Tony Bennett, the Epitome of New York Cool

James Barron, writing for The New York Times:

Tony Bennett may have become famous for “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” but his own heart was unquestionably a New Yorker’s. He had that New York cool, decade after decade — the kid from Astoria, Queens, who made a go of it in Manhattan.

“He was Mr. New York,” said the philanthropist Iris Cantor, a friend of Mr. Bennett’s. “That’s who he was.”

The city shaped him, from a hard-knock childhood with only-in-New-York breaks: As a 9-year-old, he sang at the opening of the Triborough Bridge (now the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge). And his fortunes seemed to run in tandem with the city’s: In the 1950s and ‘60s he, and it, were flying high. In the ‘70s, his popularity sank, torpedoed by the rock revolution, and the city’s finances imploded.

Both managed comebacks, Bennett with breathtaking moments when he was 60. And 70. And 80. And 90.

Man, that photo of Bennett painting by himself in Central Park — amazing. Rest in peace.

Sunday, 23 July 2023