Full Episode: December 18, 2015

As war rages on in Syria, the debate over accepting refugees heats up in the U.S. We discuss the crisis with former Middle East envoy Ambassador Dennis Ross. Actress Sonia Manzano tells us what she’s up to now after retiring from the PBS children’s show. Finally, we’ll take you to the “Holiday Lights Spectacular at Jones Beach.”

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' HAS THE SITUATION IN SYRIA ESCALATES, THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REACTS WITH AI STRIKES, LIMITED GROUND TROOPS AND RENEWED TALKS OF PEACE BUT WITH FEAR FORCING FAMILIES FROM THEIR HOMES TO OUR SHORES RESIDENTS BECOME REFUGEES AS MANY AMERICANS WORRY ABOUT BECOMING SITTING DUCKS

> 'SESAME STREET' HAS BEEN A FAN FAVORITE FOR OVER 45 YEARS AND MARIA HAS BEEN ONE OF TH MOST BELOVED RESIDENTS FOR ALMOST LONG.

BUT NOW, SHE'S MOVING ON WE'LL FIND OUT WHY SHE'S CLOSING SHOP AND WHERE SHE'S HEADE NEXT

> IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS, AS A POPULAR LONG ISLAND HOLIDAY TRADITIO GETS UNDER WAY THE HOLIDAY LIGHTS SPECTACULAR IS A 2 1/2 MILE DRIVE THROUG JONES BEACH THAT BOASTS MORE THAN 150 ANIMATED AN SYNCHRONIZED LIGHT DISPLAYS SURE TO GET YOU IN A FESTIVE MOVE SO WHETHER YOU'VE BEEN NAUGHTY OR NICE, WE'LL GIVE YOU A PEEK ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪ ♪♪♪♪

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WIT RAPHAEL RAMOND, JACK FORD AN JENNA FLANAGAN FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY --

THEY SAY YOU PLAY FOOTBAL AND BASKETBALL IT WAS A MASSIVE TUMOR THA WRAPPED ITSELF AROUND MY SPINE AND MY SURGEON, HE ACED IT THEY RESURRECTED ME.

ON AUGUST 9, 2014, I BECAME TH WBA MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.

> SINCE THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR BEGAN IN 2011, MORE THAN 250,000 SYRIANS HAVE LOST THEIR LIVE AND MILLIONS DISPLACED RESULTING IN AN INTERNATIONAL REFUGE CRISIS THE NUMBER OF REFUGEES COMIN FROM SYRIA IS STAGGERING AS OF NOVEMBER 2015, OVER MILLION HAVE FLED TO TURKEY, 1 MILLION TO LEBANON, AND 630,00 TO JORDAN.

NEARLY 700,000 SYRIANS HAV APPLIED FOR ASYLUM IN EUROPE AND THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT, AS A DESPERATE POPULATION CONTINUES TO FLEE THE HORRORS OF WAR AND THE TERROR OF THE ISLAMIC STATE.

IN THIS COUNTRY, THE POLITICAL DEBATE OVER REFUGEES HAS BEE HEATED TO SAY THE LEAST.

AND AFTER THE PARIS ATTACKS IN NOVEMBER AND THE SPECULATION THAT ONE OF THE ATTACKER ENTERED FRANCE THROUGH GREECE AS A SYRIAN REFUGEE, OVER 3 GOVERNORS SAID THEY WOULD NO ALLOW ANY REFUGEES FROM SYRIA IN THEIR STATES THE SYRIAN REFUGEES POSE A THREAT TO OUR SECURITY HERE IN THIS COUNTRY IF WE TAKE THEM IN, HOW MANY CAN WE HANDLE?

AND WHAT ARE THE STEPS THAT MUST BE TAKEN TO END THE FUNDAMENTA CAUSE OF THE REFUGEE CRISIS, THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR JOINING ME NOW IS AMBASSADOR DENNIS ROSS, A DISTINGUISHED FELLOW AT THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY AND THE AUTHOR OF 'DUE T SUCCEED, THE U.S.-ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP FROM TRUMAN T OBAMA.

AMBASSADOR ROSS, WELCOME

NICE TO BE WITH YOU THANK YOU.

NOW, AMBASSADOR, THE UNITED STATES AND THE WEST OVERALL AR OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCING A INCREASE IN TERRORIST ATTACK AND TERRORIST THREATS.

WOULD ALLOWING THE 10,000 SYRIAN REFUGEES THE PRESIDENT HAS PROPOSED ADD TO THE THREATS?

I REALLY DON'T BELIEVE SO FIRST, THE NUMBER WE'RE TALKIN ABOUT, 10,000 OUT OF WHAT WE UNDERSTAND, AND AS YOU WER OUTLINING, IS A REFUGEE CRISIS THAT INVOLVES SEVERAL MILLION.

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS SMALL NUMBER BUT THERE'S A MORAL IMPERATIVE HERE YOU DESCRIBED IT VERY WELL I THE INTRODUCTION YOU WERE LOOKING AT PEOPLE FLEEING A WAR, THE HORRORS O THIS WAR ARE ALMOST -- I ATTACKS HOSPITALS OR ANY PLACE WHERE CIVILIANS CONGREGATE THEY HAVE THE REGIME ON ON HAND THEY HAVE THE ISLAMIC STATE ON THE OTHER.

AND THEY ARE CASING AN UNRELENTING ONSLAUGHT.

TO DO NOTHING IN THE FACE OF THAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE MORALLY WRONG AND PRACTICALL IRRESPONSIBLE.

BUT GOING BACK TO THE VETTING PROCESS, WASN'T IT THE FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY WHO SAID WE WOULDN'T REALLY VET THES REFUGEES BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THE BASIC INFORMATION THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO DO THAT.

AGAIN, IT SEEMS TO ME YOU HAVE -- I'M NOT SAYING THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS, BUT I'M ALS SUGGESTING THAT YOU CAN ALSO DECIDE YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK AT A CLASS OF THOSE WHO ARE COMING.

INSTEAD OF -- INSTEAD OF TAKIN ALL THOSE WHO ARE YOUNG MEN, TAKE FAMILIES.

WHAT WE JUST SAW IN SA BERNARDINO MEANS YOU CAN'T GUARANTY THAT THERE'S NO POSSIBILITY THAT THOSE WHO COM WITH SMALL FAMILIES COULD STIL BE A THREAT.

BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THE LIKELIHOOD OF THAT COULD B SMALL.

AND THE MORAL IMPERATIVE TO DEAL WITH WHAT IS A HUMANITARIA CATASTROPHE ALSO OUGHT TO WEIG ON US.

WHAT ABOUT WHAT ISIS WANTS US TO DO?

WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD LIKE US TO DO REGARDING TH SYRIAN REFUGEES?

OH, I THINK THAT THEY'RE NO THINKING ABOUT THE SYRIA REFUGEES PER SE.

THEY'RE THINKING HOW DO THEY CREATE AN IMAGE THAT THERE'S A WAR ON ISLAM HOW DO THEY CREATE A POLARIZATION WHAT THEY TALK ABOUT, A GRAY ZONE WHAT THEY MEAN IS, THOSE MUSLIMS WHO LIVE OUTSIDE WHO DON'T FOLLOW THEM, WHO LIVE IN WESTERN SOCIETIES AND WHO THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO RECRUIT SO THEY WANT TO CREATE A POLARIZATION THEY WANT TO CREATE A SENSE THAT THERE IS A WAR ON ISLAM.

THEIR WHOLE IDEOLOGY IS SHAPED BY AN IMAGE THEY WANT TO CONJURE UP THAT ISLAM IS BEING HUMILIATED AND MUSLIMS ARE BEING TREATED WITH INDIGNITY AND THEY WANT TO CREATE A SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HELP TO VALIDATE THEIR NARRATIVE SO WHAT WE DON'T WANT TO DO IS PLAY INTO THEIR NARRATIVE.

OBVIOUSLY AT THE SAME TIME, WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT WE HAV SECURITY AND ALSO DEAL WITH WHAT I THINK IS A MORAL IMPERATIVE.

SO WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

WHAT ARE THE STEPS WE NEED T TAKE IN ORDER TO DEAL RIGHTL WITH THE SYRIAN REFUGEES I KNOW YOU'RE A BIG PROPONENT OF A SAFE HAVEN FOR SYRIANS WITHI SYRIA.

THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE.

WHY ISN'T IT HAPPENING ALREADY

I THINK ONE OF THE WAYS T REDUCE THE NEED TO HAVE THE NEED FOR REFUGEES IS TO CREATE A SAFE HALVEN SO SYRIAN REFUGEES DON' HAVE TO LEAVE, THEY HAVE A PLACE TO GO AND THOSE WHO HAVE LEF HAVE A PLACE TO RETURN TO IN SYRIA.

SO ULTIMATELY SYRIAN REFUGEE CAN BE REINTEGRATED BACK INT SYRIA, BUT THAT REQUIRES AN EN TO THE CONFLICT HERE WE'RE NOT ALONE IN THIS.

THE EUROPEANS HAVE A MUCH LARGER STAKE IN STAUNCHING THE FLOW O REFUGEES THAN WE DO.

THEY ARE DEALING IT WITH MUC MORE THAN WE ARE, AND IT'S CREATING TREMENDOUS PROBLEMS WITHIN EUROPE ITSELF SO GO TO THE EUROPEANS AND SAY LET'S DO A SAFE HAVEN THAT CAN STAUNCH THE FLOW WE'LL DO OUR PART IN TERMS OF NO FLY.

WE NEED YOU TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR AIR FORCES TURKEY IS THE RECIPIENT OF 2.2 MILLION REFUGEES OBVIOUSLY IT NEEDS TO DEAL WIT THAT IT HAS AN INTEREST, IT'S BEE CLAMORING FOR A SAFE HAVEN THE SAUDIS, THE QATARIS, THE KUWAITIS HAVE BEEN CLAMORING FOR IT, BECAUSE THEY SEE A ONSLAUGHT AGAINST THE SUNNIS O SYRIA.

IN EACH CASE, WE COULD GO TO ALL OF THEM AND SAY, WE WILL DO OU PART, PROVIDED YOU DO YOURS.

TURKEY CAN PROVIDE THE FORCES ON THE GROUND TO ENSURE THE SAF HAVEN IS NOT INFILTRATED B ISIS THE SAUDIS AND OTHERS CA FINANCE THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE REFUGEES THERE AND ALL OF THEM CAN UNDERSTAND THAT WE WON'T DO THIS UNLESS THERE'S ONE ADDRESS FOR ALL TH ASSISTANCE SO THAT WE CAN CREATE GREATER COHERENCE AMONG TH SYRIAN OPPOSITION.

IF WE WANT A POLITICAL OUTCOME THERE, WE HAVE TO HAVE A SYRIA OPPOSITION UNITED ENOUGH THA CAN NEGOTIATE AND IMPLEMEN SOMETHING THEY CAN AGREE WITH.

AND FINALLY, AMBASSADOR THERE IS NO REFUGEE CRISIS WITHOUT A CIVIL WAR, WITHOUT A SYRIAN CIVIL WAR ONE OF THE ELEMENTARY STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN TO END THAT CIVIL WAR?

THE KEY IS CREATE GREATER COHERENCE AMONG THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION, BECAUSE THERE IS NONE NUMBER TWO, SO LONG AS THE ASARD REGIME IS THERE, HE'LL BE CONSTANT RECRUITING TOOL THIS POLITICAL PROCESS HAS VER LITTLE CHANCE OF SUCCEEDING.

THE RUSSIANS SAY THEY WILL SUPPORT A CEASE-FIRE, BUT UNLESS THEY IMPOSE IT ON ASSAD AND TH IRANIANS AND HEZBOLLAH, THEY WON'T GET ONE.

YOU DON'T HAVE ANY CREDIBL LIKELIHOOD OF BEING ABLE T PRODUCE AN AGREEMENT, AS LONG AS ASSAD IS THERE, THERE IS NO WA TO END THIS WAR.

AMBASSADOR ROSS, THANK YO FOR JOINING US TODAY

MY PLEASURE THANK YOU.

> HOW SHOULD AMERICA B HANDLING THE SYRIAN REFUGE PROBLEM?

LET US KNOW BY LEAVING YOU COMMENTS ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE OR OUR WEBSITE.

> HOW DOES ONE GET TO 'SESAM STREET?'

MY NEXT GUEST DOES SHE'S KNOWN AS MARIA ON TH CHILDREN SERIES.

IN HER NEW MEMOIR, SHE CHRONICLES THE STORY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY YOUNG WOMAN AS SHE NAVIGATES A LIFE FILLED WITH HEARTACHE AND FEAR, BUT ALSO WITH HUMOR, HOPE, AND TRIUMPH.

SHE JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER DECISION TO WALK AWAY FROM 'SESAME STREET' AND MAYBE WHAT LIES AHEAD SONIA, WELCOME

THANK YOU

NOW, SONIA, THIS BOOK IS VERY EXPLICIT, VERY RAW, ABOUT YOUR FATHER'S ALCOHOLISM AND ABOU THE VIOLENCE HE PERPETRATED, MOSTLY AGAINST YOUR MOTHER I THE HOME

YES

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO RELIV THOSE MEMORIES

WELL, OF COURSE BUT AS YOU KNOW AS A WRITER, WHEN YOU WRITE SOMETHING, YO PUT IT OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF, SO THERE WAS SOME RELIEF IN BEING ABLE TO LOOK AT IT OUTSIDE O MYSELF AND EXAMINE IT AND TRY TO SORT OF FIGURE OUT WHY THOSE THINGS HAPPENED.

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO -- OR WAS IT DIFFICULT AT ALL TO EXPOSE THIS REALITY SO PUBLICLY?

FOR SOME REASON, THAT HAS NOT BOTHERED ME AT ALL, AS FAR AS MY SIBLINGS GOES, IT'S REMARKABLE THAT THEY REMEMBER THE SAM EVENTS DIFFERENTLY IT'S ALMOST LIKE WE HA DIFFERENT PARENTS.

SO THEY'RE COOL WITH IT.

IT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO, M PARENTS ARE DEAD AT THE END OF THE DAY, EVENTUALLILY BE GONE, AS WELL.

SO IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME TO TAL ABOUT THESE THINGS

AND THE PEOPLE WHO READ THE BOOK, HOW HAVE THEY RESPONDED TO YOU?

THEY LOVE IT.

ARE THEY SURPRISED?

VERY SURPRISED, THOUGH DON'T KNOW WHY JUST BECAUSE I PRESENTED A IDEAL LIFE DOESN'T MEAN I CAME FROM AN IDEAL LIFE, BUT PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED AT THE TURMOIL

THE TURMOIL, THE CHAOS, AND THE FEAR, THE CHRONIC FEAR THA YOU HAD.

YOU GUYS HAD TO -- YOU AND YOU MOTHER HAD TO HIDE THE KNIVES.

YEAH.

-- FROM YOUR FATHER, THE GU WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE YOU PROTECTOR.

HOW DID THAT SHAPE YOUR LIFE

MY MOTHER WOULD HIDE TH KNIVES IN THE OVEN AND I WOULD ASK WHY, AND SHE WOULD SAY OH, NO REASON.

WHAT I WANTED TO BRING ACROSS IN THE BOOK IS PEOPLE SAY YOU OVERCOME A TOUGH CHILDHOOD T SUCCEED.

I BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN EMBRACE YOUR CHILDHOOD TO SUCCEED AN USE IT AND NOT FORGET IT BECAUSE I FELT COMFORT WATCHIN TELEVISION SO THERE'S SOMETHING APPEALING TO ME ABOUT ENDING UP IN A CAREER THAT OFFERS COMFORT THROUGH TELEVISION, AS WELL.

AND I KNOW THERE ARE KID WATCHING ME ON 'SESAME STREET' THAT ARE GOING THROUGH SIMILAR SITUATIONS, AND THAT THEY WERE RELIEVED FOR THAT HOUR IN BETTER WAY THAN I WAS.

THESE KIDS ARE WATCHING PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE THEM IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS VERY FAMILIAR TO THEM AND THAT'S WHERE THEY'RE GAINING COMFORT.

MY RETIREMENT FROM THE SHOW HA INSPIRED ALL OF THESE PEOPLE T LET ME KNOW THIS, AND THAT'S BEEN FABULOUS.

WHEN YOU GOT OLD ENOUGH T REALIZE THAT VIOLENCE AN ALCOHOLISM IN THE HOUSEHOL WASN'T NORMAL BEHAVIOR, HOW DI THAT CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHI WITH YOUR PARENTS?

AS YOU SAID, AT FIRST I THOUGHT THAT ALL PUERTO RICANS ACTED THIS WAY WE WERE VERY ISOLATED.

WE NEVER INTERACTED WITH ANY OTHER GROUP OF PEOPLE UNTIL GOT OUT.

AND THEN I LOOK BACK AND I WAS VERY CRITICAL OF THEM.

AND I WAS CRITICAL OF MY FATHE OBVIOUSLY.

CRITICAL OF MY MOTHER AND I WA GOING TO COLLEGE AND I WAS GOING TO PUT AN END TO IT.

AND I EVENTUALLY DID

YOU HELPED YOUR MOTHER GE DIVORCED

YES

EVEN THOUGH SHE WENT ON VACATION WITH YOUR FATHER AFTE THAT

I KNOW.

I WAS LIKE, WHAT AFTER GOING THROUGH ALL THAT TROUBLE.

BUT IT SHOWS YOU THE COMPLEXITIES OF PEOPLE'S LIVES NOW THAT I'M OLDER AND I REFLECT ON THE MISERY.

IF YOU WATCH ANY FOOTAGE O PUERTO RICO DURING THE DEPRESSION, IT MAKES 'OLIVER TWIST' LOOK LIKE A WALK IN THE PARK PEOPLE WERE DROWNING IN SEWAGE REMARKABLY HORRIBLE STORIES.

SO FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, THE WERE THINKING WE'RE EATING THREE MEALS A DAY, WE HAVE SHELTER MY CHILDREN ARE DOING BETTER THAN WE DID.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, YOU FATHER WAS BREAKING LEGS OFF O TABLING AND SMASHING IT ON THE HEAD OF YOUR MOTHER.

AT LEAST ONE TIME, HE BEAT YOU THOSE THINGS -- HOW DO YOU FORGIVE YOUR FATHER FOR DOING IT AND YOUR MOTHER FOR ACCEPTIN THE SITUATION?

I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY IF FORGIVE IS A WORD I CAN USE.

I CAN SAY THAT I UNDERSTAND THEM IN RETROSPECT.

I'LL NEVER HAVE ANY CHILDHOO BACK CHILDHOODS HAPPEN ONCE SO THAT'S UNFORTUNATE.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, I HAVE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

OKAY.

THAT'S RATHER TRIUMPHANT IF THEY WERE ALIVE TO READ THE BOOK, WHAT WOULD BE THEI REACTION

I THINK THAT IT WOULD NOT AFFECT THEM IN THE SLIGHTEST I THINK THAT IT WOULD BE LIKE, OH, GEE, IS THAT HOW YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT I DON'T THINK MY FATHER WOUL WATCH THIS NEW SHOW AS A MATTE OF FACT.

I THINK MY MOTHER WOULD BE PROUD OF ANYTHING THAT I SUCCEEDED IN.

WHETHER SHE UNDERSTOOD IT OR NOT.

EVEN IF IT MADE HER LOOK BAD.

EVEN IF IT MADE HER LOOK BAD.

IF YOU COULD TRANSPOR YOURSELF 55 YEARS BACK AND TAL TO SOMEBODY ON 3rd AVENUE IN THE BRONX, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER

I WOULD SAY, KEEP DOING WHA YOU'RE DOING I ALWAYS FOUND SOME TOOLS IN MYSELF THAT I USED TO OVERCOME THE SITUATION THAT I WAS IN.

I WAS VERY GOOD AT PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER UFS THE KIND OF KID WHO COUL FIND SHAPES IN THE CRACKS OF THE CEILING OF MY BEDROOM.

YOU SAID EARLIER THERE WA ONE LINGERING NEGATIVE THING ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE, IT BUIL UP AN ANGER.

OH, SURE.

I WAS SO FURIOUS WHEN I WA GROWING UP

REALLY?

OH, MY GOODNESS

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO 10-YEAR-OLD SONIA ABOUT THAT

OH, MY GOODNESS, I THINK TH FURY GOT ME THROUGH.

I NEEDED TO BE ANGRY THE TROUBLE YOU GET INTO I HOLDING ON TO FURY WHEN YO DON'T NEED IT ANYMORE AND YO CAN'T TELL WHO YOUR ENEMIES ARE.

EVERYBODY PISSES YOU OFF, IN GENERAL, WHETHER THEY'RE BEING NICE TO YOU OR NOT AND YOU CAN'T RECOGNIZE IT THAT'S WHERE YOU GET INTO DANGER AND THAT'S WHEN YOU GET HELP FROM SOMEBODY.

SO YOU HAVE DECIDED TO LEAV 'SESAME STREET' AFTER 44 YEARS WHY?

WELL, LESS PRODUCTION O SHOES WHILE THEY EXPANDED TH CAST OF BOTH HUMANS AND PUPPETS.

BASICALLY, THERE WAS LESS WORK TO GO AROUND I HAD A LOT OF CREATIVE ENERGY AND I WAS INSPIRED BY FRAN McCORT AND I STARTED TO WRITE.

YEARS AGO I STARTED TO WRITE M FIRST PICTURE BOOK THOUGH 'SESAME STREET' ALWAY SOUGHT AND RESPECTED MY OPINION, THEY STARTED TO RESPECT OTHE PEOPLE'S OPINIONS MORE SO IT WAS TIME FOR ME TO FIN ANOTHER CREATIVE OUTLET.

AND WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?

I THINK I'M GOING TO KEEP WRITING, AND I'M GOING T CONTINUE TO TRY TO HELP VERY YOUNG CHILDREN I WANT TO WORK TO ESTABLISH BRONX CHILDREN'S MUSEUM.

IT'S THE ONLY BOROUGH THAT DOESN'T HAVE A CHILDREN' MUSEUM THIS IS WHEN YOU AFFEC CHILDREN, WHEN THEY'RE VERY, VERY YOUNG THAT'S WHEN MY LIFE WAS FORMED IT ALL HAPPENS FROM 1-YEAR-OLD TO 10 YEARS OLD.

THAT'S WHEN WE HAVE TO HEL KIDS I WILL CERTAINLY CONTINUE TO D MY WORK IN THAT ARENA.

ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A VOLUME TWO OF THE BOOK

THAT ONE ENDS RIGHT BEFORE START HANGING AROUND WIT MUPPETS.

YEAH, I HAVE A COUPLE OF IDEAS HOW TO FORGIVE CONTINUATION OF THE BOOK

SONIA, THANK YOU FOR BEIN HERE

THANK YOU, RAPHAEL.

> AS THE DAYS GROW SHORTER AND THE NIGHTS COLDER, NOTHING INSTILLS A SENSE OF WONDER I BOTH YOUNG AND OLD LIKE TH NEIGHBORHOOD HOLIDAY LIGHTS YO CAN FIND THROUGHOUT THE CITY FROM PARK AVENUE TO ROCKEFELLE CENTER TO PRIVATE HOMES IN THE BOROUGH, LAVISH DECORATIONS AN LIGHTS BRING TOURISTS AN RESIDENTS TOGETHER IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN LONG ISLAND FOR A HANKERING OF TRUL MESMERIZING LIGHT DISPLAYS, YO AND YOUR FAMILY MIGHT WANT T HEAD TO JONES BEACH TO CATCH THE AMAZING HOLIDAY SLIGHT SPECTACULAR.

JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THE JONES BEECH LIGHTING EXTRAVAGANZA IS GEORGE GORMA FOR THE NEW YORK STATES PARK AND RECREATION YOU GO BY THE NAME CHIP.

YES, PLEASE

MIND IF I CALL YOU CHIP

PLEASE DO

CHIP, WHAT IS THE JONES BEECH HOLIDAY LIGHT SPECTACULAR AN WHEN DID IT BEGAN?

IT JUST BEGAN NOVEMBER 20th AND IT IS A 2 1/2 MILE, REALLY DAZZLING LIGHTS AND DISPLAY.

THERE'S ABOUT 150 DISPLAYS, AL SORTS OF DISPLAYS WITH HUNDRED OF THOUSANDS OF LIGHT BULBS.

SO EVERYBODY LOVES IT AND ENJOYS IT AND IT'S A LOOP, AS I SAID.

IN THE MIDDLE, THERE'S THE HOLIDAY VILLAGE THAT PEOPLE CA ENJOY.

AND THE DISPLAYS THEMSELVES, WE'LL START OFF WITH A WELCOMING AND FUN LITTLE, WHERE'S RUDOLP DISPLAY.

AS YOU GO AROUND, MY FAVORITE IS THE BEACH SCENE.

OF COURSE, JONES BEACH YOU HAVE RUDOLPH AND SANTA PLAYING VOLLEYBALL THERE'S SANTA SURFING.

AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE ICONI 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS SO THAT STARTS OFF AS YOU GO AROUND AND THEN YOU'LL SEE ALL SORTS OF OTHER AMAZING DISPLAYS THAT --

SOME OF YOUR OTHER FAVORITES?

AT ONE POINT YOU'LL BE GOIN THROUGH LIKE A TUNNEL, LIKE 'STAR WARS' OR 'BACK TO TH FUTURE' TUNNEL AND MY KIDS LOVED THAT YEAH, I LIKE THE BEACH SCENE THE BEST SANTA FISHING THROUGH AN ICE HOLE SO THAT'S KIND OF CUTE AND THEN THERE'S THE DISPLAY FOR THE NATIVITY SCENE AND HANUKKAH AND KWANZAA SO IF PEOPLE WANT A RELIGIOU FEEL, THERE IS THAT.

BUT THE OVERALL HOLIDAY THEME IS FANTASTIC.

WHO PUTS UP THE LIGHTS?

IT'S A COMPANY CALLED MID WESTERN DISPLAY.

NEW YORK STATES PARKS HAS AN AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION, TH PROMOTER OF THE JONES BEAC THEATER.

THEY ALSO CAME TO US A FEW YEARS AGO AND SAID HE WOULD LIKE T PUT ON A HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW.

THEY'VE DONE A FEW OF THEM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY SO WE WORKED OUT THE DETAILS AND WE HAD IT BEGINNING IN 2000.

THEN IN 2007, UNFORTUNATELY DU TO BUDGET CUTS, IT WAS ELIMINATED WE BROUGHT IT BACK LAST YEAR

SO THERE WAS NO SPECTACULAR BETWEEN 2007 AND LAST YEAR

THAT IS CORRECT AND PEOPLE WERE UPSET.

THEY WERE NOT HAPPY, BECAUSE I WAS -- IT BECAME A TRADITION

WHEN DID THE TRADITION BEGIN?

IT BEGAN IN 2000.

IT STARTED THEN, AND IT WAS TEST AND IT WAS VERY SUCCESSFU FROM THE BEGINNING BUT PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT I TOO MUCH, SO THAT REALLY WASN' THE BUSIEST YEAR IT WAS THE NEXT YEAR THAT WORD GOT OUT AND PEOPLE CAME DOWN I'M TALKING LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE

HOW MANY PEOPLE WENT THROUG LAST YEAR?

LAST YEAR, ABOUT 250,00 PEOPLE OVER SIX, SEVEN WEEKS SO IT WASN'T ONE NIGHT, BUT WOULD STAY AWAY FROM FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS.

BUT MOST PEOPLE HAVE TO GO THEN.

WE MOVE THE CROWD VERY QUICKLY WE PROCESS THEM THROUGH TH TICKET BOOTHS AND GET THEM THROUGH THE EVENT SO THEY CA SEE THE DISPLAYS BUT IT TAKES ABOUT 20 MINUTES TO GO AROUND.

WHERE DOES IT START AND END

AT THE WEST END OF THE JONE BEACH.

AND IT'S A 2 1/2 MILE LOOP SO YOU'LL START AND BE GREETED WITH JONES BEACH, WITH NEW YOR STATE THEMED DISPLAYS.

THEN YOU'LL PASS THE BOAT BASI AND YOU'LL GO AROUND INTO TH WEST END THEN YOU'LL GO THROUGH AND OUT RIGHT ACROSS FROM WHERE YO STARTED.

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE IS THE HOLIDAY VILLAGE.

LAST YEAR WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL, AND IT'S BEEN EXPANDED

WHAT IS IT?

IT'S A WEST END CONCESSIO BUILDING THAT WE CONVERT INTO HOLIDAY VILLAGE.

SO YOU CAN PARK YOUR CAR AN GET OUT?

PARK YOUR CAR AND GET OUT WE EXPANDED THE FOOD SERVICE S YOU CAN GET SOMETHING TO EAT THE USUAL STUFF YOU WOULD GET.

HOT DOGS, HAMBURGERS, WE EXPANDED IT FOR THEM THIS YEAR FRENCH FRIES YOU CAN GET YOUR CLASSIC HOT HOT CHOCOLATE.

I WENT THROUGH IT FOR SEVE YEARS WITH MY KIDS

IS THIS MOSTLY FOR THE KIDS OR FOR EVERYBODY

IT'S FOR EVERYBODY.

YES, KIDS LOVE IT.

WHEN WE ELIMINATED IT IN 2007, THE KIDS WERE THE MOST UPSET WITH US.

THIS WAS A HOLIDAY TRADITION IF A CHILD WAS 7, THEY'RE 12 A THE END OF IT AND THEY WOULDN' CONTINUE TO GO WE HAD TEENAGERS THAT CAME BAC LAST YEAR AND THEY WERE THRILLED TO HAVE IT BACK.

IT WAS GREAT

HOW COME IT TOOK SEVEN YEAR TO GET IT BACK AND WHAT GOT IT BACK

IT TOOK SEVEN YEARS BECAUSE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN LASTED FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

THAT'S WHAT DID IT?

WE COORDINATED AND WORKED WITH LIVE NATION TO COME UP WITH IT AGAIN MID WESTERN DISPLAYS IS FROM THE MIDWEST OF THE UNITED STATES SO THERE'S NOT A LOT O COMPANIES THAT HAVE ALL OF THESE BIG, HUGE DISPLAYS SO IT TOOK US TIME TO PUT IT TOGETHER AND WE HAD IT LAST YEAR.

WE'RE HOPING THE CROWDS STAY STEADY AND WE'LL HAVE IT FOR MANY YEARS TO COME

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY IS NO THE BEST TIME?

I SATE TO SAY THAT, BUT THE HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW LASTS UNTIL JANUARY 3rd, SUNDAY.

AND IT'S GOT A VARIOUS SCHEDULE, SO YOU HAVE TO GO ON THE WEBSITE AND YOU'LL GET ALL THE INFORMATION THERE.

AND THERE'S SOME SPECIAL INCENTIVE.

TWO FOR TUESDAYS YOU CAN BRING YOUR PET DOWN ON WEDNESDAYS

ALL RIGHT, CHIP, THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU REALLY SOLD IT

I COULD TAKE TWO, THREE HOURS ON THIS.

THANK YOU ♪♪ ♪♪♪♪

THIS ENTIRE EPISODE AND OTHER ORIGINAL CONTENT IS AVAILABL ONLINE AT METROFOCUS.ORG O iPHONE APP AVAILABLE IN I TUNES.

WHILE YOU'RE ON THE WEBSITE, CATCH THE LATEST NEWS, TRAFFIC AND WEATHER REPORT AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IT'S ALL JUST A CLICK AWAY UNTIL THEN, REMEMBER TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER FO UP-TO--THE MINUTE INFORMATION.

SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WA PROVIDED BY --

©2023 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489