(Liberalism) Together with Strangers (Movie Night, Brooklyn Bridge Park)


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Liberal public space is built upon the togetherness of strangers, who gather for no greater reason or purpose apart from the simple pleasure of coming together in public to look at something. The lower the common denominator, the better. All summer, there were old movies on the sloped lawn at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the East River and Lower Manhattan. We managed to happen by the night they were showing Rocky. A civic-private-public partnership, the event is free and open to the public, attracting all summer people across the Brooklyn class-racial divides. Like the side shot of the eastern tower of the Brooklyn Bridge where the cables are joined, it’s a meeting place for multitudes. In this miniature utopia, it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone can come, and everyone gets along, and everybody understands that a little 30 + year old South Philly agon goes a long way. In these kinds of pop-culture movie classics, every part is instantly remembered and instantly recognized, and appreciated as such, for what it’s worth. A time capsule, the screen and the city and the lights of the city flicker together. For some reason, all of this meaningless quotidian stuff gets lost in political theory.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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1 Response to (Liberalism) Together with Strangers (Movie Night, Brooklyn Bridge Park)

  1. Mel Scult says:

    Sounds wonderful. i lived in Park Slope for a few years. I think in many ways Brooklyn or sections of it is the “village” of our day.

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