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September 08, 2016 at 6:28 pm

As the 15th anniversary of the terrible attack on the World Trade Center quickly approaches, we take a look at the 9/11 Memorial, a steadfast tribute to those killed and the brave men and women who served the city that day. Today, a Freedom Tower now stands as a testament to the resiliency of the city, boasting an expansive view of the island, exhibits that educate attendees about the city as well as the building itself and several options for dining. But one of the building’s most engaging attractions may be one of the city’s least known and most amazing features: an elevator that offers a time lapse view of New York City. Starting at the very beginning of New York’s history in the year 1500, the elevator ride takes us through hundreds of years to the present. Visitors can watch the skyline appear and change as the city grows before their eyes. We discuss the inside story of the elevator with Michael Arad, designer of the 9/11 Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” and New York Times reporter David Dunlap, who covered this amazing ride through New York’s history.

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Episode
September 03, 2016 at 5:52 am

Tonight, rent increases are a fact of life here in New York City but a proposed hike in Queens is being called excessive, even for the world of New York real estate. The landlord in this case is Amtrak, which rents out space owned by the railroad under the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. A handful of homeowners there have been using the land as their backyards for generations, paying a fee of around $25 every year. Now the railroad wants to raise the rent and not just by a couple hundred dollars. For some, the rent could go up to over $26,000 a year. The railroad says these lease holders have not seen rent hikes in more than 70 years, and they will be paying a fraction of the fair market rental rates. Our guest tonight does not see it that way. Congressman Joe Crowley is the representative for the 14th district, which includes this Queens neighborhood, and he has intervened on behalf of the homeowners. He joins us with an update on the situation.

Next, Billy Crystal continues his conversation with baseball legend Joe Torre and his wife, Ali. After finally opening up about his abusive childhood at the hands of his father, Joe Torre created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. The organization focuses on educating kids about the effects of domestic violence and abuse in order to give them hope that they are not alone. In this second installment, Billy, Joe, and Ali reflect back on Joe’s career on and off the field and how the lessons of his past has helped him communicate with his players.

Finally, Tony Danza is perhaps best known for starring in beloved and long-running television shows, Taxi and Who’s the Boss. But his career goes beyond what you might’ve seen on the small screen. Danza not only established himself as a Broadway star in hits like The Producers and A View from the Bridge, but also as a cabaret song and dance man. Tony’s latest cabaret act, Standards & Stories debuted to a sold out audience at the famous Carlyle Hotel in New York City. The show received rave reviews, and he joins us to discuss its success ahead of his performance at Michael Feinstein’s 54 Below on September 8th and 9th.

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September 02, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Rent increases are a fact of life here in New York City but a proposed hike in Queens is being called excessive, even for the world of New York real estate. The landlord in this case is Amtrak, which rents out space owned by the railroad under the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. A handful of homeowners there have been using the land as their backyards for generations, paying a fee of around $25 every year. Now the railroad wants to raise the rent and not just by a couple hundred dollars. For some, the rent could go up to over $26,000 a year. The railroad says these lease holders have not seen rent hikes in more than 70 years, and they will be paying a fraction of the fair market rental rates. Our guest tonight does not see it that way. Congressman Joe Crowley is the representative for the 14th district, which includes this Queens neighborhood, and he has intervened on behalf of the homeowners. He joins us with an update on the situation.

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Episode
August 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, 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.

Next, an investigation between local and federal authorities led to the take down of a large-scale racketeering conspiracy ranging from Springfield, Massachusetts, to South Florida, and involved members from four of New York’s five Mafia families. And no, we’re not talking the Sopranos. But what does the modern Mafia look like? Author and journalist for ganglandnews.com, Jerry Capeci tells us about the power of the modern day Mafia, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that served as an alleged hub for criminal activity, and whether or not the authorities have had any success in cutting New York’s Mafia back.

Then, when Rutgers University joined the Big Ten conference, a collection of universities that organizes intercollegiate athletics, perhaps the most important goal was to bring in big bucks to New Jersey’s largest public university. But going big time in intercollegiate sports has actually cost Rutgers millions, and some argue that it has come at the expense of academics. Steve Adubato, co-anchor of New Jersey Capitol Report, weighs in on whether this prestigious university can remain a player in big college sports without compromising its academic reputation.

Finally, 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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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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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 6:28 pm

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.

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Episode
July 21, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the GOP Convention heads into Day 3 as the focus shifts to opportunity and prosperity, and we continue to keep you updated on the highlights. Tonight, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Eric Trump, and Indiana Governor and presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence are set to speak. New York State Senator and alternate at-large delegate Thomas Croci sits down with us to talk about what’s been going on in Cleveland, and what is to come.

Next, today is the 47th anniversary since the first man walked on the moon. That first man might have been Neil Armstrong, but tonight, we talk to the man who was just a few steps behind him. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin continues to explore and advocate for space travel decades after the Apollo 11 mission landed him on the moon in 1969. 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.

Then finally, growing up, most of what kids know is the world right outside their doorstep, but ABC News veteran Melvin McCray is trying to broaden the horizons of student journalists through the lens of a camera. McCray created and directs the Digital Media Training Program in Harlem where he hopes to teach students video reporting skills so they can better understand the communities they live in and tell the stories that are important to them. Nathalie Cabrera, a student reporter in the program, is covering the ongoing Boko Haram tragedy in Africa. But it turns out that what seems like a situation half a world away still impacts New York City. Melvin McCray and Nathalie Cabrera stop by to discuss the program and how Cabrera’s project relates back to our larger community here.

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July 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Today is the 47th anniversary since the first man walked on the moon. That first man might have been Neil Armstrong, but tonight, we talk to the man who was just a few steps behind him. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin continues to explore and advocate for space travel decades after the Apollo 11 mission landed him on the moon in 1969. 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.

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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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