A story of a man and his home

In honor of the 4th year anniversary of the release of this short film, I wanted to share a little bit of backstory of how on one fateful night I accidentally stumbled into the home of Anthony Pisano and met one of New York’s most interesting humans.

On an unseasonably warm November night while Kelsey and I were walking in New York’s East Village to get ice cream, we paused on the sidewalk, gazing past the open door of what appeared to be an antique shop. Bright neon sign in the window, Frank Sinatra music blasting, it seemed like a great place to pick up a few odd trinkets. We both shrugged our shoulders and began to walk in.

It was then that an elderly man sitting outside, who we presumed was the shop owner, spoke up — “Hey, ladies first”. He was right, how rude, so we switched our places and once again began entering — “One other thing” he said, “Just so you know, nothing inside is for sale. You can browse all you want, but you can’t buy anything”. What an odd tactic for an antique shop we thought. As we were looking around the first room in this railroad apartment, about half way through we spotted a desk area, but beyond that, the lighting began to fade, and figured the area was off limits. Standing in the middle of this place, suddenly it hit us — “Wait a minute” we thought. “Are we in this guys’ house?”

We made our way back out front and asked him, all he told us that we were unusually quick and implored us to go back in and continue exploring “Go all the way to the back,” he said. “You have to really see everything.” Hesitantly, we walked back inside and started our second look around. This time, as we walked past the desk area and into the shadows, we spotted a bed — yup, it suddenly became clear that this was in fact this man’s home. Past the bed, we were greeted by a friendly cat sitting atop a piano sitting right at the corner of the kitchen. After about 15 minutes we wandered back up front, thanked him for letting us peruse his home and then went on our way down the street to get our ice cream.

What else could we say at this point? We weren’t quite sure what to think. We knew we wanted to know more about this man, but we also had a feeling that it would be extremely selfish to keep it to ourselves, we knew that there must be an incredible story behind this house of wonder. After enjoying our ice cream, we walked back over to the man, who was still sitting outside “So, we have a question” “Yes?” “We’re both filmmakers” “Yes?” “And we find your home fascinating” “Yes?” “And we’d like to kn…” and just then he cut me off. “Just ask me already!” We presented the idea of making a short documentary, which he accepted warmly with an excited smile. We set the date for 2 months later, once Kelsey returned to New York and we shot the piece in 4 hours on a much, much colder February night.

It was a wonderful night and we captured many of Anthony’s stories, explored his home more in depth and spent a good 20 minutes trying to find Anthony’s camera shy cat to no avail. After we left Anthony’s house that night, we were both floored. It’s all we could talk about for hours. What a friendly, fascinating man — there’s not a single other person like him in New York. We knew we had captured something really special and couldn’t wait to show it to the world.

We visited with Anthony a few weeks after the release of the film to show it to him and to just catch up. He let us know that people from all over the world, as far as The Netherlands have showed up at his home and told Anthony that they found out about his place by watching our film. When he’s not home, kind notes are left at his door for all the people who missed him, hoping to catch a few seconds with New York’s most heartwarming man.

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