Atlantic Yards: The Documentary

by |
06/15/2011 4:00 AM |

Battle for Brooklyn
Directed by Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky

In a doc that doubles as a 21st century Prospect Heights time capsule, the husband-and-wife filmmaking team follow the Atlantic Yards saga from its announcement in late 2003, through Forest City Ratner’s backroom deals and mercenary community alliances, opposite community activism and eminent domain court battles, up to the present, with parking lots where mixed-income housing built by local labor was once promised. Hawley and Galinsky go light on the number-crunching and paper-trail-tracking provided for most of the past decade by bloggers like Norman Oder—they cover all the necessary talking points, about gentrification and the coopting of African-American community leaders and eminent domain case law and cozy relationships between pols and developers, by showing street canvassers, press conferences, and Tish James at rallies, keeping their dramatization in a register of visceral outrage. The narrative through-line is Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn‘s Daniel Goldstein, whose hair goes gray as he starts a family in the Pacific Street apartment he refuses to leave. In the name of equal time, Marty Markowitz huffs and puffs odiously, pimping the development with tourist brochure cliché.

Opens June 17