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'The Sopranos' -- and Gandolfini -- left mark on NJ businesses

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Sat June 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Sopranos was shot in many New Jersey locations
  • Fans still visit some of the places where the show was filmed
  • One owner recalls the graciousness of the late James Gandolfini

(CNN) -- Six years have passed since the final episode of "The Sopranos" aired, but the location of that last shoot, Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery, still boasts the connection to the show.

The Bloomfield, New Jersey, ice cream parlor still draws visitors who want to see the place where the fictional Tony Soprano may have met his end.

On Wednesday, Holsten's owner reflected on the death of James Gandolfini, the actor who played the mob boss. Gandolfini died in Italy, possibly of a heart attack.

Opinion: Gandolfini's gift to television -- and America

"It was a great honor, one of the highlights of my life" to have the final episode shot at Holsten's, owner Chris Carley said.

When the news broke on Wednesday that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini died at 51, tributes poured in around the world, including CNN iReport. "So long, paisan" was how Orlando, Florida, resident Pat Tantalo chose to say goodbye to the friend he met on the set of the 2006 film "Lonely Hearts." "When Jimmy arrived, he was bigger than life. He shook everyone's hands and made sure he learned everyone's name. We were just finishing a production meeting and we introduced ourselves. We instantly connected. He planted his huge mitts on my shoulders and called me a little bull." When the news broke on Wednesday that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini died at 51, tributes poured in around the world, including CNN iReport. "So long, paisan" was how Orlando, Florida, resident Pat Tantalo chose to say goodbye to the friend he met on the set of the 2006 film "Lonely Hearts." "When Jimmy arrived, he was bigger than life. He shook everyone's hands and made sure he learned everyone's name. We were just finishing a production meeting and we introduced ourselves. We instantly connected. He planted his huge mitts on my shoulders and called me a little bull."
'So long, paisan:' Fans mourn Gandolfini
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He recalls how gracious Gandolfini was, posing for pictures and signing autographs for his staff.

Best quotes from the mouth of Tony Soprano

"He was a very down-to-earth man when the camera wasn't rolling," he said.

The actor bought sushi for everyone on the second day of shooting, and Carley remembers Gandolfini sitting in the driveway in the back of the building, lit cigar in hand.

"It was like he was holding court, everyone around him listening and laughing," he said.

Appreciation: James Gandolfini, a pure actor

Many New Jersey establishments were touched by the show.

The strip club on "The Sopranos," the Bada Bing Club, is also a strip club in real life, albeit with a different name.

Like Holsten's, Satin Dolls in Lodi does not forget its Soprano ties. It still bills itself as "the original" Bada Bing Club in its advertising.

Read: Entertainers, politicians mourn Gandolfini

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