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tv   First Look  NBC  October 17, 2021 1:02am-1:32am PDT

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(singing) going to give up [music - bill baylis, "take me higher"]
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(singing) take me to a place on a higher-- male reporter: new york city alone now accounts for about a quarter of all confirmed coronavirus cases-- and for the millions of small businesses now shut down-- female reporter: nearly one out of every three new yorkers was out of work-- how do you make sure that post-pandemic they want to come back? (singing) --on a higher plane. johnny devenanzio (voiceover): pandemic or not, new yorkers fill the streets with an electrifying energy that you won't find anywhere else. but is this vibrancy strong enough to keep the city afloat? well, who better to ask than workers who've remained resilient through an unparalleled decline in the city's leading industries, including live theater, nightlife, and luxury real estate. you got your start on "million dollar listing." how'd did that come about? "million dollar listing" came about somewhere around 2016, 2017. but i was in real estate almost in 2008 when bear stearns crashed. you got to say, this past year during the pandemic, that must have been a pretty wild time to be in the real estate market, right? - it was wild. in new york city, we were in the epicenter of covid.
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the news was parks being empty, people fleeing the city, going to the suburbs, going to the here, there, everywhere. what do you see for the future of real estate here in new york. it's actually just getting started again and coming back in a bigger way, i think, than ever. there's this vibrancy, the culture, the creativity. just as quickly as everyone left, they're all coming back at the same time too. [upbeat music] johnny devenanzio: well, rob. you're home. i'm finally back home. it's been almost 17 months since i left times square. long overdue. you have many credits to your name. "beetlejuice." - yeah. you were nominated for a tony for "chaplin" as well. that's right. yeah. and right before the pandemic, you landed very iconic role as mrs. doubtfire. congratulations. rob mcclure: thank you. that's one of the most iconic movies played by one of the most legendary actors of our time, robin williams. mrs. doubtfire: hello! what's it like as an actor to fill those shoes? i never will because he's a genius. but if i can make the audience feel the way his performance made me feel,
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i'll consider that a success. [violin music] shutting down for covid probably wasn't a nice reprieve. rob mcclure: no. and i think audiences feel the same way. i keep on thinking about the first night we come back and everyone comes in and sits down, and there's that moment when the house lights go halfway out and overture starts; that energy is going to be crazy. i can't wait. - you nervous? yes! if you're not nervous, you don't understand how lucky you are to be where you are. [jazz music] johnny devenanzio: of all the fabulous spots in manhattan, why the winter garden at brookfield place? i mean, look at it. first of all, it's beautiful. there's shopping, there's vibrance, there's life, and it reflects a lot of things i love about the city. i couldn't have chosen a better place for our first date. i'm so happy. this place is just-- so romantic. johnny devenanzio: you recently appeared in a music video inspired by billy joel's "new york state of mind." i had no idea who else was going to be in it.
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stephen colbert, idina menzel. i mean, so many of my favorites. i mean, i know a lot of people know me from doing "drag race." and while i was actually in canada filming a brand new drag competition show and i got a call from tom kitt-- who is, like, the music director for half of broadway-- and he was like, look, we're coming back. shows are starting to reopen and we want to let people know that we're here. so it was just a wonderful love letter to the city to tell people-- most of us never went anywhere and we still have a lot to offer. and that's what it is. when i leave new york city and i come back and there's-- just driving in, there's, like, a vibration-- johnny devenanzio: there is. miss peppermint: --that you can feel. johnny devenanzio: it pulse-- no, this city, like, pulsates. there is something about the living, breathing, movement of this area. [piano music] the streets are the veins, and the avenues are the arteries, the cement is the cracking skin. and times square's the armpit. [laughing] depends how close you are to the naked cowboy. i mean, this is where the heartbeat of american musical theater is. and there's something about the proximity
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to the makers of the art that i think everyone can feel. you could go to a restaurant and you could be sitting with an artist, a financial wizard-- a real estate mogul. a real estate mogul. but, yeah. i mean, people are addicted to it. they keep coming back. they are coming back. and now the market is speaking for it. i mean, i sold that penthouse. see at the top there? sold that penthouse this year. see that jenga building there? that penthouse just sold just under $15 million last week. [drumming] [dinging] rob mcclure: new yorkers are not-- they don't care what you say. when they wrote the articles where people going like, is new york city dead? we laugh. especially theater people. theater people are scrappy. if you are in new york and you are a part of nightlife or queer nightlife, you have a thicker skin than i think most people would expect. you can't keep a good queen down. no. peppermint, as a singer songwriter-- (singing) yes? if you were going to write your own love letter to the city, what would it be called? i don't know. can you help me out here? - ok.
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just hear me out. ok. "you can't drag me out, bitch." [laughing] that's right, honey. you can't drag me out, bitch. [tapping] [jazz music] johnny devenanzio: so this park here, little island, is a recent addition to the new york city skyline, right? steve gold: yeah. all the piers along the riverfront here are ultimately getting developed into some sort of green spaces, communal spaces, which the city really, really needs. johnny devenanzio: really needs. rob mcclure: the world has changed so much in the last 17 months that broadway has to change with it. and as much as we are all tending to say broadway's back, what we actually hoped to mean is that broadway's moving forward. nightlife is definitely going to be different. i mean, more people are certainly washing their hands than ever have before. and that ain't never been a bad thing. who? not me. well, you just touched me! you got exposed to the banana variant. oh, i think i had that before. ok. [laughing] [piano music]
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steve gold: how can you look at this and say this is going to die? your guess is as good as mine, man. - there's no place like it. - yeah. no, there really isn't. [piano music] rob mcclure: mrs. doubtfire has a really great monologue at the end of the show. she ends by saying, all my love, poppet. you're going to be all right. and the notion of turning out to a new york city audience after what we've all been through and as mrs. doubtfire saying, you're going to be all right. all my love, poppet. that's right. you're going. you're going. to be. to be. all right. all right. atta boy. [light piano music]
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[theme music] new order. tartar. [inaudible], one pot of pho. johnny devenanzio (voiceover): like any great city, new york is known for her diverse cuisine and world class eateries. and despite many businesses shutting down during the pandemic, restaurants are popping up all over the city from both veteran chefs and first-time restaurateurs including brooklyn's kokomo restaurant--
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oh my god. johnny devenanzio (voiceover): and the west village's les trois chevaux. well, first of all, thank you for wearing the tie. i know this is not totally normal for you, but-- what do you mean? i'm a suit and tie guy. while les trois chevaux is your newest establishment, you are i guess more famously known for the beatrice inn, which was right next door to here that unfortunately had to close its doors. i had the beatrice for eight years and it's always such an honor to own something that is iconic to the city of new york. but as a creative, we have to keep on evolving. and for me, the act of dining, it really is about the environment. i want diners to come in and sit here in this beautiful banquet and sit under the original chandelier from the waldorf astoria. it was time to bring the city back that i remember from 20 years ago, the city that i fell in love with, which is what les trois chevaux is. [upbeat music] johnny devenanzio: what was the inspiration behind kokomo? we actually met in a restaurant that i used to work at. it was a caribbean restaurant and he was a guest chef there.
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we fell in love, really quick got married in under eight months. - you work fast, my friend. - yeah. yeah. [laughing] so it made sense for us to just open up our own establishment and make it caribbean and let it explore the love for each other as well as the love for the islands that we have. johnny devenanzio: what a beautiful story. you're both first time restaurateurs? yes. not only did we open a restaurant in the pandemic, ria was pregnant. we had one child already and just her enduring through that inspired me as a man to work harder and to be better. it literally hit probably three weeks before we were about to open. so at that point, we had invested everything into it. oh, man. yeah, that's scary. was scary as hell. yeah. table two. [interposing voices] thank you. opening this place once covid hit, was there a fear inside? did you feel like there was a risk? i think eleanor roosevelt said it best when she said, well-behaved women rarely make history. no risk, no reward. angie mar: yeah, exactly.
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what we did was document the whole entire experience via our social media and we got a lot of love and support from that. johnny devenanzio: that's awesome. ria graham: and as soon as we got the green light to do outdoor dining, this whole entire sidewalk was flooded. this sidewalk and that sidewalk. flooded with johnny devenanzio: tell me about these fabulous plates well, this is terrine de canard. it's duck breast encased in foie gras, encased in a [inaudible],, candied cara cara, and kumquats. and just when i thought i was the tastiest snack at this table. well i was sitting here first, so. - that's true. - yeah. part of what i love about the old school restaurants-- oh my god. [laughing] wow. that's like a flavor explosion. that's something else. i didn't expect that. [upbeat music] wow, mitch. you know how they say there's plenty more fish in the sea? - yeah. - not anymore. not anymore. [drums] and we're not skimpy on the portions either. johnny devenanzio: no, man. kevol graham: the star of the flatbread is the ackee, which is the national food of jamaica. it's something i grew up eating.
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my mom made that, like, every saturday and sunday for breakfast. ria graham: and to pay homage to new york, of course, it's a new york style crust. tastes like heaven. [laughing] [upbeat music] kevol graham: pappardelle pasta, jerk chicken, gochujang wings. ria graham: you just got to dig in. let me try that pigeon. [italian music] angie mar: so i'm french trained but one of the things that was really important to me is to incorporate in a lot of ingredients from asia. so we actually take the breast of pigeon and wrap it in sakura leaves from the cherry trees in spring. i get them imported from japan. johnny devenanzio: wow. angie mar: and then bury it in ash. johnny devenanzio: wow. that's incredible. i'm never going to look at a pigeon the same. yeah. you love it now, don't you? i love them. [slow music] there seems to be this popular notion going around that new york is dead. do you agree with that? absolutely not. the city has always been about literature, and art, and cuisine, and the creatives are the ones that have stayed here.
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we just roll up our sleeves and we just get on with it. angie mar: no matter if you're the dishwasher at a restaurant or you're working for a fortune 500 company, everybody gets up with a purpose here. like, we're just a hungry group of people. - yeah. - here's to new york. here's to new yorkers, man. kevol graham: cheers. being the strongest ones out there, right? and to brooklynites. hey, and to brooklynites. i'm from the bronx [laughs]. all right, i'm from california. [laughing] salud. salud. [light music]
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not only have people come back to the city, you got robots rolling around. what i love about new york city is you can go from one side of the city to the other in a matter of minutes. there's multiple ways to get there. (vocalizing) and every one of new york city's neighborhoods and boroughs has its own unique identity and something completely different to offer. [upbeat music]
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(vocalizing) this is new york, baby! [upbeat music] [record scratch] johnny devenanzio (voiceover): but one thing new yorkers have in common is having strong opinions and there's definitely mixed feelings from those who stayed through the pandemic about the people who left when things got tough. but in brooklyn, an underground art collective founded by samara bliss took this debate to a whole new level while revealing the importance of investing in the city's new wave of artists. [light music] thank you for welcoming me into the locker room here. you're welcome. great to have you. this doesn't resemble the locker room i've ever been in. smells a lot better too. [laughing] samara bliss: it was first inspired by watching two movies that had sort of iconic locker room scenes in them, "the joker" and "hustlers." in cinema, it's such a great tool because it's sort of this safe place where the character can say things that he wouldn't normally otherwise. it's such a great tool for changing. i was an event producer for about five years.
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when that stopped and the pandemic started, i realized now is the time to spend my entire life savings on what i've always wanted to do, which is build a multifaceted space that is a recording studio and an artist studio, and a gallery. all of the above. - all of the above. - wow. when tragedy strikes, you know, there's terrible parts about it but then there's also things that get born out of the rubble. i wanted to birth something out of rubble. [laughs] [light music] during phase two in new york, i sort of noticed that there was this whole vortex of artists who were still here, and had all this energy, and were feeling really inspired by everything that was transpiring, and needed a place to go. we said, let's choose 10 artists and did a lockdown at the locker room. samara had approached me. she asked me if i wanted to be part of the residency. she said, free space to paint, free supplies. i said, sign me up. let's go. the synergy was amazing. we call it-- what do we call that?
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kyle douglas: floetry. - floetry. we call it floetry. johnny devenanzio: i like that. jasper socia: yeah. johnny devenanzio: i like that. jasper socia: it was amazing. kyle douglas: i was able to pick up different things that these artists do. like, i normally spray paint and then acrylic paint, then let me try to do what jasper does and do some mixed mediums. and there's a lot of room for error and to try new things and to experiment to really be confident in what it is you want to do, it really relieves a lot of the weight. mara catalnan: you would just come here and you knew that you had a space where you could be free. in a way, it was necessary as a survival tool, showing that you were alive and that your art wasn't dead. samara bliss: out of this came an entire album, a documentary film that's coming out in the fall, a whole book of photography, and then 95 paintings came out of this one month. and all of it is now for sale. [upbeat music] johnny devenanzio (voiceover): one of the most notable works to come from the locker room amid the pandemic was its "new york is dead installation" displayed high above the streets of la and beaches of miami. there was an article in the new york post
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and the title of it was "new york is dead." he was decrying sort of the final fall of new york. jerry seinfeld retorted back saying new york could never die. i sort of wanted to add to that messaging. the commentary we were making is not about the girl who had to move back to alabama, it's sort of about people who left new york, and took their fortunes elsewhere, and were spending money to party in miami. part of the new york story is that there's always this flux of people who would do anything to be here. come hell or high water. yeah. [light music] we're in the midst of a new renaissance. jasper socia: yes. johnny devenanzio: you know what i mean? kyle douglas: yes. i mean, art always brings the cities back and help breathe life back into the city and i think that's the exactly what's happening. [light music] johnny devenanzio: what makes new york unique is the people. you guys riding this pandemic out together and finding strength within each other, that really says a lot about the greater city at large. always forward, never straight. absolutely. [music fades out]
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[theme music] hold on, sonia! [screaming] johnny devenanzio (voiceover): known for its boardwalk, famous foods, and theme parks, coney island has provided new yorkers with over 100 years of entertainment in both good times and in bad and there's no signs of stopping anytime soon. [jazz music] johnny devenanzio: could literally see
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the entire city from up here. the 150 foot club. i'm getting goosebumps. the wonder wheel in coney island. 101 years old. johnny devenanzio: you have a special connection to this park. so my family's been in coney island forever. my grandfather lived out his american dream here. when he and my grandmother got married and he proposed to her, he says, i don't have money but one day i'll buy you that wheel in the back. - stop. deno vourderis: so it's the most romantic ride in the world because a lot of people's history starts right here on the wonder wheel. [upbeat music] johnny devenanzio: this isn't the first pandemic that this wheel has survived. deno vourderis: the wonder wheel was built during the 1918 pandemic. so if you look at the way the cars are staggered, they're all socially distant. fast forward 100 years later, we're building our phoenix roller coaster. same situation. we stagger the cars, we separate them further apart, showing people who have been locked in their pandemic bubbles what it feels like to smile again. [upbeat music] johnny devenanzio: new york has seen its fair share of adversity. 9/11, the financial crisis-- deno vourderis: hurricane sandy was in there too. and every time, new york found the way to come out almost stronger than it went in. i was born and raised here and what keeps me going
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isn't the history behind us, but the history that we have to make in front of us. and i think the best times for coney island and new york are tomorrow. johnny devenanzio: amen, brother. all right. dj, i got to say, that's the most fun i've ever had in the ferris wheel. oh, boy! look who it is! [cheering] all right! come on. i want to put you in this cage over here. - no, no i don't do heights! - you're at a theme park. what do you don't do heights? - i get scared. - all right. do you do hot dogs and beer? - always. all right. [light music] we're in the nathan's hot dog cart. sonja, show me your buns. [cheering] [drumming] [light music] - [groans]. - no, you have to dunk it. you got to dunk it but not like that. new york is not dead. [cheering] [music - anders paul niska, "stay cool"] (singing) who is lucky? i'm so lucky. oh, so lucky. oh, so lucky. that's the way i like so stay cool. so, the phoenix, it's a mythical creature
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that rises up from the ashes. this roller coaster was built as symbolism to show that new york is rising from the ashes like the phoenix. any last word, sonja? i hate you. (laughing) i hate you. here we go, sonja! here goes a drop! [screaming] [music - anders paul niska, "stay cool"] (singing) who is lucky? i'm so lucky. oh, so lucky. oh, so lucky. [groans]. i like going on yachts better. [upbeat music] hold on, sonja! [screaming] oh my god! i think sonja just died. oh, that's really flattering. are we hotter? makes my facelift look like i need my money back. [laughing] [light piano music] [cheering] there you go! you started the night with one big banana and you're ending the night with two big bananas. and i don't even have to take you home now.
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you're known for being one of the most famous, amazing, fantastic, glamorous, housewives of new york. do you think the pandemic brought you and your co-stars even closer together? absolutely. i'm very grateful to have them. when we went through it together, we love each other more than ever now. johnny devenanzio: if you have to tell new york city and new yorkers one thing, what would you tell them? we're back bigger than ever and our youth is going to go forward and i'm going into a nursing home after this. i got one foot in the grave and the other in a nursing home. and you know the stds are really big in there. [light music] jasper socia: i think what's so special about new york anyone can come here without bucket in their pocket and make something of themselves. samara bliss: new york doesn't care who you are-- in, like, a beautiful way. miss peppermint: what's great about the city is the people. rob mcclure: new yorkers have an understanding of the value of the arts in their city and they get it. kevol graham: anything that you put in front of us, we know that we'll either push through it or we'll overcome it. angie mar: when you're constantly surrounded by the most thought-provoking things. for me, it's the epicenter of the world. johnny devenanzio (voiceover): for new york
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a comeback isn't a question of if, but when. and i'm excited to see what's next for the greatest city on earth. [light piano music] in business, setbacks change everything. so get comcast business internet and add securityedge. it helps keep your network safe by scanning for threats every 10 minutes. and unlike some cybersecurity options, this helps protect every connected device. yours, your employees' and even your customers'. so you can stay ahead. get started with a great offer and ask how you can add comcast business securityedge. plus for a limited time, ask how to get a $500 prepaid card when you upgrade. call today.
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sara gore: i'm sara gore and this is open house. this week, apartment living in the big apple as we explore grand design in small spaces, including the east side apartment of journalist and legendary chronicler of new york's nightlife michael musto.

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