"Battle for Brooklyn", "Jim Epstein", and Q&A
Screening followed by post-screening Q&A with Michael Galinsky, Jim Epstein and Jim Torain.
[Battle for Brooklyn also screening Dec 6 and 9th with other Q&A's and shorts. If you purchased tickets for the sixth through this link, it's still valid. More tickets for those dates will be available shortly, links to be added]
Jim Epstein, 6 min.
A slice of life in the story of "Manhattantown" which was one of the first projects authorized under urban renewal and it set the model not only for hundreds of urban renewal projects but for the next 60 years of eminent domain abuse at places such as Poletown, New London, and Atlantic Yards. The Manhattantown project destroyed six blocks on New York City's Upper West Side, including an African-American community that dated to the turn of the century. The city sold the land for a token sum to a group of well-connected Democratic pols to build a middle-class housing development. Then came the often repeated bulldoze-and-abandon phenomenon: With little financial skin in the game, the developers let the demolished land sit vacant for years.
The community destroyed at Manhattantown was a model for the tight-knit, interconnected neighborhoods later celebrated by Jane Jacobs and other critics of top-down redevelopment. In the early 20th century, Manhattantown was briefly the center of New York's black music scene. A startling roster of musicians, writers, and artists resided there: the composer Will Marion Cook, vaudeville star Bert Williams, opera singer Abbie Mitchell, James Weldon Johnson and his brother Rosemond, muralist Charles Alston, writer and historian Arturo Schomburg, Billie Holiday (whose mother also owned a restaurant on 99th Street), Butterfly McQueen of "Gone with the Wind" fame, and the actor Robert Earl Jones.
Battle for Brooklyn
Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, 2010, 93 min.
Battle for Brooklyn is the epic and universal tale of one man under pressure, and how far he will go to save his community and his home from the private developers who want to build a basketball arena on top of it. Along the way, he loses a fiancée, falls in love again, gets married, and starts a family. Shot over the course of eight years and compiled from almost 500 hours of footage, Battle for Brooklyn is an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by the Prospect Heights community to save their neighborhood from destruction. Daniel Goldstein spent five years carefully looking for the perfect apartment. Not long after he had begun to settle in, he was informed that he and his neighbors would be cleared out to make way for the Atlantic Yards development project. This massive plan to build a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets, and 16 skyscrapers, had been arranged by a private developer. This company, Forest City Ratner, claimed that the building of Atlantic Yards would provide jobs and additional housing, and that the arrival of the New Jersey Nets would be important to the community.
In turn, Goldstein and a host of Brooklynites formed the group "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn" to counter Ratner's proposal and to expose misconceptions about the project. The effort to stop the project pits Goldstein and his neighbors against Ratner and an entourage of lawyers and public relations emissaries, the government, and those residents taken in by the promises of jobs, housing, and a basketball team on their turf. Focusing on the Goldstein's struggle to save his property from becoming center court, the film tells a story of the infuriating erosion of individual rights in the interest of corporate concerns and political maneuvering.
Part of the Maysles Cinema series True Crime New York, a quarterly meditation on the complexity of "true" crime in the rotten apple. This quarter we focus on space, the occupied, occupiers and "development".
Maysles Cinema (View)
343 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY 10027
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