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Tuesday
Mar202012

Anthony Pisano And His House Of Treasures

Things went full circle in researching the subject of today’s post. A couple weeks ago when I was in Rolf’s, I met a woman named, Patti, who heard me telling the owner about this blog. She told me she had heard of my blog because she had seen a link on the fine blog, EV Grieve. Then she told me about a short film/documentary she had seen about a guy who lives in the East Village and has an apartment almost overflowing with unusual antiques and tchotchkes and he keeps his door open and invites people to come in and take a look at his collection. Patti emailed me a link to the movie  called, "This Is My Home." I watched it and I really wanted to meet this gentlemen and see his apartment. The film didn’t say where the apartment was located, but Patti said she was sure it was somewhere in the East Village. When you want to know where something in the East Village is located, who you going to call? No, not the Ghostbusters, you call EV Grieve! Well, actually I emailed him and he knew of the man and pointed me in the right direction, which we’ll travel to right now.

And here we go, off to the East Village. It's a nice day out, so we'll just walk. EV Grieve told me the place was on 7th Street, between 1st Street and Avenue A.

I got to the apartment and the door was wide open. I knocked, stuck my head in and was told to come on in. I walked to the back in the narrow apartment and met the man himself, Anthony Pisano. He was sitting and chatting with his son, Anthony, Jr. I was amazed by all the things in his house and asked if I could take some photos. Anthony was very nice and said I was more than welcome, but asked if I could give him an hour or so to get all the lights lit, so I could have the full experience. I agreed and went home and came back an hour later.

An Hour Later

When I got back, there was a group of people in front of Anthony's apartment talking with him.

And here's the group, from left: Victor, Kelley, Hannah, Anthony and Anthony, Jr. Hannah lives in Brooklyn and is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. Victor and Kelley are visiting from Knoxville and they had seen the same documentary online and had made a trip to see Anthony and his home.

They were getting ready to go as I got there and here's Anthony saying goodbye. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were touched by Anthony's kindness. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

And now it's time for my tour as Anthony welcomes me into his one-of-a-kind abode.

It's a long, narrow, railroad style apartment and there's so much to see and look at, it causes brain overload. Here's the left hand side...

And the right hand side. Time to take a look at some of these treasures in his collection. Instead of captions, for the photos below, I thought I'd use some quotes from Anthony from the film as he speaks about his unique home and outlook on life.

People see my place and they think it’s an antique shop, but it’s not, it’s just collectibles that I’ve had over the years.

And this is my home and I invite people into my home.

People stop and they’ll say, “What is this?” And I tell them, “Well, go inside, satisfy your curiosity and then come out and tell me what it is, cause I don’t know!

When people stop in front of my place, they bring life to me!

A lot of people pass, they have these earphones on and they’ll see me but they’ll just go by, it’s as if some people are afraid to talk, one on one. That doesn’t give me any satisfaction.

Life is you talk with people, you touch them in a sense.

This place, I’ve met so many people.

When people use my place, for any reason, that gives me a lot of beautiful feelings.

A lot of people say, “Why do you keep your door open?” Why not? It’s my home.

I sit outside from morning to evening and I’ve made so many friends!

All these things are things for people to enjoy.

As many people as I’ve had in my place, not one item was taken.

I keep my door open and anyone can come and see everything I have.

Anthony and his son sat on the front stoop drinking ice water as I was looking around and taking pictures. When I came back out he asked if I had seen the whole apartment. I told him I didn't go in the back area because I thought it was a private area. Anthony said I was welcome to go in the back and when I did, I found a piano in the back! Unbelievable! And if you look closely, you'll see his cat napping on top of it. This has to be the coolest apartment in New York City!

I didn't want to come without adding something to Anthony's collection, so I brought him a Gumby and Pokey and he quickly put them out amongst all the other treasures. If you're in the area, stop by and see Anthony and his wonderful home. Just listen for the Frank Sinatra music playing and you'll find him. I guarantee you'll leave with a smile plastered on your face.

Further Reading: Laughing Squid, Dangerous Minds and hypervocal.

Come on-a my house, my house, I'm gonna give you candy.
Come on-a my house, my house, I'm gonna give you everything.

 Surprise link, click on it...I dare you! (Warning CBBM mutation sighting...aaaaahh!)

References (2)

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Reader Comments (37)

Very unique ... with a Marty permanent stamp on it now .... !

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

what a cool apartment and amazing man! loved this post and the film, very cool trip on this one!!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D

Fascinating, makes me want to melt and stay forever. This was a wonderful discovery, and he makes it seem so easy, maybe it is?

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMykola Mick Dementiuk

The face on the lamp item would look right at home in a Tiki bar! I worry that Anthony is going to need security eventually...I hope his people are looking out for him....

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@GENE: It's unique all right, you should check it out on your next visit! You can say hi to Gumby!

@Bobby D: It took me a couple trips to actually meet Anthony, but it was well worth the effort, a great guy!

@Mykola Mick Dementiuk: He does make it seem easy and teaches us all that it is!

@Jaws: He's been there for 32 years and no trouble so far. He's well known in the neighborhood and I think he'll be fine.

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Ah, I always thought this was a storefront! I saw the post over at EVG and I also wanted to meet this man, but did not make the connection to this window at all. Now I'll have to check it out. I've heard the music blaring and had no idea. Thanks for posting - I love to peek into the lives of the interesting people in the neighborhood.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoggla

I saw the movie here, this is a humble guy. I liked the pictures of when his beard was real long, a ZZ top granddad, kinda like the ZZ Top lookalikes inside the fish tank. Just curious, its very nice and honorable to be so kind to passing strangers and allow them in your home but with nothing for sale there how does he sustain himself? Lastly I want to say this nice man can make a mean ice cube,,,did you see the size of that?

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

what a loving portrait of a precious neighbor.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterco

What a wonderful man. I always thought that was a storefront too. And wow, what a collection. That cash register is a dandy.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

@Goggla: Stop by and say hi, he loves having people over and is really one of the nicest people I've ever met!

@Al: He doesn't look like it, but he told me he's 81 years old, so I'm guessing social security and he's been there for 32 years, so I bet his rent is dirt cheap. And I'm glad you noticed that ice cube, at first I thought it was a candle!

@co: Thanks! It was a great day visiting and meeting Anthony and looking at all his treasures!

@Jason: I think a lot of people make that mistake. He said some people just wander in and will ask how much an item is!

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Need to add this to the list of Reasons to Love the East Village ... aka, An East Village Pep Talk.

Nicely done, Marty.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEV Grieve

Marty, Very cool apartment. It reminds me of an old apartment & store front where I grew up in West New York, NJ.
She had more stuff than this guy & you had to climb over piles of it to get to each room. I love all of those Anthony lookalike statues in the fish tank. Who is the musician, Anthony or his son?

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the Freelancer

It's posts like these that really bring a smile to my face. It's an oasis of humanity and kindness in what is often a harsh world. Keep up the good work, Marty.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl Czervik

@EV Grieve: Thanks for helping me find Anthony! And yes, his house of treasures definitely belongs on the list!

@danny the freelancer: I loved the look-a-likes in the fish tank too! Anthony's the musician, I'm not sure if his son is as well.

@Al Czervik: Glad this brought a smile to your face and thanks for reading!

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Are those wine bottles behind the piano, or knobs of some sort?? Great old cash register. Now the big question -- There's an hour unaccounted for between meeting Anthony and coming back for the tour/pics...Alien abduction or a quick one at International Bar??

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpike

Any idea who the Ernest Borgnine looking trombone player is next to Elvis?

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Spike: I'm pretty sure those were water bottles. And you're right on both counts: Alien abduction at International Bar!

@csp:I’m not sure, but it’s rumored that his first name is Marty

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Oh Marty! WOW! Anthony is one AMAZING dude, and so is his house. I am in awe of his collectables.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah
March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

Oh, that cash register is really something, ain't it? Anthony seems like such a gentle man, with a smile for everyone who passes by. You know, there's really something to be said for front porches and stoops, and I hate the fact that gentrification's doing away with them. New build houses and condos may be full of flash and dazzle, but all the modern amenities in the world can't make up for a "Hey, neighbor, how was your day?"

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Meleah: I love meeting people like Anthony, it's why I moved here!

@csp:Damn you refferal denied!

@Biff: Too true about porches and stoops! Every single person that passed Anthony yesterday took the time to say hi. Except for the texting zombies, but they don't count!

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I'm speechless which is rare.. wow..
just amazing.. made me tear up a bit..
people like him are rare..
I would love to have the open door policy and show my stuff to everyone..maybe someday i will.
i mean what do you collect it for.. to sit and collect dust..
as i look around my office at all my toys...
my uncle was a professional dumpster diver...
everyone thought his stuff was crap.
no one got it.. he would love anthony.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Great post. I love these overflowing-with-stuff places & what a nice guy to be so welcoming. Beautiful!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

Great piece. This guy is lovely inside his wonderful house and outside hanging out in front of his home. Anthony Pisano rocks. Known him since the early 80's.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@Gidget: You are so right, people like Anthony are rare, so glad I got to meet him, I will go back!

@onemorefoldedsunset: You really need to stop by there when you're in the area. A great place and a great guy!

@Melanie: How cool that you've known Anthony since the '80's! You got to see his collection grow!

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Marty, I'm curious is the lady in the black and white photo behind gumby his daughter or his wife?

Great place, a lot of charm. Really cool that you left gumby and pokey sort of like an offering at a temple or something.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveW

@DaveW: It's funny I was wondering that myself, but didn't feel right asking him unless he volunteered it. He was nice enough to let me take photos and I didn't want to start asking too many personal questions too. Whoever she is, she's sure pretty! And I'm hoping that people who read this and stop by take him a little something for his collection, maybe start a little tradition there!

March 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Quite possibly your best piece ever.
God Bless Anthony Pisano and his love of things, but most of all for his love of people.
He not only opens his door, but he also opens his heart.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@"Boris:" Perfectly stated, Daddio! Thanks!

March 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Marty:

What a great piece about Mr. Pisano. I also enjoyed the shots of the Empire State Building in the fog, and the eerie shots of the empty bar and lobby.

@It only rains...: Thanks! It was a treat to meet Anthony and stay tuned for the Empire State Building, part II!

March 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I don't know how; but I somehow missed this post the other day.

I saw the short film last week and immediately added it to my "to do" list .... so happy to see that you did too!

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterroadsidewonders

@roadsidewonders: I thought of you going through here, it's really your kind of place. Definitely a "to do" list entry!

March 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Hey Marty!!

I was just sent a link to this from my boyfriend, and we happen to be the people who made the documentary that inspired your trip!!

This is so cool!!! It makes me way too happy to see people's stories from their visits and I love love love this post!!! Thank you so much for writing this.

Cheers!
Kelsey

April 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey Holtaway

@Kelsey: Great to hear from you! I love the film that you two made! It was really inspiring and I'm thrilled you like the post! Thanks for making that film about Anthony and his house of treasures, as soon as I saw it I wanted to meet him and it was a great experience! Please let me know about any upcoming film projects of yours! Thanks for chiming in, I'd love to have a few beers with you and your boyfriend some time! Cheers!

April 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Isn't he wonderful?

And I'm always in for a few beers!

April 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey Holtaway

@Kelsey: Sounds good! Cheers!

April 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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