What People are Saying about My Brooklyn


“My Brooklyn is a great pedagogical tool, ideal for providing both solid factual background, as well as human reactions to urban planning and development issues, from gentrification and security, to community and the role of government. It can’t help but provoke informed discussion on the hot everyday issues of living in a changing city.”

–Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University


“My Brooklyn elegantly weaves together the personal, political, and policy dimensions of gentrification. It is a powerful tool for opening our eyes to the institutional underpinnings of neighborhood change.”

–Angela Glover Blackwell, President and CEO of PolicyLink


“My Brooklyn is a great film for getting an audience to think, talk, and act.”

–Louis Massiah, Executive Director, Scribe Video Center (Philadelphia)


“For those of us who teach about gentrification, I cannot imagine a better resource than My Brooklyn. The film makes painfully concrete just what rent gaps are, how they are produced, and the machinations developers, semi-public officials, and politician engage in to fill them up, thereby creating the upper-class monoculture – and privatized riches – gentrification invariably has as its goal and result. Made just as concrete are the struggles engaged in by working-class people, small-time merchants, and others who seek to resist being displaced by – and ultimately pay the costs of – these machinations. Anyone who cares about real cities, and real rights to the city, needs to get their hands on a copy of My Brooklyn.”

–Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography, Syracuse University


“My Brooklyn is an emotional and visually rich account of the eviction of blacks and immigrants from the heart of Brooklyn. The film challenges us to look beneath the gloss of gentrification that overtakes so many cities today to trace the winners and losers of urban redevelopment.”

–Sharon Zukin, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York, and Author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places


“My Brooklyn provides an excellent analysis of gentrification, using personal reflections, historical background and a look at the complex process of public policy making. It is a powerful tool for sparking discussion and debate.”

–Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Planning, Hunter College/CUNY


“This is an extraordinary film, not only about Brooklyn but about the new America, the rise of the corporate state and the losses people are experiencing in so many corners of life. I was deeply moved, and Kelly Anderson’s personal narration shatters the barrier that can separate the filmmaker from her audience.”

–Stuart Ewen, Distinguished Professor of History and Sociology, The City University of New York 


“How does the Fulton Mall section of downtown Brooklyn, one of the most profitable and diversified shopping districts in New York City, a place beloved by generations of working class and immigrant residents, an area with near constant foot traffic from shoppers and commuters moving and mingling from before morning rush hour until after dark, become dominated by shiny, glassy, luxury residential highrises, and expensive boutique retail outlets? In short, how does gentrification change the character, commerce, and culture of an urban area?My Brooklyn answers these often disturbing and confusing questions. This excellent documentary is chock-full of captivating stories and straight-no-chaser analysis of how profit motive and class warfare in favor of wealthy people trumps the interests of the working and middle classes. This film’s depictions of where democracy in the new New York is headed may be hard to swallow, but political movements for social and economic fairness are impossible without learning and discussing what Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean captured in My Brooklyn.”

–Brian Purnell, Professor of Africana Studies, Bowdoin College, and Author of Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn


“This film is valuable as a teaching tool on urban affairs because it uncovers how city government used its public power to enrich wealthy private developers by virtually taking the wealth of Brooklyn’s small
business owners, and destroying the community’s economy, culture, and habitat.”

–Karen Gibson, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University


  4 Responses to “What People are Saying about My Brooklyn”

  1. I love the documentary and i’m still mad about the Armani exchange in my downtown and how I can’t live where I grew up anymore … Here is a snippet of the first of many poems about the gentrification…called ” progressive”

    Oppression fails
    On those who don’t want to be oppressed
    Dichotomy exists instead of unity
    Articulate vs acting white
    Yes only 4% of us have masters degrees
    A 400% increase
    from when it was illegal to read

    Mixed vs interracial dating
    now since u get some color
    u get a free pass
    U got so much to learn about the black tax
    glass ceiling and profiling
    By skin or car color’s wax
    Inclusive is not progressive until u lived a day
    brown or black
    3.July. 13

    • Please. Stop with the melodrama. Fulton Street Mall has only the almost-always empty Armani Exchange. Either it will go soon, or … it will remain empty. Who shops at Armani Exchange, anyway? Last time I checked, H&M was quite affordable, as was Gap Factory. And, the old demographic is still the primary shopper on Fulton Street, in these new stores. I actually groaned when I heard Sephora was going in at Borough Hall, but again…lots of happy shoppers who are not evil gentrifiers. These are the level of retailers that are doing well in Downtown Brooklyn and catering to the demographic who, according to some of the reviews above, have been kicked out. Really? Just take a walk down Fulton Street, as I have just about every day for the last 20+ years. Yes, I do mourn the loss of Brooklyn’s uniqueness, but this is not a gentrifier issue. It is an issue of our consumption behavior as a population in general. It is sad that our global community shops at the same 20 retailers, but do not foster the lies that fancy stores are displacing an entire group of people, because neither side of that comment is true. Nothing is black and white, especially not this story of Downtown Brooklyn. I have lived in downtown Brooklyn since 1990, where I CHOSE to move, straight from the west coast, over Manhattan. No, I am not a native Brooklynite, but that is probably longer than the age of some people lamenting the passing of their old Brooklyn.

      • Thanks for you comment. It would be great if you could see the film — it doesn’t place blame on gentrifiers, and really doesn’t take issue with the new retail. The film is about the ways public policy was used to turn Downtown Brooklyn into a high-end residential area, using tools like zoning and tax breaks, and about how that process didn’t take into account the very successful existing retail environment. The displacement of more than 100 small businesses in Downtown Brooklyn isn’t alleged – it’s well documented in My Brooklyn and in the press. Chain stores are a separate issue – personally, I think independently owned retail is better for jobs and for the city in general. But it’s beyond the scope of My Brooklyn, except that the privileging of big box chain retail is a hallmark of the same economic development strategy that has turned much of NYC into a corporate, tourist-oriented generic place, much like the current Fulton Mall.

  2. Yankees are constantly claiming the south is racist. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the board members that serve the govenors office. He couldn’t couldn’t find ONE person of color for that board? That is outrageous! Sometimes I feel the word racist is overused by people to claim a person who disagrees with them or their politics is racist, but COME ON, the governor is definitely a racist if he put together that board!

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