METROFOCUS: OCTOBER 9, 2019

October 10, 2019 at 5:30 am

In 1989, a black teen, Yusuf Hawkins, was fatally shot after being chased by a white mob in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Now, an enterprising journalist returns to the scene to find a community changed and memories fading. New Yorkers’ homes are being robbed from under their feet as a result of predatory deed theft. Tonight, we’ll tell you what that means and how victims are fighting back. Disney’s live-action remake of the Lion King broke a number of box office records. Tonight, we meet the pride on Broadway, which has been receiving roaring ovations for over 20 years.

Aired on October 9, 2019. 

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>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS" --
30 YEARS AGO A BLACK TEEN, YUSEF
HAWKINS, WAS FATALLY SHOT AFTER
BEING CHASED BY A WHITE MOB IN
BENSONHURST, BROOKLYN.
THE MURDER DIVIDED THE
NEIGHBORHOOD AND POLARIZED THE
CITY.
NOW AN ENTERPRISING JOURNALIST
RETURNS TO THE SCENE OF THE
CRIME TO FIND THE COMMUNITY
CHANGED AND MEMORIES FADING.
THIS SPECIAL REPORT JUST MOMENTS
AWAY.
>>> NEW YORKERS ARE LOSING THEIR
HOMES AS A RESULT OF PREDATORY
THEFT.
WE'LL TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANS AND
HOW ITS VICTIMS ARE FIGHTING
BACK.
AN IMPORTANT LESSON FOR ALL OF
US.
>>> AND DISNEY'S RECENT
LIVE-ACTION REMAKE OF "THE LION
KING" BROKE BOX OFFICE RECORDS.
TONIGHT WE MEET THE PRIDE ON
BROADWAY WHICH HAS BEEN ROARING
TO STANDING OVATIONS FOR OVER 20
YEARS.
TWO OF THE SHOW'S STARS WILL BE
HERE.
>>> THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS
"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.
§

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH
RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND
JENNA FLANNIGAN.
"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY
--
JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND
EDGAR WACHENHAIM III, SYLVIA A.
AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING
ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE
SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER,
AND BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.
AND BY --
>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M JACK FORD.
BENSO
BENSONHURST, BROOKLYN, 1989.
FOR MANY IT CONJURES MEMORIES OF
ONE OF THE MOST PAINFUL RACIAL
INCIDENTS IN NEW YORK CITY'S
HISTORY.
THE KILLING OF 16-YEAR-OLD YUSEF
HAWKINS.
HAWKINS, A BLACK TEEN, WAS SET
UPON BY A WHITE MOB AND FATALLY
SHOT.
HIS COLD-BLOODED MURDER
HORRIFIED THE CITY AND THE
COUNTRY, SETTING OFF MONTHS OF
PROTEST MARCHES AND PAYCHECKING
THE WAY FOR THE ELECTION OF NEW
YORK'S FIRST BLACK MAYOR, DAVID
DINKINS.
THE NAME BENSONHURST BECAUSE A
NATIONAL SYMBOL OF HATE.
IN THE 30 YEARS SINCE HAWKINS'
DEATH, THE ONCE-HEAVILY ITALIAN
NEIGHBORHOOD HAS DIVERSIFIED.
SEEKING TO FIND OUT HOW THE
TRAGEDY IS REMEMBERED, THE NEWS
OUTLET "THE CITY" TRAVELED TO
INVESTIGATE.
AND WE HAVE MORE ON THE FININGS.
NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING
ME.
>> LET'S SET THE STAGE FOR OUR
VIEWERS.
30 YEARS AGO, I REMEMBER, I WAS
JUST STARTING IN TELEVISION
NEWS.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WAS
WORKING AS A LEGAL ANALYST FOR
CHANNEL 2 NEWS HERE IN NEW YORK
CITY.
SO I REMEMBER THE STORY.
BUT JUST THE -- GIVE US A SENSE
OF HOW THIS PLAYED OUT AS A
BACKDROP TO YOUR INVESTIGATION
AND OUR CONVERSATION.
>> YEAH.
SO ON AUGUST 23rd, 1989, YUSEF
HAWKINS AND THREE OF HIS BUDDIES
GOT OFF THE N TRAIN ON 20th
AVENUE.
HE WAS LOOKING TO BUY A USED
POINTS IN 82 PONTIAC -- USED
1982 PONTIAC.
HE WAS ENGULFED, SURROUNDED BY
WHITE TEENAGERS WHO SEVERAL OF
THEM WERE -- HAD BASEBALL BATS,
GOLF CLUBS, AND JUST WITHIN A
FEW BLOCKS THEY HAD SURROUNDED
HIM.
AND A GUNMAN, THE GUNMAN, JOSEPH
FAMMA, SHOT HIM TWICE IN THE
CHEST.
>> TALK ABOUT WHAT THE
BENSONHURST NEIGHBORHOOD WAS
LIKE THEN.
ITS COMPLEXION, IF YOU WILL, ITS
COMPOSITION 30 YEARS AGO.
>> SO IT WAS A PREDOMINANTLY
WHITE, WORKING CLASS, ITALIAN
NEIGHBORHOOD.
PI
PIZZERIAS EVERYWHERE, A MAJORITY
HOMEOWNER NEIGHBORHOOD, AS WELL.
THE COMPLEXION OF THAT
NEIGHBORHOOD HAS CHANGED
INTENSELY SINCE THEN.
BUT BACK THEN, YOU KNOW, ONLY
THREE DAYS AFTER THE SHOOTING,
YOU KNOW, BLACK ORGANIZERS GOT
TOGETHER AND IMMEDIATELY WERE
OFFSET BY PEOPLE YELLING RACIAL
EPITHETS AT THEM, SOME OF THEM
HOLDING --
>> EVEN AFTER THE SHOOTING,
STILL BEING ATTACKED RACIALLY?
>> YEAH.
SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY HOLDING
WA
WATERMELONS BELIEVE IT OR NOT AS
A FORM OF RIDICULE AT THE TIME.
AND IT SHARPLY DIVIDED THE
NEIGHBORHOOD.
>> WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING FOR?
WHEN THE DECISION WAS MADE --
LET'S TAKE A LOOK, LET'S GO BACK
30 YEARS, BACK TO BENSONHURST.
WHAT WAS THE IDEA?
>> I WANTED TO SEE WHAT THE
NEIGHBORHOOD REMEMBERED.
AND HONESTLY, WHAT I FOUND WAS A
NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAS DEEPLY
CHANGED.
THERE ARE STILL REMNANTS OF THAT
OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT NOW WE'RE
LOOKING AT A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT'S
55% OF THE POPULATION IS FOREIGN
BORN.
SO MANY OF THEM ARE FROM CHINA,
TURKEY, PAKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN.
AND YOU SEE THESE OLD-SCHOOL
PIZZERIAS, THEY'RE STILL THERE
AND ALL THESE ITALIAN EAT REECE.
ACROSS THE STREET YOU'LL SEE A
HUGE CHINESE BUFFET, A HUGE
TURKISH EATERY AT THE SAME TIME.
AND NOW IT'S ACTUALLY
MINORITY/MAJORITY IN THE SENSE
WHERE IT'S -- I BELIEVE IT'S
ONLY 44% ARE WHITE.
>> WHEN YOU ASK PEOPLE, THIS IS
GENERAL OBVIOUSLY, BUT WHEN YOU
ASKED ABOUT THE HAWKINS
SHOOTING, HOW MANY DID YOU FINDS
ACTUALLY REMEMBERED IT?
WERE AWARE OF IT AT ANY WAY,
SHAPE, OR FORM?
>> I MEAN, DOZENS.
DOZENS, TRULY.
ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO WERE
HOMEOWNERS AND STILL HAVE THEIR
HOMES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
THEY DID REMEMBER THE SHOOTING,
AND THEY DID REMEMBER IN
PARTICULAR THE MARCHES THAT WERE
ORGANIZED BY REVEREND AL
SHARPTON BACK THEN.
BUT WHEN I TALKED TO SOME OF THE
PEOPLE WHO MOVED MORE RECENTLY,
THE MEMORY IS STARTING TO FADE A
BIT.
WE'RE TALKING 30 YEARS LATER, I
TALKED TO ONE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS
SHOCKED THAT THAT COULD HAPPEN
--
>> I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT
THAT.
I NOTED THAT, THAT SOMEONE WAS
ESSENTIALLY SAYING TO YOU,
REALLY?
HERE?
I NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED --
>> YEAH.
YEAH.
I MEAN, THE DNA OF THE
NEIGHBORHOOD IS MUCH THE SAME.
IT'S SOMEWHERE -- A PLACE WHERE
PEOPLE WANT TO RAISE THEIR
FAMILIES.
WHEN I TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO MOVED THERE, THE ONE
INDIVIDUAL, MUHAMMAD FROM SYRIA,
HE WAS ABSOLUTELY RATTLED.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AN INCIDENT
THAT ABSOLUTELY SHAPED A
NEIGHBORHOOD, DEFINED A
NEIGHBORHOOD FOR IT.
AND IT HAS VERY MUCH CHANGED
SINCE THEN.
AND I THINK WHEN PEOPLE WHO HAVE
MORE RECENTLY IN RECENT YEARS
MOVED TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD,
THEY'RE JUST SURPRISED THAT
SOMETHING LIKE THAT COULD
HAPPEN.
>> SO IT WAS -- WAS YOUR SENSE
AFTER SPENDING TIME THERE, GOING
BACK TO THE RACIAL ANIMUS THAT
EXISTED IN 1989, DID YOU FINDS
ANY SEMBLANCE OF THAT AT ALL?
>> THERE WERE A COUPLE OF PEOPLE
I SPOKE TO WHO FELT THAT THE
MARCHES PAINTED THEIR
NEIGHBORHOOD IN A BAD LIGHT AND
REALLY PUSHED BACK ON THE
SENTIMENT THAT IT WAS A RACIAL
INCIDENT ACTUALLY.
AND THAT IT WAS A RACIST ATTACK.
AND THEY FELT MORE THAT THESE
WERE YOUNG TEENAGERS WHO GOT
INTO A FIGHT.
AND THAT WAS ALL TO IT.
OF COURSE, THAT'S NOT WHAT
EVERYONE SAID.
I TALKED TO ONE FAMILY WHO
ACTUALLY, THEY LIVED ON 20th
AVENUE WHERE THE SHOOTING
OCCURRED, AND THEY LEFT.
THEY ACTUALLY SOLD THEIR HOME.
>> SO AFFECTED BY IT.
>> YEAH.
>> YEAH.
YOU MENTIONED THE -- THE TWO
YOUNG MEN WHO WERE CONVICTED OF
THIS.
THERE'S AN INTERESTING PART OF
THE STORY WHERE YOU TALK ABOUT
KEITH MONDELLA, CONVICTED OF
LESSER OFFENSES, NOT THE
SECOND-DEGREE MURDER.
HE'S STILL IN PRISON.
AND YOU TALK ABOUT A CONTACT
BETWEEN KEITH MONDELLA AND A
FAMILY MEMBER OFU YUSEF HAWKINS.
TELL ME ABOUT THAT.
>> MOZAMSES HAWKINS, HIS FATHER
SENT A LETTER TO THE FAMILY.
RY RECONCILED WITH THE FATHER IN
LATE 1998, AND THEY ACTUALLY GOT
TOGETHER, AND HE APOLOGIZED, AND
THE FATHER ACCEPTED THE APOLOGY.
IT'S A DIFFERENT STORY WHEN IT
COMES TO THE MOTHER.
BUT YEAH, THEY DID RECONCILE
BEFORE THE FATHER PASSED AWAY.
>> WHEN YOU SAY A DIFFERENT
STORY WITH REGARD TO THE MOTHER,
HOW?
>> SHE HAS BEEN QUOTED OVER AND
OVER IN THE ANNIVERSARIES SAYING
THAT THIS IS A WOUND THAT WILL
NEVER HEAL IN HER HEART.
SOMETHING THAT SHE'S GOING TO
TAKE TO THE GRAVE, AND THAT SHE
ACKNOWLEDGES THE APOLOGIES, SHE
DOES NOT ACCEPT THEM.
>> LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.
YOU TALK ABOUT MOTHER, OF
COURSE, REMEMBERING THE DEATH OF
HER SON.
WE TALKED ABOUT HOW MUCH
COVERAGE THIS GOT AT THE TIME.
IT'S INTERESTING I THINK TO SEE
HOW MUCH YUSEF HAWKINS' MEMORY
IS STILL INGRAINED ESPECIALLY IN
SOME LEVELS OF POP CULTURE.
>> YEAH.
>> IT JUST -- HOW IS HE -- HE
HAS HE BEEN REMEMBERED?
HOW HAS HIS MEMORY BEEN KEPT
ALIVE IN MANY WAYS, THROUGH
VARIOUS POP CULTURE MEANS?
>> YEAH.
I THINK YOU CAN DEFINITELY POINT
TO SPIKE LEE'S FILM AS ONE
EXAMPLE.
"DO THE RIGHT THING."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT A NEIGHBORHOOD
THAT REMINDS YOU A LOT OF
BENSONHURST AND COMMUNITIES
CLASHING AND RACIAL TENSIONS
TRULY COMING TO A BOIL, ALSO I
THINK IN FOLLOWING YEARS YOU SAY
HIS NAME LITTERED OVER HIP-HOP
TRACKS EVERYWHERE.
IT WAS SOMETHING THAT HAD REALLY
SHOOK THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
>> WELL, IT -- IT'S A VERY
INTERESTING LOOK BACK.
>> YEAH.
>> AT WHAT -- A DIFFICULT TIME
AND PLACE AND HOW IT'S CHANGED
IN THE PERIOD OF THE THREE
DECADES.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING
SOME TIME WITH US.
WE APPRECIATE IT.
>> YEAH.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVITING
ME.
THANK YOU.
§

>>> THEFT IN NEW YORK CITY IS
RAMPANT ACCORDING TO A RECENT
GRAND JURY REPORT RELEASED BY
MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY CY
VANCE WHICH FOUND THAT AS THE
VALUE OF REAL ESTATE IN THE CITY
HAS SURGED, SO HAS THE INCIDENTS
OF VULNERABLE NEW YORKERS BEING
SCAMMED OUT OF THEIR PROPERTY.
ACCORDING TO THE REPORT,
FRAUDSTERS OFTEN CONVINCE THEIR
VICTIMS TO ACTUALLY SIGN OVER
THE DEED TO THEIR HOME AND, IN
SOME CASES, THEY SIMPLY FORGE
THE NAME OF RECENTLY DECEASED
HOMEOWNERS TO TAKE POSSESSIONS
OF THEIR PROPERTY.
THEREBY STEALING WEALTH THAT HAD
BEEN ACCUMULATED FOR
GENERATIONS, OFTEN WITH LITTLE
OR NO RECOURSE.
JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THIS
URGENT PROBLEM AND WHAT IF
ANYTHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT IS
KRISTI PEEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF THE CENTER FOR NYC
NEIGHBORHOODS, A NONPROFIT
ORGANIZATION THAT PROMOTES AND
PROTECTS AFFORDABLE
HOMEOWNERSHIP.
KRISTI, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
THANK YOU FOR FOCUSING ON THIS
REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUE.
>> IT'S AN IMPORTANT ISSUE.
>> YEAH.
>> FIRST OF ALL, WHO IS BEING
TARGETED IN THIS HEINOUS CRIME?
>> WELL, THROUGHOUT NEW YORK
CITY'S NEIGHBORHOODS, THERE ARE
PROBABLY AROUND 300,000 PROPERTY
OWNERS WHO WE WOULD CONSIDER OF
MODEST MEANS, RIGHT.
THEY'RE WORKING CLASS FAMILIES
WHO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BUY AND
KEEP PROPERTIES FOR MANY DECADES
AND GENERATIONS.
AND AT TIMES, THE OWNER, THE
VULNERABLE FINANCIALLY OR FOR
OTHER REASONS, AND PEOPLE,
SCAMMERS, YOU KNOW, FRAUDSTERS,
THEY'RE A LOT OF PREDATORY
ACTORS OUT THERE TO TRY AND TAKE
PROPERTIES FROM UNSUSPECTING NEW
YORK CITY OWNERS.
>> SO WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT'S
BEING DONE?
HOW ARE THEY TAKING THESE
PROPERTIES FROM THESE VULNERABLE
NEW YORKERS?
>> THERE ARE A COUPLE OF WAYS IT
CAN HAPPEN.
WHAT WE'VE SEEN AT THE CENTER
FOR NEW YORK CITY NEIGHBORHOODS
WHERE WE'VE BEEN WORKING TO
PREVENT FORECLOSURES SINCE 2008,
A LOT OF TIMES A HOMEOWNER WILL
BE STRUGGLING ON A MORTGAGE
PAYMENT OR PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT,
AND THE PUBLIC RECORDS WILL SHOW
THIS, RIGHT.
AND NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE THE
PROPERTY VALUES HAVE BEEN
INCREASING, THERE ARE SCAMMERS
OUT THERE THAT ARE, YOU KNOW,
WALKING THE BLOCK, CALLING
PEOPLE DAILY, PUTTING FLYERS IN
THEIR MAILBOXES TO TRY AND GET
THEM TO EITHER PAY THEM FOR
HELP, TO GET THE MORTGAGE
CURRENT, OR TO, YOU KNOW, SELL
THEM THEIR PROPERTY FOR A
BELOW-MARKET VALUE.
THEY'RE REALLY TRYING TO TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF, YOU KNOW,
VULNERABLE, TRUSTING,
UNSUSPECTING PROPERTY OWNERS,
SOME WHO MIGHT BE IN SOME
FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY.
SO FOR EXAMPLE, WITH THE
MORTGAGE SCAM ISSUE, IF YOU'RE
TRYING TO KEEP YOUR HOME FROM
FALLING INTO FORECLOSURE,
SOMEBODY MIGHT SAY PAY ME SOME
MONEY, I'LL SAVE YOUR HOME FOR
YOU.
AND BY THE WAY -- THAT'S
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NEVER
BELIEVE, RIGHT.
IF SOMEBODY SAYS PAY ME AND I'LL
SAVE YOUR HOME, THAT'S A REALLY
BIG RED FLAG.
>> RIGHT.
>> AND IN FACT, IT'S ILLEGAL FOR
SOMEBODY TO TAKE MONEY AND
PROMISE YOU MORTGAGE
MODIFICATIONS UNLESS THEY'RE AN
ATTORNEY.
AND WE'VE SEEN CASES WHERE
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A RAFT OF
PAPERS AND SAID SIGN HERE, SIGN
HERE, SIGN HERE, OR SIGN THIS
BLANK PIECE OF PAPER --
>> YOU LITERALLY SEEN THESE
CASES --
>> YEAH.
SOMEBODY SIGNS THE PAPER
THINKING THEY'RE GETTING HELP TO
SAVE THEIR HOME WHEN THEY'RE
SIGNING OVER THEIR DEED TO THIS
FRAUDSTER.
AND THEN ONCE THEY HAVE THAT
DOCUMENT SAYING THEY OWN THE
PROPERTY, THEY'LL MORTGAGE IT,
SELL IT, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL RENT
IT OUT, DO ALL SORTS OF THINGS.
AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY
DIFFICULT TO GET THE PROPERTY
BACK.
THE NEW THING THAT'S BEEN
HIGHLIGHTED IN THE GRAND JURY
REPORT TALKS ABOUT FRAUDULENT
DOCUMENTS BEING RECORDED WITH
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, AND OFTEN
FOR PROPERTIES WHERE THE
DEPARTMENT OWNER SEEMS TO HAVE
PASSED AWAY OR ABANDONED THE
PROPERTY, THE FRAUDSTERS
IDENTIFIED IT AS A PROPERTY
WHERE THERE'S NOBODY AT HOME, SO
TO SPEAK.
AND THEY'LL --
>> JUST FAKED THE SIGNATURE --
>> THEY'LL CREATE A FORGED
DOCUMENT, AND OFTEN THEY USE A
NOTARY TO DO SO.
SO THEY'LL FORGE THE SIGNATURE
OF THE REAL PROPERTY OWNER AND
RECORD IT WITH THE CITY.
AND BASED ON THAT DOCUMENT, THEN
THEY'LL GO OUT AND, AGAIN,
EITHER SELL IT TO SOMEBODY ELSE
OR, YOU KNOW, TAKE OUT
FINANCING, YOU KNOW, DO WHAT
THEY WILL.
AND AGAIN, AT THAT POINTS, IT'S
REALLY, REALLY HARD.
>> WE'LL GET TO THAT WHAT CAN BE
DONE, IN OTHER STATES WHERE
PEOPLE ARE BEING SCAMMED OUT OF
THEIR HOMES --
>> YEP --
>> IT SOMETIMES HAPPENS THAT
CITY EMPLOYEES WITH INSIDE
INFORMATION ARE COLLABORATING
WITH THE FRAUDSTERS, GIVING THEM
POTENTIAL TARGETS, FROR EXAMPLE
HOMEOWNERS IN ARREARS IN
PROPERTY TAXES.
IS THERE EVIDENCE THAT'S
HAPPENING HERE?
>> NOT THAT WE'VE SEEN.
IN NEW YORK IT'S INTERESTING
BECAUSE THE SHERIFF ACTUALLY
WORKS OUT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
FINANCE.
AND SO WE HAVEN'T HEARD OF ANY
INSTANCES WHERE THERE'S SOMEBODY
AT THE PROPERTY RECORDING OFFICE
THAT'S DOING THIS.
BUT IT'S -- THE DEPARTMENT OF
FINANCE HAS PUT SOMETHING INTO
PLACE WHERE THEY -- IF YOU SIGN
UP FOR A NOTIFICATION SERVICE,
THEY WILL ALERT YOU BY PHONE OR
E-MAIL OR TEXT IF SOMEBODY IS
FILING AN INSTRUMENT AGAINST
YOUR PROPERTY.
BUT AGAIN, AT THAT POINT, IT'S
KIND OF TOO LATE.
>> RIGHT.
>> IF THE CITY ACCEPTS THAT
FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT.
>> SO THE D.A.'S REPORT CALLS
THIS A GROWING EPIDEMIC.
>> YEAH.
>> HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING
ON?
WHEN DID IT BECOME AN EPIDEMIC?
>> YEAH.
WE'VE SEEN ISSUES WITH DEED
THEFT AND PROPERTY THEFT GOING
BACK ON TO THE EARLY 2000s WHEN
THERE WAS THE FIRST PROPERTY
BUBBLE AND THERE WERE A LOT OF
FRAUDS USING STRAW BUYERS.
MORE ON THE PURCHASE SIDE
LEADING UP TO THE MORTGAGE
CRISIS.
SO I WOULD JUST SAY THAT WE'VE
ALWAYS SEEN THIS KIND OF SCUMMY
ACTIVITY IN NEW YORK CITY REAL
ESTATE, BUT I THINK WHAT'S
HAPPENING NOW IS THAT THE
PROPERTY VALUES HAVE REALLY
INCREASED, THE AGE OF THE NEW
YORK CITY HOMEOWNER IS GOING UP,
SO WE'RE -- WE'RE ALL AGING.
THE POPULATION AND A LOT OF
FOLKS ARE AGING IS PLACE, SO
THERE ARE MORE OLDER HOMEOWNERS
WHO MAY BE MORE VULNERABLE.
>> A LOT OF TARGETS.
>> YEAH.
>> SO THE GRAND JURY REPORT HAS
SOME RECOMMENDATIONS.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY
RECOMMENDATIONS?
>> THE RECOMMENDATIONS REALLY
FOCUS ON PREVENTION, DETECTING,
AND RESTORING PROPERTIES, AS
WELL AS EASING PROSECUTION.
THE PREVENTION COME IS A REALLY
HELPFUL FOCUS OF THE REPORT
TALKS ABOUT CREATING RESOURCES
FOR GROUPS LIKE THE CENTER AND
OUR NETWORK PARTNERS TO COUNSEL
AND DO OUTREACH TO HOMEOWNERS TO
MAKE SURE THEY KNOW THIS IS AN
ISSUE.
SO AS WITH A LOT OF ISSUES
AROUND HOMEOWNERSHIP, YOU KNOW,
EDUCATION UP FRONT IS SO
IMPORTANT.
SO THE -- THE COMMUNITY OUTREACH
WAS A PRIMARY RECOMMENDATION,
AND OBVIOUSLY WE SUPPORT THAT.
IN THIS CASE, AN OUNCE OF
PREVENTION REALLY DOES PAY OFF
BECAUSE IT'S RELATIVELY CHEAP TO
EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, AND IT'S
MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE TO TRY TO
GET A PROPERTY BACK OR
PROSECUTE.
>> ALL THESE THINGS PREVENT THE
FRAUDSTER -- WHAT HAPPENS TO
SOMEBODY WHO'S ALREADY BEEN
DEFRAUDED?
DO THEY HAVE ANY -- ANY WAY TO
GET THEIR PROPERTY BACK?
>> RIGHT NOW, YOU -- SOMEBODY
WHO SUSPECTS THEY'RE A VICTIM OF
THIS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY REACH OUT
TO THE CENTER.
WE HAVE A WEBSITE CALLED
HOMEHOMEOWNER HELPNY.COM.
WE HAVE TIPS, WE HAVE PLACES
WHERE YOU CAN GO TO FILE A
COMPLAINT, YOU SHOULD REACH OUT
TO YOUR COUNTY D.A., YOU SHOULD
REACH OUT TO THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL'S OFFICE.
AND SO THERE'S -- THERE HAVE
BEEN SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTIONS TO
BOTH PUT PEOPLE BEHIND BARS AND
GET PROPERTIES BACK.
WHAT THE -- THE GRAND JURY
REPORT RECOMMENDS IS THAT THOSE
-- THE TOOLS THAT THE
PROSECUTORS HAVE BE STRENGTHENED
SO THEY CAN GO AFTER PEOPLE AND
PUT THEM BEHIND BARS.
SO THEY MAKE IT A -- A MORE
SERIOUS FELONY TO RECORD THESE
FALSE DOCUMENTS.
>> YEAH.
>> SO RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW,
REACHING OUT FOR LEGAL
ASSISTANCE IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
AND THERE IS FREE LEGAL HELP
AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW.
A LOT OF THE FUNDING FOR THAT IS
AT RISK AT THE STATE LEVEL RIGHT
NOW.
SO WE'RE PUSHING REALLY HARD TO
GET FUNDING FOR HOMEOWNER
SERVICES PUT IN THE STATE
BUDGET.
BUT WE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST
LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDERS IN THE
COUNTRY IN NEW YORK CITY WHO CAN
HELP FOLKS TRY TO GET PROPERTY
BACK.
IT'S DIFFICULT.
>> THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT
ISSUE.
THANKS VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US
AND TALKING ABOUT IT.
>> A PLEASURE.
THANKS FOR FOCUSING ON IT.
§
§

>>> SINCE ITS PREMIERE IN
NOVEMBER OF 1997, "THE LION
KING" CONTINUES ITS REIGN AS ONE
OF THE MOST POPULAR STAGE
MUSICALS IN THE WORLD HAVING
BEEN SIGN BY MORE THAN 95
MILLION PEOPLE, WINNING AMONG
MANY OTHERS SIX 1998 TONY AWARDS
INCLUDING BEST MUSICAL.
HERE'S A LOOK.
§
WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE JOINING
US NOW LINDSEY WAY WHO HAS BEEN
WITH "THE LION KING" FOR ITS
ENTIRE TWO-DECADE RING.
AND L. STEVEN TAILOR WHO PLAYS
THE LION KING.
THERE'S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.
LET ME START WITH YOU.
WHEN YOU FIRST BECAME INVOLVED
WITH THIS INTERESTING PROJECT,
"THE LION KING," DID YOU HAVE
ANY INCLINATION AT ALL TO HOW
ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL IT WAS
GOING TO BE?
>> NO.
IN THE BEGINNING, NO.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU STARTED THE
FEST, TRYING ON DIFFERENT
COSTUMES, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE, YOU
KNOW.
YOU'RE PUTTING ALL THESE HYENA
COSTUMES, YOU'RE LEARNING HOW TO
WALK, YOU KNOW, HOW TO MOVE WITH
PUPPETS.
SO IT WAS REALLY HECTIC IN THE
BEGINNING.
SO I DIDN'T KNOW HOW IT WAS
GOING TO BE.
AND THEN WE WENT TO MINNEAPOLIS,
WHEN WE GOT TO MINNEAPOLIS, THEY
WERE DOING ALL THESE THINGS.
AND THEN PREVIEW STARTED.
AND THE FIRST DAY, THE OPENING
OF THE PREVIEWS, YOU COULD FEEL
IN THE AUDIENCE LIKE AS SOON AS
WE STARTED COMING DOWN THE
AISLE, THE AUDIENCE -- IT WAS
LIKE AN OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE.
SOMETIMES THEY WANT TO TOUCH
YOU.
SOMETIMES THEY ARE CRYING.
>> I REMEMBER SEEING IT WITH MY
CHILDREN.
AT THE TIME I THINK THEY WERE
ABOUT 14 AND 10.
>> YEAH.
>> AND SITTING ON THE AISLE.
AND I WAS FASCINATED BY THE FACT
THAT NOT ONLY WERE THE YOUNG
CHILDREN REACHING OUT FOR YOU,
THE ADULTS --
>> THE ADULTS, YEAH.
>> REACHING OUT.
>> SOMETIMES YOU SEE LIKE PEOPLE
IN TEARS.
LIKE GROWN PEOPLE, LIKE
OVERWHELMED AND JUST CRYING AND
LAUGHING.
YOU KNOW, ALL -- EVERYTHING, THE
EMOTIONS THAT ARE, YOU KNOW,
WITHIN THEM.
>> STEVEN, FOR YOU, WE TALK
ABOUT AN ICONIC PRODUCTION, AND
YOU COME IN AND TAKE OVER AN
ICONIC ROLE.
>> YEAH.
>> THE LION KING.
>> YEAH.
>> AS AN ACTOR, AS A PERFORMER,
IS THAT -- I GUESS A BETTER
QUESTION IS HOW DAUNTING WAS
THAT FOR YOU?
>> MAN, IT'S VERY DAUNTING.
WHEN I CAME INTO THE SHOW, I WAS
-- YOU KNOW, I WAS PRETTY YOUNG,
SO I ALWAYS KIND OF FELT LIKE --
I WAS AN UNDERSTUDY IN THE ROLL
TIME.
I ALWAYS FELT LIKE A KID PLAYING
IN DADDY'S SHOES, YOU KNOW,
PUTTING ON DADDY'S CLOTHES.
IT WASN'T UNTIL I STOPPED TRYING
TO EMULATE WHAT JAMES EARL JONES
DID AND WHAT SAM WRIGHT DID WITH
THE PART AND KIND OF RELATE THE
ROLE BACK TO MY OWN LIFE, YOU
KNOW --
>> MAKE IT STEVEN'S --
>> YOU KNOW, LIKE WHO IS HE?
HE'S -- AT THE VERY HEART HE'S A
FATHER.
AND SO -- SO AM I.
WHEN I MADE THAT KIND OF A
CENTRAL FOCUS OF HOW I WAS GOING
TO PORTRAY THE CHARACTER, THEN
IT BECAME LESS DAUNTING.
BUT I MEAN, STILL, YOU KNOW,
LIKE IN THE BACK OF MY MIND, I
KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH
A CERTAIN EXPECTATION OF THIS
PARTICULAR ROLE.
AND I TRIED TO LIVE UP TO THAT.
>> IT'S SUCH A MARVELOUSLY
PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE.
YOU TALK ABOUT COMING DOWN THE
AISLE.
AND I WANT TO ASK YOU -- THE
HEADGEAR THAT YOU'RE WEARING,
YOU'VE GOT TO DANCE AND SPRING
AND DO ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU
DO.
DID THAT TAKE SOME GETTING USED
TO?
>> YEAH.
I MEAN IT DID.
BUT IT'S -- LIKE YOU LEARN TO --
OKAY, NUMBER ONE, IT'S NOT AS
HEAVY AS IT LOOKS.
IT'S MADE TO LOOK LIKE A BIG
PIECE OF OAK, YOU KNOW.
>> RIGHT.
>> LIKE AS MUFASA IS.
HE'S THIS --
>> THAT'S RIGHT --
>> YES.
WHAT JULIE TAYMAR DID WITH THE
PUPPETS AND MASK, SHE WAS ABLE
TO BRING TO WESTERN CULTURE WHAT
MOST COUNTRIES AND MOST OTHER
CULTURES ALREADY DO, THEY USE
MASKS AND PUPPETS IN THEIR
STORETELLING ALREADY.
SO SHE WAS ABLE TO TEACH US HOW
TO USE THESE PUPPETS AND THESE
MASKS TO TELL THE STORY.
>> AND YOU'RE FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
>> UH-HUH.
>> I'VE SEEN WHERE YOU HAD
TALKED ABOUT -- YOU KNOW, SOME
OF THE STYLING, THE MUSICAL
STYLING.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU WERE
FAMILIAR WITH JUST AS A CHILD.
>> YES.
YEAH.
>> IN WHAT WAY?
>> WE GREW UP SINGING IN
CHURCHES.
WE GREW UP SINGING IN SCHOOLS.
BUT WE DIDN'T GROW UP SINGING IN
THEATERS, YOU KNOW.
SO ALREADY, EVEN WHEN DURING THE
STRUGGLE WE USED TO JUST SING,
YOU KNOW.
OUTSIDE OF -- IT'S KNOWN FOR OUR
VOCALS, YOU KNOW.
>> WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE
APARTHEID STRUGGLES, YOU SEE THE
SINGING --
>> IT'S ALWAYS SINGING --
>> SIMILAR TO LOOK AT THE CIVIL
RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED
STATES AND HOW MUSIC WAS SUCH A
SIGNIFICANT PART --
>> YES.
SO "LION KING," I REMEMBER WHEN
THEY FIRST SAID YOU GOT IT,
YOU'RE GOING TO PERFORM.
I WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE I KNOW
I'M GOING TO SING SOUTH AFRICAN
MUSIC, IT'S PART OF ME.
WHEN YOU SEE "THE LION KING,"
YOU HAVE MAYBE SIX OR EIGHT
SOUTH AFRICANS NOW IN THE SHOW.
SO I HAD THAT, I HAVE THESE
PEOPLE I CAN SHARE WITH, THEY
ARE FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
AND THEN WE'RE SINGING THE SAME
STYLE OF MUSIC WHICH IS
EXCITING.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU START
INCLUDING PEOPLE FROM HERE,
AMERICANS, WHEN THEY START
LEARNING AND THEY ASK QUESTIONS
ABOUT OUR CULTURE AND OUR MUSIC,
HOW EVERYTHING SOUNDS, HOW TO
PRONOUNCE WORDS SO IT MAKES IT
EXCITING.
>> IT CREATES AN AWARENESS OF
OTHERS.
>> OF OTHERS, YES.
>> LAST QUESTION FOR BOTH OF
YOU.
YOU KNOW, EVEN THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL BROADWAY SHOWS
USUALLY HAVE A SHELF LIFE, IF
YOU WILL -- I DON'T MEAN THAT TO
BE DEMEANING AT ALL.
BUT THEY LAST FOR A PERIOD AND
THEN IT'S LIKE THIS WAS GREAT,
LET'S MOVE ON.
THIS DOESN'T SEEM THAT -- AS IF
ANYBODY'S READY FOR IT TO MOVE
ON.
IT SEEMS --
>> NO.
>> TRULY TIMELESS IN AN AGE
WHERE WE HAVE SUCH A SHORT
ATTENTION SPAN FOR ANYTHING.
>> YEAH.
>> LET ME ASK YOU EACH, WHY DO
YOU THINK, WHAT IS IT ABOUT IT
THAT ALLOWS IT TO BE SO
TIMELESS?
>> I THINK BECAUSE THE STORY OF
THE LION KING, THE SHOW IT
RELATES TO EVERYBODY, YOU KNOW.
YOU HAVE THE CELEBRATION OF
LIFE.
YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, DEATH --
PEOPLE WHEN THEY'RE GOING
THROUGH SOMETHING, WHEN THEY
COME TO THE SHOW, SOMETIMES EVEN
WHEN YOU LEAVE THE AUDIENCE, YOU
HEAR THEM TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
HOW IT HAS HELPED THEM.
>> YEAH.
TO ADD ON TO THAT, I WOULD SAY I
MEAN THE COOL THING IS THAT WE
HAVE PEOPLE COME BACK AND SEE
THE SHOW MULTIPLE TIMES.
BECAUSE AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN
YOUR LIFE, LIKE WHEN YOU SEE THE
SHOW AS A CHILD, YOU KNOW, AS A
7-YEAR-OLD CHILD, YOU SEE, YOU
KNOW, YOU PROBABLY RELATE MORE
TO THE CHILDREN IN THE SHOW.
AS YOU'VE HAD MORE EXPERIENCE,
THEN MAYBE YOU COME BACK AND YOU
SEE YOURSELF IN SIMBA OR NALA.
BUT I THINK THE MAIN THING IS
L
""
LION KING" HAS NEVER SOSTOPPED
GROWING.
>> NOT JUST FOR AUDIENCE.
FOR US, TOO, IT HELPS US.
>> MY CHILDREN, 14 AND 10,
THEY'RE NOW 36 AND 32.
WHEN I SAID I WAS GOING TO BE
TALKING TO YOU, THEY SAID,
"WE'VE GOT TO SEE THAT AGAIN."
>> AND THEY'LL HAVE A COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE NOW.
>> I CAN'T SAY.
>> IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.
IT'S A DELIGHT TO TALK TO YOU.
>> LIKEWISE, THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> SUCH A MARVELOUS PRODUCTION.
WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU
VISIT WITH US.
GOOD LUCK TO BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.
>> AND "LION KING" IS PLAYING AT
THE MINSCOFF THEATER.
FOR INFORMATION --

>>> BEFORE WE SAY GOOD NIGHT, WE
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WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN TOMORROW.
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY --
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AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING
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§

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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