Everyone who wants to save the city—any city—should see “Zipper”

From Suki Stetson Hawley:

I want to urge everyone to go see “Zipper” at IFC today thru Thursday! It’s a beautiful film – on film! – about the fate of a wild Coney Island ride in these days of insanity…

‘Zipper’ — 5 stars
(1:20). NR. IFC.

The forces that align against poor, mistreated Coney Island try to appear forward-thinking in this flavorful, spunky but ultimately sad documentary. They say they’re fighting for Coney, but the movie’s point of view — shared by many who mourn the disrespect for much of New York’s character — is that the personality of this iconic, special place is being sacrificed for profit. Thor Equities, Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council (and its speaker, Christine Quinn), aides, officials and architects all come off sounding hollow as they talk of their dreams for the boardwalk area.

But what they’re missing, director Amy Nicholson posits, is that Coney’s spirit has always been untamable. It doesn’t need a Gap, Duane Reade and Williams-Sonoma (as one clueless pencil-pusher says). What it needs is protection, which never arrives. And so the famous Zipper ride — as well as Astroland, the batting cages, countless family traditions, genuine soul and onetime zoning laws — are bulldozed over for a pipe dream of being a tourist magnet. “Zipper” captures the erasing of one of New York’s most unique stamps by cartoon businesspeople with dollar signs for eyeballs.

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