BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM: LEVITTOWN, NY

BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM: LEVITTOWN, NY

    Price: $310.00

    Code: 1323
    Format: DVD

    Directed by Stewart Bird
    1994, 60 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125


    This historical documentary chronicles New York real estate developer William Levitt's postwar construction of affordable housing for returning WWII veterans and their families in Levittown and other Long Island communities, thereby establishing the prototype for modern suburbia. Tracing the period from 1947 to the present day, the video explores Levitt's vision of rapidly constructing inexpensive tract homes on 60 by 100 foot lots (as many as 25 to 30 homes were built in a day), featuring rare archival footage and photos, an interview with Levitt and the reminiscences of numerous Levittown residents (including singer Billy Joel). The video shows how the federal government, banks and builders like Levitt cooperated in the early postwar years to finance and build affordable housing, reveals how a policy of racial discrimination prevented blacks from buying the homes, and traces the subsequent collapse of Levitt's construction empire. The result is a nostalgic but revealing look at the birth of the American suburb and its present-day legacy.



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