Film Review: Jay Myself

Jay Myself made me cry hard. It’s a story about endings and how sometimes beginning can be a bit disappointing, especially when you are 88 and forced to live in Brooklyn. This is also about the city I love shoving its heart and soul away. Or in more technical terms- gentrification.

Maisel is the center of the documentary and his purchase of the famous Bank building in The Bowery, a place once so horrible it was affordable, now it’s still horrible, but only because of the bankers.

The story in the film is interwoven with some of the images Jay Maisel took during his career. I was shocked how so many of them I’ve seen. The man was a legend.

And he lived in that old dirty bank building on the Bowery.

I walk past that thing all the time because I love Chinatown. I love the bustle and the idea of it as a touch of somewhere foreign, right here at home. Flushing is like that also. And he was in the middle of it watching it grow up through six decades of history.

This building had been there for over a hundred years. Maisel bought it in 1967 for 100k.

He just sold for it 55 million and it is one of the most lucrative real estate deals in New York City history. I would think the whole experience would have been priceless. He even says, Right time right place. Like buying the Silverdome back in the nineties for a million.

This documentary follows his journey moving out.

It took 55 truckloads and six months.

The NY Mag piece that introduced me to film said he was a borderline hoarder. 

He calls himself a collector, but what I think he had stored in the Bank’s over sixty rooms were a museum. His home was filled with found things repurposed for art. So beautiful. The Bank was a museum and this film showcases that in the most delightful ways. I wish this place had been left alone and treasured for what it was. A monument to a great artist. At least we have one addition to the legacy of his collection, this documentary.

Go see it! Because I am positive it’ll be nominated for stuff come award season.



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