A Sopranos Tour of NYC
In honor of the recent release of the prequel, The Mary Saints of Newark, and to commemorate the deaths of James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico, we visit the NYC locations featured prominently in the show.
Two decades ago, The Sopranos premiered on HBO and revolutionized television. With creator David Chase’s unapologetic distaste for television of the ’90s, he eschewed tradition and created a pop culture masterpiece that ushered in a wave of storytelling that managed to be both cinematic and episodic. His blurring of what previously existed as such separate mediums helped birth “the golden age of television” that is so celebrated today.
Born into an Italian-American family in New York, Chase grew up in New Jersey plagued by panic attacks and considering these three facts alone, you might wonder if the old adage “write what you know” is proven true by Chase’s Sopranos mega-success. New Jersey is the focal point of Tony Soprano’s world but New York City is always an overhanging presence and one that Tony often crosses paths with.
For the 20th anniversary of the iconic series, you may wish to visit some of the city’s spots that were prominently featured on the show.
You can’t walk around Little Italy without eyeing a photo of Tony Soprano above the register of a coffee shop or on a T-shirt or in the window of a souvenir store. That’s understandable for obvious reasons but notably for two locations, Caffe Palermo and Mulberry Street Bar.
In the series, Little Carmine (the leader of one of New York’s five families) frequently takes calls from Tony while standing outside Caffe Palermo. In reality, Caffe Palermo is said to have the best cannolis in the tri-state area. Located on Mulberry Street, the legendary spot also serves gelato, espresso, and even wine if you’re looking for something a little more late-night.
Mulberry Street Bar is a must if you’re a serious Sopranos fan. The location served as The Averna Social Club in the series—playing a critical role from season four onward. Visit this century-old bar for pub food and a real-life look at what was meant to be Carmine Lupertazzi’s headquarters.
Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bamonte’s is a legendary Italian restaurant that has been open since 1900. Its timeless decor is a huge draw if you’re looking for something that feels like the old-school New York of so many mafia films and especially the Sopranos. In the series, Gerry Torciano, Phil Leotardo’s protege, is murdered at this restaurant. Visit for the history, the atmospheric setting and big family-style portions.
The Plaza features twice in the Sopranos. When we first see it, Tony’s wife Carmela and daughter Meadow go to tea on an annual mother-daughter date honoring Eloise, a childhood hero of Meadow’s. The second time, Tony takes up temporary residence after a falling out with Carmela. The Plaza is a New York institution that is worth a visit with or without The Sopranos. But if you want a particular Sopranos-flavor to that visit, make like Carmela and Meadow and get a cup of tea in The Palm Court.
In Dumbo, just underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll find the meeting place for Paulie Gualtieri (loyal capo to Tony) and Johnny Sacrimoni, the head of the Lupertazzi crime family. Michelin-starred chefs anchor this landmark eatery offering a New American menu with impressive views of Manhattan.
Soho Grand Hotel opened three years prior to The Sopranos television debut in 1996. Notable in the series is DiMeo crime family member Christopher Moltisanti’s quest to fulfill his dream of becoming a screenwriter. His Hollywood aspirations lead him into a fling with his cousin’s fiance, a development executive staying at the hotel. The hotel plays a huge part in this episode—for a particularly meta experience, pull up season two’s “D-Girl” and watch in one of the rooms.
WORDS Hillary Sproul