Greetings From Asbury Park will screen at 7pm on Sunday, February 15 at 322 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Filmmaker Christina Eliopoulos & Associate Producer/Activist Kerry Margaret Butch will be present for a discussion following the screening.
Angie, 91, lived through three decades of rust, riot and ruin in Asbury Park, the one-time postcard paradise. Now the tiny bungalow that she has called home, for half her life, will be seized by eminent domain. Hundreds of homes, apartment buildings, local businesses, are boarded up, ready for the wrecking ball. In fact, 29 city blocks — 56 acres of waterfront property and historic boardwalk attractions— now belong to a private developer and will be razed to make way for 3,100 luxury condominiums, an ersatz city within a city.
Angie is wholly confused by this strange twist of fate. She appeals to the Mayor, to the City Council. Her voice quivering with sadness, her pleas ring out across a vast emptiness. Her neighbors lived here. Where did they go? she wonders. But this is welcome progress, and terrific tax revenues, say city officials. The revitalized Asbury Park will be a thrilling combination of SoHo and South Beach. Dana Berliner, a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice tells us New Jersey leads the nation in eminent domain abuse. Scholars and experts on community development point out that this plan indeed exacerbates the tension and division of race and class and threatens the very identity of this little shore resort. Meanwhile, the bulldozers are in Angie’s backyard. A prayer group holds a vigil in an abandoned lot. We visit numerous families – a Pakistani couple who run a motel, a law student with an apartment overlooking the ocean, a widow living with her six grandchildren in her childhood home. They are devastated by their impending loss.
Angie picks up the real estate listings, and scans them with her magnifying glass. Where can I afford to go, she wonders. Angie’s attorney arrives and tries to explain her options: a court case. The outcome: Maybe enough money for half a studio apartment. The reality: She is facing her last summer in this house
The night will also feature a slide show of Asbury Park photographs spanning over 50 years.ARTISTS FEATURED: Alan Barnett, Dennis Carroll, Kay Harris & Milton Edelman, Kevin Hinkle, and Russ Meseroll.