Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the maverick of "Brick City."

... or poetry for that matter.

I recently got sucked into a powerful documentary series that's been airing on Sundance called "Brick City." I must admit that I was instantly attracted to viewing it because I work in Newark, the subject of the film.

It's created and directed by the award-winning filmmakers Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin, and it fans out around the city of Newark, New Jersey to capture the daily drama of a community striving to become a better, safer, stronger place to live.

Against great odds, Newark's citizens and its Mayor, Cory A. Booker, fight to raise the city out of nearly a half century of violence, poverty and corruption. In the five one-hour episodes, the lives of Mayor Booker, citizens on the front lines, and key figures re-making the city – from developers to gang members and youth mentors - intertwine in a portrait of a city at a critical moment in history.

Newark, New Jersey is known as "Brick City" for its architectural style, urban strength and human resilience. The city has consistently been a battlefield of high stakes drama, and in the wake of the riots and rebellion that exploded in 1967, it became a symbol of American urban decline. Filmed in the second full year of Mayor Booker's administration, "Brick City" follows the Mayor and member of his administration and average Newarkers who are engaged in the complex, difficult and essential work of urban renewal.

Think HBO's "The Wire" but in real life. Staggering, sad, funny and above all, powerful. Check it out. If you have cable or on-demand, you should be able to view it that way.

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