TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Fifty-two percent of New Yorkers do not have a retirement plan. 60% of all retirees live in poverty, 90% of which are minorities. But now there’s relief. New York State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez is here with the details. No heat, rodent infestations, deadly mold and lead poisoning are a part of everyday life for some who live in NYCHA public housing. What are the health effects of living in one of these apartments? We’re taking a look. Closing businesses and vacant storefronts reach epidemic proportions in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio blames greedy landlords, but says he has the cure. The City Council recently passed a rezoning measure that will impact Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. How will this affect the community? Photographer Nathan Kensinger is here with his views.

Aired on April 17, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS SCARY STATISTICS.

52% OF NEW YORK ERPS DO NOT A HAVE A RETIREMENT PLAN.

WHAT'S WORSE, 60% OF RETIREES LIFT LIVE IN POVERTY AND 80% FOR MINORITIES.

BUT NOW THERE IS RELIEF.

THE DETAILS AHEAD.

> NO HEAT, ROACH AND RAT INFESTATION AND DEADLY MOLD AND LEAD POISONING, A SNAP SHOT OF EVERY DAY LIFE FOR MANY LIVING IN NEW YORK.

FOR WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF LIVING IN A NYCHA APARTMENT?

> CLOSING BUSINESSES AND VACATE STOERCHTS REACHING EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS IN NEW YORK CITY.

THE MAYOR BLAMES GREEDY LANDLORDS.

> THE CHANGING THE FACE OF NEW YORK ONE BLOCK AT A TIME.

JEROME AVENUE, JUST AHEAD.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS METROFOCUS STARTS RIGHT NOW.

ANNOUNCER: THIS IS METROFOCUS, WITH RAFAEL PI RAMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

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

> GOOD EVENING.

AND WELL TO METROFOCUS.

I'M JENN AIRE FLANAGAN.

DR. JAY MANNER SIMS CREDITED AS THE FATHER OF MODERN GYNECOLOGY IS LEAVING HIS PERCH ATOP A CONCRETE MONUMENT IN CENTRAL PERK FOR A YET TO BE DETERMINED SPOT IN BROOKLYN WHERE HIS REMAINS ARE BURIED.

THE STATUE REMOVAL COMES OVER THE LONG RUNNING DEBATE OVER STATUES LIKE SIMS BETWEEN 1845 AND 1849 PERFORMED SURGERIES ON BLACK WOMEN BECAUSE HE BELIEVED BLACK WOMEN DIDN'T FEEL PAIN.

MANY SOME PEOPLE WANTED TO KEEP THE STATUE AND JUST ADD A PLAQUE.

OTHERS PARTICULARLY RESIDENTS OF EAST HAREM FOUND IF SYMBOLIC OF OPPRESSION AND HATE AGAINST WOMEN OF COLOR.

THE STATUE WAS REMOVED THIS MARTINI.

THE PARK'S DEPARTMENT IS DEVELOPING A NEW MONUMENT FOR THE SIMS STATUE ACKNOWLEDGING THREE OF THE 12 KNOWN WOMEN INTERPRETED ON HER BY SIMS.

WHAT'SY YET TO BE DETERMINED IS IF THE STATUE WILL SIT ATOP A NEW MONUMENT OR PLACED ON THE GROUND AT EYE LEVEL.

WE WILL MONITOR THIS IMPORTANT STORY AND BRING YOU THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS.

> A STORY THAT COULD AFFECT MILLIONS OF NEW YORKERS THINKING ABOUT RETIREMENT.

AS PART OF THE RECENTLY PASSED STATED BUDGET, NEW YORK IS ABOUT TO JOIN A GROWING LIST OF STATES THAT OFFER A STATE-RUN RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLAN FOR PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES.

THE PLAN WILL BE AVAILABLE TO WORKERS WHO DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO RETIREMENT PLANS SUCH AS A 401(k) THROUGH THEIR EMPLOYER.

THAT'S ABOUT 3.5 MILLION NEW YORKERS ACCORDING TO THE AARP.

THE STATE MEASURE OFFICIALLY KNOWN AS THE SECURE CHOICE SAVINGS PROGRAM ACT, WAS PASSED ABOUT PROCESS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND THE ENDORSEMENT OF GOVERNOR CUOMO.

THE LEGISLATION IS INTENDED TO ADDRESS WHAT SOME CALL A RETIREMENT CRISIS, A SITUATION WHERE MILLIONS OF WORKERS NATIONWIDE WILL REACH RETIREMENT AGE WITHOUT ENOUGH SAVINGS TO GET THEM THROUGH.

JACK FORD GOT AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER ROBERT RODRIGUEZ ONE OF THE MEMBERS WHO BRUISED THE LEGISLATION.

AND HE BEGAN BY ASKING RODRIGUEZ WHY HE THINKS SUCH A PRACTICE PROGRAM IS NEEDED.

WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT MOST PEOPLE OVER 50% DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A WORKPLACE RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM.

AND THE STUDIES BY AND LARGE SAY IF YOU HAVE THAT YOUR LIKELIHOOD TO SAVE IS 15 TIMES HIGHER THAN.

THAT MUCH HIGHER.

ABSOLUTELY.

SO IF YOU'RE NOT SAVING, AND YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A SAVINGS PLAN FROM YOUR WORKPLACE, YOU REALLY ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE ENDS MEET AND/OR FIND YOURSELF RELYING ON SOCIAL SECURITY AT 65.

THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL.

ONE OF THE ISSUE THAT IS WE TRY TO CASEY IS HOW DO WE MAKE A WORK -- A WORKPLACE SAVINGS PLAN MORE AVAILABLE?

AND I THINK WHAT WE SETTLED ON IS SEEING WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN 2015 A FEW STATES WERE ENGAGING IN INTRODUCING PLANS LIKE THIS BEGINNING FIRST WITH OREGON AND CALIFORNIA AND LEN LATER ON WITH ILLINOIS.

WE WANTED TO SEE HOW NEW YORK COULD MAKE SOMETHING LIKE THAT AVAILABLE.

AND THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED.

I SUSPECT SOME PEOPLE -- YOU PROBABLY HEARD THIS MIGHT HAVE SAID LOOK THAT'S TERRIBLE THAT PEOPLE WILL BE LEFT OUT WITHOUT ANYTHING.

BUT WHY IS IT THE GOVERNMENT'S JOB TO ESSENTIALLY IN SOME WAYS MAYBE BAIL OUT THOSE WEREN'T DELIBERATE ENOUGH TO CREATE THEIR OWN SAYINGS PATTERN THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THEIR LIVES?

WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT.

THAT'S AN IMPORTANT POINT.

IT'S CREATING AN OPTION THAT'S MORE AVAILABLE IS HARDLY A BAILOUT.

IT'S MORE ABOUT FACILITYING PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO SAVE.

THE NUMBERS DON'T LIE.

50% OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE A WORKFORCE SACHGS PROGRAM.

DESPITE THOUSANDS OF FINANCIAL ADVISERS AND FOLKS GETTING PAIDED THIS.

BUT THEY'RE INCENTIVIZED BY FOLKS WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF WEALTH THIS THAT CAN BE INVESTED.

THIS PARTICULARLY IMPACTS MINORITY COMMUNITIES WITH 67% OF HIP IBS IKS WITH NO ACCESS TO A WORKPLACE RETIREMENT PROGRAM.

52% OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

AS WE MENTIONED EARLIER HALF OF NORMAL NORTH AMERICAERS WITH NO ACCESS TO WORKPLACE SAVINGS.

IT'S NOT FOR LACK OF TOOLS.

BUT REALLY I THINK IT'S ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF ACCESS THAT'S EASY.

AND WE HAVE SO MANY SMALL BUSINESSES NOT SOPHISTICATED ENOUGH TO HAVE, YOU KNOW, MAJOR RETIREMENT PLANS FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES.

THIS TAKES THEIR HANDS OUT OF IT AND SAYS, THIS IS AVAILABLE.

THE STATE OFFERS IT.

ALL I HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IS DEDUCTING A LITTLE BIT FROM YOUR PAYCHECK IF YOU CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW IT ACTUALLY WORKS.

I WANT TO START WITH HAVING YOU EXPLAIN WHAT IT ISN'T.

SO IF SOMEBODY IS SITTING HERE WATCHING AND LISTENING AND SAYING WELL, DOES THIS MEAN THE STATE OF NEW YORK IS GOING TO GIVE MONEY TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T PUT AWAY THEIR OWN MONEY TO SAVE AND PREPARE FOR THEIR RETIREMENT?

CORRECT IT'S NOT.

IT'S NOT.

IT'S NOT.

THERE IS NO MATCHING COMPONENT.

THIS IS REALLY JUST A VOLUNTARY PROGRAM FOR EMPLOYERS THAT CAN MAKE -- THEY CAN MAKE AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYEES A SAVINGS PROGRAM.

ALL RIGHT.

THEY DON'T HAVE TO ADMINISTER IT, DON'T MANAGE THE MOEP.

THEY'RE NOT LIABLE.

THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE EMPLOYER OTHER THAN MAKING THE OPTION AVAILABLE FOR THE EMPLOYEE.

AND THE EMPLOYEE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO OPT OUT SHOULD THEY CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE.

AND THERE IS NO -- REALLY WE STRUCTURED THE PROGRAM SO THAT ANY ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS ARE COVERED BY PARTICIPATENS IN THE FEE.

THE TAXPAYERS ARE NOT.

NOTHING TO RUN THE PROGRAM.

AND REALLY WHAT THIS IS IS CREATING ANOTHER OPTION FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO SAVINGS.

PEOPLE WATCHING THIS SAYING THIS IS INTERESTING.

WHAT'S IT GOING TO LOOK LIKE?

AND HOW WOULD THEY PARTICIPATE?

IT?

SO WE HAVE SCHEDULED A TWO-YEAR ROLLOUT PERIOD WHERE WE GET THE PROGRAM UP AND RUNNING WITH AN ADDITIONAL YEAR SHOULD IT BE REQUIRED TO GET SET UP.

THE EMPLOYER WILL HAVE TO SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM.

AND THEN THEY WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE THROUGH THEIR PAYROLL SYSTEM FOR DEDUCTING AND ENSURING THE EMPLOYEES DEDUCTEN IS SENT TO THE MANAGED ACCOUNT.

THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING THE AMOUNT OF CONTRIBUTION IF IT'S ABOVE THE MINIMAL LEVEL.

AND THEN OF COURSE CHOOSING THE KIND OF PLAN THAT THEY -- THAT THEY WANT.

AND THERE WOULD BE A SMALL MENU OF CHOICES BASED ON HOW YOU WANT TO INVEST THE DOLLARS YOU ARE SAVING.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

AS I MENTIONED THIS IN THE INTRODUCTION, THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A BIPARTISAN EFFORT.

WE DON'T SAY THAT TOO OFTEN ANYMORE WHEN TALKING ABOUT LEGISLATION OR MORE PRECISELY LEGISLATIVE BATTLES.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WAS ABOUT THIS ISSUE THAT WAS ABLE TO GARNER THAT TYPE OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.

WELL, WE'RE REALLY PROUD.

WE HAD ALMOST OVER 82 SPONSORS, 20 SENATE SPONSORS.

BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS.

EVERYONE RECOGNIZES THAT THERE IS A SAVINGS CRISIS THERE.

AND WE CAN IDENTIFY THAT WE DON'T WANT TO BE THE ONES AT THE ENOF 65 LOOKING AT A SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK AND SAYING, MAYBE I COULD HAVE DONE MORE OR I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD THIS OPTION AVAILABLE OR I JUST DIDN'T KNOW BACK THEN ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT THAT WAS.

AND THIS IS KIND OF AN EASY WAY TO TAKE SOME OF THAT KNOWLEDGE THAT'S NOT ALWAYS PERVASIVE INTO VARIOUS COMMUNITIES ON FINANCIAL LITERACY AND SAY, HEY, IT CAME THROUGH MY EMPLOYER.

IT'S A GOOD PLAN.

IT'S ADMINISTERED AND ALL I HAVE TO DO IS SAY YES.

GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO POINT TO GOVERNMENT AND SAY HERE WE ARE HELPING, DOING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND NOT COSTING YOU ANYTHING AND BENEFIT YOU ENORMOUSLY DOWN THE ROAD.

THANKS, ROBERT FOR ASPEN BEING TEAM WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING WITH YOU SOON.

LIKEWISE.

THANK YOU.

BE WELL.

UP NOT DOUGLAS FORD, METROFOCUS.

NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HOUSE SOMETHING CRUMBLING ACCORDING TO THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE, SO IS THEIR HEALTH.

TENANTS LIVING IN NYCHA CONTROLLED APARTMENTS HAVE TO DEAL WITH LINGERING EFFECTS OF LEAKING CEILINGS, MOLD, VERBATIMEN AND ROACH INFESTATIONS HAVING A COLLECTIVE ILL EFFECT ON WELL BEING.

MAKING THE SITUATION WORSE, MANY OCCUPANTS ENDURED WIRND WITHOUT HEAT DUE TO TROVE MUCH BROKEN BOILERS.

TENANTS LOW INCOME ADVOCATES AND CITY OFFICIALS BLAMED PLACED BLAME WITH NIECH AIF LEADER.

. MORE THAN CONCERNING THAN ASSIGNING BLAME ARE THE LONG-TERM HEALTH EFFECTS ON THE 400,000 PEOPLE CALLING NYCHA APARTMENTS HOME.

AS PART OF THE INITIATIVE CHASING THE THE TREEM POVERTY, EQUITY AND AMERICA.

WE SPOKE TO THOSE WHO FEEL THAT NIECH AIF CONTROLLED UNITS ARE MAKING PEOPLE SFLIEK WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND HAVE TO SMELL HOLD EVERY DAY.

THE TOILET ISN'T WORKING.

YOU WAKE UP AND COME OUTSIDE, SEE THE WALL AND TENANTS SAYING THE THAT THE CHILDREN ARE SICK OR THEY ARE SICK.

SHE LAMENTS ABOUT THE CONDITIONS IN THE BRONX.

I HAVE TWO GRAND KIDS LIVING WITH ME.

I'M TESTING THEM FOR LEAD AT THEIR PHYSICALS.

SHE AND A NUMBER OF RESIDENTS TOOK ME ON A TOUR SHOWING ME ISSUE AFTER THE ISSUEN TO THE IT'S TAKING.

A NUMBER OF OF THE YOUTH BORN IN THE BUILD BUILDING HAVE RESPIRATORY ISSUES LATER DIAGNOSED AS ASTHMA.

ONE RESIDENT SHOWED ME HEAR WATER SOAK THE PRESIDENT FRAPT A LEAKY CEILING.

MOLD, MOLD, MOLD.

IT'S ALL OVER THE APARTMENTS.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT IT JUST GROWS.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.

IT WAS SUCH A BAD LEAK THAT THEY WERE TAKING IT DOWN AND THEY WERE -- THEY HAD TO KNOCK IT DOWN AND CLOSE THE WATER BECAUSE THE -- IT WAS JUST COMING DOWN IN GUSH.

THEY HAD TO TAKE OFF HER MIRROR AND EVERYTHING THAT SHE HAD HERE.

AND THIS IS THE RESULTS OF WHAT THEY DONE AND HAVE -- AND HAVEN'T BEEN BACK.

HOW LONG AGO WAS THIS?

THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS ALREADY.

THIS IS FROM SIX MONTHS AGO.

SIX MONTHS AGO.

THE WET AND DAMP CONDITIONS ARE A PERFECT BREDDING GROUND FOR MOLD.

THE GAPING HOLE FROM INCOMPLETE WORK IN THE KITCHEN HERE AND IN THE BATHROOM.

HOW WOULD YOU TAKE A SHOWER WHEN A WALL IS IS NOT HERE?

WELL I DO THE BEST I CAN.

I JUST TAKE THE SHOWER -- I TAKE MY SHOWER.

AND THE WATER HITS THE BAG.

SO THAT'S HOW WE TAKE A SHOWER.

NO MATTER WHAT WE PAY WE ARE ALL HUMAN FIRST.

AND THEN THE REST.

YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND ENTITLED TO QUALITY OF LIFE.

WITHIN THE PAST FEW WEEKS NIECH AIF CAME IN AND MADE RERPTS AT AMSTERDAM HOUSES IN MANHATTAN WORK IS UNDER WAY TO REPLACE THE ROOF.

IN THE BAILEY HOUSES THIS CEILING AND WALL IN THE HAL WHERE A ARE BEING PATCHED.

BUT THOSE ONLY ADDRESS A SMALL FRACTION OF THE PROBLEMS PLAYING THE BUILDS ACROSS THE CITY.

EARLIER WE VISITED THE RED FERN HOUSES IN QUEENS.

YOU CAN SMELL THE MOLD AS YOU ENTER THE BUILDING.

THIS DOESN'T NEED A TICKET.

THE PRIMARY THING IS THAT AIN'T OVERNIGHT.

THAT LOOKS LIKE BREAD MOLD TOO.

IT HAS SHORT TERM AND LONG ARE LONG-TERM HEALTH EFFECTUATES.

DR. LORINA THORPE IS AT THE NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND COMPLETED EXTENSIVE RESEARCH ON RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE HOUSING AND RELATIONSHIP TO THEIR HEALTH.

SHE HAS BEEN PART OF A TWO REPORTS ON A TOPIC ONE IN 2012 AND THE LATEST IN 2015.

SHE SAYS SHORT EXPOSURE TO CONDITIONS CAN HAVE AN IMPACT AND PRO LONGED EXPOSURE MAKES IT WORSE AND IS A DETRIMENT TO MENTAL HEALTH AS WELL AS PHYSICAL HEALTH.

IF YOU'RE LIVING WITH EXPOSURE TO MOLD, LEAD, PEST INFESTATION, IT CAN IMPACT ON DEVELOPING DISEASE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS, AND THEY CAN ALSO OVER TIME COMPOUND WITH JUST THE STRESS OF LIVING IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS NOT HEALTHY AND UNCOMFORTABLE AND GENERALLY NOT A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR AN INDIVIDUAL OR A FAMILY.

DR. THORPE'S DESCRIPTION OF SPLS MILES AN HOUR ARE THE COMPLAINT.

THE MOLD MICE AND MEL DUE CAN BE IDENTIFIED.

BUT THE UNSEEN STRESS IS PROBLEMATIC.

WHEN YOU COME HOME AND WANT TO SIT DOWN AND PROBABLY READ A MAGAZINE OR WATCH SOME TV AND YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LEAKS AND YOUR TOILET OVERFLOWING.

AND YOU DON'T HAVE ANY PEACE.

YOUR PEACE IS ALWAYS COMPROMISED HERE.

BAILEY HOUSE RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO TAKE A PROACTIVE ROLE.

THE THE BOARD HAS PARTNERED WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS TO ADDRESS CONCERNS AND DOCUMENT ISSUES.

IT LOOKS LIKE THE COURSE OF INSANITY COMPLAINTS ARE GETTING ATTENTION.

GOVERNOR CUOMO VISITED THE JACKSON HOUSES IN MARCH TO SEE THE SINS.

HE DLIECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY.

AS THE CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, I AM SORRY FOR THE CONDITIONS THAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH.

I AM TELLING YOU THAT NO RESPECTABLE NEW YORKER WOULD TAKE A WALK THROUGH THAT APARTMENT AND ALLOW IT TO CONTINUE.

THE GOVERNOR ALOINDICATED $250 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS TO THE AGENCY AND APPOINTED AN INDEPENDENT MONITOR TO OVERSEE HOW THE MONEY IS SPENT.

A SHAKE-UP IN LEADERSHIP IS COMING TO.

THE CHAIR OF THE HOUSING AUTHORITY IS STEPPING DOWN AT THE END OF THE APRIL.

SHARLENE NIMDS FOUNDING OF THE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES SAYS SHE IS OPTIMISTIC.

IF IT WASN'T PEOPLE LIKE YOU, YOU KNOW, METROFOCUS AND OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS THEY WOULD HAVE ALREADY GONE BACK AND SAT DOWN AND BEEN STATUS -- YOU KNOW THE STATUS QUO, THE SAME AS USUAL.

WE'RE NOW SAYING TIME HAS CHANGED.

AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THE VOICES OF THE RESIDENTS ARE HEARD.

> MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO JUSTED THE POSSIBILITY OF INTRODUCING A VACANCY FEE OR TAX FOR STOERCHTS THAT ARE LEFT EMPTY A LONG PERIOD OF TIME OSTENSIBLY TO SEEK TOP DOLLAR RENT.

THE PROPOSALS COMES AFTER A CITY COUNCIL REPORT FOUND IN MANHATTAN VACANCY RATES DOUBLED INTEREST 2% TO 4% OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS.

THE REPORT BLAMED LANDLORDS FOR CHARGING SKY ROCKETING RENTS AS BRICK BRICK AND MORTAR RETAILERS STRUGGLE WITH ONLINE COMPETITION.

THE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF THE REAL DEAL, A REAL ESTATE PROCESS PUBLICATION HAS BEEN COVERING THIS STORY EXTENSIVELY.

HE JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT IT.

AT A THAUNGTS FOR JOINING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST OF ALL, IS THE PROBLEM OF EMPTY STOREFRONTS UNPRECEDENTED IN NEW YORK CITY, BECAUSE YOU KNOW SOME BUILDING OWNERS SAY THIS IS PART OF THE REGULAR BUSINESS CYCLE, THAT HAS COME.

AND THAT WILL SOON LEAVE?

IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF BOTH.

THERE IS CERTAINLY SOME -- THE MARKET, THE RETAIL MARKET HAS GONE UP AND DOWN OVER THE YEARS.

BUT SOME PEOPLE CALL IT EPIDEMIC.

THERE IS A SYSTEMIC CHANGE IN THE RETAIL MARKET GIVEN THE RISE OF eCOMMERCE AND WE'RE GRAPPLING WITH THAT.

I'VE BEEN IN NEW YORK CITY 40 YEARS.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT.

I'VE NEVER SEEN IT BETH OF US LIVE IN BROOKLYN.

IT'S NOT JUST MANHATTAN.

I WAS DRIVING IN AND TAKING A CAR.

ON THE ATLANTIC AVENUE, STOREFRONT AFTER STOREFRONT, EMPTY, RENTS AVAILABLE, BROKERS.

IT WAS JUST -- IT WAS PRETTY SHOCKING TO SEE.

SHOCKING AND KR DEPRESSING.

BUT IS THIS AS SOME ELECTED OFFICIALS PORTRAY MOSTLY THE FAULT OF GREEDY LANDLORDS WHO REFUSE TO NEGOTIATE LOWER RENTS.

I THINK THAT'S A LITTLE BIT OF OVERBLOWN TO BE HONEST.

WHAT WE HAVE IS RETAILERS ARE GRAPPLING WITH A NEW ENVIRONMENT WHERE YOU HAVE THE LIKES OF AMAZON, JET.COM THE EGIANTS TAKING DAY TO DAY SHOPPING EXPERIENCE OFF THE THE STOREFRONTS AND ONLINE.

RETAILERS HAVEN'T FIGURED THAT OUT.

LANDLORDS ABSOLUTELY HAVE BEEN IN SITUATIONS WHERE THEY'VE HELD OUT FOR RENTS.

BUT THAT'S A MINORITY OF THE ISSUE.

IS IT REALLY A SMALL MINORITY?

BECAUSE YOU THINK HOW IN THE WORLTD CAN THEY AFRAID -- I'VE EVEN STOREFRONTS SHUT DOWN A MONTH AND A YEAR.

HOW IS THIS ECONOMICALLY THE PROFITABLE FOR THEM.

RAFAEL THERE IS A REAL COST TO A STORE EMPTY.

YOU'RE PAYING DEBT ON THE PROPERTY, TAXES ON THE PROPERTY.

YOU WANT TO HAVE THE INCOME STREAM.

AND RETAILERS ARE AN IMPORTANT POINT OF THE INCOME STREAM.

IF THEY LEFT IT FOR TWO MONTHS I CAN UNDERSTAND.

BUT YOU HAVE SEEN THE STOREFRONTS BEEN VACATE ABOUT A YEAR.

IT SEEMS TO BE A FUNCTION OF RETAILERS STRUGGLING FIGURING OUT HOW TO COMPETE WITH eCOMMERCE AND LANDLORDS SAY THERE IS TOO MUCH REGULATION, LICENSING FEES.

RETAILERS ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY RENT AND RENT TAX.

SO THEY'RE BURDENED WITH ALL OF THAT FROM THE CITY AND STATE.

WELL THE MAYOR HAS PROPOSED AS WE KNOW -- IT WAS NFLLY PROPOSED PROCESS.

IN THE COURSE OF AN INTERVIEW.

HE BROUGHT UP THE IDEA AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION OF IMPOSING POSSIBLY IMPOSING A VACANCY FEE OR A VACANCY TAX FOR THE LANDLORDS WHO KEEP THE STOREFRONTS EMPTY FOR A WHILE.

BY THE WAY TALKING ABOUT RESTAURANTS AS WELL.

TALKING ABOUT RETAIL.

SO FIRST OF ALL.

FIRST OF ALL, IF THE MAYOR IS SERIOUS ABOUT THIS COULD HE AND THE CITY GOVERNMENT DO THIS?

OR IS THIS SITCOM FOR ALBANY TOO.

IT SEEMS LIKA I AM MAYOR HEAR ME ROAR.

THIS HAS TO GO THREW ALBANY.

IT HASN'T BEEN PROPOSED BEFORE.

SINCE HE MADE THE COMMENTS.

IT WAS AN INTERVIEW LAST WEEK.

AND HE SAID CERTAIN THINGS BEFORE.

IN NOVEMBER HE SAID -- THIS IS A FAMSZ THING HE SAID IN NOVEMBER.

IF I HAD MY DRUTHERS THE CITY WOULD DETERMINE HOW PRIVATE PROPERTY IS USED.

AND THAT'S JUST NOT FEASIBLE.

IT'S A FREE MARKET ECONOMY.

YOU KNOW, LAST TIME I CHECKED.

THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT LANDLORDS SAY IS THE FURTHER PUNITIVE MEASURE.

IT DOESN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM WHICH IS RETAILERS MOVED ONLINE.

SO IF THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY AND THE ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR GOT TOGETHER TO SIT DOWN TO DRAFT ONE OR TWO IMMEDIATE STEPS WE COULD TAKE TO AMELIORATE THIS PROBLEM, WHAT WOULD THE STEPS DO.

THEY MIGHT INCENTIVIZE FILLING UP STORES.

AND IF YOU GET IT RENTED THERE WILL ABCUT ON TAX.

THAT COULD BE A SOLUTION.

BUT THE THINGS HAVE TO GO THROUGH STATE LEVEL CHANNELS.

IT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFICULT.

THEY HAVE NEVER -- I DON'T THINK THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ININCENTIVE OR CARROT IN THAT WAY.

WHAT THE LANDLORDS HAVE SAID IS FORGET ABOUT US.

WORK ON FIXING THE PROBLEMS FOR THE RETAILERS BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEIR COSTS ARE TOO HIGH.

THEY ARE FACING YOU KNOW A DRAMATIC CHANGE IN THEIR BUSINESS.

SO IN CONCLUSION, IF THE DYNAMIC STAYS AS IT IS -- WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS?

HOW WOULD IT AFFECT?

WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE IN TEN YEARS IF NOTHING IS DONE.

IN THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS YOU'LL SEE MORE EMPTY STOREFRONTS.

IN OVER TEN YEARS AS YOU SAID THE MARKET WILL BEAR IT OUT.

RENTS WILL FALL TO A LEVEL WHERE IT'S FINANCIALLY FEASIBLE AGAIN RENT.

AND RETAIL -- THE EXPERIENCE IN RETAIL WILL CHANGE.

IT'S GOING TO BE A HYBRID BETWEEN IN STORE EXPERIENCE AND SOMETHING SHOPPING ONLINE.

YOU MIGHT GO INTO A STORE AND YOU MIGHT TRY SOMETHING ON.

BUT THEN THE COLOR OR THE SIZE THAT YOU WANT WILL BE ONLINE SHIPPED TO YOUR DOORSTEP.

WELL WE'LL SEE IF IT HA HAPPENED.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT IT.

APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU.

> THE BRONX IS JEROME'S AVENUE IS HOME A BUSTLING COLLECTION OF AUTO BODY SHOPS SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND VARIETY OF OTHER SMALL BUSINESSES.

AND MARCH 22nd THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED A REZONING MEASURE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD AFFECTING 92 BLOCKS OF THE AVENUE.

THE PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CHANGES THIS PLAN BRINGS ARE AROUND THE CORNER.

BUT WHAT CAN LOCALS EXPECT?

CURBED NEW YORK'S RECENT ESSAY WHAT HAPPENS TO JEROME AVENUE AFTER THE REZONING VISUALLY DOCUMENTS THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE OF THE COMMUNITY AND DISCUSSING GROWING CONCERN OF THE IMPENDING GENTRIFICATION.

THE THE EE IS A SAY AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER JOINS US TO DISCUSS THIS.

NATHAN WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

FOR FOLKS THAT MIGHT NOT BE AS FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA HERE, MIGHT HAVE HEARD ME SAY SHOPS, SLAUGHTERHOUSES.

YES.

AND OTHER TYPES OF BUSINESSES.

GIVE US A BETTER SENSE OF EXACTLY WHAT -- WHAT THAT STRETCH LOOKS LIKE NOW.

YEAH, SO BASICALLY WHAT THE CITY HAS DONE IS REZONED ABOUT 92 BLOCKS OF LAND AROUND JEROME AVENUE.

AND ALONG JEROME AVENUE ITSELF YOU HAVE FOUR TRAINS RIGHT ABOVE A LITTLE AVENUE MAINLY ONE AND TWO STORY WAREHOUSES, LOW BUILDING, MOSTLY AUTO BODY SHOPS.

ABOUT 200 AUTO BODY SHOPS THERE.

AND A WHOLE COLLECTION OF KIND OF SIDE STREET BUSINESS NAS INCLUDE LIKE CHURCHES, MOSQUES, RESTAURANTS, SLAUGHTERHOUSES, LIVE CHICKEN SLAUGHTERHOUSES.

WAS THERE SIGNIFICANT OBJECTION TO THIS?

THE ZONING PROCESS CAN BE VERY CUMBERSOME.

HOW DID THIS PAY PLAY OUT.

THIS LIKE A LOT OF REZONING IN THE CITY HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE CONCERNED ABOUT IT, A LOT OF PROTESTS THAT HAPPENED AROUND THE JEROME AVENUE REZBL.

WHAT WERE THE CONCERNING.

YOU ARE LOOKING AT NEIGHBORHOOD WITH MALL SBISS, LITERALLY MALL BUSINESSES AND WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THAT, THE LITTLE AUTO BODY SHOPS BUT LOSE THE FABRIC OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

WHAT IS THAT?

FOR THE FOLKS THAT ARE THERE?

YEAH.

WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE NOTION OF THE FEAR OF GENTRIFICATION.

UM-HUM.

HOW DOES THAT APPLY HERE DO YOU THINK?

WELL, I MEAN YOU LOOK AT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

IT'S AN EXTREMELY DIVERSE NEIGHBORHOOD.

IT'S VERY WORKING CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD.

AND IF YOU GO IN THERE AND YOU REMOVE, YOU KNOW, HUNDREDS OF JOBS, HUNDREDS OF BUSINESSES AND REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S REALLY GOING TO CHANGE THE ECONOMIC MAKEUP OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

IS THIS A COMMERCIAL DARWINISM WE MIGHT SEE PLAYING OUT.

I DON'T KNOW IF THAT TERM REPLIES.

I THINK IT IS.

WHERE YOU HAVE BIGGER BETTER BUSINESSES SAYING WE MIGHT TAKE OVER AND PUT THE SMALL ARE NOT SO GOOD BUSINESS -- YOU SAID HUNDREDS OF BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT SHOPS.

WAY DO WE NEED HUNDREDS OF BODY SHOPS HERE?

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL PLAY OUT.

I MEAN, I THINK IT'S IN THE BIGGER SENSE IT'S LIKE A DIFFERENT VISION FOR WHAT NEW YORK CITY SHOULD BE IN THE FUTURE.

WE HAVE THIS CITY THAT, YOU KNOW IS EXTREMELY DIVERSE, TONS OF SMALL BUSINESSES, HAS NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE DEDICATED TO YOU KNOW AUTO BODY SHOPS OR SLAUGHTERHOUSES OR INDUSTRY.

AND WE'RE LOSING THAT.

WE'RE LOSING THAT ACROSS THE CITY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS AREA IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE SHORTLY.

IT HAS PROMISED MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, NEW PARKS, BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE.

ALL OF WHICH SOUNDS GREAT.

SOUNDS GREAT.

BUT I'M MORE INTERESTED IN WHAT WE ARE LOSING IN NEW YORK WHAT WE'RE LOSING IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

THAT'S -- I REALLY THINK WHAT WE LOSE THERE IS THIS DIVERSITY MAKING NEW YORK CITY GREAT.

DIVERSITY OF SMALL BUSINESSES, DIVERSITY OF PEOPLE, DIVERSITY OF, YOU KNOW, INSTITUTIONS, NEIGHBORHOOD INSTITUTIONS.

SO IT'S HARD TO SAY HOW EXACTLY THIS REZONING IS PLAYING OUT.

IT'S TAKING YEARS AND YEARS FOR THIS TO KIND OF COME TO FRUITION.

BUT I THINK PEOPLE'S FEARS ABOUT LOSING SOME ASPECT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARE WELL-FOUNDED.

WELL I THINK IT'S ANOTHER REPLAYING OF THIS KIND OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DRAMA THAT WE SEE PLAYING OUT IN THE STREETS OF NEW YORK CITY.

AND THIS WILL BE AN INTERESTING THING TO KEEP AND EYE ON WITH.

. NATHAN THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS.

IT'S COMPELLING TO SEE THE LANDSCAPE CHANGE.

WE'LL SEE WHETHER IT'S A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING.

WE APPRECIATE YOUR ASPEN BEING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TAKE CARE.

ANNOUNCER: FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

ANNOUNCER: CORPORATE FUNDING FOR METROFOCUS WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

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

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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