TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Addictions and devastation! An outraged pastor delivers a sobering message: while opioids may be a national crisis, for black America, crack is still a curse that kills! Pastor Michael Walrond is here with a view from the pulpit. For almost 30 years, the Robin Hood Foundation has made a profound impact on our city’s homeless, hungry, and poor. Now, Wes Moore, a new leader with a new vision, has taken the helm. A new book takes us inside the “hyper-gentrification” of Manhattan. Author Jeremiah Moss is her to discuss “how a great city lost its soul”.

Aired on January 3, 2017. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' ADDICTION AND DEVASTATION, WHILE OPIOIDS MAY BE A NATIONAL CRISIS, FOR BLACK AMERICA, CRACK IS STILL A CURSE THAT KILLS.

OUTRAGED PASTOR DELIVERS THE MESSAGE.

VIEW FROM THE PULPIT.

> PURGING POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY, ALMOST 30 YEARS ROBIN HOOD FOUNDATION MADE PROFOUND IMPACT ON CITY'S HOMELESS, HUNGRY AND POOR.

NEW LEADER.

> VANISHING NEW YORK, A NEW BOOK TAKES US INSIDE THE HYPERGENTRIFICATION OF MANHATTAN TO EXPOSE GREAT CITY LOST ITS SOUL.

AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO PROVIDED BY THE JPB FOUNDATION AND THE FORD FOUNDATION.

> ACCORDING TO THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, OPIOID OVERDOSES HAVE CUT AMERICANS' LIFE EXPECTANCY AN ASTONISHING 2 1/2 MONTHS.

ANALYSIS RELEASED ONE MONTH AFTER LARGEST FENTANYL BUST IN NEW YORK'S HISTORY.

ENOUGH NARCOTICS TO KILL 32 MILLION PEOPLE.

ON A HUNT TO STOP TRAFFICKING BUT A BIG QUESTION HAS ARISEN.

COULD THE OPIOID CRISIS PERMEATING MIDDLE AMERICA BE MAKING ITS WAY TO THE BIG APPLE?

WOULDN'T BE THE FIRST TIME DRUG EPIDEMIC HAS INVADED OUR GREAT CITY.

WITH THE LATEST, AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE THAT EXPLORES THIS REVELATION.

PASTOR, WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT THE WAY OPIOID EPIDEMIC IS HANDLED VERSUS PREVIOUS EPIDEMICS, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

WHAT IS AMAZING NOW, THINK OF THE OPIOID CRISIS AND HEAR THE EVEN THE PRESIDENT DOWN TO LOCAL LEGISLATORS AND POLITICIANS AND LIKE, LANGUAGE IS OF EMPATHY AND COMPASSION, VERSUS 30 YEARS WHEN CRACK WAS RAMPANT AND PERVASIVE IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

IT WAS THEN SCORN.

I WAS STRUCK BY DESIRE TO REHABILITATE THOSE ON DRUGS, TO FIND COMPASSIONATE MECHANISMS TO BRING ABOUT HEALING LIVES OF PEOPLE BEING RAVAGED.

WE KNOW MOST OF THE OPIOID CRISIS NOW WE FIND IN MIDDLE AMERICA, SUBURBS AND RURAL COMMUNITIES.

30-ODD YEARS AGO, TALKED ABOUT CRACK, PREDOMINANTLY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

LANGUAGE IS DIFFERENT.

THEN HOW DO WE SEEK TO END THIS -- NOT DISEASE -- BUT CRIME ASSOCIATED WITH THIS.

NOT ONLY CRIMINALIZATION OF THE DISEASE BUT DEHUMANIZING LANGUAGE USED.

HEARD CRACK BABIES, WELFARE QUEENS, SUPER PREDATORS.

NOW IT'S THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE BROUGHT BACK TO PLACES OF WHOLENESS.

STRUCK ME.

MADE ME THINK IN SOME WAYS IN THE COUNTRY AMIDST THE -- THERE IS RACIALIZATION OF COMPASSION.

NOW EVEN COMPASSION HAS A RACIAL COMPONENT.

FACE OF THE OPIOID CRISIS IS WHITE, FACE OF THE CRACK EPIDEMIC WAS BLACK.

LANGUAGE AND APPROACH IS DIFFERENT.

MORE DEHUMANIZING BACK THEN THAN NOW.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERN, CONSIDERING THE BUST IN QUEENS, THAT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC COULD BE COMING TO NEW YORK, SPECIFICALLY TO COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

TALKING ABOUT ONCE AGAIN AN INEXPENSIVE DRUG.

DRUG EPIDEMIC HAS BEEN IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR LONG TIME.

OPIOIDS, PERK OSET, AND -- WE SEE A SURGE IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR BUT CONNECTIONS HAVE STILL BE PRESENT, ALWAYS BEEN PRESENT.

MY CONCERN IS IN THE MID OF THE OF BRINGING HEALING TO THOSE SUFFERING FROM OPIOID ADDICTION WE DON'T FORGET THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND LATINO COMMUNITIES SUFFERING UNDER DRUG ADDICTION FOR YEARS AND HASN'T BEEN SAME COMPASSIONATE LANGUAGE AND APPROACH TO BRING ABOUT HEALING.

INCARCERATION AND HEALING, TWO DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.

THEN IT WAS HOW DO WE PUT THEM IN JAIL, END THE SCOURGE OF THE CRACK ADDICT.

NOW IT'S HOW DO WE HEAL THE COMMUNITIES AND BRING WHOLENESS.

MY CONCERN IS IN THE MIDST OF TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO BRING ABOUT HEALING AND WHOLENESS, DON'T LEAVE BEHIND COMMUNITIES DEALING WITH DRUG ADDICTION FOR YEARS.

COULD YOU MAKE THE ARGUMENT THERE ARE SOME STEPS MOVING FORWARD.

CHANGED SOME OF THE DRUG LAWS.

STRONG PUSH TO CHANGE MARIJUANA LAW SPECIFICALLY IN NEW YORK STAY.

HAS THAT MOVED THE NEEDLE AT ALL AND MADE THINGS MORE FAIR?

FAIR SENTENCING ACT OF 2010, CONTRARY TO THE ANTI DRUG ABUSE LAW BEFORE THAT BROUGHT IN MANDATORY MINIMUMS.

THERE HAS BEEN EFFORT TO REDUCE THIS.

DISPARITY 30 YEARS AGO, COULD BE CAUGHT WITH 50 GRAMS OF CRACK AND GET TEN YEARS AND TAKE 5,000 GRAMS OF COCAINE FOR THE SAME TEN-YEAR SENTENCE.

THERE HAS BEEN ATTEMPT TO TAKE AWAY DISPARITIES WITH SENTENCING.

I'M MORE THINKING ABOUT THE EXISTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS OF PEOPLE SEEING THEMSELVES DEHUMANIZED BECAUSE OF CRACK AND DRUG ADDICTION VERSUS THOSE HUMANIZED.

THESE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR IN MIDST OF REHABILITATION DESIRE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT.

YOU SPEAK ABOUT THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, I HOPE -- FUNNY HEARING A CLERGY PERSON SAY THIS -- IT BECOMES LEGALIZED.

60% OF INCARCERATIONS IN THIS STATE ARE BECAUSE OF MARIJUANA POSSESSION.

MY FEAR IS THAT THERE WILL BE LOBBYISTS PUSHING AGAINST THIS.

MANY OF OUR PRISONS ARE UPSTATE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT THRIVE OFF THE PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRY.

IF YOU REDUCE DRUG INCARCERATIONS 60% BY LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, IN SOME WAYS YOU DISRUPT THE ECONOMIES OF THE COMMUNITIES UPSTATE.

I'M CONVINCED MANY ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THESE COMMUNITIES WILL BE FIGHTING AGAINST THE LEGALIZATION PAUSE OF HOW DISRUPTIVE IT WOULD BE TO THEIR LOCAL ECONOMY.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THE CRACK EPIDEMIC WE COULD APPLY TO MAKE US BETTER STEWARDS OF HELPING PEOPLE THROUGH THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC?

DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION, I REMEMBER HEARING FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON OFFER AN APOLOGY FOR THE CLINTON CRIME BILL THAT LED TO THE MASS INCARCERATION ON MANY LEVELS CONNECTED TO DRUG ADDICTION IN MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES.

PART OF ME CELEBRATED THAT, RIGHT?

BUT OTHER PART WONDERED IS THIS BECAUSE OF POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY?

AS WE LOOKED BACK, SAW THE DESTRUCTIVE AND I THINK CHAOTIC RAMIFICATIONS THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE OF THESE ATTEMPTS TO WIPE OUT DRUGS BUT REALLY WIPE OUT COMMUNITIES IN SOME WAY.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS WENT TO JAIL BECAUSE OF MINOR DRUG INFRACTIONS.

FUTURES STUNTED BECAUSE THAT RECORD IS STAIN UPON THEIR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES.

COUNTLESS CHILDREN WHO GREW UP WITHOUT PARENTS BECAUSE OF THE MANDATORY MINIMUMS BASED ON MINOR POSSESSION.

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THAT, I HOPE WE THINK ABOUT THE COMMUNAL IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES, ESPECIALLY OF COLOR, AND TAKE HARD LINES INSTEAD OF HEALING LINES IN OUR COMMUNITIES, I HOPE WE'VE LEARNED FROM THE DEVASTATING IMPACT OF HOW WE DEALT WITH THOSE IN THE CRACK EPIDEMIC TO BEGIN AGAIN TO MAKE PEOPLE WHOLE AND HUMANIZE PEOPLE.

LANGUAGE NOW IS HUMANIZING, VERSUS 30 YEARS AGO.

I HOPE WE LEARN TO TREAT EVERYONE WITH THE SAME DIGNITY, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, WHERE THEY'RE FROM.

WONDERFUL MESSAGE TO LEAVE IT ON, HUMANIZE EVERYONE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US ON THE SHOW AND TALKING US THROUGH INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING ISSUE.

ABSOLUTELY.

THANK YOU.

> AS PART OF OUR ONGOING CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE, POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, INTRODUCE YOU TONIGHT TO NEW LEADER OF THE LEADING FILL AVERAGE ROPIC ORGANIZATION, ROBIN HOOD FOUNDATION APPOINTED WES MOORE AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE.

AUTHOR, COMBAT VETERAN AND ENTREPRENEUR RAISED IN THE BRONX SUCCEEDS DAVID SALTZMAN.

LAST YEAR DISTRIBUTED $130 MILLION TO ORGANIZATIONS IN NEW YORK FOCUSED ON ELIMINATING POVERTY.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

GREAT TO SEE YOU.

HONORED TO BE HERE.

BEFORE WE GET INVOLVED IN YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU'RE LOOKING AT THIS, TALK MORE ABOUT THE FOUNDATION, WHAT IT DOES AND HOW.

THE ROBIN HOOD FOUNDATION WAS CREATED BY PAUL TIER JONES, HE SAW WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE ANOTHER GREAT RECESSION AND IMMEDIATELY HIS THOUGHT WAS FORGET ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FOLKS WORKING IN FINANCE, THERE ARE A WHOLE LOT OF POOR PEOPLE ABOUT TO GET HIT REALLY HARD.

HE SAID WE HAVE TO CREATE FOUNDATIONS AND SUPPORTS FOR THE LEAST AMONGST US, THE ONES WHO OFTEN, SOME PEOPLE CATCH A COLD, SOME CATCH PNEUMONIA, WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PNEUMONIA, THE POOR.

STARTED A FOUNDATION.

INITIAL GRANTS LOOKING AT EVERYTHING FROM HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION, ET CETERA.

NOW ROBIN HOOD, 29 YEARS OLD, $2.5 MILLION PUT INTO THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY.

LED BY A DEAR FRIEND AND GREAT, GREAT SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, SAIFD SALTZMAN, SERVED AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DURING THAT TIME.

AND ROBIN HOOD HAS SYSTEMATICALLY BEEN DATA-DRIVEN AND HEART-LED.

DATA IS IMPORTANT.

UNDERSTAND BENCHMARKS AND WHAT WORKS.

AT THE SAME TIME WE CAN NEVER WORK.

NEVER FORGET WHO IT IS WE'RE SERVING AND WILL UNABASHEDLY STAND FOR, PARTICULARLY IN TIMES WHEN WE KNOW THEY'RE AT THEIR MOST VULNERABLE.

ONE OF THE MORE IMPRESSIVE -- LOT OF IMPRESSIVE THINGS ABOUT THE FOUNDATION, $2.5 MILLION -- FACT THAT EVERY DOLLAR DONATED GOES TO THE ORGANIZATION.

UNIQUE IN THAT WAY.

BOARD IS TAKING CARE OF THE OPERATIONAL EXPENSES AND EVERY DOLLAR GIV IS GOING INTO THE FIELD.

AVERAGE DONATION IS $133.

360,000 DONORS.

TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE SAYING I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO GIVE WHAT I CAN.

TALKING WITH FRIEND FROM BALTIMORE, SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE INVOLVED IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE BUT GOT OUT AND BECAME ENTREPRENEUR BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD HIRE HIM.

NOW RUNS THREE BARBER SHOPS IN BALTIMORE, GIVES KIDS FREE HAIRCUTS WHEN THEY BRING BOOKS IN.

GOT A TEXT FROM HIM.

I'M GETTING READY TO MAKE MY $133 DONATION TO ROBIN HOOD.

WE'RE BUILDING ARMY OF POVERTY FIGHTERS.

TALK ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.

LOOKING AT LEADERSHIP, WE'RE THE PRODUCTS OF WHAT OUR EXPERIENCE HAVE BEEN.

YOU HAVE FASCINATING EXPERIENCES.

I'M EXCITED ABOUT ROBIN HOOD BECAUSE IT'S A PERSONAL MISSION TO ME.

IDEA OF WHAT IT'S LIKE TO COME UP IN A PLACE CHRONICALLY NEGLECTED.

AND WORSE OF ALL, TO KNOW IT, KNOW WE LIVE IN AREA THAT'S NOT BEING THOUGHT ABOUT BY MANY OTHER PEOPLE.

I LIVED IN THOSE AREAS, SAW MOM WORKING THREE PART-TIME JOBS, NOT GETTING FIRST FULL-TIME JOB UNTIL I WAS ABOUT FOUR YEARS OLD.

I KNOW THAT.

COMING INTO THIS SEAT, COMING FROM NEIGHBORHOOD THAT ROBIN HOOD HELPED TO FUND 15 YEARS AGO.

EVANDER CHILDS NEIGHBORHOOD.

CLOSING A CIRCLE.

FOR ME THIS BECOMES A PERSONAL MISSION.

I KNOW I'VE BENEFITTED FROM GENEROSITY OF OTHERS, MENTORS AND PEOPLE WHO SAW SOMETHING IN ME BEFORE I WAS READY TO SEE IT IN MYSELF.

I ALSO KNOW THIS, NEVER GOING TO CHERRY PICK OUR WAY TO FIXING STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS.

WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY ADDRESS STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS AS WELL.

WATCHING PEOPLE ADVANCE AND FAMILIES WHO WILL BE ECONOMICALLY MOBILE, MOBILITY IS NOT BECAUSE WE CHERRY PICKED BUT BECAUSE WE FIXED SOCIAL INEQUITIES.

SEEN YOU QUOTED SAYING THAT PHILANTHROPY ALONE, AS IMPORTANT AS IT IS, IT'S NOT GOING TO WE NEED TO BE CONVENERS.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

ROBIN HOOD HAS IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY IN CAPITAL IT CAN DISTRIBUTE.

TAKE PRIDE IN WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRUSTING ROBIN HOOD WITH RESOURCE TO PUT OUT WISELY AND SMARTLY, WE TAKE IT SERIOUSLY AND FEEL BEST IN CLASS AT THAT.

HOWEVER PHILANTHROPY ALONE WILL NEVER FIX WHAT POLICIES HAVE CREATED.

THERE ARE POLICIES PUTTING PEOPLE AND KEEPING PEOPLE IN POVERTY.

EVERY SINGLE DAY.

WHETHER IT'S THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, EDUCATION, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

I THINK PART OF THE JOB OF ROBIN HOOD, IN ADDITION TO BEING INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE DISTRIBUTOR OF CAPITAL TO HELP AND SUPPORT GREAT ORGANIZATIONS LIKE ONES THAT ROBIN HOOD HAS BEEN INVOLVED WITH FOR A LONG TIME.

ASSOCIATION TO BENEFIT CHILDREN, HARLEM CHILDRENS ZONE.

ALSO HAS A UNIQUE ROLE TO PLAY IN FACT WE CAN BRING LIKEMONDED ORGANIZATIONS TOGETHER.

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TOGETHER.

HELP TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE'RE THINKING ABOUT BUDGETS, POLITICAL PRIORITIES, AND WHAT IMPACT IS THAT GOING TO HAVE ON THE POPULATION WE WILL ALWAYS DEFEND AND SERVE.

ONE OF THE OTHER INTERESTING THINGS I FOUND IN YOUR BACKGROUND IS COMBAT VETERAN.

WHAT DID YOU BRING BACK WITH YOU FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES THAT YOU THINK HAVE PUSHED YOU IN THE DIRECTION THAT YOU'RE GOING INTO NOW, AND THIS NOTION OF PHILANTHROPY AND FIGHTING POVERTY.

IT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE MILITARY EXPERIENCES GAVE ME FIRST DIRECT CONNECTION TO ROBIN HOOD.

WHEN I CAME BACK FROM AFGHANISTAN, I BECAME AN ADVOCATE FOR VETERANS AND SIMPLY VETERANS' FAMILIES.

I STARTED NOTICING EVERY TIME WE NEEDED ANYTHING OVERSEAS FIGHTING, WE GOT IT INSTANTANEOUSLY.

BUT SOLDIERS AND PARATROOPERS COMING BACK HOME, WAITING NINE MONTHS TO SEE A DOCTOR.

WHERE DID THAT INSTANTANEOUS IMMEDIACY GO?

EXACTLY RIGHT.

DISAPPEARS.

I BECAME ACTIVE IN THE VETERANS' FIGHT, WE MADE A PROMISE TO THESE MEN AND WOMEN.

WHEN THEY DECIDED TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY, DIDN'T ASK THE COUNTRY TO WAIT.

WHY WHEN THEY COME BACK HOME IS THE COUNTRY ASKING THEM TO WAIT?

ROBIN HOOD AND DAVID SALTZMAN GOT WIND OF THE WORK WE WERE DOING AROUND VETERANS AND WANTED TO ATTACK ISSUE OF VETERANS HOMELESSNESS.

HOW DO WE HAVE VETERANS COMING HOME WHO CAN'T FIND A HOME?

PUT TOGETHER A COUNCIL, ATTACK THE ISSUE OF VETERAN HOMELESSNESS.

INCLUDED ME ON THE COUNCIL WITH A COLLECTION OF OTHER PEOPLE.

ADMIRAL MULLEN AND OTHER ADVOCATES AS WELL.

THROUGH THE WORK OF THAT COUNCIL AND WORK DOING WITH THE CITY AND STATE OF NEW YORK, OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, HAVE CREATED A NATIONAL MODEL ABOUT THE WAY THAT WE ADDRESS VETERAN HOMELESSNESS.

THAT'S ONE OF THE EXCITING THINGS THAT ROBIN HOOD AND ONE OF THE EXCITING ROLES THAT ROBIN HOOD CAN PLAY.

HAS UNIQUE PLACE AS IMPORTER AND EXPORTER OF REALLY GOOD IDEAS.

WORKING IN NEW YORK, BRING IT ELSEWHERE, WORKING SOMEWHERE ELSE, BRING IT TO NEW YORK.

AND FOR ORGANIZATION TO HAVE THAT WILLINGNESS.

THIS ISN'T OURS, BUT IT WORKS, WE'LL EMBRACE IT AND MAKE IT OURS.

EXACTLY RIGHT.

NOT ABOUT OWNERSHIP BUT EFFICACY.

WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE, IF IT'S EFFECTIVE, SPREAD IT OUT.

MAGNIFICENT ORGANIZATION AND COULDN'T HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB CHOOSING NEXT LEADER THEN BRINGING YOU ON WES.

HOPE YOU COME BACK IN.

I WOULD LOVE THAT.

AND THANK YOU.

BE WELL.

> NEW YORK CITY IS KNOWN AS THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS.

A DYNAMIC METROPOLIS THAT WELCOMES CHANGE.

BUT ARE THERE CHANGES THAT COULD ROB THE CITY OF ITS VERY SOUL?

ACROSS THE CITY RISING RENTS IN RETAIL AND HOUSING MARKETS ARE DRIVING LONG-TIME NEW YORKERS OUT OF HOMES AND STORE FRONTS.

RESIDENTS OF ONCE AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS DISPLACED, KNOCKED DOWN OR REPLACED BY LUXURY APARTMENTS.

AROUND US, MOM AND POP SHOPS BECOMING A THING OF THE PAST, FADING INTO THE SHADOWS OF CORPORATE CHAINS.

TO MANY IT SEEMS LIKE THIS UNWELCOME TREND IS HERE TO STAY.

AUTHOR AND BLOGGER JEREMIAH MOSS HAS EXAMINED THESE CHANGES IN HIS NEW BOOK, 'VANISHING NEW YORK: HOW A GREAT CITY LOST ITS SOUL,'. HAPPY TO HAVE HIM WITH US.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN ABOUT THE SOUL OF NEW YORK?

I THINK ABOUT THE SOUL OF NEW YORK, IT DEVELOPED IN THE LATE 1800s, CONFLUENCE OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE CITY.

IMMIGRANTS FROM ITALY, SOUTHERN EUROPE, EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWS, AFRICAN-AMERICANS MIGRATING UP FROM THE VIOLENT SOUTH, BOHEMIANS COMING FROM ACROSS AMERICA, AND EARLY LGBTQ PEOPLE AS WELL.

AND THESE PEOPLE REALLY GOT TOGETHER AND CREATED WHAT I THINK OF AS THE SOUL, A PROGRESSIVE CITY, A DIVERSE CITY, NOT PERFECTLY PROGRESSIVE CITY BUT ONE THAT WAS DIFFERENT IN MANY WAYS FROM THE REST OF AMERICA.

SO THEN HOW DO YOU JUXTAPOSE THAT WITH PEOPLE WHO JUST SAY THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE LONGING FOR THE PAST AND NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE PROGRESS OF THE FUTURE.

I MEAN SOME OF THE OLDER BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES WEREN'T BUILT TO LAST FOREVER, THEY HAVE TO COME DOWN.

WHAT DO WE REPLACE THEM WITH?

RECREATIONS OF THE PAST OR MOVE FORWARD TO THE FUTURE?

ABSOLUTELY MOVE FORWARD.

CITY IS ALWAYS CHANGING AND NATURAL PROCESS.

BUT GONE BACKWARDS FROM PROGRESSIVE ERA TO THE GILDED AGE OF THE LATE 1800s, NEW GILDED AGE OF VAST INEQUALITY.

THAT'S BACKWARDS MOVEMENT, NOT FORWARDS.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENS TO A COMMUNITY WHEN IT'S BEING GENTRIFIED?

THAT'S THE BUZZ WORD IN NEW YORK.

GENTRIFICATION, PEOPLE FOR, AGAINST, ET CETERA.

WHAT HAPPENS TO SOUL OF A COMMUNITY WHEN NEW DEVELOPERS COME IN?

COMMUNITY IS EMOTIONAL ECOSYSTEM.

WHEN THAT IS INFILTRATED AND DESTROYED PEOPLE FEEL UPROOTED, ALIENATED, PUSHED OUT.

LIKE THEY'RE BEING TOLD THEY NO LONGER BELONG.

WHEN EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS REMOVED FROM YOUR ENVIRONMENT OR MUCH OF IT AND REPLACED WITH THINGS THAT ARE FOR OTHER PEOPLE, PEOPLE WITH MORE POWER, SOCIOECONOMIC POWER, FEELING IS ALIENATION.

ROOT SHOCK, IDEA THAT WHEN PLANTS ARE RIPPED OUT FROM THE ROOTS, THERE'S SHOCK AND TRAUMA.

I THINK IT'S TRAUMATIZING.

NEW YORK FROM EARLY 19th CENTURY, ALWAYS EVOLVING ECOSYSTEM OF NEIGHBORHOODS.

SEEN NEIGHBORHOODS CHANGE COMMUNITY TO COMMUNITY, ETHNICITY TO ETHNICITY OVER THE DECADES.

WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT?

WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, LOWER EAST SIDE FOR EXAMPLE, CONSTANT CHANGE OF IMMIGRANT GROUPS, IRISH, ITALIANS, JEWS, CHINESE MOVING THROUGH.

DO BETTER, MOVE OUT, MAKE SPACE FOR ANOTHER GROUP TO COME ALONG.

THAT'S BEEN A KIND OF CONSTANT.

CHANGE WITHIN A CONSTANT.

KIND OF EQUILIBRIUM.

BUT MASSIVE CHANGE WHERE THAT CAN NO LONGER HAPPEN IN MUCH OF THE CITY.

AND THE MOVEMENT IS TOWARDS A MONOCULTURE OF LUXURY, OF HIGH-END DEVELOPMENT, AND IT'S REALLY WHAT'S BEEN CALLED A TOTAL CLASS REMAKE OF THE CITY.

WE'RE SEEING NEIGHBORHOODS THAT REALLY ARE FOR THE UPPER CLASS.

WHAT DO WE LOSE WITH THE LOSS NOT JUST OF PEOPLE BUT MOM AND POP STORES THAT SEEM TO BE SO FAMILIAR TO HARLEM AND LOWER EAST SIDE, ET CETERA.

LOSE LOCAL FLAVOR AND CHARACTER.

AND NEIGHBORHOODS ALL START TO LOOK LIKE EACH OTHER, ALL THE SAME CHAINS AND ARCHITECTURE ALL OVER AGAIN.

GLASS BOXES THAT WE SEE EVERYWHERE.

AND CITY STARTS TO LOOK LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE.

THERE'S DISORIENTATION, WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE IN NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE THIS CHANGE IS HAPPEN, DISORIENTATION THAT HAPPENS.

I WALK INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD, WHERE AM I?

DISLOCATION SENSE.

AND IT'S VERY -- DOESN'T FEEL SO HUMANE ANYMORE.

IS THERE SOMETHING THAT RESIDENTS, PEOPLE WATCHING AT HOME, CAN DO TO SUPPORT SOME OF THE SMALL BUSINESSES THREATENED BY CHANGING ECONOMIC FORCES?

ABSOLUTELY.

THIS CHANGE HAPPENED BECAUSE OF POLICIES.

WE NEED NEW POLICIES TO REPAIR IT.

AND ONE OF THOSE POLICIES THAT I SUPPORT IS SMALL BUSINESS JOB SURVIVAL ACT.

WHICH THE MAJORITY OF THE CITY COUNCIL SUPPORTS, AND REALLY THEY NEED TO BRING IT TO A VOTE.

I THINK IT WOULD PASS PRETTY EASILY.

ONE THING PEOPLE CAN DO.

I HAVE A GROUP CALLED SAVE NYC, #SAVENYC.

WE HAVE LETTERS PREPARED TO MAYOR AND CITY SPEAKER, FILL IN AND PRESS SEND ASKING FOR THIS ACT TO BE PASSED.

ONE THING THAT PEOPLE CAN DO.

JEREMIAH MOSS, THANKS FOR JOINING US ON THE SHOW AND TALKING TO US ABOUT THIS RAPIDLY CHANGING CITY AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO PERHAPS MAKE IT MORE EQUITABLE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

THANK YOU.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO TONIGHT, TELL YOU ABOUT A WONDERFUL EXTENSION TO 'METROFOCUS,' OUR NEW, TWICE WEEKLY PODCAST WITH ME AS YOUR HOST.

ON IT EXPLORE IN-DEPTH CONVERSATIONS A LITTLE LESS FILTERED THAN IN TELEVISION AND LOT MORE INTIMATE.

TALK TO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF GUESTS WITH ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

PRICE OF JOINING THIS PODCAST COMPLETE WITH NEW YORKERS FROM THE STREETS TO CITY HALL AND WALL STREET TO BROADWAY?

ABSOLUTELY FREE.

HEAD TO ITUNES OR SOUND CLOUD TO JOIN ME AND ECLECTIC MIX OF PERSONALITIES AS WE EXPLORE OUR CITY WITH UNIQUE METROFOCUS.

I'LL SEE YOU THERE.

Announcer: FUNDING FOR THIS

Funders

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

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