7/3: NYC Gun Violence, Lake George Invasive Species, NJ Arts District, House of SpeakEasy, We the People

July 02, 2014 at 12:10 pm

On the next edition of MetroFocus, gun violence is on the rise in New York City. From May 19 to June 15 last year there were 92 shooting victims citywide. This year, in the same period, there were 120 – an increase of 30 percent. Why? One argument is because the use of “stop, question and frisk” has dramatically decreased in the city. Council Member Robert Cornegy, who represents the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights, doesn’t believe that’s the case.

He says the solution is for both police and residents to become more involved in the communities where gun violence is taking place. “Police officers will tell you that there’s no way to stop crime based on the ratio of officer, even if it was 1000 new officers, to citizens,” Cornegy tells host Rafael Pi Roman. “To really reduce crime they believe that partnership between and collaboration between the community and the police department is necessary.”

 It’s known as the Queen of American Lakes, in part because of its clean waters. But in recent years, Asian clams, zebra mussels, and other invasive species have begun to threaten the health of Lake George. Albany Public TV’s Matt Ryan looks at a new pilot program to stop the infestation by making sure the creatures don’t hitch a ride with unsuspecting boat owners. It’s a collaboration between The Fund for Lake George and the Lake George Park Commission and is the first program of its kind east of the Mississippi. “What we’re doing on Lake George, we hope will be an inspiring model, example, of what needs to be done around this unique place, which ultimately lives or dies on the pristine nature of its waters,” says Eric Siy, executive director of The Fund for Lake George.

When artists move into a neighborhood, it often turns into the trendy part of town. Then the rent goes up and those same artists are forced out. But the Valley Arts District, a 15-block stretch spanning Orange and West Orange, New Jersey, is trying to change that. NJTV News reporter Maddie Orton shows us how local organizations are revitalizing the neighborhood by attracting and supporting artists, while building a community where they can also afford to live. “We made a commitment that we would create one hundred affordable arts spaces to anchor this arts district,” says Patrick Morrissy, Founder and Executive Director of HANDS, Inc. “Those spaces remain affordable permanently, so that those folks who move in, they’re not going to get priced out.”

As part of our “Listening In” series, we hear an excerpt from House of SpeakEasy’s “Seriously Entertaining” monthly showcase of live literary talent. Author Susan Cheever shares a story about the poet E.E.  Cummings from her new biography, “E.E. Cummings – A Life.” Cheever tells the House of Speakeasy audience,  “In writing about E.E. Cummings, the thing that really surprised me about him was his intense faith in the benevolence of the universe.”

And have you ever had a chance encounter with art in the city? That’s one of the goals of the New York City non-profit Public Art Fund, which recently installed pieces of a life-size replica of the Statue of Liberty in Brooklyn Bridge Park and City Hall Park. Created by Vietnamese-born Danish artist, Danh Vo, the exhibit is titled “We the People” and invites viewers to reflect on the meaning of liberty from multiple perspectives, just in time for the Fourth of July. MetroFocus associate producer Matthew Chao spoke with associate curator Andria Hickey about the exhibition. “It kind of strikes a sense of curiosity at ‘what is this giant, copper, wavy looking form?’ People come closer and they take a longer look and suddenly…something clicks in their memory that this is actually a piece of the statue.”


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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