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by Karen Pecota

Short film TriBeCa 2016

Written and directed by Paul Stone, his latest documentary short Mulberry is the tragic love story of the demise of New York's famous Italian district called Little Italy. The locals say that in less than ten years the old neighborhood as they once knew it will cease to exist.

Known as a happy haven Italian immigrant families settled when they left their homeland to find a better life in America, Little Italy is being taken over by greed. The reasons are somewhat understandable but nevertheless sad. Stone's film on black-and-white footage brings to life what New York City will be loosing when capitalism has destroyed one of the most beloved communities the city has ever known.

The rising property values are forcing the residents to move from their long-standing historic community. The historic working class neighborhood is being transformed by a different crowd. The high-end middle class stores, companies, and gentrified folk of perfection and arrogance are slowly replacing the happy and intense Italian ethnicity that has made Little Italy so attractive.

The various Gangster Movies and television shows have added to the demise of the Italian district giving it a false identity. The locals say that just because they are Italian doesn't mean that they are mobsters. One resident feels like the television series the Soprano's did not help to save the community but it did give it notoriety. One they didn't need.

Stone talks to the residents in Little Italy from the Mulberry area to allow them the dignity for their voice to be heard as they share their sentiments and heartbreak. Stone captures the wonderful transparency of the Italian people. Various residents share with humor and tears as they reminisce upon the Italian-hood as they knew it and long for it to remain.