I had never even heard of the "High Line" before, or the neighborhood of Chelsea, which is in Manhattan. This documentary is primarily about The High Line School named "Avenues", an exclusive private "global school" that when this documentary was made charged 40K a year in tuition, and the public housing project across the street, where most families dream of making 40K a year.
It is a story of the neighborhood's past too. For the "High Line" was built in the 1930s as an elevated railroad to prevent the deaths of people who were killed by the street level railroad that was there before. What is a railroad doing in the middle of New York City? Until well past the mid century mark of the 20th century, Chelsea was a manufacturing center - Nabisco had a factory there where the Oreo was invented. There were slaughter houses and Bell Labs even had an actual laboratory there! There were docks teeming with longshoremen. The docks were gone by 1970, and so were the other manufacturing centers. There were always tenements in Chelsea, so the poverty just enlarged, and the High Line fell into disuse and into disrepair.
So, eventually, the High Line was replaced with glittering office buildings, apartments "reasonably priced" from the five to fifteen millions (???), and thus the school. While the poor across the street look on.
This documentary is unique because almost all of it is in the words of the kids, both at the exclusive school and in the projects. The private school kids are insightful, but in spite of all of their wealth, they feel tremendous pressure to excel in a future economy that changes so rapidly they don't know how to process it all. The poor kids talk about their aspirations. Among the kids in public housing is one firecracker of a kid - nine year old Rosa. Nine going on 29. She has insights way past her age and sass to spare. She'll need it, because she wants to be a surgeon someday, and that will be a formidable climb out of her current situation.
Some particularly interesting moments. One of the kids from the projects reveals himself as a Republican to the shock of his friends. Strong language is probably not used just because the camera is running. And there is a suicide among the interviewees. And it is not one of the poor kids.
This is what happens when a nation doesn't make anything anymore. The rich are hedge fund managers, and the poor sell what other countries make and serve the rich. That's my assessment of the situation, because the documentarian never speaks. He lets the statistics and subjects speak for themselves. I'd recommend it.
Documentary about class division and gentrification in the West Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and its effects on public housing.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 28, 2021 at 08:13 PM