Thomas Nozkowski


I am sitting in a chair in an old synagogue at 70 Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. The synagogue was built in 1861 by a Roumanian congregation called Shaarey Shamoyim, the Gates of Heaven. The Roumanians abandoned this building in 1902 and moved north to Rivington Street. For the next sixty-five years this space held all sorts of more-or-less marginal businesses: a shower curtain factory, an underwear factory, a Chinese laundry, and, during Prohibition, a still. In 1967, the day after we were married, Joyce Robins and I found this place. It had been empty for more than a decade. Over the next forty-five years I made 770 paintings here. The ceiling is twenty-five-feet high, and the star has eight points.