The Boys of 2nd Street Park

Director: Ron Berger, Dan Klores

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


To the boys growing up in the Brighton Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn during the innocent 1950s, the local park was "like a magic kingdom, a fantasy land steeped with Brooklyn reality." It gave them a sense of belonging to an extended family. Fragrant summer evenings were filled with games of stickball, walks with their buddies or girlfriends on the oceanside boardwalk, and breath-stopping rides on the Cyclone at Coney Island.

Dan Klores and Ron Berger's nostalgic documentary, The Boys of 2nd Street Park, recreates those simple, straightforward days and tracks what happened to a group of men whose sense of self was molded by their shared experiences in that neighborhood. Combining still photographs, home movies, and archival film footage with interviews with the boyhood friends today, the film charts the way their lives were dramatically impacted by the drugs and Vietnam War furor of the 1960s, and the different paths they've traveled since then. Steve fought drug addiction for 20 years, Lenny's family won the lottery, Bernie lost a Down's syndrome child to leukemia, Brian had to define his relationship with an illegitimate daughter, and nature-loving Larry moved to the country.

As the old friends reunite in the park for a pickup basketball game, witnessed by current neighborhood boys, Klores and Berger offer us a celebration of the past and a promise for the future.

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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