If Mayor DeBlasio can’t go to Park Slope, Park Slope must come to Mayor DeBlasio.
Hizzoner anointed Slope actor John Turturro the guest of honor at a Manhattan soiree celebrating Italian culture on Oct. 6, where the city’s commander in chief hailed the Italian-American actor for his artistry in films such as “The Big Lebowski” and “Barton Fink.”
“I’m going to help you to understand why I’m so thrilled to have John Turturro here with us,” DeBlasio said before the crowd of elected officials and city bigwigs “It’s not because John Turturro is a movie star. There are many movie stars. It’s not just because he is a born and bred New Yorker who made it to the big time — and we’re proud of him for that. It’s because he is a true artist — that’s what excites me.”
The mayor honored Turturro by proclaiming the day “John Turturro Day” at the swanky Gracie Mansion event, which featured an all-Italian menu of fine wine and brick-oven pizza made on site.
After accepting a certificate recognizing DeBlasio’s proclamation, Turturro hobnobbed with the crowd, where he wowed guests with his down-to-earth charm.
“I was very impressed with him,” said John “Mr. Democrat” Sollazzo, first vice-chairman of the Staten Island Democratic Party, who admitted he’d never heard of Turturro until that evening. “The way he spoke from the heart about his heritage and what he’s done, it impressed me very much.”
Turturro was born in East New York before his family moved to Queens, but did the right thing and moved back to the Borough of Kings in 1988.
Amongst Turturro’s Park Slope bona fides, he is an investor in the Community Bookstore on Seventh Avenue and is a member of the famed Park Slope Food Co-op — though has also told the socialist supermarket’s in-store newspaper that he is a little intimidated by the local institution because shopping there is so labor-intensive.
“It’s that whole thing about having to wait on that line, and then you have to pay, and then you have to bag it, and you have to wait on the other line to get checked,” Turturro told the Linewaiter’s Gazette. “For certain people it’s like the mental block of ‘I’ve joined a commune.’ I can’t do it. I don’t know. I just think it’s a mental block.”