Astoria’s Own Tony Bennett Remembered with Street Co-Naming
Old Astoria Neighborhood Association (OANA) is proud to share the news that Astoria’s own Tony Bennett, the late internationally acclaimed singer, is being honored in a significant way. The New York City Council recently passed a bill to co-name the intersection of 32nd Street and Ditmars Boulevard as Tony Bennett Place. This tribute is a fitting homage to Bennett, who passed away last July at the age of 96. Raised in Astoria, Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, grew up in an apartment off Ditmars at 32nd Street, in a family of Italian immigrants. His father was a grocer and his mother a seamstress, instilling in him the values of hard work and community from a young age.
Bennett’s journey from the streets of Astoria to international fame is a story of talent, resilience, and dedication. Beginning his career in western Queens, he showcased his musical talents early, performing at the opening of the Tri-borough Bridge at just 10 years old. Despite facing hardships, including the death of his father and a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, Bennett’s passion for music never waned. He went on to sell over 50 million albums and win 17 Grammy Awards, with chart-topping albums spanning across five decades. His connection to Astoria remained strong throughout his life, and his passing was deeply felt in the community. Richard Khuzami, President of OANA, aptly summarized the sentiment, stating, “There is no better representative of both music and the village of Astoria than Tony Bennett.” The street co-naming is not just a memorial but a reminder of Bennett’s enduring legacy in Astoria, further immortalized by the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, which he founded. Bennett’s story is a testament to the remarkable talent and spirit that can emerge from our neighborhood, inspiring future generations of Astorians.
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