Three Astoria residents are using their background in film to capture the stories of people behind local businesses in the neighborhood.
James Ogle, the founder a production company called Clearview Media, has partnered with Kevin Provost and Dan Connell to create the first in what will be a series of videos profiling established businesses in Astoria.
The first video highlights the Broadway Silk Store at 35-11 Broadway. First opened in the 1930s by Esther Laxer, it was passed down to Laxer’s niece Pearl Gould. Sarah Beth White, Gould’s daughter, now runs the fabric and jewelry store.
“We kind of just, having lived in the neighborhood for many years, wanted to create something of our own,” Ogle said. “A lot of times we work on larger productions – PBS, Food Network – and we kind of wanted to honor [our] neighborhood and neighbors.
Both Ogle and Provost live close to Broadway Silk Store and have heard about its rich history, and they decided it would be a good place to begin their project.
The 8-minute video showcases the store’s history and the relationship the family has cultivated with its customers. White, along with her parents and children, make appearances in the video and are shown helping customers pick out fabrics for their designs.
White also touches upon the rapid development taking over the neighborhood.
“There’s not a lot of businesses like ours left and it’s kind of sad because a lot of the people that were our neighbors aren’t here anymore,” White said in the video. “It’s wonderful that there’s a lot of new blood in the neighborhood but I also am very upset that they have knocked down a lot of old buildings.”
Ogle said the group’s next project will showcase Modern Barber Shop at 30-14 Broadway, where he gets his hair cut. The barber shop, which opened in 1926, is 90 years old and used to be family owned and operated. The original owner, Dominic, still works there today.
Watch the short film below: