As NY1 continues its series previewing the soon-to-be-open Barclays Center in Brooklyn, attention turns to the protracted controversy that surrounded the project, documented in the acclaimed film "Battle for Brooklyn." NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Michael Galinsky, the director of "Battle for Brooklyn," wants to make sure that no one forgets just how the Barclays Center took center court.
"I love basketball," Galinsky says. "I'm a huge basketball fan. I don't think it negates the fact, though, that the process was really ugly and corrupt."
The film follows Brooklynite Daniel Goldstein's fight against developer Bruce Ratner, whose eventual use of eminent domain cleared the way for the arena, the cornerstone of his Atlantic Yards project. Towards the end of the more-than-eight-year process, Goldstein's condo is among the private properties seized for the project.
"Atlantic Yards was supposed to have been about jobs, housing and hoops," Goldstein says. "It was not supposed to be just about basketball and what's happening in these coming weeks is just basketball, just an arena. That's not what was promised and that's not why Ratner received so many public subsides, received the use of eminent domain.
"Battle for Brooklyn" premiered last year but it's set to have a nationwide release next week. Screenings around town include a showing at the Dean Playground Ball Field, just a stone's throw from the arena. The film will screen there next Friday, the same night the Barclays Center opens.
"We knew there was going to be so much press and hoopla about the arena," Galinsky says. "We wanted to make sure that people remembered what really happened."
Other groups will also hold a series of events next week to bring awareness about the Atlantic Yards project's history and their recommendations for its future, including Goldstein's "Develop, Don't Destroy Brooklyn."
"The arena is a small portion of the 22-acre site," Goldstein says. "The rest of the site has been demolished, turned into vacant lots and parking lots. That has to change. That can't fester there for decades, which is what is what is going to happen if Forest City Ratner remains the developer. So we need to expedite the construction of affordable housing and real job creation."
For more on the film, go online to www.battleforbrooklyn.com.