Alumni Q&A: Ira Resnick ‘67

Ira Resnick ’67 entered the Ethical Culture Fieldston School as a 9th Grader. His ties to Fieldston run deep: Not only did his son graduate in 2018, but he also remains friends with three classmates with whom he gathers for a monthly poker game. Resnick has followed a winding path through adulthood, working as a photographer (he has published two volumes of his work), gallerist and collector at the Motion Picture Arts Gallery, and real estate investor.

Where was your favorite place to hang out on campus?

The Quad. I played music with my pals there. We would sit on the grass in the spring and fall, and people would gather to listen to us sing — everything from folk songs to Beatles songs.

What’s a class or teacher you’ll never forget?

That’s an easy one. There was a history teacher: Dr. John Anthony Scott, who taught history by its songs and ballads. Every year, we would put on a history assembly — we did one on whaling, we did one on cowboys, we did one on New York City. I thought he was really terrific.

There’s another: my coach, George Martens, was a wonderful, wonderful guy. I played baseball and football for him, and after the fact, he became a good friend of mine as well. He watched out for me. He was as much of a friend as he was a teacher. He was a really great ally to have.

What class would you teach if you could teach anything?

I would love to teach film history because that’s always been a great love of my adult life. That’s where my true passion is in terms of the arts.

What would your syllabus include?

I think the greatest film is Citizen Kane, certainly — that would be a great start. I love the film Dodsworth, which was made in 1936. There are important films by Akira Kurosawa; there are films from Europe by Fellini, and some English filmmakers like David Lean. I think I would go with the ones I love best and try to get the passion that I feel. In many ways, I feel like they’re old friends. I would try to show the depth of the films, the artistry of the cinematography, and their lasting power.

What are you watching these days?

My wife and I like to binge-watch when we can. I just finished The Loudest Voice about Roger Ailes. I loved The Kominsky Method. We do the New York Film Festival every year, so I’ve seen a lot of the current movies that I love: Marriage Story, The Irishman, Parasite — all of which I thought were terrific.

What was it like to be a Fieldston parent?

There was no other school I was going to send my son to — it was something that I felt very strongly about. I felt a great love for Fieldston, and it was a part of my life for a long time. When my son went there, it was a kind of rebirth to go there and meet new people and go to the football field and see him in the jazz orchestras. I’ve been out of there for a year and a half since he graduated in 2018, and there’s a sadness that I feel — not having a reason to go up there, to hang out on the Quad or park in the upper parking lot and go down to the games — but life moves on. I love Fieldston. I wear its colors proudly, and I would never have wanted to go to any other school.

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