george's magic gardens

New York Stories

George's Magic Gardens - Opening (WIP) 4 min

George Hirose - East Village, Manhattan

Director: Adel Ben Bella

George Hirose is a Japanese-American photographer and professor at Pratt Institute. A long time resident of the East Village, his work focuses on nighttime photography. A few years ago, his love for the neighborhood and its community compelled him to start a project on the East Village community gardens. At first he thought it would take him a few months to photograph them all, but he soon realized that they were an ever-changing landscape, deeply influenced by the people caring for them, the ‘community’ part of the community gardens. Since then, George hasn’t stopped photographing the gardens as they became an even bigger part of his life, tying him up even more closely to the life of his beloved neighborhood.

But even beyond the community gardens, ‘George Likes the Gardens’ is a look at a neighborhood, the East Village, and its residents, that have partly defied the unabashed commercialization of New York City; a neighborhood that still keeps a taste of Old New York, while at the same time being very much connected to New New York. It is this story of community and a look at what New York used to be for many of its residents before the financial and real estate boom of the nineties that we explore through the community gardens of the East Village. Because as George puts it: ‘They’re not just about money, and that’s what I like about them.’

Principal photography is completed. The film is currently in postproduction.