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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

"Jobs, housing, and hope": an Atlantic Yards reference in the She's Gotta Have It reboot

Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) and
Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos) 
New York State on Pause report: I just got around to watching Season Two of the Netflix re-boot of Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It, first aired last spring.

It's a lush, people-crammed ode (with a great soundtrack) to stoop life, street life, Brooklyn life, black life, black artistic life, made all the more poignant by our current enforced quarantine. If you want to see our city, our borough, it's a wonderful set of tableaus.

I never made it to Lee's annual Prince tribute, but it's a burst of purple joy, as protagonist Nola Darling takes photos of the enthralled participants. (And, as at right, poses with her friend Mars Blackmon.)

Is the show great? Umm... as the reviews suggest, the politics, esthetics, and character development are a mixed bag, and there's no small amount of Spike Lee self-referentiality.

Wouldja believe that the Mars character, played by Lee himself in the original 1986 film and in the series by Anthony Ramos, learns from his mother that his real father was a guy named Mookie? Of course Mookie was a character played by Lee in Do The Right Thing, and latter-day Mars's mother is played by Rosie Perez, who had her breakout performance in DTRT.

The development episode

And yes, there's an Atlantic Yards reference, sort of. In the second episode of Season Two, there's a scene in which an arrogant white developer named Danton holds a public press conference for his new project in Fort Greene, and is met by oppositional locals, as shown in the photo.

His claim of "80-20"--a reference to 20% affordable housing--draws no applause.

"Jobs, housing, and hope," declares his aide Clorinda (a friend of Nola's), the uneasy black face in charge of community relations for the not-so-subtly named Amistad Development Group. (The ship Amistad was known for a slave rebellion.)

That recalls the original "Jobs, Housing, and Hoops" slogan for Atlantic Yards.

But the episode is a caricature. No developer would ever hold a public event where they'd be outnumbered by opponents, and not without bringing in groups of community allies and construction workers for backup.

It's telling that, along with the homemade signs used in the protest are some signs from "Block 80 Flatbush Towers," a mostly unsuccessful opposition crusade that made some good arguments, but saw the developers of the two-tower 80 Flatbush project win approval in September 2018 with most of what they wanted.

From the Brooklyn Standard
The episode ends with shots of various new towers in the area, such as 300 Ashland, below.

There's surely a critique of whether such towers near Fort Greene and in Downtown Brooklyn brought sufficient public benefit, given public ownership of land (in some cases) and tax breaks and delayed cultural components, especially in the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning where no affordable housing was required..

But there aren't enough brownstones to go around. After all, Nola's only living in a Fort Greene brownstone thanks to the flexible generosity of her godmother landlord. So don't look for this show to hash out that complexity.


  1. Yeah 80 flatbush will have 900 apartments and only 200 is affordable, break that down for the three lowincome levels, and 200 will become really 100 units for the three levels


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