The Terror of Tonytown

June 21, 2007

To me, the funniest thing in this article about how The Sopranos has generated a tourism sub-industry in New Jersey is the revelation that the Kearny location that served as Satriale’s pork store will be razed to make way for a condo development called Soprano Court. I only hope it’s going to be done in suitably monstrous white brick with golden handrails.

Though I’be blown hot and cold on the show during its run, one of the things I always appreciated about The Sopranos was its knowledgeable use of Garden State locations — the Paterson waterfall, the goofy statue of Lou Costello, the New Skyway Diner, etc. When an episode supposedly set in the Pine Barrens was actually shot in upstate New York, with scarcely a pine tree in sight, I felt personally betrayed.

Attention, Sopranos pilgrims! I know of a location not far from where I live that was used in the show’s first and still best season. When the dirty cop played by John Heard decides to kill himself rather than face disgrace and the loss of his badge, he does it by jumping off the Morris Goodkind Bridge that carries Route 1 across the Raritan River. Since the bridge is, in fact, popular with suicides because of its height and low railing, the scene reflected some shrewd location-spotting by the show’s staff.

So here’s my offer: Slip me a couple of C-notes in a plain white envelope and I’ll take you to the very spot where John Heard’s character shuffles off this mortal coil. For an extra C-note, I’ll even throw you off the bridge. Never let it be said that I deny my customers an authentic New Jersey experience.             

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