Empire City, a 1985 Documentary Comparing the 'Modern' City With the Golden Age of New York

Empire City is a 1985 documentary which compares the then-modern City to the "golden age" of New York, 1830-1930. While not the subject of the film per se, it also highlights the thinking of the era in which rampant greed and capitalism in property development were left unchecked. Of course, a tale from that era includes commentary by our City's most famous poop emoji, so be warned. Check out the trailer, then rent the full documentary on Vimeo for just $6.

A film essay contrasting the modern metropolis with its "golden age" from 1830-1930, with the participation of some of New York's leading political and cultural figures such as David Rockefeller, Edward Koch, Joseph Papp, Norman Mailer, Herman Badillo, Richard Ravitch, Jane Jacobs, Donald Trump, Louis Auchincloss and Brooke Astor. Made at a time when the city was experiencing unprecedented real estate development on the one hand and unforeseen displacement of population and deterioration on the other. Empire City is the story of two New Yorks. The film explores the precarious coexistence of the service-based midtown Manhattan corporate headquarters with the peripheral New York of undereducated minorities living in increasing alienation.

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