Joan Micklin Silver, Director of Seminal LES RomCom ‘Crossing Delancey,’ Dies at 85

Posted on: January 4th, 2021 at 5:08 am by

Guss’ Pickles had the movie poster on its window, Oct. 2009

Joan Micklin Silver, the filmmaker who broke ground with Hester Street, and hit the masses with Crossing Delancey, passed away last Thursday. She died at her home in Manhattan at the age of 85.

Her daughter Claudia Silver told the New York Times that the cause of death was vascular dementia.

Of Crossing Delancey, the seminal romantic comedy based on the Lower East Side, the Times noted in its obit:

The studios found [Crossing Delancey] “too ethnic” too — “a euphemism,” Ms. Silver told The Times, “for Jewish material that Hollywood executives distrust.”

Luckily, Ms. Irving’s husband at the time, the director Steven Spielberg, was fond of Jewish history himself. He suggested that she send the script to a neighbor of his in East Hampton, N.Y. — a top Warner Entertainment executive. The film grossed more than $116 million worldwide (about $255 million today).

It is difficult to say which was Ms. Silver’s most vicious antagonist, anti-Semitism or misogyny.

Joan Micklin was born on May 24, 1935, in Omaha, where she lived until attending Sarah Lawrence College.

Silver directed seven feature films during her lifetime:

Hester Street
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Between the Lines
Chilly Scenes of Winter (Head Over Heels)
Crossing Delancey
Loverboy
Big Girls Don’t Cry … They Get Even
A Fish in the Bathtub

Recent Stories

Chinatown Homeless Murder Suspect Still Awaiting Trial

More than two years since the horrific murder of four homeless men in Chinatown, the suspect has yet to be held accountable for the crimes. In the early morning hours of October 5, 2019 Randy Santos stalked, then allegedly bludgeoned to death Cheun Kwok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran and Nazario Vasqez-Villegas while asleep on the streets. In […]

Excavation Begins for 70-Story South Street Towers

Cranes, and plywood, and pile-drivers, oh my! Such is the story down on the Lower East Side waterfront. Department of Buildings on April 12 issued official approval to the Chetrit Group to begin foundation activities for its dual 70-story tower at 265 South. A month later, the big trucks are mobilized. While excavation is now […]

For 7th Year Running, Greek Jewish Festival Returns to Broome Street this Weekend

After a more subdued outing last year, the Greek Jewish Festival this spring is on the rebound, pulling out the stops. It returns on Sunday for another go-round. Founded by Kehila Kedosha Janina on Broome Street seven years ago, the event celebrates the culture and traditions of the Greek Jewish community. Years past saw crowds […]

Revisiting the Story of the Eastern Dispensary at 75 Essex Street

The historic Eastern Dispensary Building at 75 Essex Street – home of Eisner Bros. – will soon undergo major redevelopment to add a ten-story protrusion to its rooftop. Fresh off this news, which broke earlier this month, we thought it appropriate to revisit a Bowery Boogie entry from nine years ago detailing the history of […]

Motorcycle Driver Killed in FDR Drive Crash

A motorcyclist driving the FDR Tuesday morning lost control of the vehicle and died after hitting the roadway, police said. The driver, identified as Brooklyn 36-year-old resident Christian Reyes, had been traveling southbound on the FDR Drive at 7:10am in the vicinity of Exit 3, when he struck the left edge curbing and guide rail. […]