February 12, 2016: Commissioner Elia Part II. Mott Haven. Riding Without Pants.

In the second installment of a two-part interview and as part of our ongoing American Graduate series, NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia discusses receivership and her request for more education funding. As part of our ongoing American Graduate series, we take a look at Mott Haven Academy, which aims to help educate children in foster care or the welfare system. Charlie Todd, the founder of Improv Everywhere and mastermind behind the “No Pants Subway Ride” prank, stops by to explain where the stunt started and what these viral jokes are trying to achieve.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' SHE'S CHANGING THE WAY YOU CHILD IS LEARNING IN SCHOOL.

PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WIT STATE EDUCATION DIRECTOR AND HOW SHE PLANS TO IMPACT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOUR KIDS A CHILD'S PERFORMANCE IN SCHOO IS OFTEN IMPACTED BY LIFE AFTE SCHOOL FIND OUT HOW HOME IS NOT ONL WHERE THE HEART IS, IT'S ALS WHERE YOU'LL FIND THE SECRETS OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS AND WHY ARE THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS RIDING THE SUBWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINTER WITHOUT PANTS?

WHY ARE THEY COMING TO A SUDDE STOP IN GRAND CENTRAL STATION?

AND WHY ARE THERE HUNDREDS O PEOPLE DRESSED LIKE BEST BUY EMPLOYEES?

WEAL TELL YOU, AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT'S ALL ART.

CONFUSED YOU WON'T BE, AS 'METROFOCUS STARTS RIGHT NOW

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AN JENNA FLANAGAN FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FO 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOU RETIREMENT COMPANY

> JOINING ME ONCE AGAIN TO DISCUSS THE KEY EDUCATION ISSUES AFFECTING THIS STATE AND THEIR POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS IS NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER MARYELLEN ELIA THIS CONVERSATION IS PART OF AMERICAN GRADUATE, A PROJECT MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO HEL LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO FIND WAYS TO KEEP STUDENTS ON THE PATH T GRADUATION COMMISSIONER, WELCOME BACK

THANK YOU

IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE LET ME MENTION TO OUR VIEWERS WNET IS A RECIPIENT OF A GRANT ADMINISTERED BY THE NE YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMEN AND, OF COURSE, WE'RE GRATEFUL FOR THAT, THANK YOU.

NOW, COMMISSIONER, IN THE STAT OF THE STATE AND BUDGET ADDRESS, GOVERNOR CUOMO CALLED FOR A $2.1 BILLION INCREASE TO TH EDUCATION BUDGET THAT WOULD MAKE IT $25 BILLION AS HE SAID, THE HIGHEST AMOUNT OF MONEY EVER GIVEN TO EDUCATION IN THE STATE BUT YOU AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS BELIEVE IT'S NOT ENOUGH, YOU'V ASKED FOR $2.4 BILLION THI YEAR WHAT ARE THE NEEDS YOU SEE THA THE GOVERNOR IS NOT SEEING

I THINK IT'S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT WE ADDRESS THE GEA, GAP ELIMINATION

WHAT IS THAT?

THAT IS A FUND THAT WAS ESTABLISHED IN A DECREASE IN THE FUNDING FOR ALL THE DISTRICT ACROSS THE STATE DURING TH RECESSION.

ALL RIGHT THE MONEY WAS GIVEN TO YOU AND PART OF IT WAS SUBTRACTED TO - DURING THE -

TO THE DISTRICTS, ABSOLUTELY, EVERY DISTRICT, AND SOME OF IT HAS BEEN RESTORED, BUT THERE'S STILL A PORTION THAT HAS NOT BEEN RESTORED TO DISTRICTS ACROSS THE STATE AND THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE MONEY SHOULD BE RESTORED T THE DISTRICT THE REGENTS BUDGET ALS REQUESTED A LARGER INCREASE OF $2.4 BILLION, SPECIFICALLY, TO ADDRESS THE FOUNDATION $1.3 OF THE $2.4 WAS FOUNDATION AID.

WHAT'S THAT MEAN, FOUNDATIO AID?

THE AID THAT GOES TO EVER SCHOOL DISTRICT ACROSS THE STATE, AND IT IS DETERMINED WITH THE NUMBER OF FACTORS, BUT A PRETTY CRITICAL AMOUNT OF MONE THAT NEEDS TO GO INTO THOS SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND I THINK THAT IT'S JUST IMPORTANT FOR US TO KNOW THERE WAS MUCH DISCUSSION AND IS MUC DISCUSSION ABOUT BUILDING TH INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, BUT WHAT IS REALLY CRITICAL IS THAT WE DEVELOP TH INFRASTRUCTURE OF OUR EDUCATIO SYSTEM SO THAT WE CAN ADDRES WORKFORCE NEEDS AND GET OU STUDENTS READY SO THEY CAN B PRODUCTIVE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK

YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE MONE ON TEACHER DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

WE HAVE A NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS OVER $400,000 THAT'S SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED, TEACHER DEVELOPMENT WORKING WITH OUR PRE-K PROGRAM ACROSS THE STATE, OUR HIGH RIS SCHOOLS THAT ARE STRUGGLING OR PERSISTENTLY STRUGGLING.

THERE ARE THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE TO HELP EDUCATION ACROS THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

OKAY.

LET'S MOVE ON TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

EARLIER THIS YEAR YOU MADE A APPEARANCE AT AN ANNUA GATHERING OF CHARTER SCHOO SUPPORTERS, THEY WANT MORE FUNDING AND SUPPORT IN GENERAL FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS.

YOU'RE THE FIRST COMMISSIONER TO ATTEND ONE OF THOSE EVENTS AND YOU GOT SOME CRITICISM FROM AT LEAST ONE OF THE TEACHERS UNIONS FOR IT WHY DID YOU GO WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE WERE YO TRYING TO SEND

I WAS INVITED TO COME AND TALK TO PARENTS IN NEW YOR STATE, AND THE PARENTS, I'M IN CHARGE OF THE EDUCATION FOR AL STUDENTS IN NEW YORK, AND VISIT AND TALK TO PEOPLE ACROS THE STATE, I WAS INVITED IT WAS A GROUP THAT WAS HAVING A BREAKFAST IN ALBANY, AND I WAS AVAILABLE TO GO OVER FOR FIVE TO TEN-MINUTE INTRODUCTION, AND I WANTED TO THANK THEM FOR THE INVOLVEMENT THEY HAVE IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION AND TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND SUPPORT FOR THEIR CHILDREN I TALK TO PARENTS ALL THE TIME

NO PARTICULAR MESSAGE

THAT WAS THE MESSAGE.

SOME SAY LESS THAN 5% O STUDENTS IN NEW YORK, PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, GO TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

THE CRITICS SAY SPENDING A DAY EVEN SEEMING TO BE EXTREMELY SUPPORTIVE OF CHARTER SCHOOLS, THAT'S A WRONG MESSAGE MORE OF THE MONEY SHOULD B GOING TO THE REGULAR DISTRIC SCHOOLS.

YOU SAY?

WE HAVE A LAW IN NEW YORK THAT PROVIDES FOR CHARTE SCHOOLS.

THAT'S OUT OF THE SCOPE OF M POSITION WE HAVE SCHOOLS THAT ARE PUBLI SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK STATE, THE ARE CHARTERS AND I AM SUPPORTIVE OF STUDENT AND THE SCHOOLS.

I WANT ALL SCHOOLS TO BE GREAT ALL CHARTER SCHOOLS SHOULD B ACCOUNTABLE JUST LIKE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE.

WHEN I GET ASKED BY A GROUP OF PARENTS TO COME AND TALK T THEM, I GO I'VE BEEN GOING ACROSS THE STATE DOING THE SAME THING

COMMISSIONER, YOU IDENTIFIE 144 SCHOOLS THAT ARE STRUGGLIN OR PERSISTENTLY STRUGGLING SCHOOLS THAT IN YOUR WORDS WHERE WHOLE GENERATIONS OF STUDENT HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND.

YES

WHY HAVE THE STUDENTS LEF BEHIND IN THESE SCHOOLS FOR SO LONG AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

WELL, RECENTLY LAST YEAR TH LEGISLATURE PASSED A RECEIVERSHIP LAW, WHICH WOUL ALLOW THE STATE ED DEPARTMENT TO WORK WITH THOSE SCHOOLS, WIT COMMITTEES FROM THOSE SCHOOLS OF PARENTS AND COMMUNITY, AND TEACHERS, TO DEVELOP, HELP THE DEVELOP PLANS AND THEN HOLD THEM TO A MOVEMENT OF INCREASIN SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND HIGHE ACHIEVEMENT FOR STUDENTS AND SO WE DID THAT WITH TH SCHOOLS, WE HAVE PLANS FROM EACH OF THEM, WE'RE LOOKING AT HO WELL THEY ARE DOING THIS YEAR, AND IN PARTICULAR TH PERSISTENTLY STRUGGLING SCHOOLS, WHICH IS LESS THAN 20, THOSE SCHOOLS WILL HAVE A RECEIVER PLACED IN CHARGE OF THEM IF THEY HAVEN'T MADE THE KIND OF MOVEMENT THAT WE THINK I NECESSARY TO SUPPORT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.

SO, IN THE LAST FEW SECONDS THAT WE HAVE, ABOUT A MINUTE, IN THE TIME THAT YOU'VE BEE COMMISSIONER SINCE MAY, WHAT'S BEEN THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGE, WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE

I THINK THE TOUGHES CHALLENGE HAS BEEN TRYING TO CRAFT A WAY TO MOVE FORWARD IN NEW YORK WHEN I TOOK OVER IN JULY, THER WAS MUCH CONTENTION OVER A NUMBER OF ISSUES, AND WE TALKE ABOUT THEM YESTERDAY BUT I THINK THAT WAS THE TOUGHEST, AND I THINK ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING IS THAT WE'RE SEEING OUR GRADUATION RATE I GOING UP, AND I THINK WE'VE GO TO CONTINUE TO MOVE AND PUT TH PRESSURES ACROSS THE STATE T SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS, OU TEACHERS, AND HELP THEM TO GET BETTER EVERY DAY

ALL RIGHT COMMISSIONER, THANK YOU SO MUC FOR TAKING THE TIME.

WE'LL BE TALKING TO YOU AGAIN.

APPRECIATE IT

CHILDRENS PERFORMANCE A SCHOOL IS IMPACTED BY THINGS THAT GO ON FAR OFF CAMPUS.

INSTABILITY AT HOME CAN PU STUDENTS AT A GREAT DISADVANTAGE FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS I VISITED ONE SCHOOL IN TH SOUTH BRONX THAT'S TAILORED TO HELP SOME OF THOSE CHILDREN.

IT'S DESIGNED TO MEET THE NEED OF STUDENTS IN FOSTER CARE AND IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM.

OUR STORY IS PART OF AMERICA GRADUATE, A PROJECT MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FO PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO HEL LOCAL COMMUNITIES FIND WAYS TO KEEP STUDENTS ON THE PATH TO GRADUATION SONYA DEALS WITH SOME OF THE SAME PROBLEMS AS ANY OTHER FOURTH GRADER.

HAVING TWO SISTERS IS HARD, BECAUSE ONE OF THEM IS OLDER THAN ME, ONE OF THEM IS YOUNGER, SO THEY BOTH LIKE TAKING UP ON ME, SO THEN I GET MAD.

WHEN SHE FACES FAMILY ISSUE EVEN TOUGHER THAN SIBLIN RIVALRY, SHE CAN FIND SUPPORT AT HER SCHOOL, MONT HAVEN ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE STUDENT ARE IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, ANOTHER THIRD ARE IN FAMILIE WHO ARE RECEIVING AT RIS PREVENTIVE SERVICES, AND THE REST OF THEIR CLASSMATES ARE FROM THE LOCAL AREA IN MON HAVEN, THE POOREST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE COUNTRY.

THE NEW YORK FOUNDLING HELPE ESTABLISH THE ACADEMY IN 2008 TO SERVE THESE STUDENTS, BECAUS CHILDREN FACING OBSTACLES LIKE POOR NUTRITION AND ABSENT OR INCARCERATED PARENTS ARE MOR LIKELY TO STRUGGLE IN SCHOOL

ONE OF THE CONSEQUENCES O EDUCATING A STUDENT BODY WHERE 20% OF THE SCHOLARS CALL HOMELESS SHELTER HOME AT NIGHT WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES, WHA ARE THE IMPLICATIONS O EDUCATING A KID WHO MAY HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM HIS HOME LAS NIGHT OR THE IMPLICATIONS OF EDUCATING A KID IN A FOSTER HOME HE LOVED BUT WAS REMOVED FRO THAT FOSTER HOME AND MOVED T ANOTHER ONE?

WE TAKE A LOT OF THESE THING FOR GRANTED, BUT IN THE LIVES OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, THESE AR TRAUMATIC EVENTS

EVERYTHING FROM THE LANGUAG ADULTS USE FOR STUDENTS, TO OU DISCIPLINE AND CONSEQUENCE SYSTEM, TO THE STYLE OF MEALS WE CELEBRATE IN THE CAFETERIA, TO THE CLASSES WE SELECT FO STUDENTS, ALL OF IT REALLY GOE IN TO TRYING TO CREATE A SAF AND NURTURING ENVIRONMENT.

THAT MEANS SPECIAL ORDERING LIBRARY BOOKS ABOU NONTRADITIONAL FAMILIES, OPENING PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES T BIOLOGICAL AND FOSTER PARENTS, AND BUILDING TRUST AMONG STUDENTS AND STAFF

WE SPEND HALF AS MUCH OF OU TIME THINKING ABOUT OUR SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WORK AND KIND OF OUR FULL CULTURE AND REALL DEVELOPING HABITS OF MIND AS W DO DEVELOPING, YOU KNOW, THE ACADEMIC SKILLS OUR STUDENTS NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

MS. CASSANDRA HELPS A LOT BECAUSE I TELL IT -- I'VE KNOW HER A LONG TIME, FOR THREE YEARS.

IT KIND OF FEELS SHE'S, LIKE, MY BEST FRIEND, AND I DON'T HAVE TO KEEP SECRETS FROM HER.

OUR TEACHERS HERE GET VER SENSITIVE TO AND ACTUALL UNDERGO SOME TRAINING ABOUT WHAT THE CHILD WELFARE POPULATION LOOKS LIKE KIDS WANT TO OPEN UP, BUT THEY HAVE TO BE IN AN ENVIRONMENT, SCHOOL WHOSE CULTURE PERMITS THAT AND ENCOURAGES THAT

IN A SCHOOL OF NEARLY 300 STUDENTS, HAVEN ACADEMY STAF AND FACULTY STAY IN TOUCH WITH STUDENTS, FAMILIES, AN CASEWORKERS.

BUT INSTEAD OF THE CHIL GETTING IN TROUBLE FOR WITHDRAWING FROM AN ACTIVITY THE TEACHER CAN, YOU KNOW, GIV THAT EXTRA LOVE AND USE ALL TH SMART TECHNIQUES THAT THEY HAV TO RE-ENGAGE THE STUDENTS.

SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO STAY ALONE IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE DADDY HAS WORK IN THE NIGHT, SO WE HAVE TO WAKE UP EARLY BECAUSE WE TAKE THE BUS

WE'RE VERY MINDFUL OF THE TYPES OF EXPERIENCES OUR CHILDREN HAVE HAD BEFORE THE GOT TO HAVEN, EVEN WHILE THE ARE AT HAVEN, YOU KNOW, IN THEIR HOME LIFE, AND WE DO OUR BEST TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY FEEL SAFE, THEY FEEL SUPPORTED, THAT THEY ARE LEARNING AND DEVELOPING TH SKILLS THEY NEED TO BE ACADEMICALLY SUCCESSFUL, AS WELL AS TO COPE AND PERSEVERE THROUGH WHATEVER THEY ARE DEALING WITH IN THEIR HOME LIFE

AS A CHARTER SCHOOL, HAVE ACADEMY CAN HAVE STUDENTS FROM ANYWHERE IN THE FIVE BOROUGHS.

FOR KIDS IN FOSTER CARE WHOSE ADDRESS CHANGES QUIT FREQUENTLY, THE BEAUTIFUL THIN IS THEY DON'T HAVE TO FIND A NEW SCHOOL THEY CAN GO HOME TO THEI BIOLOGICAL PARENT WHO MAY LIVE IN MANHATTAN OR MOVE TO A FOSTER PARENT THAT MAY LIVE IN ANOTHE SECTION OF THE BRONX AND STILL STAY AT HAVEN ACADEMY AND THAT TO ME IS REALLY POWERFUL, THIS IDEA OF STABILIZING AN AREA FO KIDS WHEN EVERYTHING IN THEI HOME LIFE MIGHT BE CHANGING.

11,000 CHILDREN IN NEW YORK CITY ARE INVOLVED IN THE FOSTE SYSTEM AND RESEARCH SHOWS THES STUDENTS TEND TO HAVE WORS ATTENDANCE, MORE BEHAVIO PROBLEMS, AND LOWER ACHIEVEMEN THAN THEIR PEERS

KIDS IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM JUST HAVEN'T FARED WELL AND IT HAS LED PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME AND THE GENERAL WORLD OUT THERE TO CONCLUDE THESE KIDS CAN'T LEARN.

WELL, HAVEN ACADEMY IS EVIDENC THAT'S NOT TRUE AND IT'S THE WAY WE'VE GONE ABOUT EDUCATING THEM.

JUST BECAUSE A CHILD HAD AN ADULT LET THEM DOWN IN THE PAST, DOESN'T MEAN IT HAS TO BE PREDICTOR FOR THE REST OF THEI LIVES.

STATE SCORES HAVE NEARLY ME OR EXCEEDED OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT AND ACROSS THE CITY IN THE BRONX, I'M ANDREA VASQUEZ FOR 'METROFOCUS'

> WELCOME, EVERYBODY, TO THE ANNUAL NO PANTS SUBWAY RIDE!

WELL, IT WAS AN UNUSUALLY WARM DAY IN NEW YORK CITY FO THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY, BUT PERHAPS NOT HOT ENOUGH TO STRI DOWN TO YOUR UNDERWEAR BYSTANDERS RIDING THE SUBWAY WERE LEFT BEMUSED AND RATHER AMUSED THOUSANDS PARTICIPATED IN TH ANNUAL NO PANTS SUBWAY RIDE.

IT'S A STUNT ORGANIZED BY TH IMPROV EVERYWHERE MOVEMENT WIT 60 CITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE TAKING PART THIS YEAR, THAT'S IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE FIRST NO PANTS SUBWAY RIDE 15 YEARS AGO WHEN FIVE FRIENDS BOARDED TH SUBWAY PANTLESS.

AMONG THOSE FIVE, THE MASTERMIND BEHIND IMPROV EVERYWHERE JOINS US NICE TO SEE YOU.

CHARLIE SHOWING UP WITH PANTS ON TODAY?

I WEAR MY PANTS 364 DAYS YEAR

THAT'S REASSURING TO KNOW LET'S START OFF WITH IMPRO EVERYWHERE WHAT'S IT ABOUT, HOW DID IT GE STARTED?

I STARTED IT 15 YEARS AGO I NEW YORK CITY, IT'S PERFORMANCE GROUP THAT STAGE SCENES OF CHAOS AND JOY IN PUBLIC SPACES.

SO THEY ARE UNDERCOVER PERFORMANCES THAT ARE FUNNY, THEY ARE MEANT TO SURPRISE AND DELIGHT THE RANDOM NEW YORKE WHO HAPPENS TO WITNESS THEM, AND THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN KNOW THE WITNESSED A PERFORMANCE.

CAST AND JOY, SEEMS TO WORK

YEAH, CHAOTIC BECAUSE THE ARE NOT IMPROVISED, WE HAVE PLAN AND IT'S ORGANIZED AN CHOREOGRAPHED, BUT THE IMPROVISATION COMES IN THE MOMENT WHEN WE EXECUTE BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW HOW PEOPLE ARE GOING TO REACT WITH WHAT WE'RE DOING.

WE'RE INTERACTING WITH REA PEOPLE ON SUBWAY CARS, RETAI STORE, OFTEN WITHOUT PERMISSION.

SOMETIMES WITHOUT PANTS

SO THAT'S THE CHAOTIC PART OF WHAT WE DO, BUT THE INTENT O EVERYTHING IS TO CREATE JOY AN MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH, BRING COMED OUT TO THE STREETS AND PUBLI PLACES

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF TH STUNTS YOU'VE DONE AND START WITH THE NO PANTS SUBWAY 2002 YOU AND FOUR FRIENDS DECIDE TO DO THIS I'M CURIOUS, HOW DID THA DECISION COME ABOUT?

WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATION THAT HAD YOU EVENTUALLY SAYING, HEY I HAVE A GOOD IDEA, LET'S TAKE OUR PANTS OFF AND GET ON TO TH SUBWAY

THE SUBWAY IS SUCH A GREA CAPTIVE AUDIENCE IF YOU'RE TRYING TO DO THESE TYPES O PERFORMANCES AND PARTICULARL 2004, THIS WAS BEFORE WE HAD SMARTPHONES.

MOST PEOPLE ARE JUST STARING A THE WALL ON THE SUBWAY, MAYB READING A BOOK I WANTED TO DO A PROJECT ON TH SUBWAY AND WAS CHARMED WITH TH IDEA OF PEOPLE ENTERING AT DIFFERENT STOPS.

WHAT IF SOMEBODY GOT ON AT BLEAKER STREET AND ANOTHER A ASTER PLACE AND ACTED LIKE THE DIDN'T KNOW EACH OTHER AND THE PERFORMANCE UNFOLDED AND TRYIN TO THINK OF THE MOST BIZARRE THING POSSIBLE TO DO AND AS IT WAS JANUARY, I THOUGHT WOULDN' IT BE WEIRD IF ONE GUY GOT O THE TRAIN IN HIS UNDERWEAR, BU ALSO HAT, SCARF, GLOVES, WINTE COAT BUT NO PANTS ON.

THEN AT THE NEXT STOP, ANOTHER GUY GOT ON ALSO IN HIS UNDERWEAR.

SO THAT WAS THE INITIAL KERNEL OF THE IDEA OF HOW WOULD YOU REACT IF YOU WERE ON THE TRAIN AS A NEW YORKER ONE WEIRDO YOU'RE ABLE TO COMPARTMENTALIZE, THAT'S A CRAZY PERSON, BUT WHE A SECOND WEIRDO AT THE NEXT STOP AND THIRD AT THE NEXT, YOU'R STARTING TO WONDER IF YOU'RE THE CRAZY PERSON

WHAT WAS THE REACTION YOU GOT TO THE FIRST YEAR AND THE MOST RECENT YEAR?

IT WAS A SUBTLE PRANK THE FIRST YEAR WE HAD ONE HIDDEN CAMERA HIDIN IN SOMEONE'S LAP WITH A MAGAZINE ON TOP OF IT AND GOT A GREAT REACTION ONE GIRL IN PARTICULAR, WHO THINK YOU CAN SEE IN THE VIDEO HERE, SHE GIVES THIS GREAT DOUBLE TAKE.

SHE LOOKS AT ME.

TRIES TO GO BACK TO HER BOOK BUT WHEN THE GUY GETS ON AT TH NEXT STOP SHE LOSES IT AND STARTS LAUGHING.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT.

COUPLE OF OTHER ONES YOU'VE DONE I THINK HAVE BEEN FABULOU AND ONE THAT GOT A GREAT DEAL OF ATTENTION WAS THE FROZEN GRAND CENTRAL PRANK.

WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?

YEAH, THAT'S OUR BIGGEST HI ON YOUTUBE, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOUTUBE STARTED IN 2006 I'D BEEN DOING THIS PROJECT FOR FIV YEARS BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN I HA AN OUTLET TO SHARE VIDEOS WITH SOMEONE OTHER THAN MY ROOMMATE THAT WAS A BIG, YOU KNOW, SHIF FOR US AND FROZEN GRAND CENTRAL HAS ABOUT 35 MILLION VIEWS O YOUTUBE.

WHAT THE PROJECT IS, WE HAD 20 PEOPLE FREEZE IN PLACE FOR FIV MINUTES IN THE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL WALKING TO CATCH A TRAIN TOURIST.

ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

ALL AT THE SAME TIME, EXACTLY 2:07 P.M., 200 PEOPLE JUST FROZE AND STAYED THAT WAY FOR FIVE MINUTES.

FOR EVERYBODY ELSE IN TH TERMINAL ON THE MAIN CONCOURSE IT LOOKED LIKE TIME HAD STOPPE AND IT WAS THIS SURREAL, WONDERFUL THING, THEN THEY UNFROZE, WALKED AWAY

WHAT WAS THE REACTION T THAT VARIOUS REACTIONS?

ALL KINDS OF GREAT REACTIONS.

WE HAD ACTORS WITH HIDDE MICROPHONES CHATTING WIT PEOPLE, SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS PERFORMANCE ART, SOME PEOPLE WERE COMPLETELY BAFFLED BY IT, SOME PEOPLE WENT UP TO TOUCH FROZEN PEOPLE TO GET THEM TO BREAK.

ALL SPORTS OF REACTIONS.

A LOT HAVE HAD THAT HUMOROU RESPONSE COUPLE OF THEM HAVE BEEN BUMPY ROADS.

YOU DID ONE AT BEST BUY.

TELL ME ABOUT THAT ONE

WE'VE DONE THINGS AT RETAIL STORES OVER THE YEARS AND THOS ARE TRICKY RETAIL STORES DON'T WANT YOU COMEDY PERFORMANCE TO TAKE PLACE IN THEIR STORE, WHICH UNDERSTAND, BUT THE PURPOSE IS NOT TO CAUSE A PROBLEM, IT'S T CREATE SOMETHING FUN AND A LITTLE BIT OUT OF THE ORDINARY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAPPEN TO WITNESS IT FOR THE BEST BUY PROJECT, AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE VIDEO FOOTAGE HERE, WE HAD 100 PEOPLE WEAR BLUE POLOS AND KHAKI PANTS AND GO INTO THE BEST BUY ON SIXT AVENUE SO WE GAVE THEM 100 EXTR EMPLOYEES FOR THE AFTERNOON.

BEST BUY MANAGERS AND SECURITY GUARDS DIALLED 911

DIDN'T SEE THE HUMOR IN THAT?

I GUESS THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A ROBBERY OR ELABORATE HEIST WE HAD 8 YEAR OLDS PARTICIPATING, THERE WAS A 65-YEAR-OLD MAN PARTICIPATING, SO I DON'T THINK WE LOOKED LIK YOUR TYPICAL, YOU KNOW ORGANIZED CRIME.

OCEANS 11 DEAL GOING ON SOMEHOW.

AMAZING ASSAULT ON TH CHELSEA BEST BUY, BUT THE POLICE SHOWED UP AFTER THE FACT AND SORT OF REVIEWED THE SITUATION AND ULTIMATELY HAD TO TELL THE MANAGERS IT'S NOT ILLEGAL TO WEAR A BLUE POLO SHIRT INTO BEST BUY

AS WE WRAP THIS UP, WHAT HAVE THESE EPISODES TAUGHT YOU ABOU THE CHARACTER AND THE NATURE O NEW YORK CITY FOLKS AND HOW THEY RESPOND TO THESE PRANKS THAT YOU'RE DOING

NEW YORK IS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO BE DOING THIS KIND OF PERFORMANCE.

I THINK IT'S THE BEST CITY I THE WORLD TO STAGE THESE THING AND I TRAVELED AROUND THE WORL TO FESTIVALS AND OTHER CITIE AND HAD SUCCESS DOING THAT, BU NEW YORK JUST REALLY MAKES YOU RAISE THE BAR.

A NEW YORKER, A LIFE LONG NE YORKER IN PARTICULAR HAVE SEEN IT ALL, YOU'VE SEEN THE CRAZ PERSON ON THE SUBWAY, SEEN PERFORMANCE ART IN WASHINGTO SQUARE PARK.

IT TAKES A LOT TO MAKE A NEW YORKER STOP, TAKE THEI HEADPHONES OFF, PUT THEIR PHON DOWN, AND ENGAGE AND REALL EXPERIENCE SOMETHING SO THAT CHALLENGES US TO COME UP WITH IDEAS THAT ARE TRUL SPECTACULAR, WHICH MAKES FOR HARD WORK BUT FUN RESULTS.

I THINK YOU'VE DONE A GREAT JOB OF BRINGING THE ELEMENTS O JOY AND CHAOS TOGETHER AND A LITTLE HUMOR TO EVERYDAY LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING T YOU AGAIN WITH YOUR NEXT SET O PRANKS

COMING OUT SOON

THANKS.

THANK YOU

> HUDSON RIVER TOWN HAS BECOME A POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION, ITS DOWNTOWN IS HOME TO NUMEROUS RESTAURANTS AND BOUTIQUES AND IT HOSTS SEVERAL FESTIVAL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

IT EVEN MAKES FREQUENT APPEARANCES ON NATIONAL COOLES TOWNS LISTS, SO HOW DOES A TOW LIKE THIS END UP ON TH COMPTROLLER'S LIST O MUNICIPALITIES EXPERIENCIN FISCAL STRESS?

I TRULY FEAR IT'S VER UNFAIR

HE'S BEEN SERVING A SUPERVISOR FOR THE TOWN FOR 14 YEARS.

HE SAYS THE STATUS OF MODERATE FISCAL STRESS PUTS A IRRESPONSIBLE LABEL ON THE TOWN'S GOVERNMENT, WHEN, I FACT, HE SAYS NOT ONLY HAVE THEY BEEN RESPONSIBLE, THEY'VE BEEN ALTRUISTIC

ONE OF THE REASONS FOR TH DEFICIT THE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS WAS THE ECONOMY.

WE HAD A FUND BALANCE GOING INTO '08, DECENT FUND BALANCE RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE AS PROPER AND A LOT OF THE TIME REFERRED TO AS A RAINY DAY FUN AND I REFERRED TO IT AS A RAIN DAY FUND, AND THE ECONOM DOWNTURNED AND IT WASN'T RAINING, IT WAS POURING, AND W HELPED OFFSET TAX INCREASES TO OUR RESIDENTS BY USING OUR RAINY DAY FUND

A MUNICIPALITY'S ACCESS T RESERVES IS ONE OF THE FACTORS THE COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE USES TO DETERMINE THE FISCAL HEALTH OF A COMMUNITY.

DEFICITS, CASH FLOW, FUN BALANCES, AND FIXED COSTS ALL GO INTO DETERMINING A GOVERNMENT' STRESS LEVEL THE OFFICE USES SELF REPORTE INFORMATION FROM MUNICIPALITIE WHOSE FISCAL YEARS END WITH TH CALENDAR YEAR.

OVER 1,000 COMMUNITIES WER CONSIDERED AND 44 DETERMINED T BE EXPERIENCING SUSCEPTIBLE, MODERATE, OR SIGNIFICANT FISCA STRESS

THE PURPOSE OF OUR SYSTEM I TO BE AN EARLY WARNING BEFOR COMMUNITIES END UP IN CONDITION OF WHOLE BUDGET OR FINANCIAL COLLAPSE

THE OFFICE HAS BEEN RELEASING THE LIST FOR THREE YEARS NOW AND THEY'VE MADE AN APPEARANCE EVERY YEAR DESPITE PAYING OFF RETIRIN BONDS, CONSOLIDATING SERVICES, AND THE COUNTY TAKING OVER EXPENSIVE PROGRAMS LIKE SAFETY NETS AND ELECTION COSTS.

MANY TOWNS WOULD DIE FOR OU DEBT, OUR DEBT IS MINIMAL.

I THINK WE HAVE ONE BOND LEFT, AND IT'S $120,000, MAYBE $150,000, I SHOULD KNOW THAT THAT'S A TREMENDOUS, TREMENDOUSLY LOW AMOUNT OF DEB AND I DON'T SEE ANY DEBT ON TH HORIZON.

ROCKLAND COUNTY FOUND ITSEL LISTED UNDER SIGNIFICANT FISCA STRESS FOR THREE YEARS IN A ROW.

COUNTY EXECUTIVE SEES POSITIVE

I KNOW IT'S GOING TO SOUN CRAZY, BUT TWO YEARS RUNNING PRIOR TO MY GETTING INTO OFFIC WE WERE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST, FISCALLY STRESSED COUNTY IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK FIRST YEAR IN TH ADMINISTRATION, 2014, WE HAV GONE FROM THE BOTTOM TO BEIN OFF THE LIST, SO I'M ACTUALL VERY, VERY HAPPY

DAY ATTRIBUTES ROCKLAND'S SLOW CLIMB TO HARD DECISIONS LIKE CUTTING BACK ON OVERTIME, WORKFORCE ATTRITION, CONSOLIDATING PUBLIC HOUSING AND SELLING THE SUMMER PAR NURSING HOME

WE CANNOT BE IN THIS BUSINESS IN 2016 AND THEREAFTER HOPEFUL TO BE ABLE TO SELL IT, DID NOT WANT TO MOVE PATIENTS OR LAY PEOPLE OFF, BUT SADLY IF W DIDN'T, WE HAVE NO CHOICE NOW, AND THE ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE T RAISE TAXES 19 TO 29% IF WE KEPT THIS FACILITY OPEN ANOTHER YEAR.

HE SAYS THOSE KINDS O DECISIONS ARE EXACTLY WHAT THE FISCAL STRESS LIST IS SUPPOSED TO ENCOURAGE

WE HAVE THE INDICATORS THAT ARE CLEAR BEFORE WE DEVELOP SYSTEM WE GAVE LOCAL OFFICIALS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAK SUGGESTIONS IF WE SHOULD CHANG ANY OF THOSE INDICATORS, SO TH SYSTEM IS NOT SET UP TO MEASUR INTENT OR DIFFICULT CHOICES, IT'S REALLY MEANT TO MEASURE THE BOTTOM LINE.

THE SUPERVISOR, WHO IS UP FOR RE-ELECTION SAYS LIST OR N LIST, HE'LL CONTINUE TO PUSH THE TOWN INTO FISCAL SOLVENCY.

SIMPLE MATH, WE'VE GONE FRO A DEFICIT TO A PLUS, AND A LOT OF THOSE EXPENSES ARE GONE, NO TO RETURN.

IN ROCKLAND COUNTY, EXECUTIVE ED DAY SAYS HE AND HIS TEAM AR READY FOR THE TEDIOUS AN LABORED CLIMB OUT OF SIGNIFICANT FISCAL STRESS.

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