Memory Lane: A Look Back at the Campaign Against Atlantic Yards in Battle for Brooklyn
Coming to theaters just as the Barclays Center emerges from behind partitioning at the northern tip of Prospect Heights, Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawleys Battle for Brooklyn recounts the tireless antiAtlantic Yards efforts of Develop Dont 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 buildings 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 Goldsteinsuch 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-jerkingcrowd the sidelines.
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