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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Film Documents Activists’ Fight with Forest City Over Atlantic Yards

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

No sleep till.
  • No sleep till.

Cleveland’s history is hog-tied to a number of companies, but one in particular has shaped and re-shaped the region over the course of the last century, a company that appropriately takes its corporate moniker from the 216’s shorthand: Forest City Enterprises.

Long-steered by the Ratner family, the company, which started out as a local lumber yard, is now global real estate player. But one branch of the corporate tree has been front and center in recent years: Forest City Ratner Companies, Bruce Ratner’s NYC real estate firm. This outfit is behind the Jay-Z-fronted, Bloomberg-backed, Russian billionaire-greased Atlantic Yards project, a massive facelift of downtown Brooklyn that includes the Net’s new home, the Barclay Center.

But despite the official narrative, the sailing hasn’t been smooth. The Brooklyn community fought a near-decade against the project, a righteous NIMBY struggle the size of Normandy. The quixotic push from community activist against Forest City and New York politicos was ready-made for the movies, and a new documentary on the struggle has recently been released, “Battle for Brooklyn.”

Below is an interview with the film’s director Michael Galinsky and activist Dan Goldstein, who fought against the government’s attempt to oust him from his apartment via. eminent domain. The film documents how Forest City colluded with government officials (no legislature ever voted on the project) to jam the project down Brooklyn’s throat, according to the interview.

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