“Metropolitan Avenue probably touches on every problem that every urban neighborhood has either gone through or will face. … Christine Noschese, the show’s producer and director and a former Brooklynite who delivers the narration, expresses a point of view, focusing on the women of the diverse ethnic communities. She documents, through interviews, their strength, individually and collectively, and their persistence.
The neighborhood’s problems are almost textbookish in their content. In the 1950’s, the elevated highway split it in half. In the 1960’s, a new housing project brought 900 families, most of them black, into a community long settled by Italian-Americans who lived in neat private houses. In other situations, a manufacturer of boxes receives the go-ahead to demolish homes to make way for its new plant, and the local police station is threatened with closing.
It was these sorts of problems that injected a previously unknown sense of activism into the lives of the people of the neighborhood. Anger at decisions made by faraway forces grips the residents and bridges are built between black and white. Surprising and beneficial results ensue.” – Richard F. Shepard, The New York Times on August 16, 1988
Print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Noschese is a writer, director and producer of both narrative and documentary films. Keep On Steppin’ , her most recent film, won Best Short at the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, and was exhibited at festivals nationwide including BET and HBO’s Urban World Festival. Her previous films include June Roses, a narrative feature, which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in New Directors/New Films and received grants from the American Film Institute Independent Filmmakers Program and the Women in Film and Television Foundation. Her documentary, Metropolitan Avenue, had a theatrical run at the Film Forum in New York and was broadcast nationally on PBS, P.O.V. and on Channel Four in Great Britain. The John T. & Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation distributed over 2,000 copies of Metropolitan Avenue to libraries throughout the US.
Christine received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship for her short comedy, Mary Therese and the John Grierson Award for best documentary for Metropolitan Avenue. Her work has been supported by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Council on the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Paul Robeson Foundation and The Film Fund. In addition to her independent films and videos, Christine has produced and directed educational videos for unions, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.
Christine was a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies and received an M.A. from Goddard College in Media Studies. She is on the faculty of Hofstra University, where she teaches film production, screenwriting and documentary.
Susser is a professor of anthropology at Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center and has conducted ethnographic research in New York City, Puerto Rico and southern Africa around working class politics, gender and health. Her latest publication: Updated Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (Oxford University Press 2012)features a new section: “Claiming a Right to New York City” which discusses the changing neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn from the original ethnography which began with the New York City fiscal crisis and the occupation of the People’s Firehouse in 1975 to the Occupy movement of 2011. It documents the displacement of the Latino population and the gentrification over the past decades as well as the collaboration of artists, actors, dancers, theater directors, writers and working class people in mobilizing to improve environmental and living conditions. All these were threatened by the 2005 rezoning process instigated by Mayor Bloomberg to attract major corporate investors and an upscale international elite. The updated edition follows the battle to save the affordable housing, diverse population, parks, swimming pool and riverfront views which the community had created.
Her other most recent books are AIDS, Sex and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africa (Wiley-Blackwell 2009) which was awarded the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize for research in women and health, by the Society for Medical Anthropology (2012) and a co-edited book : Rethinking America (Paradigm Press 2010).
Peterson is founder and director of the National Congress of Neighborhood Women (NCNW), and a founder and representative to GREC. The women credit Jan as a source of their empowerment. They had done fundraising for their organizations, but were left out of decision-making. “She brought us together and helped us find our power.” NCNW created the first educational model whereby community residents. could receive Associate of ARts degrees from a college (LaGuardia/CUNY and Long Island University) by attending school in their neighborhood. NCNW also collaborated with the NYC Board of Education to form the You Can after-school programs. They partnered with the Ford Foundation to expand their services to share their leadership support principles and methods with grassroots women organizations throughout the world.