Fall Philly, 2008- The Sopranos Tour, pt. 1
Lee and I went up North a day early to spend some time with our "Minister of Security", Mr. Frankie B. This guy is a true sweetheart and welcomed us in like a couple of brothers- we had the time of our lives and got to see some things we may never get to experience again. So, off we go on the tour.....Photo 1. This is the Godfather's neighborhood. We feel safe at home because we have lots of guns down here in the South but at Frankie B's place, we felt like two bugs in a rug. I swear this place is straight out of that movie, "A Bronx Tale". Just watch out for the steps here, as they have a lot of them.... Photo 2. Here's Lee and Frankie B. loading the van. Precisely 1 minute before this photo was taken, I pulled the old "Italian sprained ankle technique" on these guys and lay on the sidewalk, groaning in pain as they loaded the gear for the show. I just hope they didn't see me groaning and grinning at the same time. Photo 3. This is the very guitar that Lisa Kudrow used on the song "Smelly Cat" in the popular TV show "Friends". It was but one of the very cool pieces in the often whispered about but never seen Frankie B. collection. Photo 4. That sign may say Satin Dolls, but to any Soprano's fan, it's known as the "Bada Bing". We actually got to visit the place of HBO fame and to venture inside was a true labor of love. Photo 5. Taking pictures inside this hallowed place was strictly "verboten" but taking my life in my hands, I managed to get off a shot of the neon marquee. I also got a photo of something else, but to post it here would mean my almost certaindemise.... Photo 6. Frankie B. took us to the absolute best Italian restaurant we'd ever been to- Antonia's. The food and service were impeccable and to say that we rolled out of there a few pounds heavier and a few steps slower would be an understatement. Photo 7. Frankie B. and the owner, Antonia herself. Fabulous place and fabulous gal- top notch all the way. Our thanks to her and her staff for the wonderful treatment! Photo 8. This plaque is back at Hamilton Place, where we shot the photos of Manhattan. It bears witness to the event where the Vice- President of the United States, Alexander Hamilton shot Aaron Burr for saying his horse was faster. The modern day equivalent of this would be if somebody rolled up on Joe Biden and said, "My '72 Cuda can shake the shorts off your Mach 1" and 'ol Joe put a cap in his behind just for saying the words. Lee and I came to the conclusion that this event by itself was the reason they won't let us carry a loaded .45 whenever we visit New Jersey. Photo 9.This is the 'Elk summer home at 1 Hamilton Place. We're currently undergoing renovations and are adding an indoor shooting range, bowling alley and a margarita bar. If anyone knows where to get a couple of palm trees in New Jersey, please let us know. Photo 10. Lee: "So you're sayin' that somewhere in all those buildings, Michael Jackson's got a stash of llamas and a monkey named Bubbles?" Frankie B. "Fugettaboutit- I'm not goin' in there- you go look for yourself".... Photo 11. This is the actual house where Frank Sinatra lived as a boy. Belive me when I say that it's no easy feat driving a full- sized conversion van down these streets and the deeper you go into the neighborhood, the narrower they get. We have the missing paint to prove it.