TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

WNYC and ProPublica have teamed up for a look inside the president’s inaugural committee. We have the details of their findings. The fallout from Amazon’s cancellation of its HQ2 deal in Queens continues to raise many questions. What’s happened to real estate values and what’s the potential loss to homeowners? We have a must-see market analysis. Nature brings us into the fascinating and dangerous world of “Living Volcanoes.” We have a preview of the adventure!

Aired on February 20, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS' -- PRESIDENT TRUMP UNDER MULTIPLE INVESTIGATIONS AND REPORTEDLY ON THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE INVESTIGATORS.

OUR PARTNER WNYC AND PROPUBLICA HAVE TEAMED UP FOR A LOOK INSIDE THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE.

IN A MOMENT THEIR SOBERING FINDINGS.

> THE FALLOUT FROM AMAZON'S CANCELLATION OF THE DEAL IN QUEENS CONTINUES TO RAISE MANY QUESTIONS.

AMONG THEM WHAT'S HAPPENED TO REAL ESTATE VALUES SINCE THE MULTIBILLION DOLLAR PLAN WENT BUST?

AND WHAT'S THE POTENTIAL LOSS TO HOMEOWNERS IN REAL DOLLARS AND CENTS?

A MUST SEE MARKET ANALYSIS JUST AHEAD.

> AND THE FOLKS AT NATURE TRAVEL TO SOME OF THE MOST FASCINATING AND DANGEROUS LIVING VOLCANOES ON EARTH.

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 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 FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS IN NEW YORK CITY ARE LOOKING INTO THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE AS PART OF THE WIDE RANGING INVESTIGATION.

POSSIBLE ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND CASH FOR ACCESS SCHEMES.

AND NOW WNYC AND PROPUBLICA HAVE FOUND EVIDENCE OF POSSIBLE TAX LAW VIOLATIONS BY THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE.

JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THE EVIDENCE AND ABOUT THE BROADER FEDERAL INVESTIGATION IS ILYA MARRITZ, A REPORTER FOR WNYC.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

WHAT ARE THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE?

WHAT HAVE FEDERAL PROSECUTORS DISCOVERED AND WHAT HAS YOUR INVESTIGATION DISCOVERED?

SO FIRST, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF CONTEXT.

INAUGURAL COMMITTEES ARE 501 C-4 NONPROFITS AND FOR YEARS EVERY TIME A NEW PRESIDENT COMES IN, THEY FORM AN INAUGURAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE'S JOB IS TO PAY FOR THE BALLS AND THE CONCERTS AND THE DINNERS THAT HAPPEN AROUND THE SWEARING-IN.

THE SWEARING-IN ITSELF IS PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT BUT THE OTHER STUFF IS PAID FOR BY PRIVATE DONATIONS.

SO DONALD TRUMP'S INAUGURAL COMMITTEE WAS NOTEWORTHY IN A FEW KEY WAYS.

THEY RAISED TWICE AS MUCH MONEY AS THE NEXT MOST EXPENSIVE INAUGURATION.

THEY DIDN'T SET LIMITS ON WHO COULD GIVE OR HOW MUCH THEY COULD GIVE.

A SUBPOENA HAS BEEN ISSUED AND THEY'RE LOOKING FOR CASH FOR ACCESS SCHEMES.

THEY WANT TO KNOW WHERE IF THE MONEY CAME FROM.

WHERE IT WENT.

THEY SUSPECT THERE COULD HAVE BEEN STRAW DONORS.

NONAMERICANS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE BUT WE KNOW OF AT LEAST ONE INSTANCE THAT A UKRAINIAN PERSON DID GIVE MONEY TO THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS SWIRLING AROUND ABOUT HOW THEY MADE DECISIONS.

IT WAS THE FACT THAT THEY MADE SUCH MONEY AND THOSE ARE LIKE RED FLAGS FOR THE PROSECUTORS AND FOR YOU?

SURE.

ONE OF THE KEY FIGURES IN THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE WAS RICK GATES.

HE GOT SNAGGED IN ROBERT MUELLER'S PROBE AND HE PLEADED GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY AND IS COOPERATING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT.

THAT WAS ANOTHER RED FLAG.

MANAFORT'S ASSISTANT?

THAT'S RIGHT.

HE WORKED CLOSELY WITH PAUL MANAFORT FOR YEARS IN UKRAINE.

WHEN JUSTIN ELLIOTT AND I LOOKED INTO THE INAUGURATIONAL COMMITTEE, WE TALKED TO PEOPLE AROUND THE INAUGURATION AND WE LEARNED FROM E-MAILS SHOWN TO US THAT THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE ACTUALLY BOOKED DONALD TRUMP'S HOTEL IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE.

A PRESIDENT --

IT'S ODD TO BEGIN WITH.

MAKING MONEY FROM HIS OWN INAUGURAL COMMITTEE AND IT INCLUDES A WARNING THAT THE RATE THEY'RE BEING CHARGED LOOKS REALLY HIGH.

AND WHAT WE LEARNED IS THAT NONPROFITS LIKE THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STEER -- TO GIVE BUSINESS TO RELATED PARTIES AT ABOVE MARKET RATE.

OKAY.

LET'S GET INTO THAT, BUT FIRST OF ALL, YOU TALK ABOUT GATES.

HE'S INVOLVED IN THIS.

BUT WHO MAKES THE -- WHO MADE THE FINAL DECISIONS?

WHO WAS THE PERSON AT THE TOP OF THIS INAUGURAL COMMITTEE?

WELL, HIS NAME IS TOM BARRACK, A CALIFORNIA BUSINESS MAN, PRIVATE EQUITY EXECUTIVE.

HE SOLD THE PLAZA HOTEL TO DONALD TRUMP BACK IN 1988 SO THEY HAVE A LOT OF HISTORY TOGETHER.

HE'S A GOOD FRIEND.

HE'S VISITED THE WHITE HOUSE AND TALKED WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP MANY TIMES.

AFTER TRUMP WAS ELECTED HE ASKED TOM BARRACK TO SPEARHEAD THIS PARTY AND SO TOM BARRACK AND HIS LAWYERS ARE NOW RESPONDING TO THE SUBPOENA.

ALL RIGHT.

SO LET'S GET BACK TO WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

THE MONEY THAT WAS PAID TO THE TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL IN WASHINGTON, D.C.?

THAT'S RIGHT.

THEY RENTED A SPACE AMONG MANY OTHER SPACES THEY RENTED A SPACE IN THIS HOTEL.

$175,000.

THAT EVENT'S PLANNER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT IN THE E-MAIL SAID WAIT A MINUTE, THIS IS MORE THAN TWICE WHAT THE HIGH END OF THE GOING RATE USUALLY IS.

SHE SAID THAT TO THEM.

THAT'S RIGHT.

SHE ALSO SAID AS YOU IMPLIED THIS IS ALL GOING TO BE PUBLIC, GUYS.

SO YOU GUYS -- THIS IS GOING TO BE TRANSPARENT.

EVERYBODY WILL SEE THIS.

SO DON'T MAKE ANY MISTAKES BUT THEY DID IT ANYWAY WHICH LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THERE'S A POSSIBILITY THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST INCOMPETENT BOOBS RATHER THAN CRIMINALS.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE?

THAT'S ONE WAY TO LOOK AT IT.

ANOTHER WAY IS THAT THE HOTEL HAD JUST OPENED, AN EXCITING SPACE.

MAYBE THEY FELT THEIR GUESTS, A LOT OF THEIR SUPPORTERS WOULD WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE HOTEL SO OFFER THEM THE CHANCE TO DO THAT.

OF COURSE THEY COULD GO AND HAVE COFFEE THERE ANYWAY.

THE MOST POSSIBLE CYNICAL VIEW IS THAT DONALD TRUMP AND WE HAVE SEEN THIS IN HIS HISTORY DOESN'T LIKE TO GET CUT OUT OF A DEAL.

HE WANTS TO GET CUT IN ON THE DEAL SO PERHAPS THEY JUST FELT THAT THEY HAD TO BOOK IT.

WE KNOW THAT THE COMMITTEE REALLY WANTED TO BOOK THIS SPACE AND WENT TO SOME LENGTHS TO GET THIS SPACE FOR FOUR SOLID DAYS AT A COST OF $700,000 TOTAL.

SO ANOTHER POSSIBILITY IS THAT THIS -- WHAT'S HIS NAME?

TOM BARRACK.

TOM BARRACK.

HE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE WANTED TO INGRATIATE THEMSELVES TO THE INCOMING ADMINISTRATION?

ABSOLUTELY.

BARRACK IS A VERY UNUSUAL CHOICE FOR AN INAUGURAL CHAIR.

USUALLY THE PERSON WHO TAKES A JOB LIKE THAT IS AN EXPERIENCED WASHINGTON HAND.

SOMEBODY MUCH YOUNGER.

SOMEBODY WHO DOESN'T HAVE AS MUCH MONEY.

SOMEBODY WHO'S MAYBE ANGLING FOR A JOB IN THE WHITE HOUSE OR K STREET.

HE HAS THE WORLD.

HE HAS OFFICES ALL AROUND THE WORLD, ACCESS TO THE PRIVATE JET.

WE GOT INTERESTED IN THE QUESTION HE MIGHT HAVE TO GAIN FROM TAKING THREE MONTHS OUT OF HIS BUSY LIFE TO RUN THIS PARTY.

AND WE WERE SHOWN A MEMO -- A CONFIDENTIAL MEMO FROM HIS COMPANY COLONY CAPITAL IN FEBRUARY OF 2017.

SO RIGHT AFTER THE SWEARING-IN AND IT DESCRIBES A BUNCH OF WAYS THAT COLONY CAN BASICALLY PROFIT FROM ITS ACCESS AND CONNECTIONS.

YEAH.

WELL, AS YOU SAID, THE FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ARE ALSO LOOKING AT THE POSSIBILITY OF FOREIGN MONEY HAVING GOTTEN INTO THE COMMITTEE AND THEY DISCOVERED THAT SOME UKRAINIAN MONEY MIGHT HAVE GONE THROUGH A MIDDLE MAN?

THAT'S RIGHT.

BUT THAT'S NOTHING THAT HASN'T HAPPENED BEFORE.

I REMEMBER IN 2012 THAT SOME ALBANIAN MONEY GOT INTO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION INAUGURAL COMMITTEE.

IT WASN'T THEIR FAULT.

THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT, THROUGH A MIDDLEMAN.

THIS IS NOTHING NECESSARILY A SMOKE GUN.

NO.

I MEAN, EVERY INAUGURAL COMMITTEE DESERVES A LOT OF DUE DILIGENCE, BECAUSE IT PRESENTS SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES OF SORT OF CASH FOR ACCESS PAY TO PLAY.

I'M SURE THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE.

I THINK WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS ONE IS IT'S MORE THAN TWO YEARS LATER AND WE'RE STILL TALKING ABOUT IT.

EARLIER COMMITTEES SEEM TO HAVE DONE THEIR BEST TO SWIFTLY DEAL WITH THESE KIND OF PROBLEMS.

THIS COMMITTEE I THINK BY SAYING WE'RE NOT GOING TO LIMIT THE SIZE OF DONATIONS OR WHO CAN GIVE, BY NOT PUTTING A LIMIT ON HOW MUCH THAT THEY WOULD RAISE I THINK SENT A SIGNAL.

SO QUICKLY, IF IT'S DISCOVERED -- IF IT'S DETERMINED ULTIMATELY THAT THE COMMITTEE HAS VIOLATED LAWS OR A SERIES OF LAWS WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT?

HEAVY FINES OR JAIL TERMS?

WELL, THE FIRST STEP WOULD BE A CIVIL VIOLATION ON THE TRUMP HOTEL THING.

BEYOND THAT A LOT OF THE CHARGES THAT THE PROSECUTORS ARE LOOKING AT ARE QUITE SERIOUSLY LIKE MONEY LAUNDERING.

THE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE SAID IT'S COOPERATING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT.

THEY HAVE TOLD ME IN THE PAST THEY DON'T BELIEVE THEY DID ANYTHING WRONG.

THAT THEY DID VET THEIR DONORS AND THAT THEY MADE REAL EFFORTS TO ABIDE BY THE LAW.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, WITH THIS SUBPOENA IT'S PRETTY CLEAR THAT PROSECUTORS THINK THERE IS SOMETHING THERE.

SO IF THERE'S SOMETHING THERE AND THERE ARE CONVICTIONS, DOES IT NECESSARILY IMPLICATE OR AFFECT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION?

IT'S NOT A GOOD THING FOR THEM TO HAVE, YOU KNOW, IN ADDITION TO THE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION.

AND THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE.

ALL BEING UNDER SOME KIND OF INVESTIGATION.

HERE'S ONE MORE ENTITY CALLED TRUMP THAT IS NOW BEING INVESTIGATED.

ALL RIGHT.

VERY INTERESTING STUFF.

KEEP WRITING ON IT.

SURE.

WE'LL KEEP READING IT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> DEAD DEALS, DEAD MARKET.

AS AMAZON PULLS OUT OF THE PLANS TO BUILD THE HEADQUARTERS IN LONG ISLAND CITY, NEW YORK'S REAL ESTATE MARKET GRAPPLES WITH THE AFTERMARKET WITH THE PROSPECT OF 25,000 NEW JOBS GONE.

THOSE WHO EAGERLY BOUGHT APARTMENTS BASED ON THE TECH GIANT'S ARRIVAL NOW WENT OUT.

COULD IT LEAVE LONG ISLAND CITY WITH A DEAD MARKET?

WE HAVE THE FOUNDER OF THE REAL ESTATE MEDIA COMPANY, THE REAL DEAL.

AMIR, WELCOME.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST, FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVEN'T DRIVEN THROUGH LONG ISLAND CITY, MAYBE HAVEN'T BEEN TO QUEENS RECENTLY, GIVE US A QUICK LAY OF THE LAND, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

IT WAS THE INDUSTRIAL PART OF QUEENS.

IT'S ON THE EAST RIVER.

IT'S HOME THE QUEENS BRIDGE WHICH IS THE LARGEST PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

IT HAS A GDP $10,000 BELOW THE POVERTY RATE COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

SO THOSE PEOPLE ARE ESPECIALLY GOING TO BE AFFECTED BY THIS.

IT'S VERY DEVASTATING FOR THEM.

THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE 1,500 OF THE JOBS GOING TO THAT COMMUNITY ALONE AND NOW THOSE JOBS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO THEM.

IT'S VERY DEVASTATING FOR THE REAL ESTATE AND THE COMMUNITY AND SEE THAT THE EFFECTS ARE IN THE LONG TERM.

I THINK THE POLITICIANS WILL HAVE TO PAY AT THE POLLS FOR WHAT HAPPENED HERE.

YOU SORT OF GAVE US AN IDEA OF WITH THERE BEING AN INDUSTRIAL PART OF THE CITY.

I'M TRYING TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW MUCH AFFORDABLE HOUSING, BECAUSE THAT SEEMED TO BE A REAL POINT OF CONTENTION WAS THAT PEOPLE WHO WERE LIVING IN THAT AREA WERE SAYING WE'LL GET PRICED OUT.

WE'RE BEING TO GET DISPLACED.

RIGHT.

SO I MEAN, ALL THE NEW HOUSING THAT HAS GONE THERE IS 8020 HOUSING.

ZONING CHANGE, I THINK ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN YEARS THERE AND THERE'S A BOOM OF GLASS TOWERS THAT HAVE GONE UP IN LONG ISLAND CITY AND THOSE TOWERS WERE NOT COMPETITIVE HOUSING FOR THOSE WHO LIVED IN THE AREA.

IT WAS THOSE WHO LIVED IN THE CITY WHO WANTED SOMETHING A BIT MORE AFFORDABLE.

SO THAT HOUSING WASN'T REALLY STOCK -- IT WASN'T FOR THE COMMUNITY NECESSARILY.

SO MORE LIKE LUXURY CONDOS?

IT WAS LUXURY CONDOS.

IT WAS NOT COMPETITIVE FOR THAT NEIGHBORHOOD.

YOU KNOW, IT WAS -- ONE BEDROOM WAS GOING FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, NOT WHAT YOU'D EXPECT TO GET WHEN YOU'RE IN QUEENS OR IN LONG ISLAND CITY FOR THAT MATTER.

OKAY.

BUT THAT'S REALLY CHANGED.

IF YOU DRIVE THROUGH LONG ISLAND CITY TODAY OUTSIDE OF THOSE GLASS TOWERS, MOSTLY ON THE WATERFRONT IT'S STILL A VERY INDUSTRIAL -- YOU KNOW, VERY INDUSTRIAL STILL.

A LOT OF OFFICE SPACE, STUFF LIKE THAT?

I MEAN, THERE'S A GOOD AMOUNT OF OFFICE SPACE THERE.

MORE HAS BEEN BUILT THERE.

BUT THERE'S ROUGHLY AROUND 13 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF OFFICE SPACE THERE WHICH IS LARGER THAN, YOU KNOW, OKLAHOMA CITY AND KANSAS CITY COMBINED.

WOW.

SO THEN WHEN AMAZON ANNOUNCED THEY WERE COMING AND WE WERE HEARING THAT THE PEOPLE WERE BIDDING ON THE APARTMENTS, SIGHT UNSEEN.

$300,000 OVER THE ASKING PRICE.

WHAT HAPPENS?

WELL, THERE'S A GREAT VALUE THAT COMES WITH AMAZON.

WHEN -- OR ANY COMPANY OF THAT SIZE COMES TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THERE'S A BOOM EFFECT.

YOU KNOW?

THAT HAPPENED WITH GOOGLE.

GOOGLE -- A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T TALK ABOUT THIS, BUT GOOGLE IS THE SAME SIZE OF AMAZON, MAYBE SLIGHTLY SMALLER OR LARGER, BUT THEY HAVE SEVERAL MILLION SQUARE FEET RIGHT HERE IN MANHATTAN.

THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANY OF THIS STUFF.

WHEN THEY WENT TO THE MEAT PACKING DISTRICT, MAYBE YOU COULD SAY IT WAS GOOGLE, MAYBE YOU COULD SAY IT WAS OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE MEAT PACKING BUT THEY HAD A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THAT PART OF TOWN.

AND THEN THAT WAS IN MANHATTAN.

YOU KNOW?

AND LONG ISLAND CITY/QUEENS COULD HAVE DEFINITELY USED AMAZON IN LONG ISLAND CITY.

SO NOW IT -- I MEAN, SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE IMMEDIATELY WERE JUMPING ON APARTMENTS AND CONDOS, ET CETERA, AND PLANS WERE BEING MADE.

WHAT HAPPENS TO SOME OF THOSE CONTRACTS?

THE WHOLE SCOPE OF IT WAS -- THE WHOLE RANGE WAS SO SHORT THAT THE REAL ESTATE DEALS DON'T HAPPEN THAT FAST UNLESS YOU'RE BUYING STUFF, YOU KNOW, BY CASH.

BUT, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S TOO SOON TO TELL IF THOSE PEOPLE WHO JUMPED IN AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

BUT YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO JUMPED IN FULLY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE GETTING IN TO.

ESPECIALLY IF THEY WERE TRYING TO JUMP IN ON THE OPPORTUNITY THAT WASN'T FULLY BAKED.

SO THEN GIVEN THAT WE SEE THAT AMAZON IS NOW NO LONGER IN LONG ISLAND CITY AND THEY SAID NO TO NEW YORK OVERALL, DO WE KNOW WHAT BECOMES OF THE QUEENS MARKET NOW?

DOES IT COLLAPSE ON ITSELF?

DO WE SEE PERHAPS SOME OTHER KIND OF INVESTMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY LIVING THERE TO BE ABLE TO STAY OR WHAT HAPPENS?

IT WAS A REAL BOOM AND PEOPLE ESPECIALLY IN THE AREA, THE RESTAURANTS, THE BUSINESSES IN THE AREA, THEY'RE VERY HAPPY.

PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THE 25,000 JOBS THAT AMAZON WAS GOING TO BRING TO THE AREA.

BUT THERE WAS ANOTHER 15,000 JOBS THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO COME AS A RESULT INDIRECTLY AS A RESULT OF IT.

WHICH HAVE BEEN -- WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT FOR THE COMMUNITY THERE.

AGAIN, IT'S TOO SOON TO TELL.

I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO COLLAPSE ON ITSELF.

IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO GROW.

THERE'S 220,000 BUSINESSES IN NEW YORK CITY.

NEW YORK CITY IS STILL THE GREATEST TOWN AND TALENT POOL IN THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD.

THE JOBS THAT AMAZON IS BRINGING TO NEW YORK, THEY'D HAVE BEEN ON AVERAGE $100,000 AND THEY WOULD HAVE HELPED IN A POSITIVE WAY.

I DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE TEND OF ANYTHING FOR NEW YORK CITY.

IT'S A CHINK IN THE ARMOR BUT THAT'S ABOUT IT.

JUST TO CIRCLE BACK THOUGH TO THE ISSUE OF DISPLACEMENT BECAUSE THAT SEEMS TO BE A REAL CONCERN FOR THE RESIDENTS OF THAT AREA WAS THAT WITH THIS KIND OF AN ECONOMIC BOOM, YES, THERE WILL BE, YOU KNOW, TAXES AND REVENUES AND YES, ALL THE NEW JOBS BUT WE'RE GOING TO BE DISPLACED.

DISPLACEMENT HAPPENED WHEN THE ZONING CHANGED AN IT WAS ALREADY AN INDUSTRIAL PART OF THE QUEENS.

IT WAS -- LONG ISLAND CITY WAS ALL MANUFACTURING.

SO IT WASN'T LIKE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS OR COMMUNITIES LIKE BED STUY OR FLUSHING -- NEIGHBORHOODS LIKE THAT HAD THAT HAD AN ELEMENT OF A NEIGHBORHOOD THERE.

PEOPLE WENT THERE TO WORK, THEY WENT THERE TO BUILD THINGS.

IT WASN'T LIKE -- YOU KNOW, THE COMMUNITY THAT WAS THERE WAS -- IT WASN'T WORTH LOSING -- WHATEVER THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THAT AREA WAS IT WASN'T WORTH LOSING EVERYTHING THAT AMAZON WAS GOING TO BRING TO THE CITY AND THE AREA.

THE PEOPLE MOST IMPACTED BY IT ARE QUEENS BRIDGE.

IF ANYBODY WAS SUPPOSED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT AMAZON COMING WAS THAT COMMUNITY AND THEY WANTED AMAZON IN THAT AREA.

BECAUSE AMAZON WAS GOING TO PROVIDE 1600 JOBS IN THAT COMMUNITY AND THEY'RE FURIOUS.

OF COURSE WE'LL BE LOOKING TO SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT IN THE LONG TERM.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S ANY HUNGER IN THE MARKET AT LEAST FOR QUEENS FOR JUST AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND NOT LUXURY HOUSING?

WELL, I THINK THERE'S ALWAYS A NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THIS CITY.

IT'S A SHAME THAT WE CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT.

IT'S A SHAME WE CAN'T FIGURE OUT A LOT OF THINGS IN THIS CITY BECAUSE WE'RE ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST CITIES IN THE WORLD AND WE CAN'T FIGURE OUT OUR EDUCATION OR OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

BUT THOSE ARE THINGS THAT WE'RE MOVING TOWARDS AND LUCKILY THERE'S A CONSTANT HEALTHY DEBATE ON BOTH SIDES.

YOU KNOW, TRYING TO MOVE FORWARD.

THANK YOU FOR GIVING US SOME INSIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING AS TO WHAT HAPPENED ESPECIALLY WITH THE REAL ESTATE ANGLE AND WHAT WE CAN HOPEFULLY TO SEE IN LONG ISLAND CITY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

♪♪

> LAST MAY, THE KILAUEA VOLCANO ERUPTED AND SPEWING LAVA OVER AND BURYING HUNDREDS OF HOMES BENEATH THE MOLTEN ROCK.

FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS WERE DESTROYED.

THE EVENT WAS THE LATEST VIVID REMINDER OF THE AWE INSPIRING POWER OF VOLCANOS.

SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN THE SOURCE OF HUMAN FASCINATION FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

LIVING VOLCANOS, THE LATEST INSTALLMENT FROM THE AWARD WINNING PBS SERIES NATURE TAKES VIEWERS ON THE MOST ACTIVE VOLCANOS IN EARTH AND FOLLOWS THE ADVENTURERS AS THEY GO INTO THE SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND.

HERE'S A LOOK.

OUR PLANET IS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS.

AROUND THE WORLD, HUNDREDS OF VOLCANOS COULD EXPLODE WITHOUT WARNING.

NOW WE CAN DESCEND TO THE EDGE OF THE VOLCANO'S BEATING HEART.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST INHOSPITABLE PLACES ON THE PLANET.

AND DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO THE ORIGINS OF LIFE.

MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INTO SPACE THAN INTO THE MAGICAL PLACES.

AND JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT LIVING VOLCANOS IS NATURE SERIES EDITOR, JENNA HESS.

WELCOME BACK TO THE PROBLEM.

THANK YOU.

QUICKLY, WHAT ARE VOLCANOS?

HOW DO THEY COME TO BE?

WELL, VOLCANOS IN AN AMAZING WAY ARE KIND OF A LOOK INTO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

THEY REALLY ARE A CRACK, AN OPENING, A WEAKNESS IN THE CRUST WHERE THAT VIOLENT CHURNING THAT'S GOING ON DOWN EVEN INTO THE CORE, BELOW EVEN THE MANTLE IS CRACKING.

LIKE A VIOLENT PIMPLE --

THEY ARE.

SOME ARE BIG CRACKS, FISSURES.

THEY COME IN ALL DIFFERENT SHAPES.

HOW MANY ACTIVE VOLCANOS EXIST RIGHT NOW?

AND HOW MANY OF THEM ERUPT OR ARE ON THE VERGE OF ERUPTING ON A DAILY BASIS?

WELL, THIS SURPRISED US AND IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS THAT WE DID THIS SHOW.

IT TURNS OUT IT'S AN AVERAGE OF 30 VOLCANOS A DAY EVERY DAY THAT ARE ERUPTING SOMEWHERE ON PLANET EARTH.

THAT'S AMAZING.

I DON'T THINK -- I KNOW WE DIDN'T REALIZE IT AND THAT JUST -- AND PARTICULARLY IN THE WAKE OF THE BIG KILAUEA VOLCANO ERUPTION LAST YEAR IN 2018 IT SEEMED LIKE A GREAT TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT.

YOU KNOW, UNTIL I SAW THIS DOCUMENTARY WHENEVER I THOUGHT OF VOLCANOS ERUPTING I EQUATED IT WITH, YOU KNOW, A TSUNAMI, EARTHQUAKE.

DEVASTATING, TERRIBLE DESTRUCTION.

AND THEY ARE THAT.

BUT THEY'RE ALSO THE OPPOSITE OF THAT.

EXPLAIN HOW THAT IS.

WELL, VOLCANOS ARE -- CAN ACCOMPANY EARTHQUAKES AND THEY'RE IN THESE PLACE BRS -- PLACES WHERE THE PLATES ARE WEAK, BUT THEY BRING THIS MATERIAL UP FROM THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

IT'S OFTEN RICH IN MINERALS AND SALTS AND THINGS THAT THEN BECOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE FOR LIFE.

THEY FERTILIZE AREAS FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES AROUND.

AND THAT LAVA -- EACH VOLCANO HAS A DIFFERENT CHEMICAL COMPOSITION, SO THEY'RE KIND OF PROVIDING DIFFERENT NUTRIENTS AND THEY HAVE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES FOR THE LIFE THAT BECOMES FOSTERED ON THEIR FLANKS.

BUT THEY'RE SOURCES OF RICH MINERALS THAT LIFE NEEDS.

SO THEY HAVE BECOME -- I MEAN, RECENT SCIENCE REALLY SHOWS HOW ESSENTIAL THEY HAVE BEEN.

ONE SCIENTIST SAYS WITHOUT VOLCANOS THERE IS NO LIFE ON EARTH.

IS THAT LIKE THE GENERAL OPINION?

WELL, THAT REALLY COMES DOWN TO THEIR CONTRIBUTION WHICH IS WAY MORE THAN I KNEW TO WATER ON EARTH.

EXPLAIN THAT.

BECAUSE THAT'S KIND OF A RECENT DISCOVERY.

IT IS.

IT WAS TO ME.

AND I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN LOTS OF THEORIES OF HOW WATER CAME TO THE PLANET.

BUT I THINK THE CURRENT THINKING NOW IS THAT WATER IS INHERENT IN THE MAKEUP OF THE -- IT'S BURIED BENEATH THE SURFACE AND IT'S BURIED BENEATH THE CRUST AND HOW IT GOT TO THE SURFACE AS IT CAME UP AS GAS.

IT USED TO BE THOUGHT THAT METEORS -- RIGHT?

YEAH.

COMETS COME IN WITH ICE AND THIS AND THAT.

AND NO, IT SEEMS TO BE AN INHERENT QUALITY TO THE PLANET EARTH.

AMAZING.

NOW THE DOCUMENTARY TRAVELS THE GLOBE AND VISITS THE VOLCANOS AND THE AREAS SURROUNDING THE VOLCANOS AND THEN THIS INCREDIBLE -- THIS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS EXPEDITION TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND WHERE THERE'S A BIG, COMPLEX VOLCANO.

THEY WENT IN TO ONE CRATER, JUST ALMOST TO THE EDGE OF THE LAVA LAKE.

IT'S ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS THINGS I HAVE SEEN ON NATURE FOR SURE.

WHAT WAS SO IMPORTANT ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO FIND THAT WAS WORTH THIS RISK?

WELL, IT'S AN INTERESTING INVESTORTION OF SOMETHING.

THEY'RE LOOKING FOR WHERE LIFE STOPS.

LIFE IS UBIQUITOUS, DEEP INTO THE CRUST.

THEY HAVE DRILLED 7 1/2 MILES DOWN AND STILL FOUND ORGANIC SINGLE CELLED ORGANISMS, DEEP INTO THE CRUST.

SO THE QUESTION IS, THE SCIENTISTS ON THE EXPEDITIONS ARE LOOKING FOR THE MOST EXTREME CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH LIFE CAN EXIST.

ONE OF THE MOST HOSTILE PLACES ON THE PLANET IS THIS CRATER WITH AN UNUSUAL FEATURE OF THIS LAVA LAKE.

SO THEY'RE TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE AS THEY CAN TO THAT.

TO SEE THERE'S LIFE ON THE RIM, COMING DOWN THE SIDE.

BUT WHERE CAN LIFE NO LONGER SURVIVE ON PLANET EARTH?

AND THE REASON IS IT HELPS THEM UNDERSTAND THE ORIGINS OF LIFE HERE ON EARTH AND EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT, IT GIVES THEM CLUES ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF LIVES ELSEWHERE ON OTHER PLANETS.

IT'S AN EXPEDITION TO ANOTHER WORLD AND WHAT ORGANISMS CAN SURVIVE UNDER COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONDITIONS THAN WE HAVE WITH OUR ATMOSPHERE AND EVERYTHING ELSE THAT PROTECTS LIFE HERE.

WELL, I'M GLAD THAT THE SCIENTISTS SURVIVED.

OH, MY GOSH.

AND I THINK THE VISUALS IN THIS FILM ARE SO SPECTACULAR.

EVERYBODY LOVES TO SEE AN ERUPTING VOLCANO.

I'M SORRY, BUT MAYBE THE PEOPLE RIGHT THERE.

BUT IT'S A SPECTACLE UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE THAT THE EARTH PRODUCES AND EVEN SEEING THESE FIGURES IN SUCH A LANDSCAPE WORKING AND COMING DOWN WIRES AND CLIMBING UP THE SIDES, YOU JUST FEEL THE POWER OF THE PLANET.

AND VOLCANOS ARE SOMETHING WE'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO CONTROL.

WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE.

I KNOW THIS IS NOT FAIR, BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER VOLCANOS THAT YOU VISITED?

WE GO TO KILAUEA.

WE GO TO ETNA IN EUROPE IN ITALY.

WE GO TO ONE OF THE BIG -- THE VOLCANOS ON THE EAST AFRICAN RIFT.

AND ECUADOR, UP IN THE ANDES.

OUT TO THE GALAPAGOS.

AS ALWAYS, NATURE GOES AROUND THE WORLD AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

THERE'S A STORY IN EVERY ONE OF THEM.

IT'S TERRIFIC.

THANKS FOR TALKING ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY.

THANK YOU.

NATURE, LIVING VOLCANOS, PREMIERS WEDNESDAY AT 8:00 P.M.

YOU CAN VISIT THE WEBSITE.

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

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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