TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

 A city-wide code blue alert has been issued as the polar vortex hits home! We’re facing real safety concerns as the deep freeze settles over New York. We have the latest on this life-threatening cold snap. A young mother carrying her one-year-old child and a stroller full of groceries collapsed and died descending into the subway. In the wake of this tragedy there’s been a call for accountability and accessibility. We have the details. Meet an artist who set out to change America’s perception of immigration through stories of tolerance.  It’s a barking good time as we go behind the scenes with some of the Westminster Kennel Club’s most agile. You won’t want to miss these furry athletes!

Aired on January 31, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' CODE BLUE.

A CITY WIDE ALERT HAS BEEN ISSUED AS THE POLAR VORTEX HITS HOME.

AND IN THE MIDST OF ITS ICY GRIP, SAFETY CERTAINS AS THE FREEZE SETTLES OVER NEW YORK.

> DEATH ON THE STEPS.

A YOUNG MOTHER CARRYING HER 1-YEAR-OLD CHILD COLLAPSES AND DIES, DESKRENDING INTO THE SUBW.

NOW ACCOUNTS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY.

> A CANVAS OF DIVERSITY.

ARTIST BETSY ASHTON TAKES INSPIRATION FROM THE FACES OF THOSE WHO MAKE UP AMERICA'S GREAT MOSAIC.

AND IT'S A BARKING GOOD TEAM AS WE GO BEHIND THE SCENES AT WESTMINSTER.

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

> I WANT EVERYONE TO BE ON ALERT, TAKE PRECAUTIONS, THINK ESPECIALLY ABOUT CHILDREN AND MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE SAFE.

OUR SENIORS, DISABLED FOLKS.

IT'S GOING TO BE A TRYING TIME, AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS PREPARED.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

TONIGHT, NEW YORK IS COLD.

IN FACT, IT'S DOWN RIGHT FROZEN, AS THE POLAR VORTEX AND ITS ARCTIC AIR HAS SETTLED OVER THE CITY.

AND NOW, WE, ALONG WITH ABOUT 90 MILLION OTHER AMERICANS, ARE FEELING MOTHER NATURE'S CHILLY WRATH.

A CODE BLUE IS IN EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE CITY.

THE MAYOR TWEETING THIS MORNING THAT WE SHOULD 'TAKE THIS WEATHER SERIOUSLY, DRESS WARMLY, BRING PETS INSIDE, CHECK IN ON THE NEIGHBORS, PARTICULARLY SENIORS AND ANYONE WITH A MEDICAL CONDITION.'

HE WENT ON TO SAY THIS ABOUT THE ALERT.

IF YOU SEE ANYBODY OUT IN THE COLD THAT MAY NEED HELP, CALL 311.

IT'S A LIFE THREATENING PROBLEM, CALL 911 AND THE NYPD AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICE ALSO RESPOND IMMEDIATELY.

ANYBODY WHO DOES NOT HAVE HEAT, PLEASE CALL 311.

IT'S VERY IMPORTANT.

THE BEST CHANCE OF GETTING THE HEAT BACK ON IS IF WE GET THAT CALL.

OF PARTICULAR CALL ARE THE HOMELESS.

DISPATCH TEAMS HAVE BEEN SENT OUT TO ENCOURAGE THOSE TO SEEK WARMTH.

TEMPERATURES WITH A HIGH OF 16 TODAY, AND THE MERCURY WILL DIP TONIGHT.

AND WITH THE TEMPERATURES, BELOW ZERO WINDCHILLS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH THE NIGHT.

WHEN ENSURING THAT STORM PREPARATIONS WERE IN PLACE AND CAPABLE OF HANDLE THING EVENT, GOVERNOR CUOMO SPOKE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, THE EFFECTS ON THE STATE AND THE JOINT RESPONSIBILITY TO WORK TOGETHER TO HELP EACH OTHER OUT.

WE'RE LOOKING AT SOMETHING DIFFERENT HERE NOW.

THIS ISN'T SEVEN FEET OF SNOW, BUT THE FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY OF THESE STORMS ARE INCREASING.

THE COMBINATION OF SNOW PLUS THE SUBZERO TEMPERATURES, PLUS THE WIND, THESE ARE MORE COMPLICATED SITUATIONS THAN WE'VE DEALT WITH IN THE PAST.

AND THEY REALLY ARE SOMETHING TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY EVERYONE.

AND NOT JUST BY THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

BUT BY THE CITIZENS WHO ARE THERE, LOCAL OFFICIALS, EVERYONE HAS TO DO THEIR PART.

AND I'M SURE THEY WILL.

AND IF IT WAS COLD HERE, JUST IMAGINE WHAT OUR NEIGHBORS UPSTATE HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING.

WINDCHILLS REPORTED TO BE AS LOW AS MINUS 30 DEGREES IN SOME AREAS.

BEFORE ALL THIS IS DONE, THE SNOW UP THERE COULD TOTAL MORE THAN FOUR FEET.

THE SEVERE COLD HAS MADE THIS A DAY OF SEVERE CONDITIONS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS.

THIS MORNING AT NEWARK AIRPORT'S TERMINAL C, MORE THAN A DOZEN CARS WENT UP IN FLAMES, PRESENTING A MAJOR CHALLENGE TO FIREFIGHTERS.

FIREFIGHTERS ALSO HAD THEIR HANDS FULL IN BROOKLYN, WHERE A MASSIVE FIVE ALARM FIRE RAINED.

IT BROKE OUT AROUND 4:00 A.M.

AND BURNED FOR SEVERAL HOURS, THE TEMPERATURES MAKING A DIFFICULT SITUATION THAT MUCH HARDER.

AS THE COLD RAGED AND ARCTIC BINDS BLUE INTO TOWN, MORE THAN 5,000 RESIDENTS HAD HEAT AND HOT WATER INTERRUPTIONS ON THURSDAY'S FREEZING COLD MORNING.

MOST OF THOSE CASES IN HARLEM AND THE BRONX.

HEALTH SECRETARY BEN CARSON FLEW INTO TOWN AND MADE AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON NYCHA HOUSING.

TO THAT END, CARSON SAID THIS.

IT'S MY STRONG DESIRE AND HOPE AND TRUST THAT THE MONITOR WILL BE MOSTLY DOING JUST THAT, MONITORING.

BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THE MAYOR AND HIS TEAM ARE VERY COMMITTED TO GETTING THIS WORK DONE.

I DON'T THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A SITUATION WHERE THE MONITOR AND H.U.D. AND OTHERS HAVE TO COME OUT AND SAY HOW COME YOU'RE NOT DOING WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING?

BUT NOT ONLY THAT, YOU GUYS WILL ACT AS THE EYES AND THERE WILL BE QUARTERLY REPORTS IN TERMS OF PROGRESS MADE, AND THERE WILL BE SPECIFIC, YOU KNOW, LAND MARKS THAT WE WILL BE LOOKING TO MEET.

AND PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE WHETHER THAT'S BEING DONE.

SO TRANSPARENCY IS GOING TO BE A BIG PART OF ENFORCEMENT IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE.

SO AS WE BUNDLE UP TONIGHT, YOU CAN TAKE WARM COMFORT IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT, ACCORDING TO METEOROLOGISTS, THE WORST OF THIS COLD SNAP WILL BE OVER BY TOMORROW AFTERNOON, AND THAT TEMPERATURES COULD RISE AS HIGH AS 50 DEGREES BY EARLY NEXT WEEK.

HOW ARE YOU HANDLING THE COLD?

WHAT ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBORS?

WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO SHARE YOUR POLAR VORTEX, ARCTIC BLAST PHOTOS WITH US.

SO PLEASE, SEND YOUR PICTURES AND VIDEO TO PHOTOS AT METROFOCUS.ORG AND LET US ALL SHARE OUR COMMUNAL SUFFERING AND SURVIVAL THROUGH THIS ONCE IN A GENERATION EVENT.

> THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A YOUNG MOTHER WHO FELL DOWN THE STAIRS OF A MANHATTAN SUBWAY STATION THIS WEEK HAS RAISED SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF NEW YORK CITY'S TRANSIT SYSTEM.

22-YEAR-OLD MALAYSIA GOODSON FELL WHILE CARRYING A 1-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER DOWN TO THE PLATFORM AROUND 8:00 P.M. MONDAY NIGHT.

THE STATION HAS NO ELEVATORS, AND AN OFFICIAL SAID BOTH ESCALATORS ONLY GO UP IN ONE DIRECTION, LEAVING GOODSON NO CHOICE BUT TO TAKE THE STAIRS THAT NIGHT.

THE INCIDENT HAS PUT A TRAGIC SPOTLIGHT ON THE ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES THAT HAVE PLAGUED THE SUBWAY SYSTEM FOR YEARS.

ACCORDING TO 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' ONLY ABOUT A QUARTER OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM'S 472 STATIONS HAVE ELEVATORS.

AND MANY OF THOSE ARE OFTEN OUT OF ORDER.

FOLLOWING THE INCIDENT, MAYOR DEDe BLASIO TWEETED THIS IS A HEARTBREAKING TRAGEDY THAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED.

THE SUBWAY SYSTEM IS NOT ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE AND THAT'S AN ENVIRONMENT THAT THE MTA SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.

JOINING US NOW IS FOUNDER OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS PUSHED TO MAKE TRANSIT MORE ACCESSIBLE TO PARENTS.

CHRISTINE, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST, AS A MOTHER, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO JUST HEARING ABOUT THE STORY, WAS THIS SOMETHING THAT SHOCKED YOU OR SOMETHING THAT WAS MORE OF AN INEVITABLE TRAGEDY?

IT IS SHOCKING THAT IT GOT TO THE POINT WHERE THAT HAPPENED, BUT I THINK EVERYBODY KNEW THE PROBLEMS.

ALL PARENTS, CAREGIVERS ARE VERY AWARE OF THIS.

AND THE MTA IS AWARE OF IT, AS WELL.

IT IS AN AWFUL TRAGEDY.

I JUST WANT TO GIVE OUR VIEWERS AND SO MANY OF THEM, OF COURSE, EITHER HAVE SMALL CHILDREN OR HAVE RAISED SMALL CHILDREN, BUT GIVE US AN UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR FAMILY DYNAMIC, AND HOW YOU WORK WITH YOUR KIDS.

I HAVE TWO CHILDREN, 4 AND ALMOST 1.

AND I ALWAYS NEED A STROLLER, I'VE NEEDED A STROLLER THE ENTIRE TIME FOR AT LEAST ONE OF THEM.

INCLUDING WHILE PREGNANT.

SO CARRYING A STROLLER UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS, OUR STATION IS NOT YET ACCESSIBLE.

SOME OF THEM ARE WITHIN SIX STOPS OR SO.

SO ALWAYS GOING UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS CARRYING AT LEAST ONE STROLLER AND IT'S INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT, AND PEOPLE ARE OFTEN FALLING, TRIPPING, CHILDREN, AS WELL.

AND THERE'S NOT REALLY AN ALTERNATIVE.

THE NEED FOR ELEVATORS IS DIRE.

AND I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE OUT IN THE ASTORIA AREA OF QUEENS, CORRECT?

YES.

SO THEN GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU ALREADY ARE DEALING WITH A SUBWAY LINE THAT SUSPECT NECESSARILY ACCESSIBLE, YOU DO YOU NAVIGATE YOUR LIFE?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE TO TAKE KIDS TO THE DOCTOR OR TO A PLAY DATE OR TO SCHOOL, HOW DOES THAT WORK?

THE INACCESSIBILITY OF THE SYSTEM IS REALLY LIMITING.

MOST PEOPLE, INCLUDING OUR FAMILIES, STAND AROUND, SOMETIMES DURING RUSH HOUR, BUT IT'S REALLY HARD.

AND I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE IS GETTING TO THE POINT THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO RELY ON OTHER CUSTOMERS, INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF KINDNESS OR, YOU KNOW, THAT RESPONSIBILITY SHOULDN'T FALL ON OUR FELLOW RIDERS.

WE NEED TO HAVE INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT, BECAUSE WE OFTEN TIMES HAVE TO WAIT FOR SOMEBODY TO WAIT US GET DOWN THE STAIRS, OR WAIT FOR SOMEBODY TO COME BACK TO THE STATION BOOTH TO OPEN THE GATE.

THERE'S JUST A LOT OF ACCESS THAT MAKES GETTING AROUND THE CITY REALLY DIFFICULT.

AND OF COURSE, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS YOU MIGHT BE REFERRING TO, A LOT OF PEOPLE ON TWITTER, AFTER HEARING ABOUT THIS TRAGIC INCIDENT, WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW IT'S ALMOST BECOME NEW YORK CITY RITUAL WHERE IF YOU SEE A MOTHER WITH A STROLLER, AS A STRANGER, YOU ASK TO HELP, YOU TAKE THE FRONT, THEY TAKE THE BACK AND YOU WALK UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THAT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAPPEN.

WHAT KIND OF ACTION OR PRESSURE IS YOUR ORGANIZATION HOPING TO PUT ON THE MTA?

WE HAVE INTRODUCED A RESOLUTION TO TRY TO GET A PREGNANCY AND FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE AT THE MTA.

WE HAVE HAD RALLIES FOR ELEVATORS SPECIFICALLY TARGETING PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS AND CHILDREN TO SHOW UP.

AND THEY HAVE.

AND WE'VE MET WITH THE MTA, AND WE HAVE GIVEN A LIST OF POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS AND SAID, THIS NEEDS TO BE A PRIORITY.

THIS IS JUST AN AWFUL THING TO HAVE HAPPEN.

ONE FINAL QUESTION.

AGAIN, WITH THE ISSUES THAT WE SEE WITH THE MTA, WITH THE EXISTING SYSTEM AND, OF COURSE, THE FEW ELEVATORS THAT EXIST THAT ARE OFTEN OUT OF ORDER, AND THE SIGNAL PROBLEMS AND ALL THESE OTHER ISSUES THAT THE MTA HAS HAD, IF THERE IS MONEY THAT'S FOUND TO THEN START PUTTING IN MORE ELEVATORS AND ESCALATORS INTO THE SUBWAY STOPS, DO YOU HAVE FAITH THAT THE MTA WILL KEEP ALL OF THEM UP AND RUNNING?

I HAVE FAITH THAT IF THE THINGS THAT ADD SLOW CATS ARE PUSHING FOR ARE DONE, THAT THE NEXT ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.

AND THAT WE CAN THEN MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO HAVE FAITH GOING FORWARD IN SOMETHING, ESPECIALLY AFTER A HORRIFIC TRAGEDY LIKE THIS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME AND THANK YOU FOR FOCUSING ON THE ISSUE.

ABSOLUTELY.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

> AMERICA, WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, A MELTING POT OF CULTURAL EXCHANGES, A PLACE WHERE IDEAS AND FREEDOM PROSPER.

BUT SINCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THERE'S BEEN A PALPABLE SHIFT IN PUBLIC OPINION THAT'S GIVEN RISE TO INTOLERANCE AND XENOPHOBIA ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

ONE ARTIST IS NOW HOPING TO CHALLENGE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FOREIGNERS AND RESHAPE OUR PERCEPTION OF WHAT IT TRULY MEANS TO BE AMERICAN.

AS PART OF OUR ONGOING INITIATIVE, 'CHASING THE DREAM,' WHICH TACKLES POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, WE INTRODUCE YOU TO ARTIST BETSY ASHTON, WHO BRINGS TO US PORTRAITS OF IMMIGRANTS, A COLLECTION OF ART INSPIRED BY OUR NATION.

BETSY, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

MY PLEASURE TO BE HERE, JENNA.

THANK YOU.

SO FIRST OF ALL, WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS?

BECAUSE WHAT I WAS SO INTRIGUED BY, AS I SAID IN THE INTRO, IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN.

WELL, IT'S -- WHAT HAPPENED WAS, I SPENT THE LAST 11 YEARS ON MY SECOND CAREER DOING PORTRAITS OF THE RICH AND ACCOMPLISHED, AND EARNING MONEY.

IT WAS FUN.

I REMEMBER SEEING PORTRAITS OF THEM.

AND I LOVE PUSHING P ING PAI AROUND, BUT THEN CAME THE ELECTION.

HERE I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY, WHICH HAS THE GREATEST NUMBER OF FOREIGN BORN PEOPLE THAN ANY ONE ON THE PLANET.

I'M HEARING THIS STUFF COME OUT ABOUT RAPISTS AND MURDERERS AND THESE ARE IMMIGRANTING.

AND I'M SAYING WAIT A MINUTE, THAT'S NOT ANYTHING LIKE THE STORY.

BECAUSE I PROBABLY SEE HUNDREDS OF IMMIGRANTS A DAY.

I LIVE AND WORK AMONG THEM, AND I INTERACT WITH THEM.

AND THAT'S NOT THE STORY.

THE PEOPLE THAT I SEE ARE CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIETY.

AND THIS IS JUST -- THIS IS JUST TRUE.

I LIVE HERE, I SEE THEM, AND IF THERE'S A LITTLE BIT THAT'S PROBLEMATIC, YEAH, IT'S KIND OF LIKE THAT BIT ON MY FINGERNAIL THAT'S GOING TO GET TAKEN OFF.

BUT THE REST OF ME IS THE STORY.

SO I JUST DECIDED -- I WAS ALSO SITTING IN CHURCH, I MUST SAY.

OH.

YOU KNOW THAT BISHOP THAT GAVE THE ROYAL SERMON OVER THERE AT THE WEDDING?

I'M SITTING IN CHUMP AND LEARNING ABOUT GOD IS LOVE, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, BE KIND TO STRANGERS, AND I'M SAYING, I THINK I'M GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

AND ALSO MY JOURNALISM BACKGROUND, I WAS TAUGHT TO SEEK TRUTH, AS MOST JOURNALISTS ARE.

I THINK EVEN STILL TODAY, MOST ARE.

AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, I'VE GOT TO DO THE STORY AS I SEE IT, AND GO OUT.

I'M GOING TO PAINT AND INTERVIEW THE IMMIGRANTS, BEGINNING WITH THE PEOPLE I KNOW.

SO WHEN YOU'RE DOING THESE PORTRAITS, I'M WONDERING WHAT IS IT THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO CAPTURE TO CONVEY?

BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE HEARD A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY IS PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THAT SO MANY DON'T HAVE THAT KIND OF INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WHERE THEY KNOW PEOPLE WHO ARE FOREIGN BORN IMMIGRANTS IN THE COUNTRY.

SO IT'S A LOT EASIER TO BE AFRAID OF WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW.

SO WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO CAPTURE WITH THESE PORTRAITS?

I'M DOING PORTRAITS THAT ARE LIFE-SIZE, AND THAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT THEM SO THAT PEOPLE CAN WALK INTO THE GALLERY AND COMMUNICATE AND SEE THE SPIRIT.

I REALLY GO FOR THE SPIRIT AND THE CHARACTER AND SOUL OF A PERSON WHEN I PAINT THEM.

FIRST OF ALL, I DO A BIG INTERVIEW AND I'LL TALK TO THEM FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO GET THE BASIC STORY ABOUT THEM, AND I'M SKETCHING AT THE SAME TIME.

I DO LIVE PICTURES AND A BIG PHOTO SHOOT AND I'LL TAKE HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS AND GO BACK AND LOOK AT THE GESTURES AND THINGS THAT SEEM TO BRING OUT THAT PERSON'S CHARACTER.

AND MY WHOLE POINT OF THIS IS I'M TRYING TO DO DIFFERENT PEOPLE FROM COUNTRIES AND CULTURES.

SOME HAVE BEEN HERE 10, 20 YEARS, SOME HAVE JUST ARRIVED.

SO YOU GET A FEEL OF WHO TODAY'S IMMIGRANTS REALLY ARE.

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE, THIS IS WHY THEY CAME HERE, THIS IS WHAT GETTING HERE WAS LIKE AND THE SETTLING IF WAS LIKE, WHICH IN SOME CASES WAS VERY DIFFICULT.

AND WHO THEY ARE, AND WHAT THEY'RE CONTRIBUTING, WHAT THEIR STRUGGLES AND THEIR LOVES AND THEIR BELIEFS, AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU, THE STORIES THAT I'M GETTING ARE AS GOOD AS THE ONES WE CELEBRATE FROM YEARS PAST.

SO DO YOU SEE THIS AS MORE OF A POLITICAL STATEMENT OR MORE ABOUT THE ARTWORK OF THE PORTRAITS?

DOES ONE WEIGH MORE THAN THE OTHER FOR YOU?

IT'S KIND OF SMUSHING IT ALL TOGETHER, BUT IT'S NOT INTENDED TO BE POLITICAL.

I DIDN'T THINK THAT THE STORY OF IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA WAS A TERRIBLY POLITICAL STORY.

I SUPPOSE THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN CASES WHERE IMMIGRANTS HAVE BEEN NOT WELCOMED.

THE IRISH DIDN'T USED TO BE WANTED, AND THE ITALIANS, AND WHATEVER.

YEAH.

AND TODAY, I THINK AMERICANS WHO DON'T LIVE AMONG IMMIGRANTS AS I DO, WILL BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT TO FIND OUT THAT THEY ARE, IN MANY WAYS, AS AMERICAN AS THEY ARE.

THAT THEY HAVE THE SAME HOPES, SOME OF THEM CAME HERE FOR MORE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, BECAUSE THE COUNTRIES CAME HERE DON'T HAVE IT.

SOME OF THEM REALLY CAME TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN, AND NOT HAVE MORE OPPORTUNITY.

SOME ACTUALLY WERE REFUGEES FLEEING TERRIBLE STRIFE AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE IN OTHER PLACES.

AND SO THEY WILL FIND THAT -- I THINK TODAY'S IMMIGRANTS ARE THE SAME AS IMMIGRANTS THAT ALWAYS BEEN.

LISTEN, BETSY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME TO BRING IT BEFORE THE PUBLIC.

ABSOLUTELY.

> IF YOU'RE NOT INTO FOOTBALL, LIKE ME, YOU MIGHT FEEL A LITTLE LEFT OUT OF THE SUPER FESTIVITIES THIS TIME OF YEAR.

WHILE MOST OF THE COUNTRY IS GEARING UP FOR THE BIG GAME, ANOTHER KIND OF WORLD CLASS COMPETITION THAT REWARDS SPEED, STRENGTH, AND AGILITY, IS SET TO TAKE PLACE HERE IN NEW YORK.

BUT THIS ISN'T FOR YOUR AVERAGE FIVE-TIME ALL-AMERICAN, THESE ATHLETES COMPETE ON ALL FOURS.

THEY DON'T KNOW IF THEY QUALIFIED, THEY DON'T KNOW HOW WELL THEY DID.

THEY DON'T CARE.

THEY JUST GET TO SPEND TIME WITH ME AND DO THINGS THEY LOVE TO DO.

AND THEY LOVE THE CHEERS, THEY LIKE THE ATTENTION.

THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW AS A LONG AND STORIED HISTORY IN NEW YORK.

IN 1877, AS AMERICA AND THE CITY WERE STILL RECOVERING FROM THE AFTER EFFECTS OF THE CIVIL WAR, FOUNDING MEMBERS CREATED A TOG SHOW AS A WAY TO LIFT SPIRITS AND BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER AROUND THEIR LOVE FOR THEIR FURRY COMPANIONS.

NOW, WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB PRESIDENT CHAT REYNDERS SAYS AGILITY IS TAKING OFF IN POPULARITY.

AGILITY IS SOMETHING THAT'S BECOME EXTREMELY POPULAR.

IT'S A WONDERFUL SPORT.

IT'S A LITTLE MORE ACCESSIBLE TO SOME PEOPLE, BECAUSE THERE'S A CLOCK.

AND THE DOGS HAVE TO BEAT A TIME, AND THERE ARE DIFFERENT WEIGHT CLASSES AND DIFFERENT DOGS HAVE DIFFERENT STANDARDS THEY HAVE TO HIT.

WE ALWAYS FELT THAT WE WANT TO SHOW OFF AS MUCH AS WE CAN ABOUT DOGS.

SO AGILITY IS JUST ANOTHER PART.

IT'S NOT BASED ON HOW YOU JUMP, IT'S BASED ON THE SIZE.

YOU CAN'T FORCE A DOG TO DO ANY OF THESE OBSTACLES.

YOU CAN'T DRAG THEM THROUGH A TIRE.

THEIR WILLINGNESS AND EAGERNESS TO DO IT.

THEY KNOW WHEN WE GET TO THE PARKING LOT, THEY GO NUTS.

HE JUST LOVES IT.

HE WANTS ME TO PUT HIM ON THE FLOOR.

I FEEL LIKE I'M KEEPING YOU FROM YOUR TRUE PASSION.

ALL OF THESE DOGGY ATHLETES HAVE BACK STORIES AS COMPELLING AS THEIR ABILITIES.

LIKE RYKA, WHO JOINED HEATHER'S PACK OF CORGIS AS A PUP.

SHE KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT HE WOULD BE PERFECT FOR AGILITY.

HE'S JUST BEEN THE EASIEST DOG TO TRAIN.

HE'S AN AWESOME LITTLE DOG.

BUT THE ROAD TO WESTMINSTER HASN'T BEEN AN EASY ONE.

IN 2016, HEATHER SUFFERED A DOUBLE BLOW WHEN HER MOM, HER BIGGEST SUPPORTER, PASSED AWAY UNEXPECTEDLY, AND RIGHT BEFORE THE WESTMINSTER AGILITY TRIAL, RYKA SUFFERED A POTENTIALLY CAREER ENDING BACK INJURY.

HE HAD A BLOWN DISK IN 2016.

WE THOUGHT HE WAS DONE.

HE COULDN'T WALK NORMALLY, AND I WAS DEVASTATED.

THAT'S WHEN HE SAYS THE AGILITY COMMUNITY STEPPED UP.

THEY DID A GO FUND ME.

AND THEY PAID FOR HER MRI AND TREATMENTS.

I HAD PEOPLE COME UP I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW SAY I HEARD ABOUT RYKA'S STORY.

TO YOU AND HOW SPECIAL THIS ANS- LITTLE DOG IS, AND WE WANT TO HELP.

AND BY 2018, RYKA BECAME THE FIRST DOG OF HER BREED TO MAKE THE WESTMINSTER AGILITY FINAL.

BUT SHE'S NOT THE ONLY COMPETITOR MAKING A NAME FOR HERSELF.

THE HAIRLESS, FABULOUS TEN-POUND BALL OF ENERGY IS PEPE, THE ONLY CHINESE CRESTED COMPETING IN AGILITY.

HIS MOM SAYS THAT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE THE BREED IS SO OFTEN MISJUDGED.

THEY JUST WANT TO PLEASE YOU AND THEY WANT TO BE NEAR YOU.

FOR AGILITY, THE DOG HAS TO WORK AWAY FROM YOU, SO THAT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT.

AND SKILLS AND OBEDIENCE AND AGILITY AREN'T THE ONLY PLACE WHERE IS CHINESE CRESTEDS GET MISJUDGED.

THEY'RE OFTEN THE BREED KNOWN AS THE WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG.

MOST OF THE ONES THAT WEN, I THINK ALL OF THE ONES THAT WIN, ARE MIXES.

THEY'RE NOT PURE CHINESE CRESTEDS.

THE LAST ONE WAS A CRESTED CHIHUAHUA MIX, AND THE DOG WAS VERY OLD, HAD LOST ITS TEETH.

PEPE, HOWEVER, IS A SPRY 6-YEAR-OLD, AND HE'S HAD HIS FAIR SHARE OF SETBACKS.

HE'S HAD TWO MAJOR SURGERIES.

THE FIRST ONE HE WAS UNDER 6 MONTHS OLD, AND THEY HAVE TO CUT OFF THE HEAD OF THE FEMUR.

SO THAT BONE IS MISSING AND THE BODY FORMED A PSEUDO JOINT.

AND HE HAD TO LEARN HOW TO WALK AGAIN.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A RESILIENT ATHLETE, PEPE IS THE SUBJECT OF HIS OWN CHILDREN'S BOOK, PEPE LEARNS TO RUN AGAIN.

HIS MOM, CHRISTINA, SAYS THIS TINY POWER HOUSE IS ALSO QUITE THE FASHIONISTA.

HE HAS SWEATERS, PAJAMAS, JACKETS.

THE ONESIES, AND SOMETIMES HE LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE SUMO WRESTLER BECAUSE HE'S WEARING SO MANY LAYERS, AND IF IT'S REALLY COLD WE HAVE TO PUT BOOTS ON HIM.

SOMETHING ELSE THAT SETS AGILITY APART IS ELIGIBILITY.

MIXED BREEDS, OR ALL-AMERICAN DOGS, ARE ALSO WELL REPRESENTED.

LIKE THIS ALL-AMERICAN INBRED.

DOBBY WAS ABANDONED IF A CAGE OUTSIDE A POUND AS A PUPPY, AND STEPHANIE, WHO WAS LOOKING FOR AN OVERSEAS COMPANION, SAYS SHE FELL IN LOVE INSTANTLY.

I SAW HIM ONLINE, AND HE REMINDED ME A LOT OF MY DOG I LEFT WITH MY PARENTS IN THE STATES WHEN I MOVED.

AND I FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM RIGHT AWAY.

WHEN THEY MOVED BACK TO THE STATES IN 2014, STEPHANIE SAYS SHE KNEW VERY LITTLE ABOUT HER FURRY COMPANION, OTHER THAN HOW MUCH SHE ADORED HIM.

I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO AGILITY BUT NEVER HAD A DOG THAT LISTENED WELL ENOUGH.

SO WHEN THEY ASKED IF THERE WAS ANYBODY THAT WANTED TO START A BEGINNER'S AGILITY CLASS, I WAS LIKE, ME, ME.

AND WE NEVER LOOKED BACK.

BUT LIKE MOST OF THE DOG MOMS AND DADS CHEERING ON THEIR COMPANION COMPETITORS, AGILITY SUSPECT JUST A JOB, IT'S A HOBBY.

AND LIKE STEPHANIE, ALL THE DOG MOMS THAT WE MET HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS, TOO.

IT'S A HOBHOBBY, BUT MY LIFE REVOLVES AROUND MY DOG.

WE TRAIN ALMOST EVERY DAY, WE COMPETE AT LEAST TWO WEEKENDS A MONTH.

SO IT'S VERY CONSUMING.

AND AGILITY, A SWIFT AND NIMBLE DOG TAKES THE TOP PRIZE.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE RYKA, PEPE, AND DOBBY IN ACTION, THE WESTMINSTER AGILITY CHAMPIONSHIP WILL AIR FEBRUARY 9th AND 0th.

CHECK OUT METROFOCUS.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS.

> '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 PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

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

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