They came in suits and shorts, heels and flip-flops, somber dresses, casual T-shirts — and at least one black tank top embellished with a message hand-written in alternating red, white, and green paint: “Riposa in Pace, Capo.”
“I have to show my respect,” the tank top’s designer — Assunta, a silver-haired woman from Yonkers — said, gesturing to her handiwork. “You can read it, if you like: ‘Rest in peace, Boss.’ That’s what he is. He was the boss.”
Assunta had gathered with what seemed like all of New York City’s Italian-American community — not to mention Mario Batali, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Chris Christie, a gaggle of Sopranos cast members, and fans of countless other ethnic backgrounds — to say goodbye to James Gandolfini, who died suddenly of a heart attack June 19.
The funeral was held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, which stands just south of Columbia University. (“It’s by Meadow [Soprano]!” Assunta explained.) Saint John also happens to be the fourth-largest church in the world, making it one of the only sites in New York capable of holding hordes of Gandolfini’s mourners.
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