Subway to the Former East Village
Richard Sandler’s gritty city symphony takes stock of New York’s Lower East Side with a decade’s worth of moments and encounters that would otherwise be lost to history. Working against gentrification’s erasures, he catalogues the neighborhood’s changes in their particularity: the closing of a community center, a woman’s funny riff on a fancy new restaurant (“Nothing remotely Polish or Russian here!”), new waves of political graffiti following the 9/11 attacks and increasing evidence of class inequity. His camera is as much of a neighborhood fixture as the chorus of street personalities that buoy the video. Brimming with crooked beauty, drag divas, brass bands, demonstrations, punk nostalgia and self-styled philosophy, SUBWAY TO THE FORMER EAST VILLAGE is every bit a labor of love.