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Hardhat Sinatra Keeps Site Well Tuned

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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Transit agencies have tried everything to tame the tempers of the public during construction. Now, a Frank Sinatra sound-alike may have the answer: a little work-site serenade.

Gary Russo, a foreman for Iron Workers Local 40, has gained a fast-growing base of admirers after singing classic Frank Sinatra on his lunch break from work on New York City’s $4 billion Second Avenue subway project.

“Forget all the noise, traffic and the impact of the 2nd Avenue subway” and “enjoy the music,” a sign tells passers-by.

Karaoke for Lunch

Every day at noon, instead of taking a lunch break, Russo sets up his karaoke machine and entertains with a catalog of hits from Neil Diamond to Sinatra.

Gary Russo

It’s Russo’s way of apologizing to the public for the inconvenience of construction. And it’s made him an overnight viral sensation.

“Who would (think) a 50-year-old guy singing on his lunch break (would) go viral?” a humbled Russo told a reporter.  "But it’s just the support of people. I don’t know what to say. I have no words.”

His performances have stopped traffic and encouraged strangers to dance with each other. His delighted audience swears that he channels Old Blue Eyes.

Secret Singer

Russo long restricted his singing to showers, cars and club karaoke. But the situation gave him the nerve to belt out tunes on the street.

“My dad told me those two pieces of advice: Don’t look at girls while you’re driving, and follow your heart,” said the Big Apple’s latest singing sensation. “It took me 50 years to learn both of them, but I’m following that.”

Watch the video.

   

Tagged categories: Construction; Public Transit

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