Hard Times on Long Island

Monday, July 09, 2012

A house in Levittown is foreclosed upon in Marc Levin's documentary "Hard Times: Lost on Long Island"

Director Marc Levin talks about his film "Hard Times: Lost on Long Island" and what he learned about families facing long-term unemployment.

→ Tune In: Hard Times premieres Monday, July 9th at 9pm on HBO


Marc Levin

Comments [15]

Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, It is very sad. Unemployment and poverty, no matter where it exists, is sad. Should not exist, none of it. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 10 2012 06:08 PM
tom LI

Must take issue with the "Young people cant find work" line of thought. Sure, you might not walk into that cushy Wall St., Corporate job in Corporate Park USA at 60K+ - or one in your major - but work is there for the 20-somethings. They just have to swallow their damn pride and realize that the lifestyle their parents afforded them, does not follow you from home. Nor should it!

Any of us "older" (35++) folks who left home post-college, had to leave behind many of the creature comforts of Home. And when now these kids (and lets admit it the Boomers have failed miserably in raising mature 20-something children) are carrying $150-200 cellphone plans, etc, and cant bear the thought of a little technology regression - they sit around a sulk and complain, "...there aint no work for me!" While Facebook'n, tweet'n and downloading movies on their $500 dollar phones and/or tablets!

Its really too bad that a 20-something has to leave Mom/Dad's 50" TV and surround-sound home theater for a tiny little 32" piped thru a common hoo! What a basement apartment with no AC..? How dare anyone expect the LI 20-somethings to live so cruelly! What no stocked fridge? No Pizza rolls and string cheese and gallons of soda waiting when they get home?! Oh the tragedy!

There is work for the 20-somethings, they just need to suck it up and learn how to survive on less than Mom/Dad's largesse. In other words learn the lesson that nothing is FREE!

So sick of hearing about hard it is for the Boomers kids! Thank the Boomers! They collectively screwed the pooch, not me!

Jul. 09 2012 05:58 PM
Harlem Hobbit

A correction for Mark Levin, who said, “After World War II … when the GIs came back … we were willing to help finance them having homes.”

Not all Gis were included in that generosity. The economic fallout from that wee bit of discrimination is reverberating even today.

Jul. 09 2012 02:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

I didn't say "pain." I said it was energy-inefficient. Inefficiency means loss of competitiveness. It means higher trade and other deficits. It means a less competitive economy overall in a globalized marketplace.

Jul. 09 2012 11:11 AM
Clif from Manhattan

What can I say. It sucks, but welcome to the real world! This is people who have had it so good for so long that they forgot what it is like to NOT have everything handed to them.

It's hard for me to have sympathy. I'm almost 41 & I've lived my life very frugally because that's what my lifestyle/income level allowed. I accept that and don't use credit cards, etc... I simply try to improve my situation when I can and when it doesn't hurt others. This has paid off for me and, although, I don't have a lot of material stuff, I am happy in life and have enough to do what I need to.

This is what it means to live in harmony with our fellow humans and environments. When everyone tries to "have it all" this creates an impossible situation and the results of that is what we are witnessing today.

Don't misunderstand my lack of sympathy. Call it "tough love" if you will. It certainly IS NOT malicious. I just think that in post WWII America we became extremely indulgent and entitled. That we fell into this state of disillusionment and now that is wearing away.

Jul. 09 2012 11:05 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Jg - Nassau county a pain to get "to and from" work ? Compared to suburbs in the rest of the country, it's a breeze.

Jul. 09 2012 11:02 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

Hi Marc Levin, Are you the same person who did the film Blowback ? I was an extra.
I was getting my MFA at Pratt during that time. I am an Artist and Photographer who has made a minimal living in the constrution field. Hard times here too

Flickr jeffphotopappas

Jul. 09 2012 11:00 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Depopulation of L.I.? Compared to the depopulation of locales in the midwest, which has been going on for decades, it doesn't compare.

Jul. 09 2012 10:57 AM
Randi from Brooklyn

Poverty growing in the suburbs does not surprise me at all. Once the big cities began gentrifying, where do you think all the people that were priced out went? They didn't disappear... they went to the suburbs! During the housing bubble, the empty nesters sold their homes and moved to the cities. The low and middle class bought these homes by taking out subprime loans but many lost their jobs in the recession and are currently struggling to stay afloat.

Jul. 09 2012 10:57 AM

Nassau County finances are not even run by its elected officials. It has been under Nassau Interim Finance Authority under NY state mandate because it cannot balance its budget deficit. There is a large disparity between the haves and have nots than ever before. The children of Long Islanders seem to be graduating college and graduate school and leaving for lower cost living areas. The easy money mortgages of early 2000s have driven up home prices to levels that are unaffordable for most who make less than $150,000 per annum. The real estate market has not adjusted back to reality of what homes are really worth.

Jul. 09 2012 10:54 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Please don't refer to people who lose touch w/their coworkers when they lose their jobs as "being disappeared." It doesn't compare w/what happened to the disappeared in the dirty wars of the 1980s, who were kidnapped, often tortured, & secretly murdered, so their families never found out what happened to them.

Jul. 09 2012 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from `Queens

The chickens came home to roost. All of the subsidies given out 50 years ago to create the suburbs and to overeducate people have finally fizzled out. Without taxpayer subsidies to the suburbs they naturally collapse, because cities are simply more efficent in a natural economy. Less energy wasted in getting to and from work. Less energy wasted in oversized homes. And so on. Gov't subsidies ultimately fizzle in the face of global competition,and everything that rests on them ultimately collapses like a castle built from a deck of cards.

Jul. 09 2012 10:51 AM
lcruz from brooklyn

which parts of long island, last i checked LI had 4 counties ?

Jul. 09 2012 10:50 AM
Jenna from UWS

It is VERY difficult as a lower-middle class person to listen to these people complain about being broke and jobless.

Aren't these people the ones building McMansions and driving SUVs?

I'm so torn here.

Jul. 09 2012 10:47 AM
jmurphy from floral park

so glad you are doing a segment specifically on Long Island. So many issues: unemployment, underemployment, rampant racism, transportation.

Jul. 09 2012 10:45 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.