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June 16, 2011

Film depicts Atlantic Yards fight

Bergen Record
by John Brennan

Filmmakers Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley noticed newspaper articles in late 2003 about a proposed basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets that was to be built as part of a condominium and office building project in Brooklyn called Atlantic Yards.

That led to eight years of filming — and now, a documentary, "Battle for Brooklyn," showing in Manhattan and Brooklyn this weekend, that depicts the multiyear fight against the plan that finally resulted in a spring 2010 groundbreaking for Barclays Center. The arena is expected to open in September 2012, although the construction timeline for the 16 skyscrapers in the original blueprints remains murky.

The 93-minute movie has opened to mostly positive reviews, although Galinsky noted that some critics thought it should have been even tougher on city and state officials and on developer Forest City Ratner. Still, the tone of the movie clearly is on the side of the project's opponents.

"The problem was that to include the all-out reality was just too depressing," Galinsky said.


Related coverage...

Daily News Sports ITeam Blog, 'Battle for Brooklyn' takes home best doc honor

Congratulations to filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, whose "Battle for Brooklyn" was not only named the Brooklyn Film Festival's Best Documentary, but was also honored with the festival's Grand Chameleon Award, given to the best picture across all categories.

It's an important movie that demonstrates how corporate interests enlist their allies in government to enrich themselves at the public trough, even if that means running over people who don’t have deep pockets or political connections. Mayor Bloomberg has threatened to lay off thousands of teachers. How come he never threatens to end subsidies for Atlantic Yards?

To be fair, not all the politicians featured in the film come across like shills for developer Bruce Ratner. When is City Councilwoman Letitia James going to run for mayor?


Those of you who have been following this saga in the news headlines already know how this story ends. The Nets -- whom Ratner has since sold a majority ownership share to Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov -- are scheduled to begin playing basketball in the Barclays Center in time for the 2012-2013 NBA season. In other words, the corporate interests of Goliath trounced David.

Posted by eric at June 16, 2011 12:18 PM