Tributes being made to the late James Gandolfini are no surprise, as the talented Sopranos actor was beloved by many. But one tribute in particular being made by a special ice cream parlor in Bloomfield, New Jersey is especially charming and touching. Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery is an unassuming spot on the main drag that looks like it's in a time warp, but it was also where the final scene of The Sopranos was shot.
As the diner filled up with fans hoping to honor the late actor, Holsten's propreitor, Chris Carley, placed a “Reserved” sign in the booth where Tony Soprano sat with his family enjoying a meal just before the screen cut to black, leaving us all wondering and analyzing for years to come.
Carley told the press:
During his down time, [James would] be outside smoking a big cigar, talking to people. He seemed like real regular guy. ... Really, really nice to the staff, giving autographs and taking pictures ... One night, at 1 a.m., he brought in a whole bunch of sushi at his own cost. Just a really nice guy.
Carley's testimonial isn't rare. Everyone said that no matter how famous he got, Gandolfini was a down-to-earth Jersey boy who never forget his roots. (My mother-in-law actually chatted with him once at a local, NJ Italian restaurant. Her observations were very much in tune with what Carley said.)
Understandably, "a lot of people came to see [the sign], not to get ice cream," Carley's daughter told the New York Post. Makes sense. Patrons have been drawn to Holsten's for its cool Hollywood connection for years, but last night, however, they were showing up for a different reason ... To honor a local boy done good. And, in turn, Holsten's stepped up to the plate by showing their appreciation to and admiration of Gandolfini and The Sopranos in a classy, poignant tribute. It's a testament to how much they deserve that patronage ... and why we will always need and love mom and pop shops with a local heart like theirs.
What do you think of this tribute to James Gandolfini?
Image via HBO