Remembering James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini always gave the impression that he was one of the good people, and this New York Times article, if you missed it earlier, makes that point in spades. (“Mr. Gandolfini once even offered to pay for one of the building’s employees to go to college.”)

EJ submitted a nice comment:

EJ courtesy NYTIt got me thinking that a lot of folks might want to share memories about living near Gandolfini, so I asked in today’s email newsletter and on Facebook and Twitter. (Some of these tweets weren’t addressed to me, but who cares?)

From Connie Brunner-Steidel: “I lived in Tribeca for almost ten years and is was very common to see celebrities—it seemed like the entire cast of ‘The Sopranos’ lived in the neighborhood at one point. I would often see James Gandolfini out and about. The first time I ever saw him was in an elevator in a building where I worked. The doors of the elevator open and there he is standing there in a tuxedo looking a little disheveled. This guy was huge. Of course, my silly reaction to seeing him is one of reacting to Tony Soprano being in the elevator and I was actually thinking to myself not to get in the elevator and when I did I sort of cowered in the corner until I looked up at him and he says to me, ‘I am not Tony Soprano,’ and he smiled. I apologized, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I get that a lot.'”

tweet Gandolfini peanutFrom Jonathan Stinnett: “Years ago, in Washington Market Park, I hear an adult roar and a bunch of kids shrieking (with delight) behind me. I turn around and see him, playing monster, chasing the kids around. I’m seeing the lethal Tony Soprano, not a local dad, so that playground scene looked a whole lot scarier to me than it did to those kids having fun in the park. Great actor, seemed to be a pretty good Dad, too.”

tweet Gandolfini Socratestweet Gandolfini bubbysFrom Marnie Rustemeyer: “I ran into him at my chiropractor’s office. He seemed to be in a lot of pain, but was really nice and said hello. May he rest in peace.”

tweet Gandolfini Reade Street Pubtweet head nodtweet whats up buddyFrom Stacey Sosa of Estancia: “James would come in with his wife and then their newborn. He came to us because he knew he was safe. We did not bother him or make a big brouhaha over him. He wanted to just be a customer enjoying food and family. We delivered food to him when he stayed home, and he would call to put his order in, not an assistant, just James being James. I am so sad, we are so sad, Tribeca is so sad!”

tweet Gandolfini the Palmtweet Tribeca iconFrom Kat Sosnick: “A few years ago we did a blood drive for a local kid who had leukemia. James (Jim) saw one of the posters in Tribeca and emailed me personally from the info on the poster to get involved with his son Michael. I still have his personal email from that day.”

photo(1)tweet Gandolfini mini bikePuffys Gandolfini tributeIf you have something to add, please post it in the comments or email

(Top photo courtesy emmaday15/Instagram.)

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  1. I “ran” into James walking down Greenwich last winter. A man was loading his black Mercedes SUV (1/2 on the sidewalk) outside his building. I was saying to myself “dude, you can’t park like this”. As I walked by him, I was face to face with “Tony”. He looked at me, I at him. He gave me that Soprano “look”….I happily kept walking. I did not know him but am very sad for his wife and most of all for his kids. May God bless his family.

  2. I have a classic James Gandolfini story. Several months ago, on a very rainy Tues afternoon- I was stuck on the belt parkway going to Brooklyn for about 2 hours due to flooding. It was all over the radio – but too late for me to stay off the belt. The rain stopped- I with hundreds of other cars were stopped right before exit 22-. At a standstill -I am in the middle lane, with my window open. I look to my left- and I was admiring a small black Mercedes sports car- I look at the profile of the driver- and my heart went into my mouth- I said to myself- no way!- that looks just like my favorite actor James Gandolfini . So here I am- traffic not moving at all as the fireman a half a block away are vacuuming the flood water with hoses so we can move again- I am staring at my left lane neighbors profile- hoping he would turn sooner or later full view head on to me!-his window was closed- as he probably had air conditioner on-all of a sudden- he stares right at me!!!– now I am 100 percent sure this is my guy- Big Tony!!!— we are having a staring contest for about 30 seconds- as he was probably saying to himself- I’m gonna play with this guy- all of a sudden- I mouth to him– Is that you??– in his best charming Tony Soprano big tooth smile he nods his head!!!– I mouth to him- I love you- I love your show- and I gave him the fonzie thumbs up and the power fist!- he gave me the Fonzie thumbs up and power fist back!-.made my year- I must go train a client now- but I have more to add later to this story!!– he was complete Class A GENTLEMAN- James- R.I.P. my man- you were loved and missed by all- With love- Always-Michael Robert Rinsler