TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Over 1,000 New York Housing Authority tenants had no heat or hot water during their Thanksgiving holiday. We have the details. Leeza Gibbons is here with advice for all those who help their loved ones. An exciting and important new dialogue about bridging the divide. Find out how you can be a part of it.

Aired on November 28, 2018. 

 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' A NEW OUTRAGE.

OVER 1,000 NEW YORK HOUSING AUTHORITY TENANTS ENDURED THEIR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WITHOUT HEAT OR HOT WATER.

AND THEY'RE STILL FACING PROBLEMS EVEN AFTER THE MANY PROMISES TO FIX THE FAILING CITY AGENCY.

WE HAVE THE LATEST ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY.

> NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL CAREGIVER'S MONTH.

AND FOR THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO PLAY THAT ROLE FOR THEIR LOVED ONES, THE TOLL ON THEIR OWN MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH CAN BE DEVASTATING.

> AND LEEZA GIBBONS HAS EXPERIENCED THE STRESS OF CARING FOR HER OWN FAMILY AND IS NOW SPREADING THE WORD ON HOW OTHERS CAN STAY AFLOAT IN THE MOST TRYING OF TIMES.

> AN HONEST AND OPEN CONVERSATION ABOUT BRIDGING THE DIVIDE BETWEEN DIFFERENT RELIGIONS AND TRADITIONS.

AN EXCITING AND IMPORTANT DIALOGUE IS GOING ON IN NEW YORK CITY.

FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF IT.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'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 AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PRO-FEEDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

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

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

AS TEMPERATURES DROP AS WINTER APPROACHES, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HOUSING CONTINUE TO SUFFER WITH HEAT AND HOT WATER OUTAGES.

COLD, OUTRAGED, AND FED UP, TEN NA -- TENANTS AND CITY OFFICIALS ARE SEEKING ING ANSWERS.

THE CITY CONTROLLER, WHO WAS JOINED BY CITY HOUSING RESIDENTS, GAVE THEM THE BOTTOM LINE.

I WANT EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF PAPER, EVERY REPORT, EVERY MANAGERIAL DECISION SO THAT WE CAN GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THESE OUTAGES THAT KEEP HAPPENING YEAR AFTER YEAR.

ALL THIS AFTER AN OUTAGE THAT LEFT 4,200 RESIDENTS OF THE GRANT HOUSES IN HARLEM WITHOUT LEASE ON THANKSGIVING DAY.

THE COMPTROLLER HAS NOW SERVED THE HOUSING AUTHORITY A SECOND SUBPOENA, BUT WILL THEY RELEASE THE HOUSING INFORMATION AND WILL RESIDENTS FINALLY GET THE WARM WINTER THEY DESERVE?

HERE WITH MORE ON THIS IS REPORTER GREG SMITH.

GREG, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

HAPPY TO BE HERE.

I GUESS AN UNFORTUNATE TOPIC TO BE REPORTING ON, BUT FIRST TELL US WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THE COMPTROLLER'S PRESS CONFERENCE?

THE ORIGINATION OF THE SITU SITUATION WAS BACK TO LAST WINTER.

THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED TO ARCTIC CONDITIONS AND STAYED LIKE THAT FOR LIKE TWO WEEKS.

AND DURING THAT TIME, THE BOILERS ACROSS THE CITY AND THE PUBLIC HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS WERE FAILING LEFT AND RIGHT.

IT WAS A DISASTER.

AND THE CITY COUNCIL ULTIMATELY HELD A HEARING WHICH THEY REVEALED THERE WERE MORE THAN 300,000 TENANTS WHO WENT WITH EITHER -- DEALING WITH HEAT OUTAGE OR HOT WATER OUT ANNALS -- OUTAGES LAST SEASON.

THAT'S ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF ALL OF THE TENANTS.

SO THREE OUT OF FOUR TENANTS HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS NONSENSE LAST YEAR.

THAT WAS LAST WINTER.

SCOTT STRINGER SAYS THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG HERE, SO WE SHOULD LOOK INTO THIS.

SO THEY BEGAN TO ASK THE HOUSING AUTHORITY FOR THE PAPERWORK THAT'S INVOLVED IN THIS.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

IT'S BASICALLY, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE A TENANT.

YOU CALL UP THEIR -- THEY HAVE A THING CALLED COMMAND CENTER, WHICH SOUNDS VERY IMPRESSIVE, DOESN'T IT?

YOU CALL UP AND YOU ASK THE PEOPLE THERE, CAN YOU PLEASE SEND SOMEONE DOWN HERE, BECAUSE I HAVE NO HEAT AND I HAVE A CHILD OR I'M 80 YEARS OLD AND THIS IS A TERRIBLE CONDITION TO BE LIVING IN.

SO THEY THEN GENERATE A TICKET, THAT'S WHAT THEY CALL IT.

AND THEN THEY ALLEGEDLY SEND SOMEBODY THERE.

THAT PERSON IS SUPPOSED TO INVESTIGATE, THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO GO TO THE APARTMENT.

BUT THEY'RE ALSO SUPPOSED TO GO AND CHECK THE BOILER AND THE HEATING SYSTEM AND SO ON.

SO STRINGER WANTS THE PAPERWORK.

WHAT HAPPENS?

WHAT'S THE SFLAL -- WHAT'S THE TRAIL?

THAT WAS REQUESTED LAST YEAR.

HE ASKED THEM TO PRODUCE THIS INFORMATION, AND THEY DOTTLED SO IN MID NOVEMBER, HE SENT THEM A SUBPOENA FOR THE FIRST TIME.

HE DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THIS, HE JUST KEPT IT QUIET.

THEY TURNED OVER, AGAIN, SOME STUFF, BUT NOT EVERYTHING HE WAS ASKING FOR.

AND SO LAST FRIDAY, HE SENT THEM ANOTHER SUBPOENA.

THIS IS THE SECOND SUBPOENA IN WHICH HE SAID YOU'VE GOT TO PRODUCE THIS STUFF AND PRODUCE IT BY DECEMBER 4th, I BELIEVE IT IS.

BY THE END OF THIS WEEK, THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO COME UP WITH THIS STUFF, AND IT'S PRETTY DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT HOW EACH ONE OF THESE WORK TICKETS WAS HANDLED.

THE POINT BEING, WHAT DID THEY DO LAST WINTER THAT THEY PROBABLY SHOULD NOT DO THIS WINTER?

AND SO THAT'S WHAT HE'S LOOKING AT.

I DON'T KNOW WHEN HE'S GOING TO COME OUT WITH HIS REPORT, BUT IT WILL BE COMING OUT FAIRLY SOON, AND WHILE THIS IS HAPPENING, NATURALLY, THIS IS HAPPENING AGAIN THIS YEAR.

SO IN THE FIRST I BELIEVE IT WAS --

YOU'RE REFERRING TO THE HEAT OUTAGES.

HEAT OUTAGES AND HOT WATER OUT OUTAGES.

THE HEAT SEASON IS OCTOBER 1st, THAT'S WHEN THEY START LOOKING AT THIS.

AND THEN IN THE FIRST THREE WEEKS OF IT, THERE WERE 70,000 TENANTS WHO HAD SOME FORM OF HEAT OUTAGE.

THAT'S THIS WINTER.

IS THERE ANY INFORMATION --

IT'S OFF TO A WONDERFUL START.

UNFORTUNATELY, THAT'S TERRIBLE FOR THE TENANTS.

IS THERE ANY INDICATION WHY THE HOUSING AUTHORITY HASN'T BEEN MORE TRANSPARENT WITH THIS INFORMATION?

THEY HAVE A LONG TRADITION OF BEING OPAQUE.

THEY DO NOT -- THEY GIVE UP INFORMATION BEGRUDGINGLY.

I'VE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS FOR YEARS TRYING TO GET THEM TO EXPLAIN WHAT'S GOING ON THERE.

IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, WHERE YOU'RE DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE PUT IN HARM'S WAY, BECAUSE IF YOU ARE, AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN OR IF YOU'RE ELDERLY OR JUST A REGULAR PERSON, HAVING THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR APARTMENT DROP INTO THE 50s AND IN THE 40s, IS FRANKLY DANGEROUS.

AND SO IT IS CONSIDERED -- THESE ARE EMERGENCY CONDITIONS.

THAT IS ACTUALLY A TACTICAL TERM FOR THE CITY.

IF ANY LAND LORD, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, THE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW 65, IT'S CONSIDERED AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.

AND THEY KNOW THIS.

SO WHAT DID THEY DO?

OVER THE SUMMER, THEY WENT BACK AND THEY APPARENTLY REPLACED BOILERS AT 12 DEVELOPMENTS.

THERE ARE 320 DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY.

SOME OF THEM HAVE PRETTY DECENT BOILERS ALREADY, SO THEY DIDN'T NEED REPLACING.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF BOILERS, A TOTAL OF 1,966 BOILERS IN THIS CRAZY SYSTEM.

AND THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THEM THAT THEY -- THE HOUSING AUTHORITY HAS RED FLAGGED AS BEING ESSENTIALLY READY TO BREAK DOWN.

SO WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING THE INFORMATION THAT WE ALL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING OR NOT HAPPENING WITH THE HOUSING AUTHORITY, WHO IS GOING TO FORCE THEIR HAND?

WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE SUBPOENA?

WHO IS THE PERSON WHO SAYS THIS HAS TO BE DONE?

SO WHEN STRINGER ISSUES A SUBPOENA, HE NOW HAS THE COURT INVOLVED.

SO WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS, IF THEY DO NOT PRODUCE THIS MATERIAL BY DECEMBER 4th, THEN HE CAN NOW GO BACK TO A JUDGE AND SAY THEY'RE IN CONTEMPT OF THIS ORDER, AND THE JUDGE CAN THEN ORDER THEM TO COMPLY IMMEDIATELY, AND IF THEY DON'T COMPLY, THEY COULD BE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT.

SO THAT'S KIND OF THE LEVERAGE THAT STRINGER HAS.

AGAIN, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT INVESTIGATING WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR.

IN THE INTERIM, WE HAVE THE SAME SITUATION THAT'S BEGINNING TO EMERGE AGAIN, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE WELL AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM, AND THEY'RE STRUGGLING TO KIND OF STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE RIGHT NOW.

SO THEN WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING GOING FORWARD, AT LEAST FOR TENANTS?

THIS INFORMATION WOULD HELP IN TERMS OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO WE PUSH MORE GOING FORWARD.

BUT IN THE INTERIM, IF YOU'RE WITHOUT HEAT, WHAT DO YOU DO?

IF YOU'RE A TENANT, ACTUALLY, IF YOU'RE A PUBLIC HOUSING TENANT OR A TENANT, YOU HAVE AN OPTION.

AND THAT IS ONCE THE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW A CERTAIN AMOUNT, THE HEAT GOES OUT, YOU DON'T NOTICE IT AT FIRST, AND THEN YOU REALIZE IT'S NOT A SCARY SITUATION, YOU CALL 311, AND 311 ESSENTIALLY DISPATCHES HOUSING INSPECTORS, WHICH IS A CITY AGENCY THAT THEY ARE OBLIGATED TO SHOW UP AT YOUR APARTMENT WITH A THERMOMETER.

THEY CHECK THE TEMPERATURE.

IF IT'S BELOW 65, THEY DO ONE OF TWO THINGS.

THEY ORDER THE LAND LORD TO DEAL WITH THIS, OR THE CITY, IF THE LAND LORD, IF HE'S M.I.A., THEY DO IT THEMSELVES AND BILL THE BILL LAND LORD.

THAT'S A NONPUBLIC HOUSING TENANT.

A PUBLIC HOUSING TENANT, THEY HAVE TO CALL THE COMMAND CENTER AND RELY ON THE HOUSING AUTHORITY TO COME AND DO THE SAME THING.

AND THAT IS TO SEND SOMEONE OUT TO CHECK THE TEMPERATURE, AND THEN TO FIX IT WITHIN A 24-HOUR PERIOD, THAT'S THEIR GOAL.

IT SOUNDS LIKE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO MAKE SURE THERE'S A PAPER TRAIL OF THERE NOT BEING HEAT IN THEIR APARTMENT.

YEAH.

IN ORDER FOR ANYBODY TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW THEY PERFORMED.

AND THAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPORTING IN FOLLOWING THIS SO CLOSELY.

THIS IS A CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT SUBJECT FOR OUR CITY.

THANK YOU.

> NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL CAREGIVER'S MONTH, AND IN THE U.S. ALONE, MORE THAN 65 MILLION PEOPLE PROVIDE CARE FOR CHRONICALLY ILL, DISABLED, OR AN ABLING FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND DURING ANY GIVEN YEAR.

WATCHING A LOVED ONE AGE CAN BE HARD, AND HELPING CARE FOR THEM CAN BE HARDER, WITH CAREGIVERS FACING INCREDIBLE PRESSURE, WHILE MAINTAINING THEIR OWN DAY-TO-DAY LIFE.

TV HOST AND ADVOCATE LEEZA GIBBONS UNDERSTANDS THE STRUGGLES AFTER TAKING CARE OF HER OWN MOTHER WHO HAD ALZHEIMER'S.

THIS HAS EMPOWERED HER TO HELP CAREGIVERS WITH HER CHARITY, LEEZA'S CARE CONNECTION.

SHE OPENED IT USING MONEY SHE RAISED ON 'CELEBRITY APPRENTICE.'

SHE JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER ORGANIZATION AND TO SHARE HER ADVICE AND SUPPORT FOR OTHER CAREGIVERS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

SO LEEZA, WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

SO GIVEN THAT YOU'VE HAD THIS FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE OF BEING A CAREGIVER, IN YOUR TIME, WHAT WERE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CAME UP THAT YOU NOTICED, ISSUES THAT WEREN'T BEING ADDRESSED OR ACKNOWLEDGED IN THE GENERAL ATMOSPHERE?

FIRST OF ALL, I THINK WE DON'T EVEN RECOGNIZE CAREGIVERS.

IT'S THE FAMILY MEMBERS THAT SHOW UP EVERY DAY, THEY'RE LIKE FAMILY FIRST RESPONDERS.

EVERYBODY IS BAILING, AND THEY'RE RUNNING TOWARDS THE ENERGY TO TRY TO FIX IT.

SO JUST ADJUST FOG A NEW NORMAL, IT'S HARD, BECAUSE THAT'S CHANGE, AND WE ALL ARE -- HAVE A TENDENCY TO RESIST CHANGE.

BUT WITH CAREGIVERS, AS WITH ANYONE WHO IS SUCCESSFUL AT ANYTHING, YOU DON'T FEAR THE CHANGE, YOU LEARN HOW TO CHANGE THE FEAR.

AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL CARE GIVING EXPERIENCE.

THAT IS REALLY POWERFUL, BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO ARE ON OUR STAFF WITH 13, EVEN IN MY OWN PERSONAL LIFE, CARING FOR A CHRONICALLY ILL PERSON, THAT IS EMOTIONALLY TAXING.

IS THAT SOMETHING YOUR ORGANIZATION HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH AND PROCESS?

WE DO, BECAUSE YOU EMPTY OUT.

AS CAREGIVERS, WE'RE NURTURERS, AND 2/3 OF US ARE WOMEN.

THIS IS REALLY THE WOMEN'S ISSUE.

SO WE GIVE AND GIVE AND GIVE.

AND THAT'S OUR HONOR AND THAT'S OUR JOY TO BE ABLE TO OFFER THAT.

BUT THAT ALSO MEANS FAMILIES ARE UNRAVELING, EMOTIONALLY, FINANCIALLY, SPIRITUALLY, FIZ C -- PHYSICALLY.

OUR MANTRA IS, TAKE CARE TO GIVE CARE.

FOR SOMEBODY WHO MIGHT BE HEAR THING OR SAY THING AND SAYING OKAY, I HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER, THEY NEED MY HELP, BUT I'M ALSO A MOM, OR I HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB AND I JUST -- I DON'T EVEN SEE HOW I COULD BEGIN TO BALANCE ALL OF THIS --

THERE'S NO BALANCE.

BALANCE IN THIS SCENARIO IS BOGUS.

WE HAVE TO FORGET IT AND RESET TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE.

THAT WILL BE THIS OVERWHELMING, OH, MY GOSH.

IT'S A MATTER OF PRIORITIZING THEN.

I THINK IT'S A MATTER OF HAVING A PLAN, RECOGNIZING THAT YOU CANNOT WALK THIS PATH ALONE.

THE TENDENCY IS TO ISOLATE.

WE GET CAUGHT IN THE TRAP OF WOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE.

THOSE ARE TRANSPORTATION.

THERE'S GUILT THAT'S INSTRUCTIVE AND GUILT THAT YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF BECAUSE IT WILL TRIP YOU UP.

EVERY CAREGIVER HAS GUILT.

IF YOU'RE FEELING IING TINGS OFT BECAUSE YOU LOST YOUR TEMPER, THAT'S INSTRUCTOR.

THAT'S WHAT I CALL THE GOOD GUILT.

THE OTHER GUILT IS JUST NOT HELPFUL ON YOUR JOURNEY, AND IT WILL BRING YOU DOWN.

ANY OTHER TIPS THAT YOU CAN GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH THIS?

I ALWAYS SAY THERE ARE SOME 'F' WORDS THAT ARE HELPFUL DURING THIS JOURNEY.

ONE IS FLEXIBILITY, THE OTHER IS FORGIVENESS.

FORGIVE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU CAN'T ALWAYS MAKE IT BETTER.

YOU WILL MESS UP.

FORGIVING YOUR LOVED ONES FOR HAVING THE AUDACITY TO GET SICK.

YOU KNOW, OUR PARENTS, WE THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE ROCK SOLID, THAT'S WHO THEY REPRESENT TO US.

AND OUR HEROES FOREVER.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO CREATE THIS AMAZING ORGANIZATION WITH MONEY YOU WON ON 'CELEBRITY APPRENTICE,' WHAT WAS YOUR FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH THE PRESIDENT?

I KNEW DONALD TRUMP'S BOARD ROOM.

A PLACE ON THAT SHOW IS KNOWN FOR BEING SO FEROCIOUS, IT BRINGS THE TOUGHEST GUYS AND MEANEST GIRLS TO TEARS AND TANTRUMS.

FOR ME, IT WAS A PLACE TO REALLY PUT THE FOCUS ON MY BURNING DESIRE.

I THINK THAT'S HOW I WON.

REALLY EASY TO DISMISS OH, SHE'S NOT GOING TO GET VERY FAR, SHE'S TOO NICE OR WHATEVER.

BUT NEVER UNDERESTIMATE SOMEBODY WHO HAS A BURNING DESIRE.

AND I WANTED TO HONOR MY MOTHER'S JOURNEY WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.

I WANTED TO RECOGNIZE CARE GIVING FAMILIES THAT.

'S WHAT GOT ME TO THE END.

THEN WHEN TRUMP ANNOUNCED -- TO ME, IT WAS LIKE WHOEVER GET INTO THAT OFFICE IS DEALING WITH UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS OF A GROWING, AGING POPULATION LIKE WE'VE NEVER SEEN.

WE HAVE 10,000 BOOMERS TURNING 65 EVERY DAY, SO LOOKING AT CARE GIVING AND THE INCREASE OF CHRONIC ILLNESS AND DISEASE, THAT'S A VERY REAL, I HOPE, PRIORITY FOR TRUMP.

I LIKE TO SUPPORT CAREGIVERS BY HAVING THEM LOOK AT WHAT'S AVAILABLE.

I TELL YOU, THERE'S A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY OUT THERE NOW THAT IS OFFERING TREMENDOUS PIECE OF MIND AND TREMENDOUS SAFETY.

MY DAD HAD A HEART ATTACK AS YOU SAID.

AND HE, AFTER MY MOM DIED, LIVED ALONE.

SO I WAS WORRIED ABOUT MY DAD, WHAT IF HE FELL?

I LIVE THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY.

SO I GUILTED HIM INTO GETTING A MEDICAL ALERT DEVICE, BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT IT.

OF COURSE NOT.

RESISTANT, PROUD.

YES.

AND THEY DON'T NEED A BABYSITTER.

THAT'S IT.

NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME.

SO I COULD RECOGNIZE THAT WAS HIS VULNERABILITY AND HIS FEAR.

I SAID, DADDY, IT'S FOR ME, AND IT REALLY WAS.

I WORRY AND I KNOW YOU DON'T WANT ME TO BE WORRIED.

SURE ENOUGH, HE HAD A HEART ATTACK.

HAD HE NOT BEEN WEARING THE LIFELINE, WE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD MY DAD.

SO BUILD A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY.

THAT'S IT.

WE WAIT A WHILE TO DO THAT.

WE'RE RESISTANT TO THAT.

IT IS GETTING BETTER.

SO DURING THIS MONTH, IF THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE YOU, AND I KNOW WHO ARE CARING FOR SOMEONE TO SAY I KNOW IT'S HARD WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT GOES A LONG WAY.

DOESN'T IT?

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US.

THIS IS SOME REALLY HEALING INFORMATION AND TIPS THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN USE NOW OR IN THE FUTURE.

YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION, FACTS ARE THERE HOW TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH THE TECHNOLOGY PIECE AT PHILLIP'S LIFELINE.

EXCELLENT.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LEEZA GIBBONS'S ORGANIZATION, LEEZA'S CARE CONNECTION, GO TO OUR WEBSITE, METROFOCUS.ORG.

> THE UNITED PALACE OF SPIRITUAL ARTS RECENTLY CREATED A MONTHLY FORUM CALLED OPEN HEART CONVERSATIONS, WHOSE MISSION IS TO HELP NEW YORKERS COME TOGETHER AND FOSTER RESPECT, TOLERANCE, AND HUMAN CONNECTION.

A TALL ORDER AT A TIME WHEN DIVISIONS ARE RAM PANT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND WHERE OPPONENTS ARE INCREASINGLY SEEN AS ENEMIES.

THE CONCRETE GOAL IS FOR PARTICIPANTS TO LEARN ABOUT THE DIFFERENT FAITH AND WISDOM TRADITIONS FOUND RIGHT HERE, TRADITIONS SUCH AS JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, AMONG MANY OTHERS.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT OPEN HEART CONVERSATIONS IS THE SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED PALACE, HEATHER SHEA.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY.

BEFORE WE GET INTO THE OPEN HEART CONVERSATIONS, I WONDER IF YOU CAN TALK ABOUT THE UNITED PALACE.

WHAT IS IT, WHERE IS IT, AND HOW DID IT BEGIN?

IT'S ONE OF THE WONDER THEATERS.

THOSE GREAT MOVIE THEATERS DEVELOPED IN 1929, AND THEN IN THE LATE '60s, BECAUSE PEOPLE STARTED WATCHING TELEVISION, PEOPLE WEREN'T GOING TO THE MOVIES QUITE AS MUCH.

SO AT THAT POINT, REVEREND IKE BOUGHT IT AND TURNED IT INTO A SPIRITUAL CENTER.

SO WE HAVE MOVIES, ARTS AND EDUCATION, AS WELL AS CHURCH ON SUNDAY AND THE OPEN HEART CONVERSATIONS.

AND YOU MENTIONED ALSO THE UNITED HEALTH IS ON 176th AND BROADWAY.

SO IT'S IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS.

MANY NEW YORKERS HAVEN'T SPENT TIME IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, BUT GET ON THE A-TRAIN AND COME ON UP.

I SAW THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF IT ON YOUR WEBSITE.

IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

IT'S THE FOURTH LARGEST THEATER IN MANHATTAN?

YES.

WE HAVE 3400 SEATS.

LET'S TURN TO OPEN HEART CONVERSATIONS.

COULD YOU ELABORATE ON THE BRIEF DESCRIPTION THAT I GAVE?

SURE.

IT'S A MONTHLY FORUM WHERE WE GET TOGETHER TO DISCUSS AND EXPLORE THE GREAT RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD, AND ALSO WORLD TRADITION.

WE LIKE TO HAVE PEOPLE CELEBRATE, PARTICIPATE, GET A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING.

BECAUSE PEOPLE MAY NOT BE EXPOSED TO OTHER TRADITIONS.

FOR EXAMPLE, WE RECENTLY HAD SOMEONE COME TO TALK ABOUT HINDUISM.

AND THEN WE DID A MEDITATION AND PARTICIPATED IN MUSIC.

SO IT'S JUST AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO GET AN INSIGHT THEY MAY WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT A PARTICULAR RELIGION.

THE THING THAT GRABS ME, OR CAPTURES ME IS THE END GOAL OF WANTING TO HELP FOSTER AND DEVELOP COMPASSION, TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING AMONG THE PARTICIPANTS, RIGHT?

BUT IT JUST STRIKES ME.

IT MAKES ME SAD TO THINK ABOUT THAT GOAL AT A TIME WE'RE LIVING IN.

AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, WE KIND OF HATE EACH OTHER'S GUTS, AND WE WANT TO SHUT PEOPLE DOWN.

IS THIS A TIME FOR YOUR ENDEAVORS?

ABSOLUTELY.

WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT OUR ENDEFERS IS PEOPLE COME IN OUR DOORS, AND ONE OF THE LAST PROGRAMS IS ABOUT JUDAISM.

WE HAD THE RABBI ROLL OUT THE TORAH, AND SO WE HAVE PEOPLE, ABOUT 100 OR MORE PEOPLE HOLDING ON TO THE TORAH OF DIFFERENT RACES, RELIGIONS, BACK GROUNDS, ALL SINGING AND CHANTING TOGETHER.

AFTERWARDS, SOMEBODY CAME AND SAID THIS IS ABOUT COMMUNITY, THIS IS ABOUT HUMANITY.

SO IT'S AN EXPLORATION.

AND WE BELIEVE THAT WE'RE ALL CONNECTED TO THE DIVINE SPIRIT IN SOME WAY, WHETHER YOU CALL IT GOD, THE SUPREME BEING, WHATEVER THAT IS, AND THERE'S DIFFERENT PATHWAYS.

AND PEOPLE SOMETIMES THINK MINE IS THE RIGHT WAY OR ONLY WAY.

WE'RE SAYING EXPLORE OTHERS.

YOU MIGHT LIKE A LITTLE BIT OF IT, YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT, BUT YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH.

WHAT IF WE DON'T HAVE ANY SPIRITUAL FAITH, IS THIS STILL FOR US?

ABSOLUTELY.

WE'RE ALL HUMAN, AND WE'RE ALL INTERESTED IN COMMUNITY.

ESPECIALLY THESE DAYS WHERE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR WHAT IS A COMMUNITY I CAN BE PART OF?

WE'RE A COMMUNITY, A CONGREGATION.

WE HAVE SERVICES, WE HAVE SHOWS, WE HAVE ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES.

TALK ABOUT THAT, TALK ABOUT THAT.

ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE, I DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT EARLIER.

WE'VE BEEN A THEATER SINCE 1929, AND IT WAS MAYBE FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO THAT ONE OF OUR NEIGHBORS WAS TALKING TO OUR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SAYING, THIS IS A CHLASSIC THEATER, WHY NOT START IT AGAIN?

SO EVERY MONTH OR SO, WE HAVE A CLASSIC MOVIE.

AND WE HAVE THE LAST SINGLE SCREEN MAJOR MOVIE THEATER IN NEW YORK CITY.

SO COME SEE THINGS LIKE 'LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,' ON THE BIG SCREEN.

WE JUST DID 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT,' AND WE HAVE 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' COMING UP.

WHEN IS THE NEXT HEART CONVERSATION?

LISLAM ON THE 29th.

HOW DO YOU KEEP THE CONVERSATIONS GOING ON BEYOND THE PALACE?

PART OF OUR PHILOSOPHY, AND IT'S DESIGNED IN THIS BUILDING.

WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE BUILDING, YOU NOTICE SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT.

THAT'S THE WAY THOMAS LAND DESIGNED IT IN THE 1920s.

YOU WALK INTO THIS BUILDING AND ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU'RE IN A PALACE AND IT'S MAG N-- MAGNIFICENT, AND YOU EXPERIENCE THIS SHOW.

BY THE TIME YOU GO OUT ON THE STREETS, SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOU.

AND IF YOU GET THAT AWARENESS THAT YOU'RE WONDERFUL, AND OTHER PEOPLE THAT YOU MAY NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ARE WONDERFUL, IT GIVES YOU A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW.

THEN WE INVITE YOU TO COME BACK.

SO IF YOU LOSE THAT FEELING, COME BACK IN AND GET THAT FEELING IN YOU AND GO BACK OUT AGAIN.

IT SOUNDS VERY GOOD, HEATHER.

I MAY DROP UP THERE SOMETIME.

PLEASE DO.

IT'S THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN NEW YORK BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW IT'S ALWAYS THERE.

PRETTY MUCH WHAT I SAID.

IT'S EASY TO GET TO.

UBER ON UP AND COME VISIT US.

WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, HEATHER.

AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

A DELIGHT.

'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 AND BY -- --Captions by VITAC-- www.vitac.com

Funders

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.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019