Contributed by Casimir Nozkowski / I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a building that was once a synagogue, a whiskey still, a raincoat factory and when I was born there, a studio for my artist parents [Thomas Nozkowski and Joyce Robins]. They moved in after they got married in 1967 and rented the top two floors for 45 years from another family. In 2012, the 130-year-old building was sold by that family and my parents moved out. But before they did, I filmed the hell out of it.
And I realized I shared history with countless people who had lived or worked in this old building over two centuries. I filmed the neighborhood I grew up in and saw how rare old buildings with shared histories were becoming.
My documentary [posted below] is about my childhood home and how much of the past you could still see in it when we left. It’s about the development of a neighborhood a lot of lives have passed through and whether you can protect that legacy while still making room for new lives and new memories. In making my movie, I tried to follow some advice my mom gave me: “Don’t make a movie about moving out. Make it about how great it was to live here.” I like that sentiment but I couldn’t help wondering what was going to happen next to the old building I grew up in.
70 Hester Street
Written and Directed by Casimir Nozkowski (casimirnozkowski.com)
Narrated by Casimir Nozkowski, Thomas Nozkowski, Joyce Robins
Filmed and Edited by Casimir Nozkowski
Music by Alexander Strung
Re-Recording Engineering by Tod Chapman
Color Timing by Eyal Dimant
In 2014, 70 Hester Street premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Other festivals include: Rooftop Films, Vassar Filmfest, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Boston Jewish Festival, Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, Kansas City Jewish Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival, Athens Jewish Film Festival, Hartford Jewish Film Festival and was a finalist at the Robinson International Short Film Competition.