MAKING IT WITH MARC PART 4: SOPRANOS SITES LEGACY
The popular HBO series The Sopranos turns 20 years today! To celebrate this milestone, we’re sharing some Sopranos content and a behind the scenes look at the Sopranos Sites Tour throughout the years. Marc Baron, long time Sopranos Sites tour guide, tells us his thoughts on the Sopranos Sites Tour in the last of four blog posts. Catch up on the first three here, here and here, and then read on…
More than seventeen years ago when I began this tour I never thought I’d be doing it so long. I saw it as a temporary fill in job. I still do. When I look back, based on averages, it means I have ridden that bus along our route(s) more than 1,600 times, and about 40 private limo tours. I’ve been to the Bada Bing (Satin Dolls) so many times they should name a pole after me. I was given my own key for the ladies room, so the manager doesn’t need to search for his copy, which seems to disappear frequently. I’ve out lasted many of their managers and dancers.
The stop that we make at Holsten’s has something very special – the mystery of the ending (which I have figured, and you’ll have to take the tour to find out). The owners Ron and Chris – and their entire staff – make our tour feel valued and welcome. Their onion rings are excellent, their chocolates better, and the ice cream phenomenal. Between the bakery and Holsten’s I’ve certainly added some pounds.
One time we had pulled up to Satin Dolls and knew in advance we couldn’t go inside because they were filming inside that day. We pulled up and briefly stopped in front – with perfect timing – as Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto) exited the building and flipped the bird at the bus, much to the delight of our customers.
There have been rare times when the group went into the Bing when it was closed. Those riders got the rare chance to take photos inside and get up on the stage.
And, then that one time we went into the Satriale’s. I was there as it was being torn down. They shaved off the front stonework and sold them online. Seriously! I got two free of charge.
The big stand-out tour involved a dead body. Seriously. We were standing in the parking lot next to the building talking about the scene and the location, when a large black SUV pulled in and stopped in the middle. Two burly guys came out and one barked that we needed to leave. I explained what I was doing and how this is a public lot. They looked at each other, shrugged and went into the home next to the lot. About 5 minutes later they came out with a dead body. They were coroners in an unmarked vehicle. I just looked at my group and explained, “We spare no expense.”
I’ve had many repeat customers. Some will come up and ask if I remember them from years ago. Yeah, sure! I’ve had several who took the tour three times! I suppose though, the best part of the job is the people I’ve met and, in some cases the friends I’ve made. Several who keep in touch from other countries including Scotland, England, Austria and the Cayman Islands. There is one family that comes to New York often and we always meet up and get caught up on each other’s lives. Their kids were young the first time they took the tour, now they stand as young men over 6 feet tall.
How much longer will the tour go on, or will I last? Who knows. The popularity of the show continues even 11 years after it has ended. With the announcement of a prequel 1-off film, interest is growing, and we’ll likely update our tour route to include locations from the film. Me? My feet hurt. I continue my personal efforts to act and write. I’m optimistic that my film will finance, then I’ll need to leave and focus on my project. But the tour will go on without me, for sure. Don’t stop believing.