This Is My Home: Inside Anthony’s Parlor of Curiosities
On letting the light of life shine through the stories of genuine human connection.
By Maria Popova
Several months ago, a friend and I were strolling down a street in the East Village when we stumbled upon a whimsical place — a kind of curiosities parlor that stretched, narrow and full of unusual objects and private memories, from the street site of the building to the backyard. Inside it was Anthony Pisano, a smiling elderly gentleman who lived there with his cat and his grand piano, squeezed into the back of the parlor amidst vintage jazz records that played on an antique gramophone. Anthony invited us into his sanctuary of stories and we chatted with him for quite a while, enthralled by his tales of trinkets and treasures he had collected over the decades from all over the world. As we were leaving, he reached towards the ceiling above the inner doorway, where a cluster of crystals hung and caught the candlelight. He took a couple off and handed one to each of us, instructing us to let the light of life catch in them.
We, it turns out, we not the only ones mesmerized by Anthony’s curiosities and unusual lens on the world. This Is My Home by filmmakers Kelsey Holtaway and Mark Cersosimo is a beautiful short film, in the vein of This Must Be The Place, that captures Anthony’s singular character through the contents of his home and his heart.
A lot of senior citizen feel that they’ve been discarded. But when people stop in front of my place, they bring life to me… A lot of people pass, they have these earphones on. They’ll see me, but they’ll just go by, they never question — as if people are afraid to talk one-on-one. And that doesn’t give me any satisfaction as far as life is… cause life is, you talk to people, you touch them, in a sense.”
If you ever find yourself in the East Village on a warm spring night, take a stroll down the southern sidewalk of East 7th Street, between 1st Avenue and Avenue A — you might just find Anthony smiling on his stoop, waving you in. Take your headphones off and go in.
Published February 27, 2012