MetroFocus: July 8, 2021

Before Hamilton, there was “In The Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s love letter to Washington Heights- the neighborhood where he grew up. The project, which began as a college assignment, became a Broadway sensation and has now hit the big screen across the country. The film has received enthusiastic praise and created some controversy. Tonight, cast member Olga Merediz joins us to discuss both.

In a city of eight million people, did you know that loneliness was an epidemic long before the pandemic? We explore with Olivia Laing, author of “The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art of Being Alone.”

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.

TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> I WAS SAVING UP ALL MY PENNIES IN MY PIGGY BANK.

THIS IS GOING TO BE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER.

THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU.

BUT THERE IS A CHANCE, RIGHT?

A DREAM ISN'T SOME SPARKLY DIAMOND.

THERE IS NO SHORTCUTS.

SOMETIMES IT'S ROUGH.

♪♪ ♪♪

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT KICKING OUT ALL THE DREAMERS?

TIME TO MAKE SOME NOISE.

WE HAD TO ASSERT OUR DIGNITY IN SMALL WAYS.

JUST LISTEN.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

BEFORE HAMILTON, THERE WAS 'IN THE HEIGHTS,' THE LOVE LETTER TO WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE WE GREW UP.

THE PROJECT BECAME AN OFF BROADWAY SENSATION AND THEN WHEN BEST MUSICAL OF THE YEAR ON BROADWAY, IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE BRINGING PEOPLE BACK INTO THEATERS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

THE FILM VERSION WHICH WE JUST SAW A PREVIEW OF HAS ENTHU ENTHUSIASTIC PRAISE.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT AND MORE IS AUGDA MEREDITH, WHO NOW REPRIEVES HER ROLE IN THE FILM.

IT'S SO NICE TO BE HERE, RAFAEL.

I'M SUCH A BIG FAN OF YOUR SHOW.

I'M A BIG FAN OF YOURS.

I SHOULD SAY, WE HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR DECADES.

JUST A COUPLE OF DECADES, NOT TOO LONG.

WHEN I REFER TO WE WILL BE SPEAKING ABOUT 'MORE,' THAT'S A DOCUMENTARY YOU MADE AND SHOWING A CLIP OF LATER IN THE CONVERSATION.

BUT LET'S START WITH 'IN THE HEIGHTS.'

NOW, YOU ORIGINATED THE ROLE OFF BROADWAY AND YOU PLAYED THE ROLE FOR THE ENTIRE RUN OF THE BROADWAY PRODUCTION GARNERING A TONY NOMINATION IN THE PROCESS.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO COME BACK TEN YEARS LATER?

WHAT ARE THE SENSATIONS?

WHAT ARE THE FEELINGS?

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION, RAFAEL.

AS AN ARTIST, WHEN YOU DO A PROJECT, YOU GIVE IT YOUR ALL.

AND WHEN YOU ARE DONE, YOU FINISH.

YOU CLOSE THE TRUNK AND YOU MOVE ON.

I HAD TO KIND OF GO BACK.

AND I WAS DESPERATELY LOOKING FOR MY SCRIPT AND MY MUSIC.

I WAS LOOKING FOR THE NOTES I PUT IN THE MARGINS TO RECREATE THIS ABUELLA CLAUDIA AND GIVE HER MORE DEPTH AND MATURITY BECAUSE I HAVE GROWN.

WE ALL GROW.

AND LIFE THROWS US THINGS, AND WE HAVE REALIZATIONS AND WE HAVE DEATHS IN THE FAMILY AND WE HAVE THINGS HAPPENING.

SO I GAVE HER A LITTLE BIT MORE OF MYSELF AS A MORE MATURE ADULT.

AND, I DON'T KNOW, I FEEL LIKE YULE BRENER IN 'THE KING AND I'.

WITH MORE HAIR.

WITH A LITTLE BIT MORE HAIR, I HOPE.

JUST AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY WITH THIS CHARACTER THAT I LOVE.

AND I JUST -- I KNEW THE PRESSURE WAS ON.

I HAD A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE NOT A LOT OF THEATER ACTORS GET TO DO THEIR PARTS IN THE MOVIES.

SO THIS WAS VERY RARE AND I'M GLAD THAT WE AND WARNER BROTHERS HAD THE CONFIDENCE IN ME TO PORTRAY IT IN THE FILM.

WELL, THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE.

I'M SURE ALL OF YOUR FANS AGREE.

IN ANY EVENT YOU TALK ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF INTO THE CHARACTER, THE ADDED TEN YEARS, ADDED MATURITY, ET CETERA.

BUT THE CHARACTER OF ABUELLA CLAUDIA LEFT CUBA AS A YOUNG GIRL.

YOU LEFT CUBA AS A YOUNG GIRL.

AND I WONDER HOW MUCH OF THAT DISLOCATED CUBAN IMMIGRANT REALITY OF YOURS DID YOU INJECT INTO ABUELLA.

ABSOLUTELY.

GOOD CATCH.

I PUT ALL THAT INTO IT AND WHAT MY PARENTS WENT THROUGH, THE TRAUMA, THE -- WHICH IS -- WHICH IS EVERY IMMIGRANT'S TRAUMA.

I BROUGHT THOSE ANCESTORS WITH ME AND THAT CUBAN KARMA WITH ME.

AND, SO, I WANTED TO GIVE IT A LOT OF LAYERS AND A LOT OF FEELING.

AND I WANTED EVERYBODY TO IDENTIFY EVERY IMMIGRANT TO IDENTIFY WITH ABUELLA CLAUDIA, NOT JUST THE CUBAN IMMIGRANTS.

I DID BRING MY GRANDPARENTS, MY MOTHER AND FATHER, MY FAMILY AND MY OWN EXPERIENCES OF LEAVING YOUR COUNTRY BEHIND AND COMING TO AMERICA WITH PERSISTENCE AND HARD WORK IN TRYING TO DO THE BEST WE POSSIBLY CAN IN THIS NEW COUNTRY.

THE PLAY WAS ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS, ESPECIALLY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE IMMIGRANT.

I THINK IT'S A LITTLE MORE DIRECT IN THE FILM, THE POLITICALS A SECOND OF IT.

THE CHALLENGES FACED BY PARTICULARLY UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS.

IT IS MORE DIRECT THAN IT WAS IN THE PLAY.

YES.

ASIDE FROM EVERYTHING THAT'S IN THE PLAY, THE THEME THAT ALWAYS MOVED ME THE MOST WAS THE THEME OF THE BEAUTY AND SPECIFICALLY, HOW THIS COMMUNITY THAT WAS BUILT UP FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME BY PEOPLE WHO DID IT FOR EACH OTHER COULD BE SO EASILY ERASED OR POTENTIALLY ERASED.

BUT THAT, IF THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY DECIDE WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT TO BE ERASED LIKE IN THE FILM, IT WILL PERSIST.

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL IDEA.

BUT I WONDER IF IT'S REAL LISTIC.

I WONDER IF THE FORCES THAT BE ARE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FORCES THAT SURROUND US ALWAYS WIN OUT IN THE END.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WELL, I THINK THAT IF YOU GO TO SPECIFICALLY WASHINGTON HEIGHTS AND IF YOU GO THERE AT 12:00 MIDNIGHT, THE BARBERSHOPS OPEN.

THE BEAUTY SALONS ARE OPENING, ARE OPEN.

THEY'RE PLAYING DOMINOS IN THE STREET.

THEY ARE -- THEY ARE KEEPING THAT -- THAT CULTURE, THE MUSIC, THE FOOD, EVEN THE LANGUAGE ALIVE.

EVEN WITH ALL THE -- THE -- YOU KNOW, THE STRUGGLES AS A COMMUNITY, THEY'RE KEEPING THE CULTURE ALIVE.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, IT BEING VERY, VERY AMERICAN.

BUT I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THESE PEOPLE IN THIS MOVIE AND IN REALITY, THEY HAVE A LOT OF STRUGGLES.

IT'S NOT EASY.

I DON'T WANT TO MAKE IT SEEM TO OUR VIEWERS THAT THIS IS A VERY PROFOUND AND TROUBLING POLITICAL FILM.

IT'S A PARTY.

IT'S JOYFUL.

IT'S THESE CHARACTERS.

THESE CHARACTERS, YES, THEY'RE DIVERSE CHARACTERS THAT THE LATIN COMMUNITY IS IDENTIFYING WITH.

BUT PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES AND FROM ABROAD AND OTHER COUNTRIES ARE IDENTIFYING WITH THIS STORY, WHICH IS A UNIVERSAL STORY AND THESE CHARACTERS WHICH ARE VERY SPECIFIC LATIN-X, BUT THEY'RE UNIVERSAL CHARACTERS.

THE MATRIARCH THAT I PLAY.

PEOPLE ARE TELLING ME, YOU'RE BRINGING ME MOTHER BACK TO LIFE, OR MY NANA OR MY NONA, DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU'RE FROM, YOU KNOW.

AND MAYBE RELATE IT TO THAT.

YOU KNOW, YOU AND I GREW UP AT A TIME WHERE A FILM MUSICAL WAS AS NORMAL AS WESTERNS.

PERHAPS MORE.

BUT I CAN THINK OF 12 THAT I USED TO SEE AS KIDS.

BUT THAT HASN'T BEEN THE CASE FOR THE LAST FEW DECADES.

AND I THINK THAT'S LED TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY DO SEE A FILM MUSICAL, THINK THINK IT'S KIND OF HOEKY.

THIS IS NOT.

THERE IS A SEAMLESS NARRATION BETWEEN THE MUSIC AND THE SONGS.

WHAT IS THE ALCHEMY?

WHAT'S THE MYSTERY THAT ALLOWED THAT TO HAPPEN, DO YOU THINK?

WELL, I THINK IT WAS THE COMBINATION OF MIRANDA, OUR WRITER THAT SHE CHANGED -- THERE ARE A FEW SURPRISES.

AND THE INCREDIBLE VISUALS OF JOHN CHU AND THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF CHRIS SCOTT.

IT JUST KIND OF BLENDED TOGETHER.

THE WAY THEY WORK TOGETHER IS JUST VERY SEAMLESS.

YEAH.

AND THAT'S HOW THEY WANTED THE MOVIE TO BE, SEAMLESS.

IT IS ONE THING TO GO INTO ANOTHER.

IT IS, YES, IT IS A HUGE MUSICAL.

IT'S JOYFUL.

IT PAYS TO IMAGINE TO OLD HOLLYWOOD.

BUT PEOPLE SUDDENLY JUST DON'T BREAK INTO SONG.

YOU FEEL LIKE, YEAH, OF COURSE THEY'RE GOING TO START DANCING.

THAT'S WHAT YOU PUT UP NEXT.

WHEN I THOUGHT OF THAT QUESTION, I THOUGHT OF A POTENTIAL ANSWER, WHICH IS IF YOU WALK DOWN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS OR MANY PARTS OF THE CITY, YOU WILL HEAR MUSIC ANYWAY.

LIKE IT IS PART OF THE REALITY, RIGHT?

ALL OVER.

THE MUSIC IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS WAS ACTUALLY COMPETING WHEN WE WERE FILMING.

WE HAD MUSIC COMING FROM EVERYWHERE, YOU KNOW?

SO THAT IS PART OF THE CULTURE, YES.

LISTEN, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION THERE WAS SOME CONTROVERSY INVOLVED IN THE FILM, SMALL, COMPARED TO THE OVERWHELMING PHRASE IT GOT FROM CRITICS AND VIEWERS.

AND THE CONTROVERSY REVOLVED AROUND COLORISM, THAT THE FILM WAS PRACTICING COLORISM WHICH IS NOT HAVING CAST DARK SKINNED AFRO-LATINOS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I'M GLAD IT'S OUT THERE AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IT.

LISTEN, MY HOPE IS THERE WILL BE SO MANY DIVERSE ROLES OF COLOR IN THE FUTURE THIS WILL NOT EVEN BE AN ISSUE.

I HOPE FILM MAKERS OUT THERE ARE LISTENING.

I KNOW MIRANDA IS BECAUSE HE SAID IT BEST.

HE SAID HE'S LISTENING.

HE'S LEARNING.

HE GOT IT, AND HE WILL DO BETTER.

I KNOW HIM PERSONALLY, AND, RAR RAFAEL, I KNOW HE WILL.

LISTEN, AS I MENTIONED, A SEPARATE PROJECT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN, YOU ARE A CUBAN-AMERICAN.

LIKE MOST CUBAN-AMERICANS MOST PEOPLE LIVING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HYPHEN ARE IMPORTANT.

YOU DECIDED TO DO A DOCUMENTARY AND GO BACK TO CUBA TO SHOOT PART OF IT.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT A CLIP OF IT, IF YOU WOULD.

> AFTER SPEAKING WITH MY BROTHER, I REALIZED HOW REALLY TRAUMATIC IT HAD BEEN FOR MY MOTHER.

AND, YET, SHE SWALLOWED THE PAIN, AND I FORGOT MY MEMORIES OF CUBA.

WHEN YOU LEFT CUBA, BASICALLY YOU WERE DEAD.

IT WAS LIKE CUTTING OFF AN ARM BECAUSE HOW COULD YOU NOT COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE THAT YOU LIVED WITH EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE?

SO THE REALITY IS I WAS DYING TO GO BACK.

SO, OLGA, I THINK THE CLIP GIVES US A SENSE OF WHAT THE FILM IS ABOUT.

WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS DOCUMENTARY?

THERE ARE SO MANY CUBAN STORIES, CUBAN-AMERICAN STORIES, IMMIGRANT STORIES.

THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL STORY.

I CAN'T TELL ANYBODY ELSE'S STORY BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW THEM.

IT IS MY ENDLESS SEARCH FOR MY ROOTS, FOR MY FAMILY AND WHERE I AM FROM.

I SHOT IT IN CUBA.

DON'T ASK ME HOW I DID IT BECAUSE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE, IMPOSSIBLE TO SHOOT IN CUBA.

I DID IT WITH VERY LIMITED RESOURCES, LIMITED TIMEMENT AND IT'S REALLY A POSTCARD TO MY NANNY THAT WE LEFT BEHIND THAT I HAVE INCREDIBLE CONNECTION WITH, EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AND MY OWN BIOLOGICAL MOTHER.

AND IN DOING THE DOCUMENTARY, I REALIZED I HAD SO MANY REALIZATIONS THAT I INCLUDE IN THE DOCUMENTARY.

AND IT JUST MAKES ME WANT TO DO MORE STORIES.

BUT IT'S -- IT GOES INTO WHAT IT MEANS TO LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY, LEAVE EVERYONE BEHIND FOR THE PEOPLE THERE BECAUSE WE ALWAYS THINK COMING HERE THAT'S THE TRAUMA.

INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF TRAUMA FOR EVERY IMMIGRANT.

BUT THE PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND ARE ALSO GOING THROUGH SO MUCH.

AND I SAW THE DOCUMENTARY OR THE VERSION THAT YOU HAVE AT THIS POINT AND THAT REALLY CAME THROUGH STRONG.

WE ONLY HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT.

AND, QUICKLY, THE FILM ISN'T FINISHED YET.

IT IS NOT OUT FOR VIEWERS.

THOSE WERE NOT CUBAN AND NOT IMMIGRANTS.

HOW WOULD YOU HOPE THEY RESPOND TO IT IN 15, 20 SECONDS?

WELL, THIS IS THE GIST BEHIND MY ABUELLA CLAUDIA PERFORMANCE.

THIS IS ALL THE FEELINGS BEHIND IT.

AND I HOPE PEOPLE HAVE A NEWLY FOUND LOVE FOR THEIR FAMILIES, FOR THEIR MOTHERS AND FOR THEIR CAREGIVERS.

I HOPE A LOT OF PEOPLE GET TO SEE IT ONCE THEY GET TO SEE IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE FILM AND FOR YOUR DOCUMENTARY.

THERE IS OSCAR BUZZ ALREADY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S SUCH A PLEASURE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> DESPITE 8.4 MILLION OPPORTUNITIES HERE IN THE CITY FROM FRIENDSHIPS, COMPANIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS AND HUMAN CONCEPTIONS, HOW CAN SOMEONE FEEL ALONE AND ISOLATED AND LONELY.

IT IS A GOOD QUESTION.

KIDS EXEMPLIFY HOW ONE CAN BE IN CROWDED NEW YORK THAN THAT OF GEORGE BELL.

BELL WAS A 72-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO DIED ALONE IN HIS JACKSON HEIGHTS APARTMENT.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS DEATH WERE SO TROUBLING IT LANDED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES.

BUT IS LONELINESS IS DISTRESSING AND SHAMEFUL STATE WE MAKE IT OUT TO BE?

OLIVIA LANGE SET TO DIG OUT THE ISSUE IN HER NEW BOOK, AND SHE JOINS ME NOW.

FIRST OF ALL, IT'S SO NICE TO NOT BE ALONE AND HAVE YOU HERE ON THE STAGE WITH ME.

YEAH.

BUT, SO, FIRST OF ALL, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE IN SUCH A HUGE, CROWDED CITY, THE BIGGEST IN AMERICA.

PEOPLE CAN END UP FEELING ALONE.

I THINK IT'S SO EASY FOR PEOPLE TO SLIP BETWEEN THE CRACKS OF THE CITY.

AND THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT BEING SURROUNDED BY A CROWD OF PEOPLE THAT CAN MAKE YOUR OWN SENSE OF ISOLATION FEEL SO MUCH MORE PROFOUND.

DID THIS GEORGE CASE, DID IT HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE WORK THAT YOU WERE DOING?

I FINISHED AT THE TIME THE STORY CAME OUT IN 'THE NEW YORK TIMES'. BUT IT RESONATED.

I KNEW LOTS OF STORIES LIKE THAT.

THERE WAS A CHINESE WOMAN WHO WAS TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR FOR THREE MONTHS.

NOBODY NOTICED.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CAN FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS IN SOCIETY VERY EASILY, AND I WANTED TO UNDERSTAND HOW THAT HAPPENS.

HOW DID YOUR INTEREST IN THIS TOPIC BEGIN?

I WAS LIVING IN NEW YORK ON MY OWN.

I WAS DRIFTING BETWEEN APARTMENTS.

I WAS REALLY LONELY.

AND IT WAS A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE.

AT THE SAME TIME, I BECAME ATTRACTED TO IT AS A TOPIC BECAUSE I WAS AWARE THAT IT'S A TABOO.

IT'S SHAMEFUL TO ADMIT.

IT IS VERY HARD TO TALK ABOUT.

I FELT LIKE THERE WAS SOMETHING REALLY UNEXAMINED THERE THAT I WANTED TO GET TO GRIPS WITH.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT FEELING LONELY THAT'S SO SHAMEFUL FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY NEW YORKERS TO ADMIT.

WE WANT TO BE WINNERS.

WE WANT TO BE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUCCEEDED IN A RELATIONSHIP.

AND LONELINESS CUTS TO THE HEART OF OUR DESIRE AS HUMANS TO BE CONNECTED.

IT IS ADMITTING WE DON'T HAVE AS MUCH INTIMACY AS WE LIKE.

IN YOUR RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT SURPRISED YOU OR STOOD OUT?

I LOOKED AT THE LIVES OF LOTS OF DIFFERENT ARTISTS.

I WANTED TO LOOK AT IT AS IT AFFECTS PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY SOCIAL LIKE ANDY WARHAL.

HE LIVED A LIFE OF REAL ISOLATION.

AND I FELT LIKE THERE WERE MANY DIFFERENT STRANDS OF LONELINESS AND I WANTED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FORCES WERE THAT WERE PRODUCING THAT.

WHEN YOU SAY DIFFERENT STRANDS OF LONELINESS, WHAT ARE THOSE DIFFERENT STRANDS?

I THINK THERE IS A LONELINESS THAT'S VERY DEEP.

IT IS NOT HAVING ANYBODY AT ALL IN YOUR LIFE.

BUT THERE ARE OTHER KINDS OF LONELINESS THAT AFFECT MANY OF US, WHICH IS THE WAY YOU CAN FEEL SOMETIMES LONELY WITH FRIENDS, LONELY IN A RELATIONSHIP, JUST DESIRING SLIGHTLY MORE THAN YOU HAVE.

A KIND OF CLOSENESS, A KIND OF SENSE OF HOME.

AND I THINK THE OTHER THING THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IS THE WAY THAT LONELINESS IS OFTEN PRODUCED BY STIG MYTIZATION AND ILLUSION.

WE CREATE LONELINESS BY TREATING SOME PEOPLE AS IF THEY ARE EXPENDABLE.

THERE HAS BEEN TALK OF YOUNGER PEOPLE HAVING EXCEEDINGLY HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR LIFE AND THAT THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT PLAYED INTO THEIR FEELINGS OF LONELINESS.

WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY'RE SPENDING AN AWFUL LOT OF TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

THE PRESSURE TO SHOW OFF THAT YOU SUCCEEDED IN LIFE JUST SORT OF CURE RATE A LIFE IS VERY HARD.

SO THIS MIGHT SOUND LIKE A GLIB QUESTION.

BUT WHAT IS A NEW YORKER TO DO TO ALLEVIATE THAT QUESTION?

THIS DOESN'T END WITH ME MEETING SOMEBODY AND KIND OF SOLVING LONELINESS IN THAT WAY.

THE THING I REALLY ARGUE FOR IS I DON'T NEED TO FEEL SO MUCH SHAME ABOUT LONELINESS.

THERE IS NOTHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT FEELING THIS HUMAN EMOTION.

IT IS PART OF THE RICH EXPERIENCE.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND SHARING YOUR BOOK, OLIVIA.

I APPRECIATE IT.

A PLEASURE.

> THREE, TWO, ONE.

THAT WAS THE MIGHTY BRIDGE BEING DEMOLISHED BACK IN JANUARY.

THE THREE-MILE LONG CONSTRUCT THAT CROSSES THE HUDSON WAS DESIGNED TO LAST 50 YEARS BUT INSTEAD LASTED MORE THAN 60.

NOW REPLACED BY THE STRUCTURE AND THE PLAN TO REPLACE IT IS MARKED AS ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT AND BUDGET ON RECORD.

MEET THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THIS NEW STRUCTURE A REALITY.

EVERYTHING HAS A LIFE EXPECTANCY TO IT, WHETHER IT'S A BRIDGE, A TUNNEL, A ROADWAY.

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

THE BRIDGE IS OVER 50 YEARS OLD.

DO I TAKE MY LIFE INTO MY OWN HANDS?

SOMETIMES.

IF 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 THAT WE HAD THE MEMBERSHIP AND THE NO 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.

WE BUILT IT ALL.

YOU WERE THERE.

YOU WERE GONE FIVE YEARS.

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

AND THIS IS A BRIDGE FROM YESTERDAY THROUGH 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.

FIRST OF ALL, A MOVIE ABOUT A BRIDGE, HOW DID THIS COME TO BE?

WHAT WE DO, WE WORK FOR THE CARPENTER CONTRACT TRUST, WHICH IS A MARKETING ADVOCACY GROUP FOR UNION CONTRACTORS OR CARPENTERS.

WE WORK TO PROMOTE AND MARKET THE VIRTUES OF WHAT OUR MEMBERS DO.

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

THREE YEARS AGO WE EMBARKED UPON THIS AND SAW IT AS A THREE MINUTE VIDEO.

THEN WE SAW IT AS SOMETHING LONGER.

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

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

YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT.

YOU SEIZE THAT MOMENT.

AND WE WERE ABLE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT.

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

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

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.

ACTUALLY, THE STORY IS TOLD IN A 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 POLICYHOLDERS, ALL THE DECISION MAKERS.

WHAT WE DID CORRESPONDINGLY IS WE TOLD THE STORY OF REBUILDING 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 JUST, AGAIN, 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 FOR THE STATE OF NEW AND ONCE AGAIN, 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 WE 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 IT'S MAGNITUDE ON THE REGION'S ECONOMY OF BRIDGING TOGETHER BETWEEN WESTCHESTER AND ROCKLAND COUNTY.

WE WANTED 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 AND THE PRIDE THAT THEY CARRIED WITH THEM AND THE IMPACT THAT IT HAD ON THEIR DAILY LIVES.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAY YOU WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FROM THIS FILM?

I THINK IT IS THE PRIDE THAT THE MEMBERS WHO WENT AFTER IT DAY IN AND DAY OUT, WE DRIVE ACROSS A BRIDGE THAT'S UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

WE'RE PROBABLY WHITE KNUCKLING IT AND THINKING, GREAT, WE'RE GOING TO BE 20 MINUTES LATE.

WE ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS ARE CREATING A MASTERPIECE THAT IS IMPACTING NOT ONLY THE ECONOMY, THE STATE BUT ALSO THEIR INDIVIDUAL LIVES.

IN THE DOCUMENTARY WE GO BACK AND WE FOUND TWO MEMBERS WHO WORKED ON THE ORIGINAL BRIDGE.

WOW.

YEAH.

GOING BACK FROM '52 TO '55.

THEY'RE NOT WORKING ON THE NEW BRIDGE.

BY THE WAY, I THINK THEY COULD.

OKAY.

BUT THEY TALKED ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE AS WELL.

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

IT WAS GETTING IT DONE.

THANK YOU FOR THIS FILM.

IT WAS REALLY GREAT.

YOU EITHER CAPTURE HISTORY OR YOU MISS HISTORY.

YEAH.

I THINK WE CAPTURED IT.

IT COULD BE FOUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU.

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

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER.

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD.

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY.

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

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