7/10: Autism Speaks, Rockefeller Foundation President, Senior Planet, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space

July 09, 2014 at 11:36 am

On this edition of MetroFocus, former NBC Universal chairman Bob Wright and his wife Suzanne, founders of New York-based Autism Speaks – one of biggest non-profits devoted to finding answers and raising awareness about autism – share an excerpt of their new documentary, Sounding the Alarm. The film features the Wrights’ personal story of their grandson Christian, who was diagnosed with autism eight years ago and who inspired them to create the foundation, and offers information about the disorder and what they think needs to be done to help those who suffer from it and support their families. Sounding the Alarm will be available on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime on July 15.

When Hurricane Sandy disabled New York City’s buses and subways in October 2012, the city briefly implemented Bus Rapid Transit, a high performance transportation option with dedicated lanes to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan. Now, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin wants Mayor Bill de Blasio to consider Bus Rapid Transit as a new solution to an ongoing transportation problem.

Who says seniors can’t cross the digital divide? Producer Marisa Wong takes us to the Senior Planet Exploration Center, a non-profit technology training center in Chelsea that’s helping seniors get online and back into the workforce. The center is the first of its kind in the nation. Programs include everything from learning to use a computer and mouse to navigating social media.

And multimedia producer Kirsti Itämeri takes us to a new museum that is collecting very recent history. At the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on the Lower East Side, the focus is on a vanishing culture that began in abandoned buildings where squatters took charge in the 1970s. The founders say squatters inspired some of New York’s now accepted practices including urban gardening and bicycling, and they have the photos, videos and documents to prove it.