Photo by Tracy Collins
“Our city grows so fast that there is some danger of the events and incidents of more than ten years gone being totally forgotten.” So wrote Walt Whitman in the early 1860s, describing the development of Brooklyn. But could the poet and long-time Brooklyn resident have foreseen the battles waged between land developers and neighborhood residents nearly 150 years later?
Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley’s film, “Battle for Brooklyn,” screening May 1 at Brooklyn Skill Share, chronicles the struggle of one borough resident in his attempts to thwart a huge land development project, which will facilitate the relocation the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn next season. Anguish and mixed emotions persist on both sides of this battle, highlighting the complex flavor of Brooklyn’s sprawling and diverse neighborhoods.
“Battle for Brooklyn” paints a critical portrait of real estate developer Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Project, a commercial and residential development of 16 high-rise buildings under construction in Prospect Heights, near Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene. The centerpiece of the project is the Barclays Center, which will serve as the new home of the Nets. Ratner is the current minority owner of the Nets, and as Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, he has been at the forefront of this project since it was proposed in 2003.