sopranos tributeBaristanet’s Sally Streeter captures the memorial at Holsten’s for actor James Gandolfini.

Holstens’ co-owner Ron Stark showed me to the booth made famous during the final episode of the HBO series “The Sopranos”. The reserved table featured the front page of today’s Star Ledger, a menu and a large bouquet with a handwritten card, “Rest in Peace, James Gandolfini. Love, Holsten’s.”

15 replies on “Bloomfield’s Holsten’s Salutes Sopranos’ James Gandolfini”

  1. Not trying to take anything away from the guy’s obvious talent (he probably would have proved one of the truly great “character actors”), but it doesn’t necessarily say anything complimentary about New Jersey that so many have in so many outlets and at such length rhapsodized about the portrayal of so totally unregenerate a scumbag as Tony Soprano.

    I do find this somewhat dismaying. LCN members are hardly what NJ should ever be “proud” about, after all. The likes of Tino Fiumara, Ruggiero “Richie the Boot” Boiardo and Louis “Bobby” Manna, none of them will ever be famed as d0-gooders and involved, concerned citizens. And Tony Soprano was very much in their truly awful tradition.

  2. Cathar, respectfully, I don’t think people are lamenting the loss of a mafioso. I suggest that they are sad about the loss of a local Jersey Boy who became so talented an actor that in his portrayal of a (mostly) despicable character he was able to portray that character as having a many layered personality. Even this ruthless mob boss had moments of tenderness, and moments of weakness that it was hard not to sympathize with. It’s the actor folks are mourning. Not the mob boss. Further, remember that mafia/crime movies and tv shows are simply a genre. Like cowboys movies. Like sci-fi space flight movies. In addition to playing a mob boss, he also played a stunt man, an army colonel, a CIA executive officer, etc.

    Personally, I met Jim Gandolfini in the course of a magazine assignment. We certainly didn’t become pals or anything. But the three hours I spent with him was enough time for me to see that he was a genuinely nice guy. At least this was the case during the shooting of the first episode of the second season of The Sopranos.

    Finally, let’s not forget his work on behalf of the wounded veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If nothing else, let’s try not to forget that.

    Of course, the opinions above are nothing more than my opinions.

  3. You say very sensible things, dane.

    But my concern about the seeming romanticization of LCN remains. And that was my basic point. Yes, Tony Soprano was portrayed as capable at times of tenderness. (But tenderness in pursuit of extra-marital sex remains, well, adultery, for instance.) But I remain dubious that his real-life counterparts were and are. The clasping to their collective breast by so many of such horrible people has been palpable. Even on this site. The HBO series’ characterization of the FBI as bumblers and nitwits and the absence of both the NJSP (historically a determined and successful foe of LCN) and local enforcement from the show also didn’t help one bit.

    Perhaps I should just be condemning series creator David Chase? Maybe, because he likely knew exactly what he was doing by way of his own career advancement. But too many others seemed and seem to have embraced the character of Tony Soprano, that’s clear. Save that, when Gandolfini got in something like “The Last Castle” as the warden of that military prison it became obvious that, no matter his considerable talents, there were certain roles he was utterly unsuited for. Now we’ll never know what other great parts he could have inhabited, unfortunately.

    (I also think Christie’s order to have NJ flags flown at half-mast Monday in honor of Gandolfini was just silly. So few deserve such an honor, it should certainly be related to service of some kind towards one’s country, and if Christie ever becomes POTUS the death of some even better-known pop culture figure may come back to bite him on his big fat rear end.)

  4. Also, dane, you cited Gandolfini’s concern for Afghanistan-Iraq vets. Yes, that was very commendable, but would their similar labors justify flags at half-mast if either Gary Sinise or Trace Adkins were to die tomorrow? This kind of issue is what concerns me so about Christie, that he plays to the lugs out there so often without a whole lot of forethought. (Without the pitch-perfect timing and style of Huey Long, too.) This is going to catch up to our Governor in the worst possible way, I fear, if he does ever run for national office. Appreciative, warm words would have been quite enough, in other words. Well-deserved, too, as I hope I’ve made clear.

  5. Posts that call attention to someone’s death always seem to draw comments in the same pattern: first come the amens, then someone speaks ill of the dead, then the naysayer is attacked, then bickering ensues.

    I’m not judging it, just observing.

    Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  6. In your usual attempt to play at being Baristanet’s version of Will Rogers (or maybe I mean Garrison Keillor – both are/were creeps of the first order), walleroo, it honestly does sometimes behoove you to actually first read the posts you comment on in your relentlessly, excruciating and mock folksy way.

    Meaning there is no demeaning of “the dead” above (as you claim is Baristanet’s usual practice). Merely an attempt to wonder out loud why so many, including here bit also to great excess on Facebook and Twitter, insist on romanticizing both the character of Tony Soprano and the show which surely did romanticize organized crime and its effect upon this state.

    Alternatively, you’re yourself sitting round the barbecue with some LCN capos this lazy afternoon and you seek, as seems to be YOUR wont with every topic on this site, to ingratiate yourself with them. But even I’d have a hard time accepting that you’re quite that cheerful.

  7. I have nothing against Gandolfini but flying flags at half-mast is way over the top. Christie’s losin’ it.

  8. Flags were flown at half staff for Whitney Houston, and she had the equivalent of a state funeral with dozens of state police, county police, etc cars and officers assigned. An enormous escorted motorcade, etc.

    The state ate most of that cost, as I recall.

    (Not saying that I agree with either flag decision, but there are precedents to be considered.)

  9. I hear ya, paolo, but I didn’t like the Whitney Houston overkill, either. And again, I had nothing against her.

  10. Now that the dust has settled on this story – I think this obvious cash grab/ free publicity over someones passing is truly awful. Holsten’s you’ve lost my business forever now. Article after article and not one mention of donations going toward any charity that James Gandolfini supported or even a local arts program in his name. Shameful !

  11. To The Editor: HE’LL BE MISSED

    The fine character actor James Gandolfini, aka Tony Soprano dead at age 51. His superb portrayal of the mob boss plus a marvelous script and a fine supporting cast made an indelible mark in TV broadcasting. “The Sopranos” was a crime family show the likes of which we may never see again. Bada-Bing…life is short!

    Herb Stark

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