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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Episode
August 06, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, climate change has New York City at the mercy of Mother Nature. With rising sea levels wreaking havoc around the globe, our city appeared on a list of 10 cities that are most vulnerable. Find out from climate scientist Dr. Radley Horton just how significant the flooding could become and what steps could possibly be taken to minimize the flooding.

Then, imagine walking up and down every single block in New York City. Sociology professor at the City College of New York William Helmreich did just that. It took him four years to comb through all five boroughs of the city– that’s roughly 6,000 miles– and he went through about ten pairs of shoes and spoke with hundreds of people who crossed his path. What did he find? It’s all in his new book The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. Tonight, Helmreich joins us to give us insights into his adventure and talk about how he got a better understanding of our city’s crime, poverty, and gentrification issues.

Next, New York Harbor may become home to billions of oysters, but no, they’re not for you to have on the half shell. About 120 years ago, New York Harbor was the site of one of the richest oyster grounds in the world. Those mollusks acted as natural water filters and protected the city against rising sea levels and superstorms. But between all the pollution and over-eating over the past century, that important part of New York’s natural protection have all but disappeared. New York Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder stops by to tell us how New York could once again become the “Oyster Capital of the World.”

Finally, guitar legend Warren Haynes might be best known for his role in rock band the Allman Brothers, but these days, he’s up to something slightly different. Still playing and touring, Haynes takes the time to sit down with MetroFocus’ Noah Eckstein to talk about preserving and expanding music and music education as his tour with the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration prepares for its last performance in Central Park.

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Clip
August 05, 2016 at 6:27 pm

New York Harbor may become home to billions of oysters, but no, they’re not for you to have on the half shell. About 120 years ago, New York Harbor was the site of one of the richest oyster grounds in the world. Those mollusks acted as natural water filters and protected the city against rising sea levels and superstorms. But between all the pollution and over-eating over the past century, that important part of New York’s natural protection have all but disappeared. New York Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder stops by to tell us how New York could once again become the “Oyster Capital of the World.”

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Episode
July 29, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, today is the last day of the Democratic National Convention, and after a long week of speeches and American pride, Hillary Clinton is finally due to take the stage. We speak with Congressman Frank Pallone about the latest, and what we can expect from Hillary during the final moments of the DNC.

Next, ow safe are we online? We Listen In to the sixth annual International Conference on Cyber Security at New York’s Fordham University, as FBI Director James Comey speaks on current cyber threats to the nation, and the FBI’s multi-faceted plan to address these threats.

Then, author, activist, and journalist Marc Lamont Hill joins us again to talk about his book titled Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. The book, which delves into recent current events such as the protests in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown, and the water crisis in Flint, analyzes these events through the lens of race and class. Are there forces within our society that target the vulnerable and exploit them? Marc Lamont Hill talks about that, shine light on the bigger picture in the undercurrent our current events.

Finally, The Whitney Museum of American Art opened a new education center this year. See what went into the planning of this space dedicated to engaging participants of all ages in art education. Board of Trustees Co-Chair Laurie M. Tisch and Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education Kathryn Potts join us to share how the museum’s new space is inspiring children, families and artists.

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Episode
July 26, 2016 at 5:39 am

Tonight, with the Republican convention in the rear view, Democrats are now gathering in Philadelphia to begin their own convention and anoint Hillary Clinton for President. But while the anticipation is building, party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz was met with heckling and disruption as she gave a speech this morning. She will be stepping down as soon as the convention wraps, amid pressure from the WikiLeaks emails release, one of which show staffers discussing how to weaken Sanders’ support by referencing his faith, as well as Hillary’s campaign saying the Russian government may have orchestrated the debacle. Is this an omen for what is to come, or will the Democratic party pull it together? How will Bernie Sanders react when he takes the stage tonight? We speak to New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who was the chair of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in that state, about the tumultuous first day of the Democratic convention.

Next, America has the largest prison population in the world, and in New York City, 4000 people are locked up in jail, although they haven’t been convicted of any crime. They remain there, awaiting trial, not because their crime demands it, but because they simply cannot afford to pay their bail. In a new documentary titled Limbo, three prisoners tell their story and the high price they are forced to pay as a result of our country’s bail system. Filmmaker Razan Ghalayini and senior planner at Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections Insha Rahman join us to talk about the broken criminal justice system in America and whether it discriminates against the poor while costing us $9 billion a year.

Then finally, who said STEM skills were best learned in a classroom? Mohonk Preserve is breaking the status quo for STEM kids and taking their lessons outside, using the natural environment to reinforce science, math, technology and engineering programs. MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan takes us to the preserve and shows you how the program is taking kids from areas like Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, making them comfortable with the outdoors, and melding it with their interests in STEM.

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Clip
July 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Who said STEM skills were best learned in a classroom? Mohonk Preserve is breaking the status quo for STEM kids and taking their lessons outside, using the natural environment to reinforce science, math, technology and engineering programs. MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan takes us to the preserve and shows you how the program is taking kids from areas like Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, making them comfortable with the outdoors, and melding it with their interests in STEM.

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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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Clip
July 21, 2016 at 6:27 pm

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.

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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, 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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