Saturday, April 19, 2014

Coming to PBS this Month

Great news.  Word from director Amy Nicholson that Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride, which ran at the IFC last summer, will be airing on PBS on April 28th:

"The Bloomberg administration’s many large-scale rezonings have completely transformed neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn, Chelsea and Williamsburg, leaving many New Yorkers wondering how they ended up living in a luxury city full of glass towers and national retail chains. Megaprojects like Hudson Yards and Willets Point promise more of the same.

A story about greed, politics and the land grab of the century, ZIPPER chronicles the battle over one of the last bastions of an unfettered New York. On a small rented lot in the heart of Coney Island’s gritty amusement district, Eddie Miranda proudly operates a 38-year-old carnival contraption called the Zipper. When a real estate battle brews between an opportunistic developer and the Bloomberg administration, Eddie and his ride - along with many of Coney Island’s eclectic small businesses - are forced to leave.

 Through interviews with top-level city officials, famed developer Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, and the carnies themselves, Zipper examines the high-stakes power struggle that plays out in the media for over four years. The billionaires at the center of the conflict lock horns when the City denounces the developer’s glitzy vision of condos and shopping and, ironically, hatches its own grand scheme to transform the area with the promise of housing and retail.

Can a reinvented Coney Island remain “The People’s Playground?” With a new city administration now in place, will the affordable housing that was a central argument for change ever get built? Does the selling of Coney Island as a brand ultimately sanitize its spirit? Be it an affront to history or simply the path of progress, ZIPPER examines the high cost of economic development. In an increasingly corporate landscape where authenticity is often sacrificed in the interest of growth, the Zipper may be just the beginning of what is lost."

Do take time to watch it, and tell your family & friends to see it too. Like many other viewers, I'll be catching it for the second time, and carrying thoughts of it with me when I head on down to the boardwalk over the coming months. The film's an insistent reminder of what matters, and what's all too easily lost.

ZIPPER: CONEY ISLAND'S LAST WILD RIDE airs Monday, April 28th at 10:00pm (Cablevision 13/713, Time Warner 13/713, Comcast (NJ) 240 (CT) 237, RCN 613, Patriot Media 165, and Verizon Fios 513.)

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