2017-06-07 / Features

Stars Are Gravitating Toward Our Orbit

Scanning through the highlights of the past 35 years for the Gazette 35th Anniversary Issue, we noticed the bounty of stars caught in our net as we gathered the news every week. In the following pages are some of the celebrity sightings we have made over the years, as the famous have found their way, more and more, to our fabulous borough. With the film industry booming, they are visiting with greater frequency. (Historically, Queens was the country home of many of the earliest superstars). Whether they have come to film a movie or TV show, to play music, sign a book, have some delicious food (yes, even the stars need to eat), or give a master class in music, it’s always a special thrill when our favorite stars suddenly appear live, in person, in our very own Queens neighborhoods! Our roving reporters, Melissa Mennona and Jason D. Antos, love to zoom in on roaming stars for a scoop as soon as they get an inkling they might be about.

We might be graced by the presence of some of the greatest living singers of our lives at a local high school (Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts); or just some top stars and directors filming in the neighborhood, even right in front of the Gazette offices (Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, Owen Wilson, Austin Pendleton, Kathryn Hahn, Donnie Wahlberg). Sometimes the stars join forces with local talent not in the film industry (Richard Gere and Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz) and Burt Young, who wrote the foreword in historian Jason Antos’ book. Famous chefs come to eat here or mentor (Bobby Flay dining at the Bel Aire Diner…hmmm it must be dynamite!; and Chef Michael, of “Man on the Eat,” who came to combine talents with famed Steinway Street food vendor Franky’s Souvlaki).

It is exciting and a little jarring when someone famous makes an appearance in our lives as we go about our daily business. Like when old friends make a surprise visit, or better yet, when we somehow run into them on a train ridden by millions every day. We feel like we were specially chosen, and a little bit famous ourselves. Some of you may remember some of these “best ofs” from when they happened, but some you might have missed, so take a gander at the celebrity sightings we have culled from the Gazette’s past years and reprinted in the following pages, and may some of that stardust rub off on you.

P.S., Hope you enjoy our reprints of celebrity cover guys – Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Derek Jeter, Tobey Maguire – elsewhere in this issue.

—Annette Hanze, Associate Editor

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