‘Sturgeon Queens’ Documentary Highlights 100-Year History of Russ & Daughters

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 at 6:05 am by
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This year is a significant one for neighborhood favorite Russ & Daughters. Triple digit candles for that birthday fish cake. Yes, the Lower East side mainstay celebrates its centennial, and with some big moves. Notably the introduction of a new cafe around the corner at 127 Orchard street.

The iconic appetizing store is also the subject of a new documentary film by veteran filmmaker Julie Cohen. Apparently her work on the project dates back to 2008, when PBS had commissioned her to produce the Jews of New York series. Russ & Daughters played a role in that film and sparked enough of a creative fire for Cohen to dig deeper.

Fast forward six years. The public is now ready to pull back the lid on Sturgeon Queens, timed for release during store’s hundredth anniversary.

The basis of the film’s content revolves around interviews conducted with survivors of the second-generation store owners, Hattie Russ Gold (100) and Anne Russ Federman (92) of Pembroke Pines, Florida.

The film is unusually presented, in that it lacks the “stiffness” of a traditional narrator. Instead, loyal altacocker customers take the story along its route. Some big names were interviewed for the project, as well. According to The Jewish Week, celebrity customers like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mario Batali, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg collectively share their beloved store experiences. And all were lured with the promise of Russ & Daughters appetizing.

Unfortunately, The Sturgeon Queens won’t be screening in the city anytime soon. The closest it’ll come is Westchester next month. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until next fall for the PBS premiere.

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