The wildly popular HBO mob series “The Sopranos” celebrated the 20th anniversary of its debut in January, and while the fade to black finale, played out with Shakespearean flair to the strains of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” left the fate of Tony, Carmella, Meadow and A.J. Soprano in limbo, there is no doubt that the new prequel has begun filming in Bay Ridge.
In fact, there were film trucks lined up throughout the neighborhood on April 3, the first day of rehearsal for “The Many Saints of Newark,” the much-anticipated prequel to “The Sopranos” that focuses on the origins of a young Tony Soprano, memorably played by the late James Gandolfini in the original series.
The cast of the prequel includes Ray Liotta, Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga and Michael Gandolfini in the role his father made famous. The story is set in New Jersey from the time of the Newark race riots of the ‘60s and well into the ‘70s.
Nivola, who starred in the film “American Hustle,” plays Dickey Moltisanti, the father of Michael Imperioli’s character Christopher Moltisanti in the original series.
For the rehearsal shoot he was dressed in a dapper, gray sharkskin suit. Bay Ridge substituted for Newark as a dozen extras dressed in clothes from the era entered and departed from a vintage city bus with a 24 East Jersey Street address on the display.
The filming took place in front of stores on Fourth Avenue between 92nd and 93rd streets including Nunzio-Lucy Hair Stylists and Subway. The equipment trucks were parked along Fourth Avenue from 92nd to 94th streets and on 93rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues.
“The Many Saints of Newark” is one of a number of recent movies and television series to shoot in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Sunset Park and Flatbush. “Fosse/Verdon” filmed along Fourth Avenue and at St. Patrick’s Catholic Academy last month, HBO’s “The Deuce” has been filming in the neighborhood and Tom Selleck’s hit series “Blue Bloods” not only films scenes in Bay Ridge but his character, Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, lives on Harbor View Terrace in Bay Ridge.
Diehard “Sopranos” fans may also know of another Bay Ridge connection; original series star Lorraine Bracco, who played Tony Soprano’s psychologist Dr. Jennifer Melfi, was born in Bay Ridge.