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What’s the most inspiring or exciting change you’ve witnessed in Brooklyn over the past few years?
I think the explosion of independent filmmaking in Brooklyn is thrilling—particularly documentary filmmaking. There are so many immensely talented and wonderful people making magnificent, daring works of non-fiction in the borough. Travel to any festival in the world and you will end up spending half your time with filmmakers from Brooklyn. It’s a golden age for the form, and we are in the center of it.
And the most worrisome?
As someone who great up in New York, I have always been troubled by how easy it is for upper and upper-middle class people to move into the city and think that the entire place was set up for their pleasure. There is this myopic sense that the city was created as a playground for them and them alone, and there is very little recognition among that population that they are actually in the minority in the borough. The majority of the population consists of families that have been here for generations and immigrant communities that live very different lives. An acquaintance once referred to the Italian-American population of Carroll Gardens as “townies” and it angered me for days. The city is not just about you and the people who look and sound like your friends from college. Check the census before you declare that you know what Brooklyn is all about.
What now-closed Brooklyn business do you miss the most?
God, there are so many. Southpaw?
Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider leaving Brooklyn?
Under many circumstances. I am not going to moan and groan about Brooklyn being less legit than it once was, because it is a pretty fantastic place to live.
10 years from now, which more recently opened Brooklyn businesses do you think will have made enough of a mark on the community to be considered as part of the next wave of Brooklyn Institutions?
I think that Union Docs does amazing work and if things fall in place for them then I think they will do a lot for the borough’s filmmakers. I am really curious to see what happens out in Sunset Park—Industry City could turn into a very weird place filled with thousands of interesting businesses. There will be some crazy stuff happening in the Navy Yard, too, and someday people will start to notice.
Photo by Helena Wolfenson
Pictured Above: Dan Nuxoll, Genevieve Delaurier and Mark Rosenberg