New York City Rich and Poor - : Latest Jobs In Pakistan 2022

Tuesday 27 July 2021

New York City Rich and Poor

 America is voting on its future — the wealthiest New Yorkers too. To me, we have fix the pandemic, so we can fix the economy. The gap between rich and poor is wide, and it's getting wider. New York City was hit hardest by the pandemic. And the poorest - worst affected. If Trump is re-elected, nothing will improve for us, it will only get worse. The coronavirus crisis put the focus on social injustice — right in the middle of an election year. Only one of the two candidates admits the existence of systemic racism. We need someone who can bring together and unify the country! Eight months, one city, three worlds - the city's upper, middle and lower classes. 

This film shows an idealized city, traumatized, while taking a look behind New York's glittering facades.... and lays bare one of America's biggest failings - inequality. Spring 2020 and actor Kevin Smith Kirkwood takes a walk on Broadway. Theaters are closed. He and his colleagues are out of work. It’s very intense. And it’s scary not knowing when there is an end in sight. There are some pretty dark days, you know. Because that fear set in. Our business is already filled with insecurities and times of insecurity. But to have no idea... of anything on the horizon? 

New York confirmed its first coronavirus case on March first. Two weeks later, the city started going into lockdown. By the end of the month, the US city became an epicentre of the pandemic. Sirens break the silence in a city usually pulsing with life. New York's world-famous theater district Broadway closed quickly. In a normal year, it would attract millions of visitors. It's where Kevin had fulfilled his lifelong ambition to become an actor and singer. An ambition he achieved despite the odds. The little black gay kid from the ghetto of Toledo, Ohio. 

Who saw his dream come true. I spent six years in this building. Winning the Tony Award. Performing at the Tonys. Winning the Grammy Award. His breakthrough came with the award-winning musical '’Kinky Boots’', which saw Kevin also dress up as a woman. He was finally on the verge of his own directorial debut — at a small theater outside New York. I was just starting to feel like I had a footing in the industry, you know. And then this happened. A few blocks away from Broadway... Tiffany's on fifth avenue, that's where Emerita Ramoon works - or did, until March. So, my job was to package any retail items that came downstairs. 

If a customer called or order online, it will come downstairs, I would check it, examine it, wrap it up and package it for shipping. Her personal take on the world is a very different one. Emerita lives in a highrise in South Bronx, New York's poorest borough. Tiffany gift boxes remain empty. Emerita pays 1300 dollars for a two-room apartment... a rent that was manageable while she still had a job. Emerita's parents came to New York as Latin American immigrants... and ended up somewhere that couldn't be further from the affluent centre of Manhattan. As a little girl, my mom will watch all these old movies and one of her favorites was Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

I understand why, you know, walking in front of this store was like a big thing for Audrey Hepburn, you know, you want to lavish lifestyle. So, as a young female living in New York. That's what I always embodied for myself. And I made my breakfast at Tiffany's dream come to pass. Now the dream is over - Emerita no longer has her job. She's had to send her children to stay with other family members, because money's so short. The Bickley family has gone to stay in their summer house in the Hamptons, two hours' drive from their Manhattan apartment. 

The daughters are fashion influencers, and can work from anywhere. Just a fun fact about my closets — I work with a girl who is a professional organizer. She arrived in the Hamptons before I did... and organized by color and category. Father Ian became a multimillionaire at the luxury goods brand Coach. Today he's an independent director for the shoe company Crocs, and a board member of the cosmetics firm Natura. Success is the intersection of hard work and good luck. Good fortune. And I really do believe that. Mother Kim manages her two daughters, Sophie, 28, and Charlotte who's 26. You know, they are sisters. I just try to keep everyone focused and calm. Sophie and I like to refer to ourselves as bloggers, influencers. 

I prefer influencers and content creators. - Yeah. What we do, from a job point of view — We like to look at ourselves as people who are recommending things to like to influence people in a positive way. For them, influencers are more in demand than ever. For some, quarantine outfits are the "in" thing. It’s such a cute outfit? People are bored at home, shopping online, a lot of sales going on? They're on Instagram all day because they don’t have anything else to do. We were really pushing for the wearing of masks. People definitely are judging about it. 

Because people are losing their job and things like that. ?and we’re focusing on clothes. But it’s our job. Some people don’t really understand. - But we’re sensitive about it. - Yeah, we try to be. The metropolis of extremes — and the pandemic. By April, New York is experiencing days that will deeply scar the city's collective memory. Under lockdown, anyone who can stay at home, does so. As many as 800 people a day are dying in the city's hospitals. Bodies are stored in refrigerator trucks behind the clinics. Why was the city so badly affected - and who was it affecting worst? 

There were two groups. Those who could leave the city or work from home. And those who continued to work to keep the system going, for those who were able to flee to the Hamptons. Although this divide existed in the city long before the pandemic, it has now become a matter of life and death. New York - with its 8.4 million inhabitants, five boroughs, all divided into unequal neighborhoods. There are parts of Manhattan where almost everyone is white. But that’s not the case in the Bronx, people of color are the majority. In New York, there's a correlation between skin colour and income. 

Residents in poorer parts of the Bronx and Queens are mostly Black or Latino. And it's here that most New Yorkers are dying of the coronavirus. Health is a luxury not everyone can afford. 25 out of 30 zip codes were in white, wealthier neighborhoods. and those hit the most were in poorer, Black and immigrant communities. They weren't getting tested. Coinciding with the end of lockdown, anger spills over. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th sparks days of protests, after he's shown suffocating with a white police officer kneeling on his neck. There are protests in New York and throughout the country. Unrest and looting overshadow peaceful protests for social injustice. 

The mood is further inflamed by police brutality directed at anyone... Black or white. When you combine the Covid virus with the virus of racist cops, you're going to have an explosion. And that's what you are witnessing Those are the folks in the street who are getting sick. yet it is also those who are being targeted by the police unfairly. The protests go on for months. For Emerita Ramoon, racism is an all too familiar part of life. I'm not a color. You're not a color. You're a human being. And that's how you should carry yourself. But once you put a title on yourself, it changed everything. And I think that's the problem with people in today's society. 

She knows the chance of catching COVID-19 in this district is much higher than in Manhattan. As you can see in this neighborhood, it's not a lot of funds. So, a lot of people don't have insurance to go. And if they are sick, they don't want to go to an emergency room because they don't have the pay. So in neighborhoods like this, you're going to get hit very hard when stuff like that happened, cause it's a poor neighborhood, poverty. Within a kilometer radius of Emerita's house in the South Bronx 10% of residents define themselves as white. The average annual household income is just shy of 27000 dollars. Almost half the residents here live in poverty or are at risk of poverty. Before the pandemic, 13 percent were unemployed. In May, the area was among those with the highest number of cases. I did hear some tenants did have it and some passed.

It's June, and Emerita hardly leaves her apartment. She's waiting and hoping for a job, and to see her sons. One of them is spending the lockdown with his father, the other son is with Emerita's mother. Emerita herself couldn’t afford to feed them all. It’s about to be, what, three months? Three months without seeing my kids. Physically, I see them do video talk it. But physically touching them, physically hugging, you know, three months. What’s up guys? I'm getting my nails done? The Bickley family were able to remain together during the pandemic. They have paid help. Mexican nail designer Alicia is on a house visit. I have four kids — and I’m afraid for my kids especially. - So why do you do it? I need money. 

My husband and I we stayed home for 2 months. Now we start work a little bit. Alicia earns 150 dollars an hour. She's prepared to take the health risk in order to earn that kind of money. For the Bickley family, work doesn't entail a health risk. We’re extremely fortunate to have the choice of being here versus in New York City when things are like this. Not everybody has a choice. The city is one of the most inundated places with the virus right now and also we're so fortunate to have like a backyard to go out on. And a lot of people are just stuck in their apartments. 

The virus reaches the Hamptons in April... but arrives more slowly than in New York city. Within a kilometre radius around the Bickley's home — 90 percent of residents define themselves as white. Around 2.6% live close to or below the poverty line. And pre-pandemic unemployment levels were under 2%. At the peak of the crisis, seven times more people were dying in New York than in the Hamptons. So how do society's more privileged members deal with social injustice during a deadly pandemic? Is it okay to carry on showing off one's wealth? 

I’m sensitive about what the girls post on their Instagram all the time. - Really? I’m like — “why?”- you know, some? but that my opinion. It’s their brand and they should do what they want to do with their Instagram you know? It’s not for me to say or to control. It’s their brand. People just don’t like? I mean people? If it was my brand I wouldn’t do what they do. But that’s not? Dad, what are you talking about? I’m not Yin to my Yang! No no no? I’m just saying — your brand is about you guys, your lifestyle, you know that’s what it is, that’s what I think is magnetic about it and what attracts people. And I’m just saying — it’s not my brand or lifestyle or what I would choose to post if I were? 

You’ve seen my Instagram. People are different. I have my own brand and my own? - Okay, we got it. Kevin lives for performing - but now his life is in intermission. An actor and singer without any earnings, and perhaps more importantly - without a stage. Although, not exactly.... For Kevin, church has taken the place of the theater. It's a window on the world, even if the audience is only virtual. The first few were like, oh, this is kind of weird. This is kind of kooky. And then I got used to it as best as I could. 

It's just it's not as fulfilling, you know, to be able to look into people's faces and hear them singing along with you and standing up and clapping and waving their hands. It's a much different experience. So, it's been a challenge for me to try to keep my performative energy up. Speaking candidly as a pastor, I'm like, maybe I shouldn't preach. Maybe we should just sing the whole time because it's so, you know, spirit filling, you know, and so uplifting. People have lost mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. People are suffering. They feel lonely, they feel isolated. They've lost loved ones. 

So there's kind of a very it was a heavy, heavy mood and it was difficult pastoring in that context. Religion is an anchor for Kevin, especially now. Like for so many others, enforced isolation is tough. Being able to come here and still getting to worship, you know, getting to sit and listen to the pastors, you know, sermon like first hand and be in the space, you know, has been amazing for my anxiety levels and my stress levels. After church, back in Queens... Kevin's neighborhood Astoria. This neighborhood is fun and eclectic and ethnically mixed and diverse. It's a great shopping area and shopping district. 

Great Middle-Class Neighborhood, lots of families, lots of young people, young transplants. In the one kilometer area around Kevin's apartment, 74% of residents define themselves as white. The average household income is around 74 thousand dollars. Eleven percent live around or below the poverty line. Before the pandemic around five percent were unemployed. The number of coronavirus cases here in April was around 40% below the New York city average. I felt very safe, actually, during the pandemic. I felt like this is a good neighborhood to sort of weather the storm and sort of and I felt a little bit protected. I felt lucky that we were not at the center of infection. 

But economically, the slowdown has been harrowing. Emerita Ramoon doesn't feel at all safe in the Bronx. But now she's got something to look forward to. Her youngest son Eissac is coming home in four days' time. The 13 year-old has just finished his school year, online. Yes. You made it to eight grade. You should be proud of yourself, regardless of the circumstances put in at the short period of time. And you didn’t it lose focus of anything. You fell behind a little bit, which was able to, you know, catch up. And I told you, it's not how you start, it's how you finish it. 

So, you finish strong and give yourself a round of applause. Eissac has been living with his grandmother. I'm very excited for him to come home. I love smelling my kids. I just love smelling, you know, just sniffing they hair sniffing their neck because it's something about a kid's smell, you know? And it just takes me back to when there was a baby, like, oh, my goodness, I remember your smell. It's June and after almost 3 months of total lockdown, New York cautiously begins to open up again. Some businesses, like hairdressers, are allowed to reopen - under certain conditions. At the same time, the effect the pandemic has had on New York is becoming clear. 

Unemployment has risen to above 20%, almost the level it was at the time of the Great Depression. Our research shows that in May one million New Yorkers were suddenly left without work. The number of people who could no longer afford to feed themselves doubled to two million. A crisis already existed — the coronavirus exacerbated it. Anyone who can afford to do so, has already left the city. By early May, almost a quarter of New York's uptown apartments are empty. This country is very wealthy. The reason that we can't meet the needs of our poor fellow citizens is not that we do not have money. It is because we have had years of tax cuts, loopholes and lax prosecution of tax fraud. There are people who are getting richer and richer in this pandemic. 

And we do not dare to ask them to do their civic duty and pay their fair share. But we have to do this to save our budget. It's July the first, not far from the Bickley residence. The poor of New York protest at the gates of the city’s rich. Legislation has passed to cut welfare spending using the savings to plug the massive fiscal hole left by the coronavirus pandemic. The protesters are demanding that instead of punishing the poor, the city should tax its billionaires. The rich can continue to live their lives — while we have to queue up in endless lines - for a meal. 

The protest doesn't make it as far as the Bickley family's house. Ian would be prepared to pay higher taxes... he tries to play his part. He's become a mentor to people like James, his former intern, who's just finished college. I came into 2020, excited. For me, as I’m looking at my job situation now. It’s challenging. This is what I try to also say to myself every day. You know, I think this is a moment in time. Yes, that’s it, I want to do something I'm passionate and excited about. For Sophie, the everyday life of an influencer doesn't stop because of the coronavirus. 

In Southampton, shopping is allowed again - with a mask. In this bastion of the ultra-rich, there's barely a sign of the catastrophe ravaging other parts of the country. It's an idyllic seaside place. Ocean is just over there. If you’re in New York City, you go to the Hamptons. That's what it is. So any equivalent of like a town in Germany, that’s the Hamptons for us. The next day back in the Bronx, Emerita sees her son Eissac for the first time in three months. Her brother brings him home. I'm really excited, the last time I saw my baby was in March. He's healthy, he's big and just looks great. He even grew! Mother and son are hoping that life can get back to normal. 

He is home Mommy! He looks good, he is tall. It feels better than my home. I like it, I like it here. I feel safer. It feels much larger too. Today, nothing's going to spoil their mood. But for Emerita, more financial hardship is already looming on the horizon. Kevin is putting on a performance - in his own front-room. It's part of a theatre project that combines monologues and dance, documenting New Yorkers' experiences of the pandemic. The director gives instructions via conference call. Kevin's role - a choreographer who feels totally blown off-course by the lockdown. 

As an artist I have I connected with being lost at the beginning of Covid not knowing where my art and inspiration was going to come from. To take this art and use it to help work through our fear, my own feelings, it was really awesome. And that's that's one of the beautiful things about what actors get to do. Dance might help Kevin process the experiences of the past few months. But - it won't earn him much money. You’re such a great dancer, I’ve never seen you dance like this. In addition to unemployment benefits, Kevin gets around 600 dollars a week coronavirus subsidy. But now that scheme is to be wound down. I'm optimistic. 

I am positive. I don't think they're going to be able to justify cutting that six hundred dollars totally. I think so many Americans would fall off, literally fall off a financial cliff. I wouldn't be homeless. But with the six hundred and the base, you know, I am able to pay my bills, you know. But that's exactly what happens. It's August and in New York, case numbers have fallen significantly. Even the Rockefeller Center is open again. Kevin has to dig into his savings, because there are no more subsidies. Ian Bickley is back in the city — he shows us his apartment on Manhattan's upscale Upper East Side. We have these little rails for our dogs who love to destroy things. They've hardly used the apartment. Luxury space left empty - while many New Yorkers don't know how they'll be able to pay next month's rent. Someone like me and look at our family and look at the life that we have and that we lead. 

We haven't been so affected by Covid, certainly from an economic standpoint. Because of the opportunities that we have and the flexibility we have, we have options. But a lot of people don’t. Emerita Ramoon can't afford her rent - and now she's paying in installments. She's been saved by a food bank in the apartment block basement. Canned foods and pasta to get her and son Eissac through the difficult time. Emerita is in freefall - but there's no social welfare net to catch her — and she's not the only one. Of those entitled to unemployment benefits, only 70% are granted it. Among African-Americans it is only about 55%. 

The reason - overburdened bureaucracy, and one that makes many mistakes. Emerita stays strong for her son - gardening is her therapy. So how am I supposed to tell my son at night when I tuck him in? You can be whatever you want to. This too shall pass. God is a good God. And then I’m in the living room. The bill’s being doubtful. Can’t do that. Evening on the Upper East Side. Ian's having dinner with his mentee, James. It's the first time they've met in person for a long time. James has great news. I got a job, working at a real estate company, based in New York, a small developer, a lot of great people, and they were able to offer me a fulltime opportunity, despite everything going on. 

Looking towards the future, things are definitely less certain than eight months ago, but when everyone does their part, everyone will be in a better place than eight months ago. I still do think it’s a moment in time. However, I, I at the same time feel like the crisis is much deeper and worse than I did several months ago. A lot more people are unemployed. That means there’s a lot less spending that affects other businesses. So, it becomes a vicious circle. In the Bronx, the mood is grows tense. Emerita is holed up in her apartment with Eissac. Since the start of the summer the number of shootings kept rising. In August, it was more than double the number in 2019. 

It’s only eight a clock at night and all of this is happening? Sometimes, partying can descend into a shootout in just a blink of an eye. After a while you get used to it. The guns start sounding like firework, you can’t tell the difference. Until you wake up the next morning and you hear — oh, there was a shootout last night. With all the things that we just came out of, it’s not getting better. It’s getting reckless. The shooting, it could happen near you. And then if you witness it and if they see you, you’ve got to run. For Kevin, things start looking up in September. Everything he thought he had lost has suddenly become possible again. In New Hampshire, the first theater is opening up again. 

And he's directing the production. I’m very excited. I’ve been inspired over the past week because this transpired within the past week and a half or two. So, you know, solidified over the past week. I’ve just been so inspired coming up with choreography and ideas, talking about costumes and lighting, dancing in my kitchen. The theater is nearly six hundred kilometres away, but at least Kevin gets to make his directorial debut. Now it needs to get off the ground. I wanted to do it immediately. I jumped at the chance. It’s very important to be able to start that engine again. And so I’m honored to be a part of it, to be a part of starting the movement towards making live theater happen again. It's mid-September, and it’s Fashion Week in New York. 

Summer's over and Charlotte and Sophie are back from the Hamptons. They're getting made up. Sophie and I serve as editors of a magazine, The Daily Front Row, which is featured in the Hamptons in New York City and L.A. And today we’re going to start our day off with a lunch. It's one of a few live events - most of fashion week is happening online. One really fun part about Fashion Week is getting all glammed up because otherwise I don’t wear any makeup really. And so that’s always really fun. If it is a normal fashion week, it’s literally from morning to night, about four days to five days before shows. So then I’m a little nervous because they will get on each other’s nerves and they will have fights. 

And so I have to have a mental breakdown. I have to be there to pick up the pieces. But this particular fashion week in Covid is so far going to be relaxed. Their father, Ian is on his way to Central Park. I want them both to have perspective. I think in any situation, to be the best that you can be, you have to have perspective and understanding for the situation that you’re in. The benefits that you have, the opportunities that you have and not to take those for granted. You used the word privilege. You know, do they really understand the privileges that they have? And, you know, could they be doing more with that, I think. We don’t feel privileged. We’re lucky to be in our position. But we have to wrap. 

Yeah. Whitefield, New Hampshire. The town of 2200 has hardly any COVID cases. Kevin Smith Kirkwood is getting ready for the premiere. It’s amazing to be up here. Because I already love the place and because I think it’s safer, I was Instantly able to just sort of exhale a little bit. The theater is one of the first in the whole country to open up again. Kevin has had to quarantine and get tested - like everyone on his team. We were rehearsing in their rehearsal room in masks and trying to sing and dance this show in a mask. Not easy. But we did what was necessary. So we did have to make some concessions artistically. We couldn‘t let Audrey and Seymour kiss. The day is here - theater-goers are only allowed in to see the performance under safety measures. 

TV teams aren't allowed in under new rules. Kevin's done it — he's restored a little bit of normality in the midst of a pandemic. We‘re successful. Everybody‘s healthy. Things are clean. Theater’s sanitized. And people came tonight and sat and watched and laughed together. It‘s amazing. It's October, and the city is getting back on its feet. Six months ago, this was the centre of the pandemic. New Yorkers are still traumatized. Anyone without a mask is viewed as anti-social. Masks are only taken off to eat at the newly-established curbside restaurants. They're allowed to fill a quarter of inside seating — but few people take the opportunity. 

The number of people applying for unemployment benefit has dropped again sharply, but it's still eight times what it was in 2019. Empty offices across the city has meant many smaller businesses reliant on office workers have had to close. New York is facing a massive tax deficit, with no end in sight. And despite all the health precautions some districts are seeing a rise in coronavirus cases again. People line up for food in every part of town. Without a job, savings are spent on rent, and it's the poorest who are left struggling to survive. For many it's a worse 9-11, previously the worst catastrophe to hit New York. 9/11 targeted particular parts of the city, but didn't shut down the whole economy nor go on this long. There was emphasis on returning to normalcy. 

Obviously, this pandemic isn't over. Eissac and Emerita Ramoon still feel trapped in their apartment. Emerita doesn't want him to go back to school, in case he catches the virus. Homeschooling is possible thanks to an iPad from school, and an old computer. I really don’t like being inside, mostly I am distracted by games or watching a show. If I don’t play games or watching a show I just sit on my bed and do nothing. It gets lonely. A lot. Emerita hasn't found a new job, and she's broke. Soon she won't be able to afford this apartment. I'm not receiving anything because of the pandemic agreement that the government is doing is on pause. 

But my faith is still strong. I'm smiling and taking one day at a time instead of planning out my life. You can't plan any more. You just have to go with the days. Her ambition is to finally get out of the Bronx. The Bickleys are meeting for dinner. It's not long til the presidential election. It's a topic they prefer to avoid discussing with some of their friends. We don’t talk about politics. Haha. There are a lot of closet republicans. The effects of the pandemic have made the Bickleys reflect... Sophie has her doubts now about the world of influencers. It makes me wanna go where I can go tutor kids that can’t be tutored or don’t have laptops or don’t have parents who can help educate them. It makes me want do really do more. 

I think the gap between the poor, the rich and certainly even the middle, the middle is a huge margin, but it has become too large and people are suffering. That's what I think the president has to really work on. The pandemic has has exacerbated it, in my opinion, and brought it even more to light, but the underlying issues were there before. Popcorn for the televised debate between Biden and Trump. Kevin is concerned about the election and the future of his country. I am one of the people whose lives will be affected directly by the choices that are made in our country. 

I don't have a (expletive) cushion. I'm an artist. No trust fund family. Artist. Black, queer. These kinds of decisions affect me seriously. Despite the crisis, Kevin Smith Kirkwood has achieved his big debut. But Broadway remains closed for now. Financially, Emerita Ramoon is at rock-bottom, but remains optimistic. The Bickley family gained a new perspective on the city, and life. Three lives, three worlds, one city. The contrast existed long before the pandemic, but the coronavirus has amplified it, and cemented the gaping division in society. Not just in New York, exposed as the metropolis of inequality, but also across the whole country. A challenge facing the United States - and its new president.

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