METROFOCUS: OCTOBER 28, 2019

Following the New York City Council’s historic vote to close the notorious lockup, we will take a look at what will happen next inside the new borough-based jails and on the streets. Music icon Tony Bennett is making sure all children have access to an education in the arts. Tony and his wife Susan Benedetto will join us for a conversation on “Exploring The Arts.”

Aired on October 28, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' THE ERA OF MASS INCARCERATION IS OVER AND TODAY'S VOTE IS A VOTE FOR REDEMPTION.

FOLLOWING THE CITY COUNCIL'S VOTE TO CLOSE RUTGERS, WILL SMALLER JAILS PUT MORE CRIMINALS BACK ON THE STREETS?

NAY MOMENT WE LOOK AT WHAT'S NEXT.

♪ ♪ FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE I HAVE ONE WHO NEEDS ME ♪

> PLUS TONY BENNETT HAS DELIGHTED FOR GENERATIONS BUT THESE DAYS HIS GREATEST PASSION IS FOR EXPLORING THE ARTS.

HE'LL TELL US HOW HE AND HIS WIFE SUSAN ARE MAKING SURE AN EDUCATION IS ARTS IS IMPORTANT TO ALL.

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

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH 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, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> THE ERA OF MASS INC INCARCERATION IS OVER.

IT'S OVER.

THIS ACTION TODAY MEANS THAT NEW YORK CITY IS SET ON A NEW PATH BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN A JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT FOCUSES ON THE POSITIVE IN EACH PERSON, THE HUMANITY IN EACH PERSON, THE POSSIBILITIES IN EACH PERSON.

WE BELIEVE IN REDEMPTION.

AND TODAY'S VOTE IS A VOTE FOR REDEMPTION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

IT'S A MOMENT THAT SEEMED IMPROBABLE TO SOME JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL VOTING TO SHUT DOWN RUTGERS ISLAND, BUT LAWMAKERS DID JUST THAT, VOTING ON A PLAN TO CLOSE BY 2026 AND REPLACE BY FOUR SMALLER BOROUGH-BASED JAILS.

FOR MORE ON WHAT'S NEXT, I'M JOINED BY STANLEY RICHARD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY, REBUILD LIVES AFTER INCARCERATION.

HE'S ALSO VICE CHAIR OF THE NYC BOARD OF CORRECTION AND A MEMBER OF THE INDEPENDENT CORRECTION.

ALSO RAFAEL MANGUA, A CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK BASED HERE IN NEW YORK.

HE'S ALSO A CONTRIBUTING EDITOR TO THE URBAN POLICY MANAGER.

WE'VE GOT A LOT OF TOP UKS TO GET TO.

LET ME START WITH A QUICK REACTION TO THIS.

AFTER ALL THE DEBATE FOR SO MANY YEARS, WERE YOU SURPRISED IT HAPPENED.

I'M NOT SURPRISED IT HAPPENED.

I MEAN, I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FORCES THAT WERE BROUGHT TO BEAR ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE, ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE FORTUNE SOCIETY, JUST LEADERSHIP, ORGANIZATIONS AND ADVOCATES THAT WERE OUT THERE SAYING WE HAVE BEEN DOING SO MUCH DAMAGE TO SOME OF THE HARDEST-HIT COMMUNITIES, THE TIME TO END THAT DAMAGE HAS TO BE NOW, AND IT HAS TO BE NEW YORK.

SO, THIS IS A DAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR.

THIS IS A DAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.

AND THIS IS THE DAY THAT WE TAKE A MOMENT TO CELEBRATE THIS VICTORY BUT WE HAVE A LOT MORE WORK TO DO.

I AGREE WITH STANLEY.

I'M CERTAINLY NOT SURPRISED THAT THIS HAPPENED.

I THINK THERE'S BEEN A DOMINANT NARRATIVE ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT'S KIND OF TAKEN HOLD OF CITIES LIKE NEW YORK.

AND I THINK IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL THAT NARRATIVE WAS TAKEN INTO PRACTICE AND UNFORTUNATELY I THINK THEY'VE GONE TOO FAR THIS TIME.

LET'S TALK ABOUT ALL THAT.

I WANT TO STEAL THE LINE FROM WINSTON CHURCHILL WHO SAID THIS IS NOT THE END, THIS IS NOT EVEN THE BEGINNING OF THE END.

THERE'S A LOT MORE TO TAKE PLACE HERE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CONSIDERATIONS AND WHERE THEY TAKE US TO.

ONE OF THE MAJOR CONCERNS WE'VE SEEN ARTICULATED BY A LOT OF PEOPLE IS WHAT KIND OF IMPACT IS THIS GOING TO HAVE ON SAFETY IN THE STREETS OF NEW YORK?

WE'VE HEARD PEOPLE SAY THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS LOCK UP.

WE'RE GOING TO CUT IT DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY.

SO, WHERE ARE THE BAD GUYS GOING TO GO?

RAFAEL, I'LL ASK YOU TO START WITH THAT.

HOW MUCH IS THERE TO THAT ARGUMENT.

HOW CONCERNED SHOULD WE BE?

WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED.

THERE'S A LOT TO THAT ARGUMENT.

ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IS NEW YORK CITY IS NOT IN THE BEGINNING STAGES.

NEW YORK CITY HAS BEEN CUTTING ITS JAIL POPULATION SIGNIFICANTLY FOR THE LAST 20 OR SO YEARS.

I THINK OUR POPULATION HAS BEEN REDUCED BY 50% SINCE 1998 WHEN THE RUTGERS POPULATION.

THE CITY HAS DIVERTED LOW LEVEL OFFENSES.

BUT WHAT THAT HAS MEANT IS FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS THE POPULATION THAT'S REMINED ON RIKERS ISLAND IS A POPULATION OF SERIOUS OFFENDERS AND VIOLENT OFFENDERS.

THIS IS SOMETHING WE'VE SEEN THROUGH THE JAIL VIOLENCE NUMBERS WHICH HAVE GONE THROUGH THE ROOF SINCE ABOUT 2014 WHEN THE MAYOR LED AN INITIATIVE TO TAKE UP SEGREGATION OR SOLITARY CONFINEMENT OFF THE TABLE.

WE HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THESE FOLKS ARE GOING TO DO WHEN THEY'RE GIVEN AN ENVIRONMENT WITH LESS RESTRICTIONS, AND I'M NOT SURE WHY THE CITY IS SO CONFIDENT THAT BY GIVING THEM ULTIMATE FREEDOM THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO TREAT THAT FREEDOM IRRESPONSIBLY AND THAT THAT'S NOT GOING TO RESULT IN A CRIME INCREASE PARTICULARLY SINCE THE CITY'S EXPLANATION OR EXCUSE FOR THE VIOLENCE UP TICK HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY THAT THEIR PRIOR EFFORTS AT DECARS RATION HAVE LEFT BEHIND A POPULATION THAT THE CITY ITSELF HAS DESCRIBED AS MORE DIFFICULT THAN VIOLENT AND HARD TO MANAGE.

IT SOUNDS LIKE A PARADOX.

WE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE.

RAFAEL SAID SOME OF THE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN LAUDABLE, THE NOTION OF LET'S GET PEOPLE OUT OF THERE JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE SITTING WAITING FOR THEIR CASES TO BE HEARD.

LET'S FOCUS ON THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE FOR PUNITIVE REASONS.

SO, THIS IS A VERY EMOTIONAL ARGUMENT THAT YOU HEAR FROM PEOPLE SAYING IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE RELEASED AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE ONES WHO ARE VIOLENT CRIMINALS, HOW IS THAT NOT GOING TO RESULT IN LESS SAFETY ON THE STREETS?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

BECAUSE THAT'S NOT TRUE, JACK.

IT'S JUST NOT TRUE.

LISTEN, I'M FORMERLY INCOURSE RATED, WHEN I WAS IN THE SYSTEM, MY LAST INCARCERATION WAS 1986.

WE HAD CLOSE TO 22,000 PEOPLE IN THE SYSTEM.

CLOSE TO 150,000 PEOPLE CYCLING THROUGH.

CRIME IN THE CITY WAS REALLY, REALLY HIGH.

AT THAT MOMENT THERE WERE PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO WERE IN THE SYSTEM.

UNFORTUNATELY I HURT MY COMMUNITY, RIGHT?

AND I COMMITTED A PRETTY SERIOUS OFFENSE.

BUT WHEN WE'VE SEEN THE NUMBERS COME DOWN, THE NUMBERS INCLUDED A RANGE OF PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS CASES, A RANGE OF PEOPLE WITH NON-SERIOUS CASES.

WHAT WE'VE GOTTEN TO 7,000 HASN'T BEEN BY ONLY PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES, SECOND CHANCES FOR PEOPLE WITH MINOR OFFENSES.

IT INCLUDED A RANGE OF PEOPLE.

LOOK, IF YOU LOOKED AT MY RECORD, YOU WOULD BE ASKING WHY IS THIS GUY OUT ON THE STREET.

BUT EVER SINCE I WAS RELEASED, WHEN I WENT TO JAIL THE LAST TIME AND ENDED UP GOING TO PRISON, I GOT MY GED, WENT TO EDGE WHICH, GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, AND DEDICATED MY LIFE TO COMMUNICATING A MESSAGE TO EVERYONE THAT THE CRIME MIGHT HAVE BEEN WHAT WE'VE DONE.

THE CRIME MIGHT HAVE BEEN WHAT I DID.

THE CRIME IS NOT WHO I AM.

AND WHO I AM IS A FELLOW NEW YORKER, SOMEONE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING IS STOP INVESTING IN THE PUNISHMENT ONLY.

INVEST IN THE REHABILITATION, THE SECOND CHANCES, THE UPLIFTING OF MEMBERS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

THAT'S A GOOD POINT.

I WANT TO GET TO -- I WANT TO CROSS A PIECE OF TAPE FROM AN INTERVIEW WE DID PREVIOUSLY.

YOU ARE ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESS STORIES AND I THINK MORE PEOPLE HEAR ABOUT YOUR STORY, THE BETTER OFF PEOPLE WILL BE.

BUT WE DO KNOW --

BUT I'M NOT THE ONLY.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS.

AND WE KNOW THAT.

BUT ONE OF THE CONCERNS I THINK IS PEOPLE MIGHT NOT APPRECIATE THAT.

LET ME TOSS FOR A SECOND.

I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT A TAPE WE SAW BY A PERSON WHO WAS IN THIS PROGRAM.

TAKE A QUICK LOOK.

THOSE OF US IN THE COMMUNITIES WHO OPPOSE THE PLAN AS IT'S CURRENTLY CONCEIVED HAVE BEEN LABELLED OR CONCERNED ABOUT BEING LABELLED AS AGAINST CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.

WE ARE NOT.

WE ARE AGAINST THE SCANDALOUS WASTE OF MONEY THAT THIS REPRESENTS.

INSTEAD OF USING IT TO IMPROVE OUR SCHOOLS AND TREAT THE MENTALLY ILL, THOSE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND TO OFFER AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO THE COMMUNITIES MOST AT RISK OF ENCOUNTERS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

WHAT WE'RE HEARING FROM HER -- YOU GUYS SORT OF TOUCHED ON THIS.

THIS IS A LOT OF MONEY THAT'S BEING SPENT.

SURE.

TO CLOSE THIS DOWN AND TO BUILD NEW FACILITIES.

SHOULDN'T WITH BE TAKING A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THAT MONEY AND TRY TO INVEST IN KEEPING FROM GETTING INTO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

RAFAEL, YOU FIRST.

ABSOLUTELY.

THERE ARE CERTAINLY THINGS THAT WE CAN DO WITH THIS MONEY THAT ARE PROBABLY BETTER USES OF IT, RIGHT?

THERE ARE ALSO THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TO IMPROVE THE SYSTEM AND THE PROBLEMS WITH RIKERS AND THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH THAT MONEY WITHOUT SHUTTING DOWN THE ENTIRE ISLAND AND GOING TO A B BORROW BASED SYSTEM.

THE SECOND CHANCE ARGUMENT IS A FAIR ONE AND PEOPLE DESERVE SECOND CHANCES.

BUT ONE OF THE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN RIKERS ISLAND HAVE HAD AND BLOWN THEIR SECOND CHANCE ON AVERAGE.

75% OF THE AVERAGE DAILY POPULATION ON RIKERS ISLAND HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE.

WE SEE THAT NATIONALLY ABOUT 36% OF VIOLENT FELONS HAVE COMMITTED THEIR OFFENSES WHILE THEY WERE ON PROBATION, PAROLE, OR HAD A VIOLENT CASE.

A LOT OF CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN DRIVEN BY PEOPLE THAT ALREADY HAD THEIR SECOND CHANCE.

I WANT TO SPEAK TO THIS.

THE SECOND CHANCE FOR PEOPLE IS GO BACK AND SWIM WITH THE SHARKS AND LET'S SEE HOW YOU SURVIVE, THAT'S NOT A SECOND CHANCE.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT AT FORTUNE SOCIETY IS LET'S DO AN INVESTMENT LIKE THE LADY SAID ON THE INTERVIEW.

LOOK, WE OUGHT TO BE INVESTING IN OUR SCHOOLS, IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

CLOSING RIKERS FOR ME IS ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN BECAUSE THIS IS THE PATHWAY I HOPE THE CITY PROVIDES FOR THEM.

A PATHWAY TO AFFORDABLE COLLEGE, A SUSTAINABLE AND LIVING WAGE, A PLACE TO LIVE THAT IS AFFORDABLE THAT IS SAFE.

THAT'S WHAT CLOSING RIKERS IS ABOUT BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT TAKING THE $1.2 BILLION JUST ON CORRECTIONS WE SPEND EVERY SINGLE YEAR THAT WE'VE BEEN SPENDING FOR THE LAST LET'S SAY TEN YEARS TO NOW TAKE THAT MONEY, REDUCE THE SYSTEM, AND TAKE THE MONEY, INVEST IT SO PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO GO TO JAIL.

LET ME ASK, TALKING ABOUT WHERE THE CITY GOES NOW WITH THIS.

PEOPLE HAVE SAID HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT WHAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET IS SIMPLY FOUR NEW MINI-RIKERS WITH ALL THE ISSUES AND THE SAME PROBLEMS THAT THE MOTHERSHIP HAD, IF YOU WILL.

AND PEOPLE ARE SAYING WHERE'S THE GUARANTEE FOR THAT?

IS THERE?

THERE IS NONE.

THERE IS NONE, RIGHT?

ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS THAT PEOPLE MADE ABOUT RIKERS ISLAND AND THE PROBLEMS WITHIN IT IS THAT THE DESIGN IS SUBOPTIMAL, MINIMAL SIGHT LINES, JUST A LACK OF COORDINATION WITH PENAL SIGNS AND WHAT PENAL SIGNS SAYS IS THE BEST WAY TO DESIGN A JAIL OR A PRISON AND THAT THAT'S LED TO ALL THESE PROBLEMS.

THAT'S CERTAINLY SOMETHING TO THAT ARGUMENT.

ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT 20 YEARS AGO WHEN THE JAIL POPULATION IN NEW YORK CITY WAS 17,500 AND SOMETHING THERE WERE HALF THE VIOLENT INMATE ON INMATE INCIDENTS THAN THERE ARE TODAY.

THE DESIGN HAS NOT CHANGED.

I THINK WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT HOW MUCH OF THE PROBLEMS INMATES ARE FACING ARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THINGS LIKE THE DESIGN THAT THEY SAY THE NEW SYSTEM IS GOING TO IMPROVE.

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN'T BE DONE ON RIKERS ISLAND.

THERE'S A LOT OF SPACE ON THAT ISLAND TO BUILD AND REVAMP SOME OF THE BUILDINGS.

I WOULD ENCOURAGE --

I'LL GET TO YOU.

I WANT TO PREFACE WITH SOMETHING YOU'VE SAID BEFORE.

YES.

IN TERMS OF ANSWERING THIS, HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT THESE NEW FACILITIES ARE BETTER THAN WHAT WE'VE HAD.

I WAS STRUCK ONE TIME BY YOUR COMMENTS SAYING THE WAY RIKERS IS SET UP, IT IMMEDIATELY SENDS A MESSAGE TO ANYBODY INCARCERATED THERE IN YOUR WORDS THAT YOU DON'T MATTER.

EXACTLY.

HOW ARE YOU, SOMEBODY WHO'S LIVED THIS -- ARE YOU AT ALL CONFIDENT THAT THESE NEW FACILITIES ARE CONSTRUCTED AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT THEY'LL BE ABLE TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL THAT THEY DO MATTER AND HOPEFULLY YOU WON'T SEE THIS INMATE ON INMATE VIOLENCE AND CONTINUED RECIDIVISM?

WE WON'T GET THERE BY DESIGN ONLY.

DESIGN IS A PIECE OF THE SITUATION.

THE OTHER PIECE OF IT IS AROUND CULTURE CHANGE.

AS THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER PUT OUT THERE, THE PLAN TO DO INVESTMENTS, IN THAT PLAN REQUIRES INVESTMENTS IN OFFICER TRAINING, REQUIRES INVESTMENTS IN OFFICER NEW FACILITY SO THAT THEY'RE TRAINING FOR 21st CENTURY CORRECTIONS.

THE OTHER THING IS THAT FOR ADVOCATES, WE ARE NOT LEAVING THIS ISSUE ALONE.

WE HAVE NOT WON THE VICTORY TO CLOSE RIKERS ISLAND AND WALKING AWAY.

WE ARE GOING TO HOLD THE CITY, THE CITY COUNCIL, AND CORRECTIONS ACCOUNTABLE TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE THE SMALLEST FOOTPRINT THAT WE POSSIBLY COULD HAVE AND MAINTAIN THE SAFEST CITY THAT WE CAN MAINTAIN AND THAT THE CULTURE OF CORRECTIONS IS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED.

SO, IT'S MORE THAN JUST THE FA ILL ISTY.

THE DESIGN OF THE FACILITY IS GOING TO COMMUNICATE A MESSAGE TO THE OFFICERS AND THOSE DETAINED THERE, BUT NOT ALONE.

I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, I MENTIONED THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF A LONG CONVERSATION HERE.

WHAT YOU APPRECIATE FROM THE TWO OF YOU, IT'S A THOUGHTFUL CONVERSATION.

MY HOPE IS WE GET YOU BACK AGAIN SOMETIME SOON.

AS THIS IS GOING TO CONTINUE, THERE WILL BE A LOT FOR US TO DO.

THANK YOU BOTH.

THANK YOU.

>. ♪ AS LONG AS I KNOW I CAN MAKE IT FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE ♪ ♪ I HAVE SOMEONE WHO NEEDS ME

NO ONE ELSE IS POPULAR MUSIC HAS RECORDED FOR AS LONG AND AT SUCH A HIGH LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE AS THE LEGENDARY ARTIST AND PERFORMER TONY BENNETT.

FOR MORE THAN SEVEN DECADES, HE HAS SOLD MILLIONS OF RECORDS AROUND THE WORLD WITH 10 MILLION RECORDS IN THE LAST TEN YEARS ALONE.

HE HAS HAD 24 SONGS IN THE TOP 40 INCLUDING 'I WANT TO BE AROUND,' 'THE GOOD LIFE,' 'WHO CAN I TURN TO,' AND HIS SIGNATURE SONG, 'I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO.'

♪ I LEFT MY HEART ♪ IN SAN FRANCISCO

BUT HE BEGAN HIS ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT AS A YOUNG BOY HERE IN NEW YORK IN QUEENS NEW YORK WHERE HE WAS BORN SOME 90 YEARS AGO.

NOW HE AND HIS WIFE SUSAN, A FORMER DEDICATED TEACHER AND CHAMPION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE FOR THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

THEY STARTED THE EXPLORING THE ARTS ORGANIZATIONS TO TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH ARTS EDUCATION.

IT BEGAN WITH THEIR DREAM TO CREATE THE FRANK SINATRA SCHOOL OF ARTS.

NOW THE ETA PROGRAM SERVES 33 PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS, 27 OF THEM HERE IN NEW YORK AND 6 IN L.A.

I RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH BOTH OF THEM AT THE PAILLY CENTER FOR MEDIA CELEBRATING TONY'S 90 YEARS OF ARTISTRY.

I BEGAN WHY HE HAS BEEN SO PASSIONATE ABOUT SUPPORTING THE ARTS AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

I THINK THE AMERICAN PUBLIC SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO BE AS CREATIVE AS POSSIBLE.

WE SHOULD ALL CREATE.

AND THE MORE WE CREATE INDIVIDUALLY, THE MORE IT'LL GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND WE'LL GET GREAT RESPECT FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR SAYING GOOD THINGS ABOUT BEING ALIVE.

SUSAN, YOU WERE A TEACHER.

MM-HM, I WAS.

SO, I'M SURE YOU SAW WHERE AS BUDGETS GOT TIGHTER ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT WENT AWAY WERE THE ARTS.

YEAH, THE ARTS AND SPORTS, THE TWO REASONS KIDS COME TO SCHOOL.

TO KEEP THEM IN SCHOOL.

YEAH.

WHY WAS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU AND TONY -- LET'S FOCUS FIRST ON THE FRANK SINATRA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS.

WHY WAS IT SO IMPORTANT TO CREATE THAT, AND WHAT WERE YOU HOPING TO GET FROM IT?

WELL, AS YOU SAY, I WAS A TEACHER AT AN ARTS SCHOOL, ARTS HIGH SCHOOL.

TONY, WHEN HE WAS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL, THERE WERE GOOD ARTS PROGRAMS.

SO, WE EACH IN OUR OWN WAY SAW FIRSTHAND THE DIFFERENCE THAT THE ARTS MAKE IN A CHILD'S LIFE.

AND WHEN YOU TEACH THE ARTS, THE KIDS WANT TO COME TO SCHOOL.

AND THEY TEND TO DO BETTER ACROSS ALL THEIR DISCIPLINES.

THEY ARE ABLE TO DISCOVER WHO THEY ARE AT A CRITICAL TIME.

AS A TEEN YOU'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE DO I FIT IN THE WORLD AND THEY DISCOVER THEIR CREATIVITY.

AND THEY DISCOVER THE CREATIVITY OF OTHERS AND CELEBRATE THAT.

AND THE GOOD THING ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION IS IT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE.

SO, YOUR FELLOW ARTISTS, YOUR CLASSMATE MIGHT BE FROM A DIFFERENT BACKGROUND THAN YOU BUT YOU COME TOGETHER OVER THIS SHARED EXPERIENCE OF CREATING OR SIMPLY EXPERIENCING ART.

AND YOU LOOK BEYOND THOSE DIFFERENCES AND YOU'RE NO LONGER AFRAID OF THOSE DIFFERENCES.

YOU REALLY CELEBRATE AND REALIZE THAT MY PERSPECTIVE IS AS VALUABLE AS YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

AND THAT, I THINK, IS WHAT BRINGS, YOU KNOW, THE WORLD TOGETHER, BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER IS THAT SHARED EXPERIENCE IN THE ARTS.

I MEAN, AND TONY HAD ALL THESE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES AS A YOUNGSTER WHERE HE WAS ABLE TO REALIZE HIS DREAMS.

AND WE SEE THAT TAKEN AWAY LIKE YOU SAY WITH BUDGET CUTS.

TONY, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THAT BECAUSE YOU AS A TEENAGER WENT TO A HIGH SCHOOL, THE HIGH SCHOOL FOR INDUSTRIAL ARTS.

RIGHT.

HOW DID THAT HELP TO SHAPE YOU?

HOW DID THAT HELP TO PUSH YOU IN THE DIRECTION YOU EVENTUALLY WENT?

IT MEANT EVERYTHING.

IT MEANT EVERYTHING.

IN JUNIOR SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL, THEY ALL SAID YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OF WORK.

AND THE NEW SCHOOL SAID GO INTO CENTRAL PARK -- I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.

THEY SAID PAINT NATURE.

WANDER INTO THE PARK AND DO SOME PAINTING.

YEAH.

PAINT NATURE.

JUST STUDY NATURE.

THIS WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

HERE I AM 90 YEARS OLD AND STILL STUDYING NATURE.

STILL WANDERING INTO THE PARK TO STUDY.

HERE'S MY QUESTION FOR YOU.

IT'S NOT THE TONY BENNETT SCHOOL OF THE ARTS.

IT'S THE FRANK SINATRA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PUT FRANK'S NAME ON THAT SCHOOL?

THAT'S HOW MUCH I RESPECTED HIM BECAUSE HE REALLY WAS THE FIRST ONE AS A SOLO ARTIST TO MAKE POPULAR MUSIC VERY, VERY FAMOUS.

AND I WAS INSPIRED BY HIM BEING 15 YEARS OLDER THAN ME AND HE WAS MY INSPIRATION.

AND HE IS TO THIS DAY A MAGNIFICENT ARTIST THAT ALWAYS DEPENDED ON QUALITY MUSIC.

AND I SAW AT ONE POINT IN TIME WHERE FRANK SINATRA SAID DO YOU KNOW WHO THE BEST SINGER IS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW?

TONY BENNETT.

WELL, WHAT DID HE KNOW?

I THINK HE KNEW A LOT TO PICK YOU.

IF I MAY, ONE OF OUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS THAT WE HAVE WITH OUR NON-PROFIT IS OUR TONY BENNETT APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM.

AND IN A WAY SINATRA WAS ONE OF YOUR MENTORS WHEN YOU STARTED OUT.

SO, IN A WAY HE GOT TO APPRENTICE.

YEAH.

TO SOME EXTENT.

TO A DEGREE.

IT WASN'T A TRUE APPRENTICESHIP, BUT HE HELPED YOU OUT A LOT WHEN YOU WERE STARTING OUT.

HE WAS SO INSPIRING TO ME, I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.

HE WAS SO GENEROUS TO YOU.

YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR NON-PROFIT, ABOUT EXPLORING THE ARTS.

TELL ME ABOUT HOW THAT WORKS.

THERE ARE ABOUT 33 NOW PARTNER SCHOOLS YOU HAVE --

BETWEEN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES.

-- BETWEEN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES.

EXACTLY.

HOW DOES IT WORK WHEN EXPLORING THE ARTS GETS INVOLVED IN ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS?

WE WERE WELCOMED IN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES BECAUSE BOTH CITIES VALUE ARTS SO MUCH IN PUBLIC EDUCATION.

WE REACH OUT TO SCHOOLS AND THEY SEND US PROPOSALS.

WE WORK IN SCHOOLS FOR A TOTAL OF FOUR YEARS, AND THEN THEY MOVE ON TO -- THEY SORT OF ARE GRADUATES, THE LEGACY SCHOOLS.

BUT THE SINATRA WE ALWAYS SUPPORT.

BUT THEY PRESENT THEIR GOALS AND WE WORK WITH THEM ON AN ANNUAL BASIS TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE WORKING TO ACHIEVE HIGH-QUALITY SUSTAINABLE ARTS PROGRAMS.

IF THEY HAVE A CERTIFIED ARTS PROGRAM, THEY HAVE TO HAVE ONE, IF THEY HAVE THAT, WE WILL COME IN WITH THE FUNDING AND GUIDANCE AND OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP THEM STRUCTURE THE PROGRAMS SO THEY CAN CARRY ON.

WHAT KIND OF REACTION HAVE TWO OF YOU GOTTEN TO ALL THAT YOU'VE DONE FOR EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

WHAT KIND OF SATISFACTION HAS THAT PROVIDED FOR THE TWO OF YOU?

IT'S TREMENDOUSLY SATISFYING TO KNOW YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING GREAT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE OF COURSE.

BUT I ALSO SEE IT PERSONALLY FOR ME AS I LOVE IT AS PART OF TONY'S LEGACY BECAUSE HE WANTS TO GIVE BACK THE WAY PEOPLE HELPED HIM WHEN HE STARTED OUT.

SO, THAT'S TREMENDOUSLY GRATIFYING.

AND I'LL JUST -- ONE QUICK STORY.

YOU PROBABLY REMEMBER IT.

OUR FIRST GRADUATING CLASS OF THE SINATRA SCHOOL AMONG PEOPLE LIKE TONY AND HAR RI BELAFONTE, JERRY SEINFELD, WE HAD THE LATE GOVERNOR MARIO CUOMO.

I'VE NEVER FORGOTTEN THIS.

TALK ABOUT INSPIRATIONAL AND KEEPING YOU MOTIVATED TO KEEP GOING, ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY AND AGE.

HE WAS TALKING TO THE KIDS AND ENDED HIS SPEECH BY SAYING THAT A NATION GETS ITS SOUL FROM THE ARTS, NOT ITS MILITARY OR ITS ECONOMY.

IT GETS ITS SOUL FROM THE ARTS AND THEREFORE BRINGS HOPE TO THE WORLD.

SO, HE CHALLENGED THE GRADUATES TO GO OUT AND GIVE HOPE TO THE WORLD.

AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN HELPING THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY THAN TO GO OUT AND GIVE HOPE TO THE WORLD.

IT MIGHT SOUND CORNY BUT I TOUCHED ME TO TELL THEM TO GO OUT AND GIVE THE WORLD HOPE.

NOTHING CAN BE BETTER THAN THAT OR MORE IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY AND AGE.

WE GO TO SLEEP ON THAT EVERY NIGHT.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO TONIGHT, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A WONDERFUL EXTENSION TO 'METROFOCUS,' OUR NEW TWICE WEEKLY PODCAST WITH ME AS YOUR HOST.

ON IT WE'LL GET TO EXPLORE IN DEPTH CONVERSATIONS.

I'LL TALK TO AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF GUESTS WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

THE PRICE OF JOINING THIS PODCAST COMPLETE WITH NEW YORKERS FROM THE STREETS TO WALL STREET TO BROADWAY, ABSOLUTELY FREE.

HEAD OVER TO ITUNES OR SOUND CLOUD TO JOIN ME IN THIS ECLECTIC MIX OF PERSONALITIES AS WE EXPLORE OUR CITY WITH UNIQUE METROFOCUS.

FRESH NEW CONTENT EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

I'LL SEE YOU THERE.

> '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 RYE REEN SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

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