REZONING HARLEM screening at City College

April 14th, 2012 11am-2:30pm at City College

Screening of REZONING HARLEM followed by a Forum with:

Monique Ndigo Washington, Dir of Legislation & Human Services for Councilman Charles Barron & Founder of Take Back Our City Campaign;

Antonio Reynoso, Chief of Staff for Councilwoman Diana Reyna;

Javier Carcamo, Co-Chair of Land Use & Zoning Comm. - CB9;

Organizers/Members from Picture the Homeless;


Jane Hertko- Community Activist.

REZONING HARLEM available for educational distribution through Third World Newreel

We are very pleased to announce that REZONING HARLEM is now available for educational distribution through

TWN Third World Newsreel


Third World Newsreel

| Rezoning Harlem: The Battle over Harlem’s Future

Since 2002, more than 100 rezonings have been signed into law in New York City, including the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.

Rezoning Harlem

follows longtime members of the Harlem community as they fight a 2008 rezoning that threatens to erase the history and culture of their legendary neighborhood and replace it with luxury housing, offices, and big-box retail. A shocking exposé of how a group of ordinary citizens, passionate about the future of their treasured community, are systematically shut out of the city’s decision-making process, revealing New York City’s broken public review system. This film provides a behind the scenes view of how policy affects gentrification, resulting in homogenous neighborhoods devoid of character.

Filmmakers’ Statement:

“The 125th Street rezoning was an intense time line; we were uptown in Harlem, we were downtown at City Planning and City Hall, talking to as many people as we could and filming as much as possible. We worked closely with community members and urban planners to unravel the often cryptic planning language and navigate through the various steps in the city’s land use process. We focused on historic preservation, small businesses, housing and displacement, height limits, the connection between the real estate industry and politics, and the over-arching theme: the community of Harlem that was left out of the planning process.”

–Natasha Florentino & Tamara Gubernat

“The film succeeds wonderfully in portraying the passion of grassroots activists from Harlem as well as revealing the machinations of local government and the power wielded by property developers over elected officials. I believe that

Rezoning Harlem

is especially useful in helping the students to think of themselves as potential social change activists.”

–Professor Abigail Schoneboom, LaGuardia Community College

Rezoning Harlem

is an excellent educational resource for academic, community and professional audiences. Too often zoning and urban planning issues are explained in a dull and boring format. This film deconstructs a complex zoning issue in a way that enlightens, clarifies and electrifies. It will be valuable to those who are far from Harlem and New York City because it sheds light on the critical debates that confront all urban communities.”

–Professor Tom Angotti, Hunter College and Author of

New York for Sale

Rezoning Harlem

is a rich visual text that explores the linkages between rezoning, gentrification and displacement.”

–Professor Lily M. Hoffman, City College of New York, CUNY

Maysles Cinema, NY, 2008

Hitting the Streets Screening, Hunter College, NY, 2008

Is Gentrification a Dirty Word? Urban Studies Symposium, LaGuardia College, NY, 2008

Gentrification Film Series, Lehman College, NY, 2009

Brecht Forum, NY, 2009

Grassroots Justice Festival Film Series, Brooklyn Workers Center, NY

Natasha Florentino & Tamara Gubernat | documentary | 40 minutes | 2008

Higher Education Institutions | $195

K-12, Public Libraries & Select Groups | $49.95

view in catalog

view trailer

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| 2011 New Releases

TWN’s new catalog is available online! Featuring thirteen independent films made by and about people of color, our new catalog includes titles from Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, China, Turkey and the United States. Click the link below to download the PDF version.

download catalog

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Updates on the Atlantic Yards Development

In Security News:

The most current renderings of Bruce Ratners arena show strips of waist-high, metal, security bollards, raising questions over whether the security structure will end up looking similar to the large granite blocks recently placed outside the LIRR station. To read that story click here:

The Empire State Development Corporation is keeping security plans for Atlantic Yards a secret, violating the Freedom of Inorfmation Law. The ESCD is a public agency and the new security measures could drastically affect the external aesthetic of the building.

Read what happened when a Brooklyn-based paper sent a FOIL request to the ESDC in regards to new security plan for Atlanic Yards:

In Health News:

According to the Architects Newspaper Blog, the Bloomberg Admin has recently released a study called the “New York City Community Air Survey,“ turning out to be one of the most comprehensive studies of the city’s air quality ever taken. Ironically, some of the most polluted areas are located outside of Manhattan, along expressways built by Bloomberg himself. The area around the Atlantic Yards site has already shown to be one of the more congested areas, and as more blocks begin to close and traffic grows heavier around the area, it is predicted that the air quality will become even worse.

Click here to check out the map indicating the most heavily polluted areas in the city:

Atlantic Yards Projects Forces Homeless Shelter to Close

The Pacific Dean Homeless Shelter, located in Prospect Hight Brooklyn, will be closing next week to make way for apartment towers which won’t be developed for several years. In the meantime the space will be used to store construction vehicles. Approximately 80 families currently reside in the shelter. According to the Department of Homeless Services most of the families have been placed into permanent housing with the remaining families to be placed in alternative shelters.

For more information contact the Department of Homeless Services:

Columbia Plans to Continue Expansion Despite Court Ruling

Columbia University officials have outlined their first plan for expansion since the court ruling stating that the private institution could not use eminent domain to take over privately owned buildings in Harlem. As buildings continue to be torn down and ex-residents give up their expensive battle against the university, officials involved with the project have remained extremely evasive when asked about the eminent domain issue. According to this article it seems that the development is continuing as planned:

What are some of your thoughts?

Why the City Council's Rejection of Related's Plan to Re-Develop the Armory Matters

The recent decision of the New York City Council to reject plans to re-develop the Armory holds important implications for the city’s future beyond just development. The pressing issue of how to create and maintain jobs as neighborhoods are being reshaped and re-developed is probably one of the biggest facing New York City at the moment. The most recent battle over living-wage jobs took place on Saturday December 19th at the Queens Center Mall, as community and labor organizations gathered together to have their voices heard.

Read the Daily News Article here:

Controversial Brooklyn Triangle Project Halted

On December 22nd, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Emily Goodman ordered a temporary restraining order on the development of the 31-acre Brooklyn Triangle site. The plan was set to allow for 1,851 units of housing, 800 of which were to be set aside for low to moderate income families. However, the project has remained controversial since its outset with community groups claiming that the rezoning had led to the discrimination and exclusion of minority groups. As with many of the current rezonings taking place all over our city, much of the decision-making has been kept secretive and remains in the hands of wealthy and well-connected corporations. It is a big step that the courts are finally starting to recognize the injustices that have happened and force the development corporations to be more responsible.

Read the NYTimes Article here:

Mayor Has Submitted Veto of City Councils Decision Not to Pass the Armory Plan without a CBA

Call your City Council Members and thank them for opposing a development deal that was bad for the Bronx and NYC!

Don’t let the Mayor override this historic City Council decision which could pave the way for responsible development in NYC.

Find out who your City Council representative is at:

Speaker Christine Quinn:
(212) 788-7210
Ask to speak with Ramon Martinez or ask to leave a message for the speaker.

Tony Avella (chair of the Land Use Subcommittee)



Oliver Koppell
718-549-7300 (district)
212-788-7080 (city hall)
Ask to speak directly with Koppell or with Arlene

Larry Seabrook:
District Office Phone: 718-994-9900
212-788-6873 city hall
Ask to speak directly with Mr. Seabrook

Maria del Carmen Arroyo
District Office Phone: 718-402-6130
212-788-7384 city hall
Ask to speak with Ms Arroyo or with Joanne, her Chief of Staff

Helen Foster
District Office Phone
; 718-588-7500
212-788-6856 city hall
Ask to Speak with Foster or her Chief of Staff Jim Faibanks

Annabel Palma
District Office Phone
: 718-792-1140
212-788-6853 city hall
Ask to Speak to Annabel Palma or to Megan Lynch, her Chief of Staff or Jeffrey Lauffer, her legislative aide.

Joel Rivera
District Office Phone
: 718-842-8100
212-788-6966 city hall
Ask to speak with Joel Rivera or Albert Alvarez, his Chief of Staff

James Vacca
District Office Phone
: 718-931-1721
212-788-7375 city hall
Ask to speak with James Vacca or with Jeff Lynch his Chief of Staff

Fernando Cabrera:

Bloomberg Threatens Attorney General Cuomo over his efforts to subpoena records from the NYCEDC on WIllet's Point Plan

Here is the official news release from Willets Point United Inc.:

“Willets Point United Inc. commends NYS Attorney General Cuomo’s decision to investigate NYCEDC’s financing of unlawful lobbying done by Claire Shulman’s local development corporation, to enable the proposed Willets Point redevelopment. Willets Point United Inc. had requested such an investigation on June 30, 2009. Since that date, Shulman’s LDC has not only continued its unlawful operations with impunity, but has been awarded an additional state grant in excess of $1.5 million.

Today’s New York Times report – about how the City’s chief lawyer has stonewalled Cuomo’s investigation by attempting to withhold documents, and how the Bloomberg administration attempted to blackmail Cuomo to influence his investigation, by threatening Cuomo’s candidacy for governor – is a wake-up call for all New Yorkers concerning the illegal tactics that have been used by the Mayor and NYCEDC in their attempt to
acquire Willets Point land. If the Mayor’s administration has resorted to using such tactics against AG Cuomo, there should be no doubt that it has used similarly despicable tactics against the people of Willets
Point throughout the attempt to acquire their property.

Mayor Bloomberg took an oath to uphold the rule of law. But not only has Bloomberg looked the other way concerning the unlawful lobbying activities of local development corporations – even telling the TimesLedger newspapers "These groups are designed to lobby. I don’t know if they technically broke the law” (Duke, Nathan and Gustafson, Anna. 2009. Mayor doubts Shulman lobby broke law. TimesLedger, August 27.) – now, as reported by the New York Times, his administration has attempted to impede an investigation by the NYS Attorney General concerning those same unlawful acts. All New Yorkers must hold Mayor Bloomberg accountable for his failure to uphold the rule of law, and to impede an investigation by AG Cuomo. These may be impeachable offenses.

The unlawful use of City funds for lobbying by Shulman’s LDC, and the City’s attempt to stonewall Cuomo’s investigation of it, are part of a pattern of disturbing behavior that has corrupted key aspects of the proposed Willets Point redevelopment, and which now includes NYCEDC’s refusal to publicly disclose the details of its plan to install new Van Wyck access ramps as part of the project. Engineers have already determined that the ramps and development will cause severe adverse traffic impacts that threaten the quality of life of surrounding communities, and NYCEDC is keeping secret its records relating to the roadway modifications and traffic analyses. Just as AG Cuomo has insisted that there be no secrets concerning the transfers of funds by NYCEDC to facilitate unlawful lobbying, so too should there be no secrets concerning NYCEDC’s disruptive plans for Queens roadways.

Willets Point United Inc. considers the investigation by AG Cuomo to be the breath of fresh air that may finally begin to impose law and order on a corrupt City-driven process that will otherwise continue to violate the rights of Willets Point property owners. Willets Point United Inc. is hopeful that the proposed Willets Point redevelopment now will be seen to be the fraud that it truly is; and that AG Cuomo’s investigation will inspire both reform of New York City’s “shadow government” which includes NYCEDC and other local development corporations, as well as the resignations of NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky, Deputy Mayor (and former NYCEDC President) Robert Leiber, and all others who have had oversight authority concerning the corrupt Willets Point project.“