Urban Renewal

Reason.tv: Battle for Brooklyn-Eminent Domain Abuse Gone Wild


The Battle For Brooklyn, a documentary about one man's fight to stop a private developer from using eminent domain to take his home, recently opened in select theaters in New York City after a successful film-festival run.

In 2003, billionaire real estate developer and New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner decided to move the team to Brooklyn, with the intention of building an arena, an affordable housing project, and bringing desperately needed jobs to the borough of Brooklyn. Ratner's friend and fellow billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, enthusiastically put the weight of top-down government planning behind the project. That included using the city government's extensive powers of eminent domain, despite the fact eminent domain is supposed to be used only in cases where development is for public uses such as schools and roads. And despite the fact that the construction of what became known as the "Atlantic Yards" project would displace many thriving businesses and homes.

Graphic designer Daniel Goldstein fought for nearly seven years to keep his home out of the hands of Ratner's company, Forest City Ratner. Goldstein's quixotic struggle is the centerpiece of The Battle For Brooklyn.

Reason.tv sat down with co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley to discuss eminent domain abuse and political perceptions of their film. Galinsky and Hawley insist their film is not a polemic, but rather an all-too-common story of a single person fighting an injustice against figures whose power and influence drawf his own.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. About 4.40 minutes.

Go to http://reason.tv for downloadable versions, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

Related video: Billionaires vs. Brooklyn's Best Bar: Eminent Domain Abuse and the Atlantic Yards Project.

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  1. They’ll bulldoze his house right Down to the Well.

  2. Now THAT’S how you use the circle-with-a-slash-through-it-thing.

  3. I liked the part when the socialists and the wealthy collaborated to steal from the common citizen.

    What a plot twist!

    1. I found it implausible.

  4. I only half-jokingly suggest that future victims save the millions of dollars they would have otherwise collectively given to lawyers in a futile fight and instead pay that money to a long established lobbying firm called the mafia. Perhaps its time to fight lawlessness with lawlessness?

    1. I only half-jokingly reply that violence is always the best solution.

      1. Too bad I gots a monopoly on that! HEE HAW!!

        1. Gubber is right. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    2. I’m pretty sure A) Ratner has this covered, and B) he can pay them more than you.

  5. On the off chance that someone from Reason is reading the comments…

    What is Reason‘s policy on the distribution/broadcast of Reason.TV clips?

    I operate a private Roku channel with libertarian oriented clips (Cop Block, Liberty on Tour, RT’s Adam vs The Man, etc.)

    George Donnelly & We Won’t Fly just signed on, and I’d really like to put some Reason.TV clips up. I’ve emailed you, but I got an answer that was neither yes or no – when I wrote back, I got no response.

    Sorry for being so damned persistent, but barring a restraining order, I’m going to pursue this until I get a yes or no answer.


    1. Mr. DNA – what’s the name of the channel? DNA-vision?

      1. Helix-TV: For the double spiral in every drop of us.

      2. The name of the channel is Libertydrome, in honor of the David Cronenberg film (see link in my handle)

        I do have another private channel with a semi- Mister Kamikaze theme going…

        To Anne Archist… if it was a matter of simply pasting Reason.TV’s embed code, that’s exactly what I’d do (in fact, that’s what the initial response from Reason advised me to do), but since I have to convert the files to Roku compatibility, upload them to my server, then type some tedious code, I don’t want to go through all that trouble only to get a takedown nottice from some Koch-funded law firm, or even worse… a visit from The Jacket.

        1. The Libertydrome: Two men enter, one is set free…

          I’ll look for it.

        2. You are truly an altruistic pervert. I’ll check out your Roku channel.

          1. Thanks. Maybe we can get enough Roku owners among the H&R rabble to clamor for Reason.TV on Roku, and Reason can add Roku to the endless list of ways to follow Reason. Everybody wins!

    2. I don’t see any copyright notices on their videos, but that’s just a formality anyway. Why don’t you just steal share their product?

    3. Yes or no.

  6. OT: Rupert Murdoch attacked in Parliament, attacker bitch slapped by Mrs. Murdoch

    Rupert Murdoch attacked in Parliament

    1. because the murdoch’s are such paragons of virtue. pie in the face is the least of their extensive probs

      1. Ah. Physical assaults are funny when they involve pies. I love that excuse.

      2. And i’m sure the attacker was striking a blow for liberty, rather than leftist anti-FOX hypocrisy.

      3. Urine. Stupid. They go together like ice cream and pie.

  7. God, that clip is full of such whiney tea-bagging fascists. Someone tell them to go home and pay their taxes so we can bring PROGRESS. Idiots.

  8. Hmmm. The movie is playing in Brooklyn close to downtown Manhattan. I might go to watch it in August and check out the situation at Ground Zero while I’m in the area.

  9. WRT to the Atlantic Yards project, in 10 years I want to see:
    1) How much of the proposed project is actually complete.
    2) How much the overruns on what the city has to spend are.
    3) How many times Ratner has come to the city for easing of the terms/more funds.
    4) Whether the team has moved somewhere else.
    5) Who is actually living in the “public housing” part of the project. (And, if it happens to be poor people, what condition the housing is in.)

  10. I love watching bloated, welfare-paralyzed twats getting in front of cameras, supporting crap like this, because to their effete, spongy, tiny, handout-programmed brains, it means Teh Magik Jobbz Fairy iz gonna com’round and bring teh JOBBZZZ ‘n’ put ’em under our pilloze!

    It just doesn’t seem to matter to these doughy, thoughtless, pro-union lap dogs what’s really going on, how jobs really get created and who actually creates them, or who’s behind what or whether it’s lawful…as long as someone in PR remembers to say “teh JOBBZZZ are coming!” into the microphone, at least once per speech.

    I wish I could tase some of these slack-jawed anencephalics from my remote location, simply by clicking my mouse. Seriously, if you still think government seizure of private land is the way to summon Teh Magik Jobbzz Fairy, you are too stupid to live, and I want you to stand right where you are so my satellite taser can find your worthless ass.

    1. I like that idea very much.

  11. This movie is so discouraging and malicious. Apparently you can only live in Brooklyn if you’re a Goldman Sachs employee.

  12. Doesn’t really seem very fair!

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