Doc Tells Story Of Tenants’ Historic Fight Against Gentrification

August 11, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

The new documentary It Took 50 Years: Francis Goldin And The Struggle For Cooper Square tells a story that New Yorkers today need to hear. Francis Goldin, the now 90-year-old literary agent, led the fight against an urban renewal plan posed by the city in 1959 which would have entirely destroyed a neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Goldin founded the Cooper Square Council, which took the unprecedented step of devising their own alternative plan for the threatened neighborhood.

The most unique thing about this documentary, as pointed by the film’s IndieGoGo page, is that after decades of battle against the forces of city bureaucracy, the Cooper Square Council actually succeeded in their plan to renew their community on their own terms, without forcing out the people who lived there. “We see our film as a tool in a larger national dialogue about peoples’ right to place and affordable housing,” the filmmakers write.  The film is currently seeking funding. Go support a badass 90-year-old today. (Photo: Ryan Joseph)