Tony Bennett is celebrating his 95th birthday with several momentous festivities. The 19-time Grammy winner— born in Astoria, Queens in 1926—kicked off the first of his final two live events on Tuesday, Aug. 3, beginning with One More Time: A Night with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall. A second show will take place Thursday, Aug. 5. Both shows sold out promptly after tickets went on public sale last week.
Additionally, New York State has proclaimed Aug. 3 Tony Bennett Day. “Music and the arts have long been an essential piece of the fabric of New York, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has made more of a contribution in this space than Tony Bennett,” Governor Cuomo stated in his proclamation.
“Not only is Tony a born and bred New Yorker who has been dazzling audiences with beautiful music for more than six decades, but he has always stayed true to his humble New York roots and can always be spotted throughout the City whether he is working on his next painting in Central Park, or just chatting with fans on the street.”
Citing his childhood,—raised by immigrants—to his contributions like Exploring the Arts, an organization established with his wife to support arts education in public high schools, Cuomo described Bennett as a “New Yorker in the truest sense of the word.”
Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company for Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings divisions, also endowed a bench in Tony’s name in Central Park, his most cherished spot in his hometown of NYC. “Sony Music wishes Tony Bennett the happiest of birthdays as he turns 95,” said Richard Story, President of Sony Music Entertainment’s Commercial Music Group.
“Tony is an American treasure who became an international phenomenon and has chronicled his lifelong love affair with New York City in his music and his paintings. It is an honor to dedicate this bench to Tony in his beloved Central Park, where he has experienced so much joy and inspiration across the years.”
The Adopt-A-Bench program supports the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit that manages and cares for Central Park. Bennett continues to visit the park regularly and has sketched and painted the landmark’s surroundings in over 70 pieces of original artwork. The bench endowed in Tony’s honor is located at the east side of Center Drive when entering the Park at Central Park South and 6th Avenue and displays a plaque.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy