris, directed by the late Albert Maysles. His daughter and producer of the film, Rebekah Maysles, joins us to talk about the film, it’s subject, and her father. Iris will have its broadcast premiere on the POV series tonight on PBS at 10 p.m.

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August 01, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Have you ever met a 94 year old style maven? Born and bred New Yorker Iris Apfel is known for her oversized glasses and original sense of style. She is the subject of a new documentary titled Iris, directed by the late Albert Maysles. His daughter and producer of the film, Rebekah Maysles, joins us to talk about the film, it’s subject, and her father. Iris will have its broadcast premiere on the POV series tonight on PBS at 10 p.m.

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Episode
July 28, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, things in Philadelphia are amping up after another round of passionate speeches last night at the Democratic National Convention. With President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden headlining the slew of speakers for tonight, among those names is former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. We take the time to talk to Barbara Casbar Siperstein, the first elected transgender DNC member, about Hillary’s victories and what is left to be done.

Next, the AIDS epidemic still ravages America, and now your kids may be at risk. While a cure is still yet to be found, confidential, affordable treatment and preventative medicine such as PrEP is accessible to adults in need. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 less than 50 percent of New Yorkers ages 13 to 24 took medications that reduced their HIV to very low levels. Governor Andrew Cuomo is now aiming to end new HIV infections in New York by 2020 by proposing legislature giving minors a right to confidential access to HIV prevention and care. Executive Director of the Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, William Murphy, joins us to talk about the current state of this virus in New York and advancements in prevention such as Pre-Exposure Prophylasxis, or PrEP.

Then, lots of dissention has arisen over undocumented immigrants in America, especially after GOP front-runner Donald Trump made his feelings clear on illegal aliens. Julissa Arce, among many, is one of the voices that goes against Trump and his negative views on the subject. Although she was the Vice President of Goldman Sachs from 2010 to 2011 and Director of Merrill Lynch from 2012 to 2014, up until 2009 Arce was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. In 2012, Julissa started the Ascend Educational Fund, a volunteer-based nonprofit that aims to provide educational scholarships and mentorship to students of exceptional promise and helps them reach their full potential through higher education. She joins us to talk about her journey to her American dream and what her fund is looking to accomplish.

And finally, we’ll take you to a treasured urban oasis in the northern part of New York City: The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. A national landmark, this botanical garden covers 250 acres with beautiful landscapes, is internationally renowned for plant research, education and conservation, and caps off with its classic and iconic conservatory building. To celebrate the 125th anniversary of this New York gem, a newly revised book titled The New York Botanical Garden documents this iconic garden as the unparalleled epitome of New York City’s beauty.

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July 27, 2016 at 6:27 pm

The AIDS epidemic still ravages America, and now your kids may be at risk. While a cure is still yet to be found, confidential, affordable treatment and preventative medicine such as PrEP is accessible to adults in need. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 less than 50 percent of New Yorkers ages 13 to 24 took medications that reduced their HIV to very low levels. Governor Andrew Cuomo is now aiming to end new HIV infections in New York by 2020 by proposing legislature giving minors a right to confidential access to HIV prevention and care. Executive Director of the Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, William Murphy, joins us to talk about the current state of this virus in New York and advancements in prevention such as Pre-Exposure Prophylasxis, or PrEP

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Clip
July 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Tonight, we’ll take you to a treasured urban oasis in the northern part of New York City: The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. A national landmark, this botanical garden covers 250 acres with beautiful landscapes, is internationally renowned for plant research, education and conservation, and caps off with its classic and iconic conservatory building. To celebrate the 125th anniversary of this New York gem, a newly revised book titled The New York Botanical Garden documents this iconic garden as the unparalleled epitome of New York City’s beauty.

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Episode
July 27, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, night one of the Democratic National Convention boasted rousing speeches from U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and First Lady Michelle Obama. As we head into Day 2 the roster of speakers continues with names like President Bill Clinton, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and 9/11 police responder Joe Sweeney planning to go to bat for Hillary Clinton. Tonight, we are joined by Democratic strategists Philip Alagia and Bill Pascrell III to discuss what’s coming as the week progresses.

Then, nearly 15 percent- which comes out to more than 46 million people in this country- are considered to be living under the poverty line. That means these people are surviving on about $24,000 a year. In New York State, the average resident spends more than that, annually, on housing alone. So, the question is reasonable: When faced with such a high cost of living- Is poverty something that can be eradicated? Turns out, the idea isn’t so far-fetched. Roosevelt Institute scholar Dorian Warren and author of How To Truly Eradicate Poverty joins us to share the steps that he believes could help put poverty behind us.

And finally, legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka has been giving audiences something to groove to for almost a record 60 years. Best known for early rock and roll classics such as “Calendar Girl,” “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and “Stupid Cupid.” From the opening chord, songs like these have a knack for taking listeners down memory lane, and now at 77, Sedaka is still performing, composing, and bringing his hits to audiences around the world. His new studio album I Do It For Applause boasts twelve new songs and his symphonic piece “Joie De Vivre.” Neil joins us tonight to talk about his amazing career in music and his newest installment to his collection.

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July 26, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Nearly 15 percent- which comes out to more than 46 million people in this country- are considered to be living under the poverty line. That means these people are surviving on about $24,000 a year. In New York State, the average resident spends more than that, annually, on housing alone. So, the question is reasonable: When faced with such a high cost of living- Is poverty something that can be eradicated? Turns out, the idea isn’t so far-fetched. Roosevelt Institute scholar Dorian Warren and author of How To Truly Eradicate Poverty joins us to share the steps that he believes could help put poverty behind us.

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July 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm

This year, the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center will feature the Public Domain Chorus, a group of 1,000 vocalists composed by David Lang and conducted by Simon Halsey. We talk to these musically-gifted men about how they scoured New York City to find, compile, choreograph, and coordinate this massive chorus into a utopian experience that would honor Mozart’s work.

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Episode
July 22, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, today is day 4 of the GOP Convention in Cleveland, and we continue to keep you updated on what’s happening in C-Town. Among tonight’s bill of speakers is American football star Tim Tebow, Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Ivanka Trump, and the Republican presidential nominee himself, Donald Trump. We’ll talk to New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick ahead of all the excitement tonight and get the latest.

Next, Synthetic Marijuana, commonly known as K2, has had a recent surge in overdoses here in New York. Between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, many plans to crack down on the drug are being proposed, with serious consequences to those selling it. On top of that, Senator Chuck Schumer confirmed that he’s planning on introducing legislation to outlaw more than 20 substances found in the makeup of the drug. K2 overdoses are nothing new, in fact, 6,000 patients were treated at New York City hospitals since 2015 due to overdosing. But now, a video shot in Brooklyn earlier this month depicts dozens of K2 users and public officials were worried by what they saw, leading to police raids of stores and bodegas believed to supply the drug. New York Daily News writer Graham Rayman has been covering this epidemic as it develops, and he’s here to comment on the latest.

Next, between the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and police officers in both Dallas and Baton Rouge, the question remains of how to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gap between law enforcement and communities of color. The NYPD is no exception to the question, and they are turning to the people they protect for the answer. In the Fall of 2014, the NYPD started a small pilot program with 54 body cameras for officers, which is expected to expand to an additional 1,000 body cameras on officers. But before officers are outfitted with these cameras, the NYPD is offering a questionnaire as a joint initiative by the Policing Project at NYU’s School of Law. The survey will allow New Yorkers to give their input on how they think cameras should be used, with the hope that it will foster a better relationship between the public and the police. Director of the Policing Project, professor Barry Friedman stops by to talk about the pilot program and the questionnaire.

Then finally, high school students have to tackle many hurdles to get to college, but some students face bigger challenges than tests and homework. Recently, a group of college-bound high school graduates were celebrated for achieving academic success while being in the homeless system. MetroFocus Contributor Andrea Vasquez takes us to the celebration that honored 100 homeless high school graduates who overcame instability at home to excel in school.

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MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jody and John Arnhold, the Tiger Baron Foundation, the Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Metropolitan Media Fund, Laura and Jim Ross, the Dorothy Pacella Fund, in memory of Vincent Pacella and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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