Tags Archives: Ft. Greene

My Brooklyn: The Battle for the Soul of the City (movie)

My Brooklyn

“My Brooklyn” follows the filmmaker’s journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces dramatically reshaping New York City.

This movie touches very close to my heart and soul. I was born and raised in Downtown Brooklyn. I grew up on Dean Street between 3rd and 4th Aveneues. When my parents divorced my mother moved to Wykoff and Bond St., while my father bought a house in nearby Park Slope. At that time my mother had a small business on Atlantic Avenue. Growing up my friends from Ft. Greene, Bed Stuy, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights all met up and spent a lot of time at Albee Square Mall, on Fulton Street. So this is my neighborhood.

Over the last 10 years I have witnessed a battle for property rights, seen people’s homes seized by the government under immenent domain laws, stores get priced out of neighborhoods and huge corporations and developers build skyscrapers with luxury condos for millionaires to live in, while displacing the community that was here. Much of this is being done to make way for the Atlantic Yards project, which is building a stadium to house the Nets basketball team in Brooklyn. A lot of us were rooting for that to happen. Hometown hero Jay-Z even got involved, investing in the project and promoting it heavily. So what’s wrong with that, you say? What’s wrong with corporations taking over and making money in Brooklyn? Why is it a bad thing that luxury condos mean that more millionaires will be living among us? Wont that be good for the local economy? Wont it create jobs?

Well, that is the argument that Mayor Bloomberg and the investors are making. To hear the flipside of this argument, check out the videos below, which include excerpts of local residents expressing their concerns, their hopes for the neighborhoods they live in and how the development is impacting the block. Smif N Wessun’s own General Steele is one of the residents talking about the issue.

This is 2-minute trailer for the documentary My Brooklyn by Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean. For more info visit mybrooklynmovie.com. The documentary is currently in progress and will be finished in 2012.

* Watch 2 more videos on the subject with interviews from Downtown Brooklyn residents on both sides of the issue (including General Steele) nafter the jump! (more…)