15th Jun2014

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival Gala: When the Garden Was Eden

by Catherina Gioino

For two weeks every year, New York City finds itself more . . . culturally diverse. What, you ask? How can the already most culturally diverse place in the world get more so? Well that’s easy to answer with Robert DeNiro’s, Jane Rosenthal’s and Craig Hatkoff’s eleventh annual Tribeca Film Festival. Created in 2003 in response to the 9/11 attacks, the festival has come to feature both established filmmakers and first timers alike in the celebration of not only cinema but everything that it evokes within the audience.


The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off its ESPN Sports Film Festival Gala with director Michael Rapaport’s documentary When the Garden Was Eden. About the New York Knicks during the 1970s, the film featured clips and players from the championship as well as others talking about how the team won its glory.

At the premiere for the film in New York City included Walt Frazier, who we got to ask about the Knicks today and if he thinks they can make it to the finals. The film, which is based on the book of the same name by Harvey Araton, is a sports lover’s dream as it featured everything the average fan would know about the game. The Knicks won the 1970 championship to be the first world championship team, and from there, they went on to play in the next decade, where they won their next and last chip in 1973.

Michael Rapaport, an actor you might recognize from such films like Hitch or Men of Honor, shows his directing side for the second time after his 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. Born in New York and later moving to LA, he often mentions that he is a true New Yorker (side note – as a born and raised New Yorker. . .I mean “eh”) and basketball was a large part of his life and New York City life. In fact, the New York City featured in the film is almost unrecognizable to the New York City I know or we all know from movies and images today.  Just seeing Madison Square Garden unrecognizable from today’s structure as enough to show anyone what it was like back then.

Harvey Araton, who wrote the book in 2013, was a sports contributor for the New York Times in which he covered all types of sporting events. We were able to ask him about the Knicks and his knowledge of the basketball world within New York City. Rapaport’s film made ESPN’s 30 For 30 series that will be feature on air later this year. You can watch our interviews with Walt Frazier and Harvey Araton below, as well as see the trailer of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

Harvey Araton:

Walt Frazier:

When the Garden Was Eden ESPN trailer:


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