A Touching Documentary About a Retiring New York City Locksmith Training His Replacement

Keys to the City by Ian Moubayed is a hard-hitting, yet touching short documentary about Matthew Ballard, a hardworking veteran of All Brooklyn Locksmiths in New York City who decides to retire and his quest to train his young protégé George Goga to fill his place. Owner Tony Volpe runs the storefront with a joke and a smile.

Leading up to his retirement, a New York craftsman trains his young protégé, in a short documentary by Ian Moubayed.

Ballard is tough on Goga, whom he feels doesn’t pay attention. Goga, a Georgian immigrant, has had a tough life but wants to make locksmithing a career. The film shows as the men get to know each other, they find understanding between them.

George, my first impression when I first met you was that, “This man would be able to three-quarters fill my space. Then, once I took you out, and Tony asked me, “What do you think, Matthew?” I said, “I think he’s the man for the job.” You’re the man for the job. 

Keys to the City

Sadly, Matthew Ballard passed away in June 2022 at his home far away from New York City.

And the only thing I’m trying to do now is to hold on and I don’t wanna rush. I want to stay around as long as I can. But when it’s time to go, it’s time to go

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.