Memory Lane: A Look Back at the Campaign Against Atlantic Yards in Battle for Brooklyn


Battle for Brooklyn
Directed by Michael Galinsky
and Suki Hawley
Opens June 17
Cinema Village and IndieScreen

Coming to theaters just as the Barclays Center emerges from behind partitioning at the northern tip of Prospect Heights, Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley’s Battle for Brooklyn recounts the tireless anti–Atlantic Yards efforts of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn co-founder Daniel Goldstein. The documentary opens with a title-card definition of “eminent domain,” and a scene of last-holdout Goldstein standing up to the goons patrolling his condo building’s rooftop. Instances of project-proponent doublespeak follow: Podium-banging Nets owner/AY developer Bruce Ratner invokes “the royal ‘I’ ”; Chuck Schumer says that job creation “enervates” [sic] him; a Forest City Ratner VP appears to spin displacement as a grand American tradition. Goldstein and friends propose less invasive alternative footprints, and then contest the legality of the state seizing their “blighted” property, at seven years’ worth of rallies and hearings. Back at his Pacific Street HQ, overlooking the crater of the Vanderbilt Railyards, Goldstein calls off an engagement, and later starts a family with a fellow DDDB member. Battle for Brooklyn provides a useful primer on the opposition to Atlantic Yards, but figures who might have made more compelling documentary subjects than the always on-message Goldstein—such as the often-combative leadership of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development, a community group whose tax filings reveal ties to Forest City Ratner; or City Councilwoman Letitia James, seen opposing AY both off-the-cuff and in rehearsed political tear-jerking—crowd the sidelines.

My Voice Nation Help

why don't you review the movie you watched instead of the one you would've (but didn't) make?

Stephen witt
Stephen witt

My roman a clef satire, The Brooklyn Song, will tell a different side of the Atlantic Yards story. As a journalist who has covered the project from the beginning, it will be quite a compelling look.Stephen Witt


What do you want a reality Springer type show or a documentary. Following BUILD would have been a train wreck, or a non existent wreck.


you mean all your coverage of the project wasn't satire?


Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!

Movie Trailers