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Memories of I.S. 291 from John Napolillo

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231 Palmetto St, Brooklyn, NY

During 35 years in the classroom, Jon Napolillo drew on humor, compassion, and pragmatism to bring two generations of Bushwick's struggling youth through the worst of times. By working on the micro-level, that of the individual student, he has left Bushwick a stronger community. This short video captures some of his recollections of his earliest years in Bushwick, having started in the fall of 1977, just after the Blackout Riots. Meryl Meisler, photographer and educator is also a vital part of this film. Although she is not in the movie, her images capture the Bushwick of the 1980s, after many of the burnt out buildings had been demolished, but before new buildings rose on the vacant lots. The long friendship between Meryl and Jon makes this pairing a fitting tribute to both. Bushwick is more than a community district in Brooklyn. It is a window onto the long and tumultuous history of NYC. In this ongoing tour, we will be examining specific aspects of the community at its lowest ebb, and along its slow and inching progress towards recovery. For more information on Bushwick, please see the PDF document in the "Read More" section.

Credits: Directed by Adam Schwartz. Filmed by Rebecca Haverstick. Edited by Lee Eaton. Photos by Meryl Meisler. (1:38)