Forty-one years after strutting down a Brooklyn street, merrily swinging a paint can to the sound of the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive, an older, less lithe John Travolta returned on Tuesday, to be honored for his services to the now-trendy New York City borough.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Lenny’s Pizza in Bensonhurst, south Brooklyn, to glimpse Travolta, who brought the neighborhood to national and international consciousness in Saturday Night Fever.
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The 1977 film saw his character Tony Manero disco dance, conduct troubling relationships with women and occasionally engage in punch-ups. In the opening scene, Travolta orders two slices of pizza at Lenny’s before combining them in a double decker-type situation. The pizzeria claims Saturday Night Fever fans regularly order the same.
“This is a great day,” New York state senator Martin Golden – who represents the Bensonhurst neighborhood and has submitted a 1,070-word legislative resolution commending Travolta for “putting Brooklyn both on the map and in America’s hearts” – told the crowd.
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“A great day for John Travolta, a great day for his family, and a great day for Brooklyn.”
Travolta was an hour and a half late, 90 long minutes in which the MC, “Brooklyn’s own” DJ Chazz, repeatedly ask the crowd if they were ready. Most remained in a state of readiness throughout, waving Saturday Night Fever memorabilia and singing along to the Bee Gees’ back catalogue.
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“I’ve seen loads of his movies,” 32-year-old Matthew Sterling said of Travolta. “Face/Off, Look Who’s Talking. He’s such a versatile actor.”
Sterling, who lives in Bensonhurst, was carrying a large Saturday Night Fever poster. He bought it at an auction for $200 and said it had been owned by the photographer who took many of the publicity shots for the film.
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“I’m definitely a big fan,” Sterling said. “You’ve got to be a fan if you’re from this...
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