METROFOCUS: OCTOBER 21, 2019

As a part of our Exploring Hate initiative, we’ll take you inside the white supremacist movement with a reformed neo-Nazi. He’ll tell us how he got out, what’s driving the hate, and how we can come together to stop it. A behind-the-scenes look at a Queens sex trafficking court that’s changing the way women are prosecuted for prostitution. The historic Tappan Zee Bridge was never built to last. Tonight, we share the story of the passageway no longer safe to travel, a state government that never gave up its efforts to rebuild and the manpower that finally did. Tonight, we tour a 20-acre island near Manhattan that sits completely abandoned and closed off to visitors, without an official escort.

Aired on October 21, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' EXPLORING HATE.

WE'LL TAKE YOU INSIDE THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT WITH A REFORMED NEO-NAZI.

HE'LL TELL US HOW HE GOT OUT, WHAT'S DRIVING THE ANGER, AND HOW WE CAN COME TOGETHER TO STOP IT.

> THEN A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT A QUEENS SEX TRAFFICKING COURT THAT'S CHANGING THE WAY WOMEN ARE PROSECUTED FOR PROSTITUTION.

> AND A BRIDGE THAT WAS NEVER BUILT TO LAST, THE HISTORIC TAPPEN ZEE.

NO LONGER SAFE TO TRAVEL, A STATE GOVERNMENT THAT NEVER GAVE UP ITS EFFORTS TO BUILD AND THE MANPOWER THAT FINALLY DID.

> PLUS, A TOUR OF A 20-ACRE ISLAND NEAR MANHATTAN ISLAND THAT SITS COMPLETELY ABANDONED AND CLOSED OFF TO VISITORS WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL ESCORT.

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 PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

FOR YEARS, CHISTIAN PICCIOLINI WAS ONE OF THEM, A NAZI-0ING WHITE SUPREMACIST SPREADING HATE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND ACROSS THE WORLD.

BUT NOW HE IS AN ENEMY OF THE MOVEMENT HE ONCE LED.

THE FORMER SKINHEAD HAS GONE FROM WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS PROTECTING THE WHITE RACE FROM EXTINCTION TO SPENDING HIS DAYS TRYING TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM REPEATING HIS MISTAKES AND INCITING FURTHER HATE.

HE REFLECTS ON HIS EXPERIENCE IN HIS MEMOIR, MY DESCENT INTO AMERICA'S MOST VIOLENT HATE MOVEMENT AND HOW I GOT OUT, AND BY SHARING HIS INSIGHT ON THE PROBLEM.

AND CHISTIAN PICCIOLINI JOINS US NOW VIA SKYPE.

CHRISTIAN, IT'S NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

MY PLEASURE, JACK.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

MY FIRST QUESTION I'M SURE IF YOUR CONVERSATIONS IS TELL US HOW YOU AS A YOUNGER MAN GOT DRAWN IN TO THIS WHITE SUPREMACIST HATE MOVEMENT.

1987, WHEN I WAS BARELY 14 YEARS OLD, I HAVE FELT MISGUIDED.

I FELT MARGINALIZED.

AND I WAS STANDING IN AN ALLEY, AND A MAN APPROACHED ME AND PULLED A JOINT FROM MY MOUTH AND LOOKED ME IN THE EYES AND SAID THAT'S WHAT THE COMMUNIST AND THE JEWS WANT YOU TO DO.

I HAVE TO BE HONESTY, JACK, AT 14, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT A COMMUNIST WAS OR A JEW, BUT IT WAS THE FIRST TIME SOMEBODY IN MY LIFE HAD PAID ATTENTION TO ME AND SEEN ME.

HE PULLED ME IN NOT WITH WORDS OF HATE, BUT WITH A SENSE OF PRIDE.

HE ASKED ME WHAT MY NAME WAS AND RECOGNIZED THAT IT WAS ITALIAN.

AND HE WOULD TOLD ME I SHOULD BE PROUD OF THAT THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME, JEWISH AND BLACKS AND GAY PEOPLE.

AND HAVING NEVER HAD ANY FRIENDS, HAVING BEEN BULLIED MY WHOLE LIFE AND FEELING ABANDONED, IT WAS A NARRATIVE THAT WAS VERY ATTRACTIVE TO ME BECAUSE IT DID FEEL EMPOWERING AT FIRST.

WHEN DID YOU -- DID YOU REALIZE THERE WAS MORE TO THIS THAN BELONGING, THAT IT HAD THIS ELEMENT OF VIOLENCE ATTACHED TO IT?

IT RAMPED UP REALLY QUICKLY.

SO THE GROUP THAT I WAS RECRUITED INTO WAS AMERICA'S FIRST NEO-NAZI SKINHEAD GROUP THAT STARTED AROUND 1985.

AT FIRST IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE IT WAS A VIOLENT ORGANIZATION.

IT SEEMED LIKE A HUMANITARIAN CAUSE.

I BELIEVED THAT I WAS FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING OF GREAT VALUE, THAT I WAS ACTUALLY HELPING AMERICA.

I WAS SO FOOLED BY THE RHETORIC AND THE PROPAGANDA THAT I WAS WILLING TO ADOPT VIOLENCE TO FURTHER THAT CAUSE, BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS SAVING SOMETHING.

TELL ME ABOUT SOME OF THE WORST THINGS THAT YOU DID.

I DON'T KNOW THAT THERE IS ANYTHING I GOOD DURING THOSE EIGHT YEARS.

THERE WAS A LOT OF CONFUSION ON MY PART, BUT CERTAINLY THERE WAS A LOT OF STREET VIOLENCE.

I WOULD SAY ONE OF THE WORST THINGS IN MY LASTING LEGACY UNFORTUNATELY WAS THE MUSIC THAT I MADE DURING THOSE YEARS.

I WAS IN ONE OF AMERICA'S FIRST WHITE POWER NEO-NAZI BANDS, AND I WAS IN THE FIRST BAND TO TRAVEL OVERSEAS TO PERFORM IN EUROPE THAT MUSIC STILL LIVES TODAY.

IN FACT, A JOURNALIST SHOWED ME JUST TWO YEARS AGO A PRINTOUT OF A POSTING THAT BILL AND RUTH HAD MADE IN THE WHITE SUPREMACIST FORUM WHERE HE IS QUOTING MY LYRICS, AND THIS IS FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE TRAGEDY IN CHARLESTON.

AND I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK THAT THE IDEAS AND WORDS I PUT OUT 30 YEARS AGO ARE STILL INDOCTRINATING PEOPLE, ARE STILL AFFECTING PEOPLE AND CAUSING THEM TO COMMIT VIOLENCE.

AND THAT TO ME IS SOMETHING I CAN'T ESCAPE.

HOW, THEN, CHRISTIAN, DID YOU GO FROM THAT IMMERSION, WHICH SOUNDS LIKE FAIRLY TOTAL IMMERSION ON YOUR PART TO STARTING TO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING?

I HAD DOUBTS EVERY DAY BECAUSE IT WASN'T THE FOUNDATION OF WHO I WAS, BUT I WAS WILLING TO TAMP DOWN THOSE DOUBTS BECAUSE OF THE REWARD OF THE IDENTITY AND COMMUNITY AND PURPOSE I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING WAS GREATER.

ULTIMATELY, IT WAS THE COMPASSION I RECEIVED FROM THE PEOPLE I LEAST DESERVED IT FROM, PEOPLE I KEPT OUTSIDE OF MY SOCIAL CIRCLE THAT HAD THE MOST POWERFUL IMPACT ON ME.

I STARTED TO RECOGNIZE THAT PEOPLE WHO WERE AFRICAN AMERICAN OR GAY OR JEWISH WEREN'T THAT DIFFERENT THAN ME.

IN FACT, I HAD MUCH MORE IN COMMON WITH THEM THAN THE PEOPLE I HAD SURROUNDED MYSELF WITH.

HOW, THEN, WERE YOU ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD?

AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SAY I'M GOING TO TRY NOW TO SALVAGE OTHERS AND THEIR LIVES, PEOPLE WHO ARE SIMILAR TO ME?

YOU KNOW, IT TOOK ME FIVE YEARS OF NOT FINDING THE COURAGE BEFORE I ACTUALLY WAS ABLE TO SPEAK ABOUT IT.

YOU KNOW, I WAS AFRAID.

BUT ONCE I FINALLY WAS ABLE TO GET A HANDLE ON THE COURAGE TO SAY IT, IT WAS A NO-BRAINER FOR ME TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

AND THEN IN 2001, MY BROTHER WAS MURDERED, AND HE WAS MURDERED BY GANG VIOLENCE.

AND I KNEW AT THAT POINT I DIDN'T WANT TO BE SILENT ANYMORE, THAT COY BE THE BIG BROTHER FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE STUCK IN THINGS LIKE GANGS OR EXTREMISM.

IT BECAME MY LIFE'S MISSION AT THIS POINT TO REALLY TRY TO REDEEM PEOPLE WHO WERE A LOT LIKE ME.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHERE THIS IS NOW, AND SOMEBODY COMES TO YOU AND SAYS I NEED TO GET OUT.

I WANT OUT.

I NEED YOU TO HELP ME, AND YOU COMPARE -- LET'S TALK ABOUT THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS TO WHAT IT WAS FOR YOU BACK WHEN YOU WERE 14 YEARS OLD.

HOW DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT IS IT NOW?

AND DO YOU THINK IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE NOW?

YEAH, I THINK THE INTERNET HAS REALLY CHANGED EVERYTHING.

I THINK THAT SO MANY MARGINALIZED DISILLUSIONED YOUNG PEOPLE MAY NOT HAVE MUCH REAL LIFE ARE LIVING THEIR LIVES ONLINE.

AND ONLINE THEY CAN CREATE THOSE PERSONAS TO FIT IN.

AND OVER TIME THEY BECOME DESENSITIZED.

FOR ME IT WAS VERY MUCH A FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION, BECOME RECRUITED.

BUT NOW IDENTITY, AND COMMUNITY AND PURPOSE CAN BE FOUND IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD, AND OFTENTIMES IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE FOR PEOPLE WHO DO FEEL DISILLUSIONED TO CREATE THE PERSONAS ONLINE BECAUSE THEY CAN CREATE THEM IN WHATEVER IMAGE THEY WANT.

HAVING LIVED THROUGH THIS, HAVING LIVE D THROUGH YOUR OWN TRANSITION AND NOW IN THE DEALINGS YOU'RE HAVING WITH OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE, AND LOOKING WHAT'S HAPPENING AROUND OUR COUNTRY AND INDEED AROUND THE WORLD, ARE YOU AT ALL OPTIMISTIC THAT THIS BATTLE TO CONFRONT HATE, THE BATTLE TO CONFRONT THIS TYPE OF EXTREMISM, THAT WE ARE POISED TO WIN THAT BATTLE?

YEAH, I THINK SO.

I AM OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE I THINK WE DO HAVE THE TOOLS TO COMBAT THIS.

WE'RE JUST NOT FOCUSED IN THE RIGHT WAY NOW.

BUT IF WE TAKE ACTION NOW, IF WE START TO REPAIR NOT ONLY THE ISSUES WITH COUNTER-EXTREMISM, BUT JUST SYSTEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL RACISM THAT EXISTS TODAY, WE CAN GET AHEAD OF THIS, BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT DECISION NOW.

THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT EXTREMISTS LOVE.

SILENCE AND VIOLENCE.

IF WE'RE SILENT, THEY GROW.

IF WE CONTINUE TO PRETEND WE'RE LIVING IN A POST-RACIAL SOCIETY AND SWEEP IT UNDER THE RUG.

THAT WILL GROW EXPONENTIALLY LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN.

IF WE'RE VIOLENT TOWARD THEM, IF WE USE THEIR TACTICS AND EMBODY THEIR STRATEGIES, WE PLAY RIGHT INTO THEIR HANDS, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE VICTIMS, AND THEY CAN USE THAT VICTIM NARRATIVE.

AT THE SAME TIME, THERE IS THIS DICHOTOMY OF THEM CLAIMING THEY'RE THE GREATEST CIVILIZATION ON EARTH, BUT AT THE SAME TIME ALWAYS BEING THE ETERNAL VICTIM THAT DON'T GO TOGETHER WELL.

SO WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO BE VIGILANT, VOCAL, AND VISIBLE, BUT NOT TO BE SILENCE AND VIOLENCED.

CHRISTIAN, IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU GETTING A SENSE OF YOUR LIFE, YOUR MESSAGES HERE.

ONCE AGAIN, YOUR BOOK, 'WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH.'

IT'S A WONDERFUL READ.

I ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT.

YOU CAN LEARN AN AWFUL LOT OF IT.

AND I KNOW YOU HAVE ANOTHER BOOK COMING OUT SOON CALLED 'BREAKING HATE: CONFRONTING THE NEW CULTURE OF EXTREMISM.'

MAYBE WE CAN TALK WITH YOU WHEN THAT GETS OUT THERE.

THANK YOU AGAIN.

WE APPRECIATE YOU TAKING THE TIME.

BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

MY PLEASURE.

> 'BLOWIN' UP' IS A FASCINATING DOCUMENTARY THAT PROFILES THE WOMEN WHO RUN AND WHO COME BEFORE THE QUEENS HUMAN TRAFFICKING INTERVENTION COURT.

THE FIRST PROBLEM-SOLVING COURT IN THE COUNTRY ATTEMPTING TO REDRESS THE WAY WOMEN AND YOUNG GIRLS ARRESTED FOR PROSTITUTION ARE SUFFERED THROUGH OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM.

WITH UNPARALLELED ACCESS TO THE COURT, THE FILM CAPTURES WHAT IT IS TRULY LIKE FOR THESE DEFENDANTS, OVERWHELMINGLY UNDOCUMENTED ASIAN IMMIGRANTS AND AMERICAN WOMEN OF COLOR TO GO THROUGH THESE COMPLEX CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.

HERE'S A LOOK.

THIS CHARGE IS A DEPORTABLE OFFENSE.

SHE WAS IN CRISIS, AND HE JUST SWOOPED IN.

HE SLEEPS WITH HER PASSPORT.

HE SLEEPS WITH HER ID AND SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.

I CAN'T SAY THAT EVERY WOMAN WHO COMES THROUGH THE COURT IS GOING TO GET THE EXACT HELP THEY NEED.

I HAVE A BOYFRIEND.

WAIT, WHAT?

WE ARE GOING TO GRANT AN EARLY FEELING.

YAY.

IT'S CALLED 'BLOWIN' UP' WHEN YOU LEAVE A PIMP.

SO I BLEW UP.

AND I WENT HOME.

AND JOINING US NOW IS THE DIRECTOR OF 'BLOWIN' UP,' STEPHANIE WANG-BREAL.

STEPHANIE, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, RAFAEL.

RIGHT FROM THE START, YOU TAKE US INTO THE MIDDLE OF THIS QUEENS COURT WITHOUT NARRATION, WITHOUT EXPLANATION, AND WE'RE THERE WITH PEOPLE THAT WE DON'T KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

I WAS WONDERING IF THAT WAS INTENTIONAL, IF YOU WANTED TO GET US TO FEEL A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT THE WOMEN DEFENDANTS WHO ARE ABOUT TO FACE THE COURT ARE FEELING.

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, WHEN I FIRST EXPERIENCED THIS COURTROOM, THE FIRST TIME THAT I OBSERVED IT AT WORK, I ALSO FELT THAT WAY.

AND I WAS JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT ARE THESE TERMS MEAN, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, WHO'S DOING WHAT?

WHO IS A DEFENDANT?

SO IT IS A PLACE THAT IS A BUREAUCRATIC PLACE, THAT IS VERY CONFUSING.

AND SO I WANTED TO GIVE VIEWERS AND AUDIENCES A FEELING OF WHAT THAT MUST FEEL LIKE TO COME INTO A PLACE LIKE THIS.

I EXPECTED THE STEREOTYPE, RIGHT?

THE JADED JUDGE, THE JADED PROSECUTOR, THE OVERWORKED PUBLIC DEFENDANT TRYING TO COP A PLEA, BUT INSTEAD YOU FIND A JUDGE AND A PROSECUTOR TREATING THE DEFENDANTS AS HUMAN BEINGS IN DISTRESS RATHER THAN CRIMINALS.

YOU SEE THE LAWYERS AND THE SOCIAL WELFARE COUNSELORS TREATING THEM LIKE FAMILY.

WHAT KIND OF COURT IS THIS?

THINKING IS A PROBLEM-SOLVING COURT, AND IT'S THE FIRST COURT OF ITS KIND IN OUR NATION THAT IS TRYING TO CHANGE THE WAY WOMEN WHO ARE ARRESTED FOR PROSECUTION ARE PROSECUTED.

AND I WAS ATTRACTED AS WELL TO THIS SPACE BECAUSE OF THE DEEP HUMANITY THAT IS AT THE CORE OF THIS INSTITUTION.

YOU KNOW, WE ALL HAVE INSTITUTIONS SURROUNDING US IN EVERY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM IN OUR LIVES.

BUT I THINK AT THE CORE OF EACH OF THESE INSTITUTIONS, THERE ARE PEOPLE RUNNING THEM.

AND IF THE PEOPLE ARE REALLY GOOD AND TRYING TO CHANGE THE WAY THAT THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE RUN, IT'S A WHOLE DIFFERENT KIND OF PLACE.

HOW DID YOU GET THE ACCESS?

TO THE COURT AND TO THE PEOPLE WHO YOU WOULD ASSUME WOULD NOT WANT TO BE FILMED?

SO MAKING A FILM LIKE THIS, AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, IS VERY CHALLENGING.

YEAH.

NO ONE WANTED TO BE IN THIS FILM.

NO ONE WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS FILM.

SO IT TOOK US ABOUT TEN MONTHS OF OBSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH EVERYONE IN THE COURT BEFORE WE WERE EVEN ALLOWED TO BRING CAMERAS INTO THE SPACE.

AND ONCE CAMERAS WERE BROUGHT IN, IT WASN'T LIKE WE WERE GIVEN CARTE BLANCHE TO FILM ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WE WANTED TO.

EVERY MORNING BEFORE WE FILMED I WOULD MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT IN ENGLISH AND MANDARIN TO EVERYONE LETTING THEM KNOW WHAT WE WERE DOING HERE, AND LETTING THEM KNOW THEY HAD CHOICE WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANTED TO PARTICIPATE.

AND MOST PEOPLE SAID NO.

AND SO FOR US, A GOOD DAY OUT OF 90 CASES WAS ONE OR TWO WOMEN SAYING YES.

WE'RE DEALING WITH A SUBJECT MATTER THAT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY STEREOTYPED AND MISREPRESENTED IN THE MEDIA.

THERE ARE WORDS THAT ARE THROWN ON THESE WOMEN, AND THEY'RE SCARED AND FEARFUL OF THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THESE WORDS.

NOW ALL THESE WOMEN ARE WOMEN WHO RUN THE COURT AND WORKED IN THE COURT, THEY WORK TOGETHER VERY WELL.

YOU CAN SEE IN THIS FILM TO HELP THE DEFENDANTS.

BUT I GET THE SENSE THAT THEY DON'T ALL AGREE WITH EACH OTHER, BECAUSE AT ONE TIME YOU SEE ELIZA TALKING TO CANDY AND BASICALLY TELLING CANDY LOOK, IF YOU GET BACK TO THE LIFE, JUST MAKE SURE YOU DO IT IN A WAY THAT WON'T GET ARRESTED.

NO JUDGMENT HERE.

I CAN'T SEE THE JUDGE SAYING THAT OR SOME OF THE PROSECUTORS SAYING THAT.

AM I GETTING THAT RIGHT?

YOU KNOW, WHEN THAT HAPPENED, WHEN I WAS FILMING THAT, I WAS ALSO SHOCKED THAT SHE WAS SAYING THAT.

I WAS WOW, I WONDER HOW EVERYONE ELSE IS GOING THE FEEL ABOUT THIS.

BUT EVERYONE IS JUST DOING THE BEST JOB THAT THEY CAN GIVEN THEIR ROLE IN THIS SYSTEM.

BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR DILEMMA IS OR HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON FOR THESE WOMEN AND GIRLS, THEIR BOTTOM LINE, SHARED GOAL IS TO HELP THESE WOMEN IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM THEY CAN.

NEAR THE END OF THE FILM IS A DISTURBING SCENE WHEN WE SEE I.C.E. AGENTS ENTER THE COURT IN ORDER TO ARREST SOME OF THESE WOMEN TO LATER DEPORT THEM.

HOW CAN THIS COURT CONTINUE TO SURVIVE OR TO EXIST AS A SAFE SPACE FOR THESE WOMEN WHEN THEY CAN'T PROTECT THESE WOMEN FROM I.C.E. AGENTS THAT WANT TO TAKE THEM AND DEPORT THEM?

YEAH, THAT MOMENT IN THE FILMING PROCESS WAS REALLY, REALLY SCARY AND CHALLENGING.

AND YOU REALLY FEEL THE FRAGILITY OF THE SMALL ECOSYSTEM THAT THEY CREATED IN THIS SMALL CORNER OF NEW YORK, WHETHER OR NOT IT CAN SURVIVE OR NOT, I DON'T KNOW.

BUT IT'S STILL GOING?

THE COURT IS STILL THERE?

THE COURT IS AND THE WOMEN ARE STILL BEING ARRESTED AND I STILL EXIST AND TRUMP STILL IN POWER.

SO ALL THESE WOMEN WHO ARE IN THE COURT CAN DO IS CONTINUE TO DO THEIR BEST, GIVEN EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MAKE THIS WHOLE SYSTEM SO CHALLENGING FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS.

STEPHANIE, IT'S AN AMAZING, WONDERFUL FILM YOU.

SAID WOMEN ARE COMING TO SEE IT, BUT NOT THAT MANY MEN.

I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THAT.

IT'S A FILM FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING US.

THANK YOU.

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN WATCH 'BLOWIN' UP,' YOU CAN FOCUS.ORG.

> THREE, TWO, ONE.

INITIATE POWER.

THAT WAS THE MIGHTY TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE BEING DEMOLISHED BACK IN JANUARY.

BUILT IN 1955, THE THREE-MILE-LONG CONSTRUCT THAT CROSSES THE HUD WAS DESIGNED TO LAST ONLY 50 YEARS, BUT INSTEAD LASTED MORE THAN 60.

NOW PLANS TO REPLACE IT HAS BEEN HALLMARKED AS ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT AND BUDGET EFFECTIVE ON RECORD.

IN THE DOCUMENTARY 'REBUILDING HISTORY: THREE MILES ACROSS THE HUDSON' MEET THE NEW PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THIS STRUCTURE A REALITY.

EVERYTHING HAS A LIFE EXPECTANCY TO IT.

WHETHER IT'S A BRIDGE, A TUNNEL, A ROADWAY.

I GOOD OVER THE BRIDGE AT LEAST ONCE, TWICE A WEEK.

THE BRIDGE IS OVER 50 YEARS OLD.

DO I TAKE MY LIFE IN MY OWN HANDS?

I FEEL I DO SOMETIMES.

IT'S ANYTHING WERE TO FAIL, IT WOULD BE A DISASTER.

WE KNEW THAT THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT PROJECT FOR US.

WE KNEW THAT IT HAD TO BE BUILT, AND WE KNEW WE HAD THE MEMBERSHIP AND THE KNOW-HOW TO BUILD A BRIDGE.

WE HAVE THE BEST WORKFORCE IN THE COUNTRY.

THERE IS NO DOUBT.

WE WERE EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

WE WANTED TO BE PART OF HISTORY.

THE MOST SPECTACULAR PROJECT OF THE THROUGHWAY IS THE HISTORIC TAPPAN ZEE SECTION.

WE BUILT IT ALL.

YOU LOOKED OVER, YOU WERE THERE.

AND ABOUT FIVE YEARS.

WE HAVE APPROXIMATELY 150 PARTNERS WORKING ON-SITE THERE.

THIS IS A BRIDGE THAT SYMBOLIZES WHAT WAS AND WHAT CAN BE.

AND THIS IS A BRIDGE FROM YESTERDAY TO TOMORROW.

.

JOINING US NOW IS KEVIN McCABE, THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF 'REBUILDING HISTORY.'

KEVIN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

APPRECIATE IT.

ALL RIGHT.

SO FIRST OF ALL, A MOVIE ABOUT A BRIDGE.

HOW DID THIS EVEN COME TO BE?

A MOVIE ABOUT A BRIDGE.

SO WHAT WE DO, WE WORK FOR THE CORPORATE TRUST A MARKETING ADVERSARY FOR UNION CARPETERS.

WHAT WE DO IS WORK TO PROMOTE THE VIRTUE OF WHAT OUR MEMBERS DO.

AND GENERALLY SPEAKING, WE'LL DO A THREE TO FIVE-MINUTE VIDEO.

THREE YEARS AGO, WHEN WE EMBARKED UPON THIS, WE SAW IT AS A THREE-MINUTE VIDEO, AND THEN WE SAW IT AS SOMETHING LONGER.

WORKING WITH OUR PRODUCTION CREW WHAT WE SAW WAS WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT ON A LEGACY PROJECT.

AND WHAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO DO IS LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO -- YOU CAN'T RESHOOT HISTORY.

NO.

YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT, YOU SEIZE THAT MOMENT.

AND WHEN WE WERE ABLE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT, AND WE DID.

AND WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER WAS WHAT WE ORIGINALLY FELT WAS A THREE-MINUTE VIDEO IS NOW A SHORT FILM DOCUMENTARY WHICH HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED IN SEVERAL FILM FESTIVALS.

SO FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

BECAUSE WHO IS THE STAR OF THIS FILM?

IS IT THE BRIDGE?

IS IT THE NEW BRIDGE?

IS IT THE PEOPLE?

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

ALL OF THE ABOVE.

IT IS ACTUALLY -- THE STORY IS TOLD ON PARALLEL TRACKS.

THERE IS THE WHOLE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE BRIDGE WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY BUILT, AND ALL THE ISSUES THAT IT WENT THROUGH TO BE REBUILT.

AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS, ALL THE POLICY HOLDERS, ALL THE DECISION-MAKERS.

WHAT WE DID CORRESPONDINGLY, WE ALSO TOLD THE STORY OF THE BRIDGE THROUGH THE EYES OF THOSE WHO WERE ACTUALLY WORKING ON IT, THE SKILLED TRADES PEOPLE WHO WENT OUT THERE DAY IN AND DAY OUT AND WORKED ON THIS WHAT REALLY IS A LEGACY PROJECT.

WE'RE ONE OF ONLY TWO ENTITIES TO HAVE 24-HOUR ACCESS TO THIS BRIDGE.

WOW.

IT WAS US AND HOMELAND SECURITY.

AND ONCE AGAIN, YOU WANT TO TAKE AND SEIZE THE MOMENT.

AND WE DID.

AND WHAT WE DID IS WE FOLLOWED FOUR MEMBERS OF OUR TEAM FROM THE CARPENTERS AND FOLLOWED THEM FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET.

THE REASON WHY IS THE IMPACT OF THIS BRIDGE.

THIS BRIDGE IS A PROFOUND IMPACT FROM WHAT IT WAS IN 1955 TO WHAT IT IS NOW.

IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE.

ALSO, ITS MAGNITUDE ON THE REGION'S ECONOMY OF BRIDGING TOGETHER BETWEEN WEST CHESTER AND ROCKLAND COUNTIES.

AND WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS TAKE THIS MOMENT TO HAVE THE MEMBERS WORKING ON THAT BRIDGE TELL THEIR STORY, AND NOT ONLY THE STORY OF WHAT THEY DO DAY IN AND DAY OUT UNDER SUCH UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT ALSO HOW THEY FELT IN THE PRIDE THAT THEY CARRIED WITH THEM, AND THE IMPACT THAT IT HAD ON THEIR DAILY LIVES.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY YOU WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FROM THIS FILM?

I THINK IT IS THE PRIDE THAT THE MEMBERS WHO WENT OUT THERE DAY IN AND DAY OUT.

WE DRIVE ACROSS A BRIDGE THAT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

AND GENERALLY SPEAKING, WE'RE PROBABLY WHITE KNUCKLING IT.

WE'RE PROBABLY THINKING IN OUR HEAD GREAT, WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO BE 20 MINUTES LATE.

WE'RE NOT THINKING ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CREATING A 22nd CENTURY MASTERPIECE THAT IS AFFECTING NOT ONLY THE ECONOMY, THE STATE, BUT ALSO THEIR INDIVIDUAL LIVES.

AND IN THE DOCUMENTARY WE ALSO GO BACK.

WE FOUND TWO MEMBERS WHO WORKED ON THE ORIGINAL BRIDGE.

WOW.

GOING BACK TO THE EARLY 1950S FROM '52 TO '55.

THEY'RE NOT WORKING ON THE NEW BRIDGE.

THEY ARE NOT.

BY THE WAY, I THINK THEY COULD.

OKAY.

THEY TALKED ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE AS WELL.

NOW BACK IN THE EARLY '50s, SAFETY WASN'T THE PARAMOUNT ISSUE.

NO.

IT WAS GETTING IT DONE.

OF COURSE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS FILM.

IT'S REALLY GREAT.

AND AGAIN, AS YOU SAID, YOU EITHER CAPTURE HISTORY OR YOU MISS HISTORY.

YEAH, I THINK WE'VE CAPTURED IT.

IT CAN BE FOUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

ALL RIGHT.

CONGRATULATIONS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON 'REBUILDING HISTORY: THREE MILES ACROSS THE HUDSON,' VISIT US ON METROFOCUS.ORG.

> FINALLY TONIGHT, IF YOU THINK EVERY SQUARE INCH OF NEW YORK IS OCCUPIED, WELL, WE'VE GOT SOME NEWS FOR YOU.

THERE IS AN UNINHABITED ISLAND IN THE EAST RIVER.

PHOTOGRAPHER CHRISTOPHER PAYNE GOT PERMISSION FROM THE NEW YORK PARKS DEPARTMENT TO MAKE REPEATED TRIPS TO NORTH BROTHER ISLAND STARTING IN 2008.

THE STORY BECAME PAYNE'S BOOK OF PHOTOGRAPHS, 'NORTH BROTHER ISLAND: THE LAST UNKNOWN PLACE IN NEW YORK CITY.'

THERE IS REALLY NOTHING LIKE NORTH BROTHER ISLAND IN NEW YORK CITY.

IT'S A SECRET HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT.

IT'S AN UNINHABITED ISLAND OF RUINS IN NEW YORK CITY, THE LAST THING THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO SEE.

NORTH BROTHER ISLAND HAS NOT BEEN INHABITED SINCE 1963.

FOR OVER 50 YEARS.

THERE ARE 25 OR 26 STRUCTURES IN VARIOUS STATES OF DECAY.

AND FOR MUCH OF THE YEAR, THE ISLAND IS COMPLETELY OVERGROWN BY VEGETATION.

IN 2008, I SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL.

I WOULD DOCUMENT ALL OF THE BUILDINGS, CREATE KIND OF AN ARCHIVAL RECORD.

AND IN RETURN FOR THIS BODY OF WORK, I WAS ALLOWED FREE ACCESS.

WHEN YOU FIRST STEP ON THE ISLAND, YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE COMPLETELY ALONE.

IT'S ACTUALLY A VERY TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE ONE MINUTE YOU'RE IN THE CITY.

YOU'RE AMONGST PEOPLE.

YOU HEAR THE SIGHTS AND THE SOUNDS OF THE CITY.

AND THEN YOU GET ON A BOAT.

AND JUST BEING ON THE WATER, BEING IN A SMALL ROWBOAT IS A VERY TRANSFORMATIVE MEDITATIVE EXPERIENCE.

AND YOU SEE THIS ISLAND GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER.

AND IT BECOMES LESS AND LESS OF A MIRAGE, AND IT BECOMES TO BECOME MORE REAL.

AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE ON IT.

AND YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY ALL OF THESE ABANDONED BUILDINGS, AND YOU WALK A FEW FEET, AND YOU COME INSIDE A FOREST OF TREES, A WONDERFUL CANOPY OF TREES.

AND YOU SEE THESE ANCIENT BUILDINGS KIND OF FALLING IN ON EACH OTHER.

THIS LANDSCAPE HAS GROWN UP, AND IT'S LUSH AND IT'S GROVER GROWN AND IT'S LIKE A JUNGLE.

AND YOU BEGIN TO WONDER ABOUT WHAT THIS PLACE WAS LIKE.

FROM THE 1980s UNTIL THE 1960s, 1963, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CALLED THIS PLACE HOME, AND IT WENT THROUGH MANY USES.

IT WAS USED PRIMARILY AS A QUARANTINE HOSPITAL FROM THE 1870s, 1880s UP TO WORLD WAR II.

AND THEN AFTER THAT, IT BECAME THIS HOUSING FOR GIs AND THEIR FAMILIES.

AND THEN FROM THE 1950s TO 1963, IT WAS A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER FOR JUVENILE DELINQUENTS.

WHEN THEY WALKED AWAY I FROM IT, THEY LITERALLY TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS, SHUT OFF THE POWER, PROBABLY THINKING THEY WOULD USE IT AGAIN LIKE THEY HAD SO MANY OTHER TIMES.

IN MY RESEARCH, I FOUND ALL OF THESE HISTORIC PHOTOS, AND THEY SHOWED A TIDY CAMPUS WITH SIDEWALKS AND MANICURED LAWNS.

SO OVER TIME, I BEGAN TO FIND THESE PLACES.

YOU BEGIN TO NOTICE THE STREET LAMPS AND THE FIRE HYDRANTS POKING UP THROUGH THE IVY.

AND IF YOU KIND OF DUG AROUND WITH YOUR FOOT AND YOU COULD PEEL AWAY THAT IVY AND THAT DIRT, AND RIGHT BENEATH YOUR FEET WAS A ROAD.

THIS WHOLE FOREST THAT WAS SO ENCHANTING WAS ACTUALLY BUILT ON JUST A FEW INCHES OF DIRT.

IT'S NOT A PLACE WHERE YOU WANT TO RUN AROUND AND TAKE A MILLION SNAPSHOTS.

IT'S THE KIND OF PLACE THAT YOU WALK AROUND AND THINK AND RETURN TO OVER MANY SEASONS.

I WOULD SEE SOMETHING ONE SEASON AND THINK ABOUT IT FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR AND RETURN THE NEXT SEASON TO TAKE THAT SHOT.

AND SO A LOT OF THE WORK GOES ON IN YOUR HEAD MONTHS BEFORE YOU EVEN TAKE THAT SHEET OF FILM.

IT IS AS IT IS, AND I HOPE IT WILL REMAIN THAT AND IT'S JUST NICE TO KNOW THAT IN A CITY WHERE EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS CHANGING, NORTH BROTHER ISLAND IS KIND OF MOVING ALONG AT ITS OWN PACE, ITS OWN NATURAL PACE AND REVERTING TO WHAT IT SORT OF ONCE WAS.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, 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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