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Suffern gets its 15 minutes of fame in Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

Lohud.com, Westchester County logo Lohud.com, Westchester County 11/14/2019 Jeanne Muchnick, Rockland/Westchester Journal News
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Some Suffern businesses get a moment in the spotlight in Martin Scorsese's Netflix film, "The Irishman."

Based on Charles Brandt's book, "I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride by Jimmy Hoffa," the film stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano and Bobby Cannevale. It's in theaters now, and screenings will be held in Suffern's Lafayette Theater on Friday.

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a man in a suit and tie: Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) in a scene from the film "The Irishman." Scenes were shot in da Nina restaurant in Suffern. © 2019 Netlfix US, LLC. All rights reserved. Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) in a scene from the film "The Irishman." Scenes were shot in da Nina restaurant in Suffern.

A party scene was shot at da Nina Italian Restaurant on Lafayette Avenue where owner Rudy Zuniga said it was an honor to be chosen. The crew —  which included actors Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, along with director Scorsese — shot scenes in the second-floor dining room, using a first-floor room as a staging area. According to Zuniga, they were there for a full day in September 2017 and it was "beyond exciting."

a woman standing in a room: Marilyn Piscitelli, the Suffern seamstress who designed curtains for "The Irishman." © Bob Young Marilyn Piscitelli, the Suffern seamstress who designed curtains for "The Irishman."

It was also memorable for local seamstress (and huge Scorsese fan) Marilyn Piscitelli who, at the last minute, was asked to redesign drapes for the room (there was an issue with the previous drapes). It took her 13 hours, under a tight deadline, to create curtains with a chiffon inner layer and maroon brocade material which were used in the party scene.

 "It was very exciting to do," said Piscitelli, "I was happy I could be of service. I've always enjoyed Scorsese's films so I consider this my way of thanking him for his work."

Other locations, according toAurelius Licata, president of the Suffern Chamber of Commerce, included Forgia Brick Oven Pizzeria, Licata Management Corp., and the corner where Rob’s School of Music is. Artistic Floors was transformed into "Fair Furriers," with mannequins dressed in full-length furs.

Location Manager Kip Myers said he chose Suffern because of its abundance of "period aspect storefronts," meaning they didn't have to change much. He also liked the geography of the village, especially the hilly roads that gave it a "thematic edge."

Another bonus was the Art Deco Lafayette Theater, where production crews could show the film's time lapse simply by changing the movies on the marquee. "It's one of the key reasons we found Suffern so appealing," Myers said. 

a large red chair in a room: The dining room at da Nina Italian Restaurant in Suffern. © Submitted The dining room at da Nina Italian Restaurant in Suffern.

The fact that Suffern is close to New York City and so amicable to film productions was another reason it was chosen. "Suffern was very friendly to us," said Myers.

Other local scenes used in the movie: The former Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center in Pomona (it's the hospital scene in the beginning of the movie) and a truck stop near the Great Hunger Memorial in Elmsford that was transformed into an old Sunoco station and a Stuckey's convenience store. 

For the record, it's not the first time Suffern has been used as movie backdrop. According to Licata, "The Meyerowitz Stories," starring Adam Sandler and Emma Thompson, filmed there in 2016. 

The Lafayette Theater will be showing the movie Nov. 15  at 6 p.m. with a live Wurlitzer organ at 5:30 p.m.; The second showing is at 10 p.m. The theater is at 97 Lafayette Ave., Suffern, http://www.lafayettetheatersuffern.com/

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This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Suffern gets its 15 minutes of fame in Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

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