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NYC Neighborhoods, 24 Frames per Second

Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 1

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The Lower East Side Heritage Film Series is returning to Seward Park Library for its second season. To celebrate, we will project Hester Street from 16mm reels.

This 1975 feature film, adapted from Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghettoportrays life on the Lower East Side at the turn of the 19th Century. Shot in black-and-white, writer and director Joan Micklin Silver transports us back to an era well before reality television, capturing the struggles of assimilation by European Jewish immigrants within the confines of a small neighborhood block. Featuring an Academy Award nominated performance by Carol Kane (later known for her comedic roles as Simka Dahblitz in the television show Taxi and the wizened sage Valerie in The Princess Bride) as the newly landed wife, Gitl, to a philandering husband Jake (played by Steven Keats.) She finds that life in America is quite different from the old traditions she has just left behind, and tensions develop in their marriage as they each deal with their assimilation. Gitl befriends her neighbor Mrs. Kavarsky, played by Doris Roberts (more recently known for her role in network television's Everybody Loves Raymond), from whom she learns of Jake's affair, and Gitl must decide what is best for her and her son.

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Lower East Side Heritage Collection

Hester Street courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

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