TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Fed up with after-hours emails from your boss? One lawmaker feels your pain. He’s fighting not only for your “right to disconnect,” but to also punish bosses who don’t comply. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become an unlikely cultural phenomenon. A new documentary about her is on the shortlist for this year’s Oscar nomination. We have your preview.  As the holidays approach, meet the people who ensure those that are homebound are not forgotten or left hungry this holiday season. For 50 years, Repertorio Español has been New York City’s preeminent venue for Spanish and Hispanic-American theatre. Join us as we celebrate with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz.

Aired on December 19, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' FED UP WITH EMAILS FROM YOUR BOSS DURING YOUR PERSONAL TIME THAT YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO ANSWER IMMEDIATELY?

ONE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER FEELS YOUR PAIN, AND HE'S FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHT TO DISCONNECT EVEN IF THAT MEANS FINING YOUR EMPLOYER FOR INTRUDING INTO YOUR LIFE.

HE'S HERE WITH DETAILS.

> SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG HAS BECOME A CULTURAL ICON OF SORTS.

AHEAD OF THE UPCOMING SPECIAL AND CONVERSATION WITH JUSTICE GINSBURG WE SIT DOWN WITH DOCUMENTARIANS WHO CAPTURED THE MOST UNLIKELY OF CELEBRITIES NOW CALLED 'THE NOTORIOUS RBG.'

> AS THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH, CITY MEALS ON WHEELS SHIFTS INTO HIGH GEAR TO ENSURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE HOME-BOUND ARE NOT FORGOTTEN OR LEFT HUNGRY.

> AND WE CELEBRATE THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF A NEW YORK CULTURAL INSTITUTION.

IN A MOMENT, A LOOK BACK.

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

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

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHAIM III AND 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' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISH, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, AND BY -- 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.

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY.

THAT'S WHAT MANY OF US SAY AT THE END OF THE WEEK AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO DISCONNECTING FROM OUR BOSS.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GET EMAILS OR TEXTS FROM SAID BOSS WHEN WE'RE OFFICIALLY OFF WORK?

ARE WE REQUIRED TO ANSWER, AND IF WE DON'T, COULD WE BE PENALIZED OR EVEN FIRED?

WELL, NOW A NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER IS HOPING TO COME TO THE RESCUE WITH THE SO-CALLED RIGHT-TO-DISCONNECT BILL.

IF PASSED, THAT LEGISLATION WOULD MAKE IT ILLEGAL FOR FLU EMPLOYERS TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO E-MAIL OR TEXT OUTSIDE OF REGULAR WORK HOURS.

EMPLOYERS WHO STILL CONTACT THEIR SUBORDINATES AFTER HOURS DEMANDING A RESPONSE COULD FACE A FINE.

GOOD IDEA OR THE ULTIMATE IN GOVERNMENT MEDDLING?

JOINING US WITH ANSWERS IS IS THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER WHO INTRODUCED THE RIGHT TO DISCONNECT BILL.

COUNCIL MEMBER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

COUNCILMAN, HOW EXACTLY WOULD YOUR BILL WORK?

SO WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO WAS SIMPLY GIVE THE RIGHTS TO AN EMPLOYEE TO DISCONNECT FROM WORK AFTER THEY LEAVE THE WORKPLACE, AFTER THE USUAL WORK HOURS.

SO IF A BOSS REACHES OUT TO YOU, AN EMPLOYER REACHES OUT TO YOU, YOU WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY AT THAT MOMENT I DON'T WANT -- I DON'T WANT TO RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL OR TO THIS TEXT MESSAGE OR THIS CALL.

IT'S NOT AN EMERGENCY.

I HAVE THINGS TO DO, MY ONLY PERSON LIFE.

YOU DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN YOUR WORK LIFE AND PERSONAL LIFE WITHOUT FEAR THAT IF YOU GO INTO WORK THE NEXT DAY YOUR BOSS WILL RETALIATE AGAINST YOU.

HOW IS THIS LAW GOING TO BE ENFORCED?

WELL, IT'S SIMPLY JUST LIKE ANY OTHER LAW THE CITY PUTS IN PLACE.

YOU KNOW, THERE'S A 301 SYSTEM.

IF YOU CALL 311, IF YOU FEEL YOUR RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED, 301 WILL CONNECT YOU TO THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS.

THAT DEPARTMENT WILL INVESTIGATE, INVESTIGATE YOUR CLAIM, INVESTIGATE THE EMPLOYER, AND COME TO A CONCLUSION WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE A VALID CLAIM AGAINST THE COMPANY.

AND THEN IF FOUND GUILTY, THE EMPLOYER WILL HAVE TO PAY $250 TO THE EMPLOYEE AND $500 TO THE CITY.

SO ULTIMATELY OR AT THE OUTSET IT DEPENDS ON THE EMPLOYEE DROPPING THE DIME ON THE EMPLOYER, RIGHT?

EXACTLY.

HOW DOES THE LAW PREVENT AN EMPLOYER FROM RETALIATING?

YOU KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE TWO MONTHS LATER MAYBE IF RETALIATION HAPPENS.

YOU'RE NOT DOING YOUR WORK RIGHT, YOU WERE LATE TWICE, YOU'RE OUT?

HOW DO YOU PROTECT THE EMPLOYEE?

THAT'S A VERY INTERESTING QUESTION.

I THINK THOSE ARE CONVERSATIONS TO BE HAD.

AGAIN, THIS IS ABOUT THE INSTANCE OF EMPLOYEES NOT FEELING THE PRESSURE OF ALWAYS HAVING TO BE ON THE CLOCK.

LISTEN, THERE ARE LABOR RULES, LABOR RIGHTS THAT WERE PUT IN PLACE MANY YEARS AGO TO PROTECT WORKERS FROM ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION.

I THINK THAT THE DIGITAL ERA HAS KIND OF BLURRED THOSE LINES.

YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY POSSIBLE NOW FOR YOUR BOSS TO CONTACT YOU ANY TIME OF THE DAY, AND IT'S VERY EASY TO FORGET, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU'RE OFF THE CLOCK, YOU KNOW.

SURE.

THIS IS REALLY GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S A CLEAR LINE TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW --

WHICH BUSINESSES ARE SUBJECT TO THE LAW, AND WHICH BUSINESSES ARE EXEMPT?

RIGHT NOW THIS BILL CURRENTLY COVERS MOSTLY ALL BUSINESSES.

BUT THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS IN THE BILL THAT MAKE SURE THAT ANY EMPLOYEE WHO'S REQUIRED TO WORK 24 HOURS BECAUSE OF THE JOB TYPE IS NOT COVERED IN THIS BILL.

ALSO IF THERE ARE EMERGENCIES, THE EMPLOYER HAS TO REACH OUT, THE EMERGENCIES ARE NOT COVERED AS THE RIGHT TO DISCONNECT.

THEY WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO NEED YOU TO ANSWER THAT CALL.

I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE JOBS WHERE YOU NEED YOUR EMPLOYEES TO BE AVAILABLE BECAUSE THINGS COME UP.

THIS IS ABOUT DOING AWAY WITH THOSE NONEMERGENCY CORRESPONDENCES, TAKING THE PRESSURE AND LOAD OFF THE EMPLOYEE.

THE LEGISLATION SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.

WHY?

ASIDE FROM FIRST RESPONDERS AND TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL, I DON'T SEE A LOT OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS OPEN ON THE WEEKENDS.

THAT WASN'T INTENTIONAL.

THAT'S A SEPARATE BILL FOCUSED ON THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.

MY BILL RIGHT NOW COVERS PRIVATE AND COMPANIES THAT HAVE TEN EMPLOYEES OR MORE.

SO THERE'S CONVERSATION ABOUT THE PUBLIC SIDE.

THAT ARGUMENT'S -- IT'S A SEPARATE ARGUMENT, BUT I THINK ALSO A NECESSARY ONE.

THERE'S A LOT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO FEEL THE PRESSURE FROM -- LIKE THE OFFICIAL BOSSES OR FROM THE AGENCIES THEY'RE WORKING FOR.

YEAH.

I SAW THIS AND SAID, LISTEN, SOMEBODY'S GOING TO SAY, HEY, IF YOU'RE GOING TO FORCE IT ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WHY NOT FORCE IT ON YOURSELF.

RIGHT.

YOU'RE SAYING A SEPARATE BILL IS GOING TO BE DOING THAT?

YEAH.

THAT CONVERSATION IS THERE.

WHAT ABOUT A SMALL BUSINESS PERSON TRYING TO MAKE IT?

HE'S ON THE EDGE, HE OR SHE IS ON THE EDGE, SHE DOESN'T TELL HER EMPLOYEES TO COME ON THE WEEKENDS BUT SHE DOES.

AND IT'S NOT AN EMERGENCY, BUT IN ORDER FOR HER TO GET THE WORK DONE ON THE WEEKENDS, SHE HAS TO CALL THE EMPLOYEES AND -- TO ASK QUESTIONS.

WHAT HAPPENS TO HER?

WHAT HAPPENS TO THAT BUSINESS?

WELL, THIS DOESN'T COVER STARTUPS, DOESN'T COVER THE SMALL MOM AND POP SHOPS.

THESE ARE DISCUSSIONS THAT I'M HOPING TO HAVE.

I'M LOOKING TO HAVE A PUBLIC HEARING IN CITY HALL IN JUNE.

THAT WAY ALL CAN COME IN AND EXPRESS SUPPORT OR RESERVATIONS OR CONCERNS, AND THAT WOULD BETTER GUIDE ME HOW THE LEGISLATION MOVES FORWARD.

IN FRANCE AND GERMANY, THEY ALL HAVE THIS LEGISLATION IN PLACE.

IT DOES COVER 50 EMPLOYEES OR MORE.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ANY EMPLOYEE THAT DECIDES TO CONTINUE WORKING CAN CONTINUE WORKING.

THIS DOESN'T MEAN THAT IF -- IF YOUR EMPLOYEE'S OFF THE CLOCK, THAT HE DOESN'T -- THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE THE RIGHT OR HE OR SHE DOESN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO RESPOND TO YOU IF THERE'S AN EMERGENCY.

I BELIEVE IF YOU HAVE A HEALTHY WORK ENVIRONMENT, YOU HAVE THOSE EMPLOYEES THAT ENJOY THEIR JOB, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO RESPOND.

SO FINALLY, COUNCIL MEMBER, THE VIEWERS WATCHING US NOW, A YEAR FROM TODAY, ARE THEY GOING TO BE WATCHING KNOWING THAT IT'S NOT EVEN A POSSIBILITY THAT THEIR EMPLOYER WILL BE TEXTING OR E-MAILING KNOW EXPECTING AN -- EXPECTING AN ANSWER THANKS TO YOUR LEGISLATION?

I WOULD HOPE THAT'S THE CASE.

I THINK A LOT OF THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION HAS SUFFERED A LOT OF THE BRUNT OF TECHNOLOGY IN MEANS OF THE WORKPLACE.

AND I'M THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE AND HOW WE MOVE FORWARD MAKING SURE WE'RE PROTECTING NEW YORKERS' RIGHTS.

YOU'RE OPTIMISTIC THIS IS GOING TO PASS?

I'M OPTIMISTIC PERSONALLY.

I BELIEVE IN THIS BILL.

I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES SEE IT THE SAME WAY.

WE'LL SEE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

> THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG OR 'THE NOTORIOUS RBG' AS THE INTERNET WORLD HAS COME TO CALL HER, HAS RECENTLY BECOME AN UNEXPECTED POP CULTURE ICON OF SORTS.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY TITLED 'RBG' FOLLOWS THE UNIQUE PERSONAL JOURNEY OF IN QUIET WARRIOR'S RISE TO THE NATION'S HIGHEST COURT.

TAKE A QUICK LOOK.

I ASK NO FAVOR FOR MY SEX.

ALL I ASK OF OUR BRETHREN IS THAT THEY TAKE THEIR FEET OFF OUR NECKS.

WE WELCOME TODAY JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG.

[ CHEERS ]

SHE'S BECOME SUCH AN ICON.

WOULD YOU MIND SIGNING THIS COPY?

I AM 84 YEARS OLD, AND EVERYONE WANTS TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH ME.

[ LAUGHTER ] RBG.

YEAH.

WHEN YOU COME DOWN TO IT, THE CLOSEST THING TO A SUPERHERO I KNOW.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD IS FOR AMERICAN WOMEN.

AND HERE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT THE FILM, CO-DIRECTORS AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKERS AND EMMY AWARD-WINNING VETERAN JOURNALISTS AND FRIENDS A LONG TIME AGO, BETSY WEST AND JULIE COHEN.

LADIES, WELCOME.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

I WATCHED IT, IT WAS FABULOUS.

I EXPECTED IT TO BE GOOD BECAUSE I KNOW THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORK.

IT EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS, AND MY EXPECTATIONS WERE PRETTY HIGH.

GOING INTO THIS, KNOWING HOW INTERESTING SHE WAS, WERE YOU CERTAIN THAT IT -- YOU COULD GET AN INTERESTING FILM OUT OF IT?

YOU KNOW, WE WERE PRETTY SURE AS YOU MENTIONED, SHE'S BECOME THE NOTORIOUS RBG.

SHE HAS SO MANY FANS.

BUT BOTH JULIE AND I HAD INTERVIEWED JUSTICE GINSBURG SOME YEARS BACK BEFORE HER INTERNET FAME.

AND WE KNEW THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE TO HER STORY.

I MEAN, THE FACT THAT SHE'S REALLY THE LEGAL ARCHITECT OF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT AND AN AMAZING ROMANCE.

AND WE THOUGHT, WELL, THIS COULD MAKE A GREAT DOCUMENTARY IF WE COULD GET HER COOPERATION.

IT COULD BE A GREAT DOCUMENTARY.

AND LET'S TRY AND DO IT.

HOW BUT FIND YOU WERE ABLE TO GET THE ACCESS THAT YOU NEEDED TO DO THIS, AND WAS IT A HARD SELL?

IT WAS A LONG, SLOW SELL.

LET'S IT OUT IT THAT WAY.

WHEN WE FIRST APPROACHED JUSTICE GINSBURG WITH THIS IDEA IN EARLY 2015 SAYING, HEY, WE WANT TO TELL YOUR LIFE STORY AS A DOCUMENTARY, SHE SAID NOT YET.

AND DID YOU GET THE KIND OF ACCESS YOU HAD HOPED TO GET?

THE.

WE DID.

YOU DID?

WE DID.

HOW AND WHY HAS SHE BECOME THIS ENORMOUS ICON, THIS CULTURAL ICON AMONGST -- I'M ASTONISHED ABOUT HOW MANY OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE LATCHED ON TO HER.

WHY?

YEAH.

ABSOLUTELY.

I MEAN, IT'S NOT UNUSUAL COUNTERPART FROM OUR USUAL, YOU KNOW, KARDASHIAN, SAY, INTERNET ICONS.

NO DISRESPECT TO THE KARDASHIANS.

BUT --

THERE'S A DIFFERENCE.

THEY HAVEN'T EXACTLY HAD THE ACHIEVEMENTS IN CHANGING THE WAY WE VIEW THE CONSTITUTION THAT, SAY, A RUTH BADER GINSBURG HAS.

WE THINK THAT ON NIN PART THE Y PEOPLE LIKE THIS JUXTAPOSITION OF THE 85-YEAR-OLD GRANDMA TO THE KIND OF THING THAT HAPPENED ON THE INTERNET.

THEY PUT THE CROWNS ON HER HEAD, THERE ARE TOTEBAGS, T-SHIRTS, TATTOOS.

A NUMBER OF PEOPLE HAVE 'RBG' TATTOOS.

YEW YOU'LL SEE THEM IN THE FILM.

SHE DOES NOT LIKE THEM.

THERE IS SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS BEHIND IT, AS WELL.

DID IT SHED LIGHT ON THE NOTION OF JUSTICE?

THE CONCEPT OF JUSTICE, THE WAY SHE APPROACHES THE CONCEPT OF SKB JUSTICE AND A ROLE OF THE JUSTICE IN THE SYSTEM?

YEAH.

I AM NOT A LAWYER, AND I THINK WORKING ON THIS FILM GAVE ME A GREATER RESPECT FOR THE ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY, ESPECIALLY AT A TIME WHEN, YOU KNOW, OUR INSTITUTIONS HAVE BEEN UNDER FIRE.

AND TO SEE THE IMPACT THAT JUSTICE GINSBURG'S WORK HAS HAD ON WOMEN ESPECIALLY.

WHAT -- WHERE DID YOU GET TO THAT YOU NEVER ANTICIPATED OR THAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST FROM THIS?

YOU KNOW, I THINK I WAS SURPRISED BY THE DEPTH OF JUSTICE GINSBURG'S ROMANCE, LOVE STORY, WITH MARTY GINSBURG.

WE KNEW THAT SHE'D HAD A LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGE.

BUT THE ROLE THAT HE PLAYED IN HER LIFE IN BOTH HER PERSONAL HAPPINESS AND HER PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A SUPPORTIVE HUSBAND, THAT TO ME WAS EXTRAORDINARY.

YOU KNOW, HE WAS SO PROUD OF HER FROM THE MOMENT THEY MET AT CORNELL, THAT SHE WAS SO BRILLIANT, HE RECOGNIZED IT.

HERE SHE IS, A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.

YOU SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL SHE WAS.

MARTY LOVED HER BECAUSE SHE HAD A BRAIN.

AND THAT WENT ON THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREER.

YOU KNOW, HE WAS A VERY OUTGOING, AFFABLE GUY.

HE WOUND UP LOBBYING FOR HER TO BE ON THE SUPREME COURT.

APPARENTLY VERY SUCCESSFULLY.

YOU KNOW, THAT'S A VERY SURPRISING AND MOVING STORY.

SO JULIA, YOUR JOURNEY, WHAT YOU FOUND ANY DIFFERENT FROM BETSY'S?

WELL, I CERTAINLY AGREE WITH WHAT BETSY SAID.

YOU KNOW, WE SET OUT TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT SOMETHING PRETTY SERIOUS.

LET'S FACE IT, AT THE HEART OF IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND CONCEPTIONS OF CONSTITUTION.

I THINK MAYBE WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS HOW FUN AND FUNNY THE STORY TURNED OUT TO BE.

JUSTICE GINSBURG ALTHOUGH SHE'S KNOWN AS RESERVED, HAS A SHOP ZINGERY KIND OF WIT THAT YOU SEE.

YOU BOTH HAVE HAD GREAT SUCCESS IN THE BUSINESS.

AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE BEST OF FILMMAKING, I THINK, THE BEST THAT IT CAN SHOW US, ENTERTAINING, ENGAGING, INFORMATIVE, AND IMPRESSIVE IN A LOT OF WAYS.

THANK YOU, JACK.

I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG AND CONVERSATION WILL AIR ON JANUARY 2nd ON WLIW AT 9:00 P.M.

ON.

JANUARY 7th ON 13 AT 9:00 P.M., AND ON NJTV ON JANUARY 10th ALSO AT 9:00 P.M.

> FOR OVER 35 YEARS, A NONPROFIT CITY MEALS ON WHEELS HAS BEEN PROVIDED A LIFELINE OF NOURISHING MEALS AND VITAL COMPANIONSHIP TO THOUSANDS OF HOMEBOUND AND ELDERLY NEW YORKERS WHO NO LONGER CAN COOK OR FEND FOR THEMSELVES.

FOUNDED IN 1981 BY 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE RESTAURANT CRITIC GAIL GREEN AND LEGENDARY COOKBOOK AUTHOR JAMES BEARD, 'CITY MEALS' PARTNERS WITH COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND SENIOR CENTERS TO PREPARE AND DELIVER WEEKEND, HOLIDAY, AND EMERGENCY MEALS ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS.

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, AS IN SEASONS PAST, THE TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS WILL HAND DELIVER MEALS TO THEIR FRAIL AND AGED NEIGHBORS, GIVING THEIR TIME, THEIR COMPANIONSHIP, AND DHEER CHEER TO REMIND ISOLATED NEW YORKERS THEY'RE NOT FORGOTTEN OR ALONE.

JOINING US IS CITY MEALS' EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BETH SHAPIRO.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU.

VERY NICE TO BE HERE.

I TOUCHED BASE ON IT A LITTLE BIT.

TELL ME HOW IT IS THAT CITY MEALS GOT STARTED.

THERE WAS A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THE WEEKEND OF THANKSGIVING IN 1981 THAT TALKED ABOUT OLDER NEW YORKERS GOING UP TO FOUR DAYS WITHOUT FOOD BECAUSE THE CITY FUNDED MEALS MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY AS LONG AS THERE WAS NO HOLIDAY.

SO THE CITY WAS CLOSED THURSDAY UNTIL MONDAY.

AND AS YOU SAID, GAIL GREEN, OUR FOUNDER, READ THE ARTICLE.

AND IN HER WORDS, WAS LIVING A LIFE OF DELICIOUS EXCESS.

SHE FELT BAD.

SHE READ THE ARTICLE, THOUGHT IT COULD BE HER GRANDMOTHER, HER MOTHER.

SO SHE CALLED HER FRIEND, JAMES BEARD.

THEY RALLIED THEIR FRIENDS IN THE RESTAURANT WORLD, AND AT THAT TIME RAISED $35,000.

THEY THEN CALLED THE CITY, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AGING, SAID WE HAVE $35,000, HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU HAVE.

THEY SAID 6,000.

THEY SAID, WE'LL DO CHRISTMAS.

AND THAT WAS THEIR PLAN TO DO CHRISTMAS BASKETS, A CHRISTMAS MEAL.

AND IT JUST NEVER STOPPED.

WE'VE PARTNERED WITH THE CITY SINCE THAT TIME, AND WE FILL THE GAP.

CITY MEALS, AS YOU SAID, PROVIDES WEEKEND, HOLIDAY, AND EMERGENCY MEALS.

OUR PIECE OF THAT IS NOW TWO MILLION MEALS A YEAR TO 18,000 OLDER NEW YORKERS.

SO GIVE US A SENSE OF THE PROGRAMS.

HOW -- HOW CITY MEALS DOES THIS.

THE CITY FUNDS MEALS MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.

AND CITY MEALS STEPS IN, LEVERAGES THE SAME MEAL CENTERS, THERE ARE 30 CENTERS, ALL FIVE BOROUGHS, SPREAD AROUND, PREPARING AND DELIVERING MEALS.

BASICALLY WHAT WE SAY IS WE WANT YOU TO DO MORE, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE COVERED FOR THAT, TO MAKE SURE OLDER PEOPLE WHO ARE TOO FRAIL TO SHOP OR COOK FOR THEMSELVES HAVE A MEAL EVERY DAY.

YOU AND I EAT EVERY DAY.

NOT JUST FIVE DAYS A WEEK.

YEAH.

LET ME GO BACK TO THE NUMBER YOU GAVE US -- 18,000 THAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO.

AND THE OTHER THING I WAS STRUCK BY IS -- IS THE NUMBER OF ELDERLY, THE FOLKS BEING SERVED AND WHAT THE PROJECTIONS ARE IN THE FUTURE.

RIGHT.

SO THEY'RE THEIR -- THERE ARE 1.4 MILLION PEOPLE 60 AND OLDER IN NEW YORK CITY.

THAT NUMBER IS ALMOST GOING TO DOUBLE.

GROW 40% BY 2040.

THE FASTEST GROWING POPULATION IN THE COUNTRY.

WE'RE SEEING PEOPLE BOTH AGING IN, RIGHT, WITH ALL THE BABY-BOOMERS COMING IN AT A YOUNGER AGE, AND THEN WE'RE SEEING PEOPLE LIVE LONGER.

SO THE FASTEST GROWTH AREA FOR US, 80-PLUS.

WE'RE FEEDING OVER 200 PEOPLE WHO ARE 100 YEARS OLD OR OLDER.

I SAW THAT NUMBER.

THAT WAS ASTONISHING.

IT'S ASTONISHING.

ON THANKSGIVING I DELIVERED TO JOSEPHINE IN EAST HARLEM WHO IS 101.

101, FULL OF LIFE, VERY FRAIL.

COULDN'T, YOU KNOW, MANAGE THE HEAVY DOORS IN HER BUILDING TO GET OUT OR TRY TO STRUGGLE WITH GROCERIES OR TO COOK.

BUT SO BRIGHT AND THANKFUL THAT A MEAL AND SOMEONE CHECKING ON HER EVERY DAY.

BUT THE NUMBERS ARE GROWING AT A FASTER PACE THAN EVER BEFORE.

TELL ME ABOUT THE ROLE THAT THE VOLUNTEERS PLAY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION.

WE HAVE VOLUNTEERS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

THEY'RE DELIVERING MEALS.

THEY'RE PARTICIPATING IN A FRIENDLY VISITING PROGRAM WHERE WE PAIR A VOLUNTEER WITH A MEAL RECIPIENT, AND THE VOLUNTEER AGREES TO GO EVERY WEEK FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR OR SO.

NOT JUST HERE, HERE'S SOMETHING FOR YOU TO EAT, TAKE THAT CARE?

NO.

WE'RE FINDING THAT, YES, THAT CHECK-IN IS VERY IMPORTANT, THAT CONNECTIVITY.

BUT THESE PEOPLE HAVE OUTLIVED FRIENDS, FAMILY, OFTEN EVEN THEIR OWN CHILDREN, AND THE ISOLATION THAT THEY'RE FEELING IS ALMOST AS DEBILITATING AS LACK OF FOOD.

SO WE HAVE THE FRIENDLY VISITING.

WE HAVE SENIOR CHAT WHERE YOU, ANY VOLUNTEER WOULD AGREE TO CALL A MEAL RECIPIENT ON A REGULAR BASIS, AND EVEN OLD-FASHIONED PENPALS.

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING THIS AND SAYING, WHAT A MARVELOUS ORGANIZATION.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP THEM?

SO YES, VOLUNTEERS, BUT HONESTLY DONATIONS.

WE GUARANTEE THAT 100% OF DONATIONS FROM THE GENERAL PUBLIC GO TO MEAL PREPARATION AND DELIVERY.

PEOPLE CAN LOOK ON LINE, CITYMEALS.ORG, TO MAKE A DONATION, VOLUNTEER, AND EVEN FIND OUT ABOUT GETTING MEALS FOR SOMEONE THEY CARE ABOUT.

THAT'S THE NEXT TO MY LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

PEOPLE WATCHING SAY, I KNOW SOMEBODY I THINK WHO COULD BE HELPED BY THIS, THIS COULD BE BENEFICIAL FOR THEM, THEY DO WHAT?

SO TWO OPTIONS.

CALL 311 FOR THE CITY.

AND VERY EASILY GO TO CITYMEALS.ORG.

THERE'S A TAB RIGHT AT THE TOP, 'GET MEALS.'

YOU PLUG IN THE ZIP CODE, AND IT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT PHONE NUMBER FOR THAT LOCAL AREA TO GET MEALS FLOWING QUICKLY.

MARVELOUS ORGANIZATION DOING SUCH GOOD WORK FOR SO MANY PEOPLE WHO NEED THE HELP FROM THIS ORGANIZATION.

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO.

ALL OF YOUR FOLKS THERE, ESPECIALLY YOUR VOLUNTEERS.

THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

I APPRECIATE IT.

MY PLEASURE P.. YOU BE WELL.

> ONE OF THE OLDEST SPANISH LANGUAGE THEATER COMPANIES IN THE COUNTRY HOLDS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE IN THE NEW YORK THEATER AND LATINO COMMUNITIES.

pIT WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED TO PRESENT CLASSIC SPANISH PLAYS IN SPANISH AND TO INTRODUCE THE BEST IN LATIN AMERICAN SPANISH AND SPANISH THEATER TO AUDIENCES.

IT MARKED THE 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WITH THE PREMIERE OF ' COMM ' COMM 'COMMISSION.'

CREWS MAYBE IT -- CRUZ CAME TO NATIONAL ATTENTION WHEN HIS PLAY ON THE TROPICS WAS AWARDED THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA IN 2003, MAKING HIM THE FIRST LATINO SO HONORED.

JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THE CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE IS MILO CRUZ AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER ROBERT WASHIEBER FREDERICO.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

TELL US HOW IT GOT THE START AND WHY.

WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL MISSION?

THE ORIGINAL MISSION WAS A FUNDRAISER FOR A GROUP OF SOCIETY LADIES WHO IN CUBA HAD WHAT WAS CALLED LA SADATES.

IT INCLUDED NAINA GOODWIN AND MAX GOODMAN OF THE GOODMAN STORE, BERGDORF GOODMAN.

SHE INVITED RENEE BOOTH TO DO A CLASSIC PLAY IN SPANISH FOR HER LADIES.

AND RENEE BROUGHT IN SOMEONE WORKING AT THE GOOD FRIENDIVE THEATER AT THAT TIME -- GREENWICH THEATER AT THAT TIME.

IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS, AND THEY DECIDED TO FOUND THE COMPANY.

THAT WAS 1968.

AND THE MISSION, THE MISSION -- EDUCATION IS A BIG PART OF THE MISSION.

BUT TELL US OVERALL WHAT THE MISSION IS.

THE MISSION IS BASICALLY TO DO PROFESSIONAL-GRADE THEATER IN SPANISH, HIGHLIGHTING SPANISH PLAYS, NOT JUST CLASSIC BUT CONTEMPORARY, LATIN AMERICAN WORKS, AND MORE RECENTLY IN THE LAST 30 YEARS WORKS WRITTEN BY LATINOS IN THE UNITED STATES WHICH IS A GROWING BODY OF WORK.

AND SO IT'S BASICALLY THAT -- TO DO GREAT WORKS IN SPANISH.

THE AUDIENCE FOR MOST PART IS BILINGUAL.

BUT THEY ENJOY COMING TO THE THEATER BECAUSE IT'S ALSO A CULTURAL EVENT.

IT'S NOT JUST GOING TO THEATER TO BE ENTERTAINED OR WHATEVER.

IT'S ALSO A FEELING OF THEIR HERITAGE, THEIR ROOTS, AND SO THEY COME TO GET THE EXTRA SPECIAL BOOST TO THE EVENING'S PROGRAM --

YOU HAVE MATINEE PERFORMANCES FOR STUDENTS FROM HIGH SCHOOLS --

FROM THE BEGINNING.

BECAUSE THE TEACHER CALLED UP IN 1968 AND SAID, IS THERE A DISCOUNT FOR STUDENTS?

I WANT TO BRING MY CLASS TO 'PHANTOM LADY.'

SO IMMEDIATELY HE WAS A GREAT PRODUCER AND WHATEVER, AND HE THOUGHT, THERE'S A MARKET FOR THAT.

SO AFTER -- THEREAFTER EVERY YEAR THERE WAS ONE OR TWO CLASSICS SPECIFICALLY FOR THE SCHOOLS.

WE STARTED DOING THEM AT 11:00 A.M., AND IT'S JUST BECOME -- NOW IT'S ALMOST MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF OUR WORK.

WOW.

SO WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONNECT WITH THE SHOW?

IT WAS WHEN -- WHEN I WON THE PULITZER PRIZE.

I'D SEEN WORK THERE BEFORE, BUT THE FIRST TIME THAT MY WORK WAS DONE WAS 2004.

RIGHT.

AND NOW THE -- WE KNEW OF MILO WHEN HE WAS WRITING FOR THE PUBLIC THEATER.

BUT I TOOK HILBERTO TO SEE 'IN THE TROPICS.'

HE SAID, WE HAVE TO DO THIS PLAY IN SPANISH.

I SAID, HILBERTO, EVERYBODY WHO'S WANTED TO SEE THIS PLAY OF THE AUDIENCE HAS ALREADY SEEN IT IN ENGLISH.

AND HE SAID, NO, NO, WE'RE GOING TO DO IT AND WE'RE GOING TO DO IT.

AND SURE ENOUGH, WE DID IT.

AND A LOT OF POOEOPLE WHO HAD SN THE ENGLISH PRODUCTION THOUGHT HE HAD REWRITTEN THE PLAY.

YEAH.

LANGUAGE CHANGES EVERYTHING.

AND YOU TRANSLATE -- YOU YOURSELF TRANSLATED IT.

I TRANSLATED IT.

THE FIRST TIME I HEARD IT WAS IN SPANISH, WAS AT YOUR THEATER.

I MEAN, I HAD DONE THE TRANSLATION OF THE PIECE, BUT I HADN'T REALLY HEARD IT.

I WAS BUSY GOING TO OTHER COUNTRIES, DOING ANOTHER PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY BEING DONE ELSEWHERE.

IN MANY PLACES ACTUALLY.

SO I HADN'T HEARD THE PLAY.

SO BY THE TIME I CAM BACK TO NEW YORK -- I CAME BACK TO NEW YORK, I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE AND HEARD THE PIECE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SPANISH.

IT SOUNDED GLORIOUS.

THAT'S AMAZING.

AS YOU KNOW, MY BROTHER WAS A PLAYWRIGHT.

HE PASSED AWAY.

AND ONE OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT HE USED TO TALK TO ME ABOUT WAS HOW PRAOGRESSIVE PRODUCERS AND THEATER COMPANIES WOULD SAY WE WANT TO SHARE THE LATINO EXPERIENCE WITH NON-LATINO AUDIENCES.

WRITE A PLAY FOR US.

HE WOULD, AND HE SAID MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THEY WOULD REJECT THE PLAY BECAUSE IT DIDN'T FIT THE STEREOTYPES THAT THESE PRODUCERS, AMERICAN PRODUCERS, HAD OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY.

I WONDER IF THAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, AND TOP WHAT DEGREE IS THIS A REAL OASIS, A GIFT TO PLAYWRIGHTS TO BE ABLE TO AVOID THAT STEREO SNIPE.

WELL, THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN -- STEREOTYPE?

WELL, THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN EXPECTED OF ME TO WRITE ABOUT THE STEREOTYPE BUT SOMETHING I'VE VEERED AWAY FROM BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T INTEREST ME AT ALL.

AND I -- YOU KNOW, I'VE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN TERMS OF HAVING MY WORK DONE AT REGIONAL THEATERS IN THIS COUNTRY.

SO THE WORK HAS, YOU KNOW, IT HAS -- I FEEL LIKE I'VE OPENED DOORS TO WORK THAT IS NOT -- REPRESENTS THE STEREOTYPE OF --

THE STEREOTYPE AT LEAST IN THE OLD DAYS WAS DRUG USE, POVERTY --

YEAH --

DYSFUNCTION OVERALL.

NO DRUGS.

NO DRUGS.

VERY RUSSIAN.

ALL RIGHT.

THAT'S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

IT'S BEEN AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU GUYS HERE.

OUR HONOR.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, YOU CAN LOG ON TO OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHAIM III SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ ROSALIND P. WALTER BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- ♪

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.

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