‘Zipper’ review was a real zinger, but documentary is worth seeing

To The Editor:

Re “ ‘Zipper’ stops short at exposing the whole story” (arts article, Aug. 8):

My name is Amy Nicholson, producer and director of “Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride,” now playing at the IFC Center, at W. Third St. and Sixth Ave. The film’s run at the IFC was recently extended through Thurs., Aug. 22.

I am a longtime Greenwich Village resident and reader of The Villager. I sit down and read it cover to cover as soon as it arrives because it’s the one place where I get the news about the things I care about most in my community. In recent years I’ve read intelligent, balanced and thorough coverage of everything from the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital (right down the street from me) and Jefferson Market grocery, the potential privatization of Washington Square Park, REBNY’s Jobs for New York PAC, the 150 Charles St. development, the Schnabel tower, air-rights issues and everything else having to do with Pier 40, the loss of our Food Emporium, the N.Y.U. 2031 expansion, and the list goes on.

For the reasons stated above, it was a no-brainer for me to ask my publicist to submit “Zipper” for review. It’s my neighborhood paper, it’s my neighbors’ neighborhood paper — everyone I know reads The Villager. And my film is playing at one of our neighborhood theaters!

While I freely admit, respect and accept the fact that critics have opinions, I was very disappointed when I read Trav S.D.’s review of my film. A simple fact-check would have answered some of his questions, such as why we did not include the New Luna Park, make mention of a recently announced (and not yet built) rollercoaster or any of the other additions and enhancements made “since 2010.” We stopped filming more than three years ago! Furthermore, It was not my intention to compare the old rides that left to the new rides that replaced them! I have nothing but well-wishes for anyone who operates amusements in Coney Island.

“Zipper” chronicles the massive rezoning of the Coney Island amusement district that was conceived by the Bloomberg administration’s Economic Development Corporation and carried out by the Department of City Planning. On a micro level, it examines the impact this rezoning had on many of the small businesses that were forced out as a result of the land grab that took place after a certain City Council member “had a cup of coffee” with his developer friend. Eddie Miranda owned and operated a Zipper on one such plot of land.

“Zipper” examines the way in which the Bloomberg administration has “upzoned” neighborhoods in order to encourage private investment. This economic development policy has resulted in many casualties, namely mom-and-pop businesses. It happened in Coney Island, just like it happened in Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Willet’s Point. Your critic wrote an entire review without mentioning Mayor Bloomberg, the City of New York, E.D.C., Department of City Planning, land use, public hearings, Amanda Burden, Domenic Recchia, Thor Equities — easily 70 percdent of the film’s content. Again, his prerogative, but not an honest examination of the film’s message.

We have received dozens of great reviews from the likes of the New York Daily News (five stars), The New York Times, Time Out NY, indieWire, Variety, New York Post, the Hollywood Reporter, L Magazine, the New York Observer, etc. The critic for the RealDeal — a real estate industry blog — while disagreeing with my feelings about the rezoning, gave an accurate accounting of the players and the process involved, before characterizing it all, sadly, as “city politics as usual.”

“Zipper” will not end here and now with our run at the IFC Center, but it makes me so sad to think that the same people (your readers) who feel so passionately about the changing landscape of our communities, brought about by the economic development policies and public-private partnerships pushed by the Bloomberg administration, will read your review of my film and have no desire whatsoever to see for themselves what really happened in the rezoning of Coney Island.

Very sincerely,

Amy Nicholson



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