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Posted by Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
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on Wednesday, 08 February 2017
in The Italian-American Stories

Tony Bennett's Italian NYC Valentine



Tony Bennett and his Mamma, Anna Benedetto
(Courtesy of Bennett Family Archives)

I love New York City — I was born here and live here and no matter how far away I go to cities around the world while touring I am always thrilled to come back home.  There is no place on earth that has the diverse mix of cultures that you can find here in NYC.  And as an Italian-American, I know firsthand who many incredible places in the city reflect the richness of Italy’s  influences.

First of course is the food and Little Italy is the most famous spot to enjoy a great Italian meal, but some of my favorites are in Queens were I grew up such as Manducatis in Long Island City and Piccolo Venezia in Astoria (where I founded a NYC public high school named after one of my most favorite Italian-Americans, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts).  And I love Esca in Manhattan and  the restaurant Lady Gaga's parents opened, Joanne Trattoria - it's home cooking.

If Italian art is your passion there is no better place than the Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses almost 30,000 pieces of Italian art. I have been visiting the Met since I was an art student in high school and every time I go I discover something new and wonderful about Italian art. 

My mother was a dressmaker and she would bring work home at night to make some extra money, and I would sit on the floor by her while she worked.  Every once in a while she would get upset and throw a dress over her shoulder and say “I refuse to work on a poorly made dress.” It was from my Mom that I learned to respect quality and seek it out.  And as it related to my own personal fashion sense I learned that it was better to have one very good suit then ten cheaply made ones, so I have always loved going to Brioni in NYC for my wardrobe.  A good suit will stay with you for decades and never look out of date - just like a good song.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches, which many historians attributed to Roman traditions as its origin, I wanted to express my love for New York City and for being an Italian-American. Here’s a clip of a song that is a tribute and valentine to New York City, “New York State of Mind” written by my good friend Billy Joel.  I joined him on stage last summer at one of his sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, so I hope you enjoy viewing.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Tony Bennett


Tony Bennett's New CD:


Tony Bennett

Celebrates 90


 Anna Benedetto's Lasagne

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