This episode of Reconnaissance is the product of audio recorded at public meetings, conversations, and demonstrations in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn over the past six months, chronicling the civic protest of the proposed multi-million dollar redevelopment of the historic Bedford Union Armory, which has existed up to the present as public land, into a combination of a small number of a recreation center, “affordable or low income housing units,” luxury condominiums, and office and retail space.
This is a portrait of the people of Crown Heights, the strong legacy of civic engagement and coalition-based community organizing here, especially around the politics and economics of housing. This is also a story about capitalism failing the people, propelling systemic inequality, white supremacism, and corporate greed—and how this might be a moment to build positive alternative models at the level of local government. This is also a story about what you learn when you just show up places and listen.
Public meeting held on August 2, 2017, in which space was held for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to explain why he thinks Crown Heights residents should be excited about the proposed redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory. As de Blasio did not show up to the meeting, he was represented by a stand-in (left).
“KILL THE DEAL” was produced by Sarah Mendelsohn and Fred Schmidt-Arenales.
It was released on 10.19.2017.
Thank you to everyone featured in this episode, including Jabari Brisport, Diana Richardson, Esteban Giron, and Donna Mossman.
“KILL THE DEAL” features “You Gave Me Love” by Crown Heights Affair (edited by Frank Agrario) and “Carry On (Dubbel Dutch Remix)” by Tkay Maidza, feat. Killer Mike.
Project applicants working on the proposed redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory:
-New York City Economic Development Corporation
-New York City Department of City-Wide Administrative Services (DCAS)
-Sam Schwartz Engineering
Community organizations and activist groups fighting against the proposed redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory:
–DSA (Democratic Socialists of America)
Images from Kill the Deal public talks and demonstrations, February – August, 2017.