[Photo by Marty Wombacher]
Anthony Pisano, a longtime East Village resident who lived in a converted storefront full of antiques and whimsical curiosities on Seventh Street, died last Friday. Pisano had cancer, according to a nephew. He was 86. (We don't have all the biographical information at the moment.)
Pisano lived here between Avenue A and First Avenue for nearly 40 years. You probably saw him sitting outside, the sounds of Sinatra coming from inside the apartment that people often mistook as some kind of store. When that happened, he often invited people inside for a look around.
From a 2010 New York Times feature:
One recent evening, two women strolling by stopped and stepped inside.
“Come in; satisfy your curiosity,” he said. Later Mr. Pisano explained that he gets many such visits every day. And each time, he says, he gets the same reaction. As the curious step into the recesses of the space, they’re startled to come upon a bed, a kitchen and a piano. It becomes apparent that this is no shop. It’s Mr. Pisano’s home.
“What is privacy?” he said. “Privacy prevents me from meeting people.”
He leaves the front door ajar ... Passers-by peer at a collection of unusual items — like a Bill Clinton doll on an antique model boat. Nothing is for sale, though he estimates he gives away 10 to 12 trinkets every day.
Pisano moved into the space in 1978. At the time, Pisano, a musician and former merchant marine, rented three spaces: the storefront, the apartment above it and the store next door, where he opened a cafe. He paid $150 a month for each, per the Times.
He also raised his two children, Anthony Jr. and Antoinette, here.
Marty Wombacher paid a visit to Pisano's home for this blog post in 2012. As Marty wrote: "He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet."
[A scene from "This Is My Home"]
Pisano's nephew launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for funeral expenses.
Per the GoFundMe page:
Everyone who knew him called him “Tony.” But for me it was “uncle Tony.” He lived his life simply and didn’t gather much monetary savings. His wealth came from love and compassion for his fellow human beings and sharing conversation.
As his remaining family is trying to pull together to fulfill Anthony’s final wishes. It is a very difficult task to afford a proper burial and memorial for him.
Here is viewing information...