People from as far as Long Island made the journey to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn on Sunday to bid farewell to Lenny’s Pizza, which served its last pies this weekend after being in business for 70 years.
The Bensonhurst institution, located at 1969 86th St., rose to fame when it was immortalized in the iconic opening scene of the 1977 movie blockbuster “Saturday Night Fever.” The scene shows Tony Manero, played by John Travolta, ordering a “double-decker” — two slices stacked on top of each other — and chomping down while strutting along 86th Street.
The closure is bittersweet for the father-daughter duo behind Lenny’s, Frank and Josephine Giordano. Giordano, 77, bought the place in 1988 and recently decided it was finally time to retire.
Sunday’s last hurrah was a chance for the Giordanos to show their appreciation to their lifelong customers.
“It’s been a great run,” Josephine said. “It’s the ending of an era, but most importantly, I can take this opportunity to thank all my customers, and it’s definitely been a fantastic time. I’ve gotten to meet so many people on a friendly level which is great.”
Josephine shared that her family sold the building, and their next big plan is to relocate and spend time traveling and “on the beach.” “Unfortunately, New York City is not exactly what it used to be,” she said.
The Giordanos announced the closure on social media Friday night and the news spread like wildfire.
Jasmine from Bensonhurst said the closure came as a huge surprise for her — and for many of her neighbors.
“It’s all across the Brooklyn groups I’m in on social media,” she said. “They are all shocked.”
On Lenny’s last day, a long line stretched down the block as people waited patiently to pick up the last slice of the famous pizza. Some cars drove by blasting the song “Night Fever,” paying homage to the movie classic.
For many who grew up in Bensonhurst, the closure of one of the neighborhood’s last true Italian institutions felt like losing a “slice” of Brooklyn.
Local Cathrine Annarumma was quite emotional as she stood online Sunday. She explained that Lenny’s was not “just a pizzeria, it was legendary.” She said that Lenny’s was a popular staple even before “Saturday Night Fever” and equated the closure of the restaurant to saying goodbye to family.
“Lenny’s was always here. You came here to have a slice after the movies,” Annarumma said. “They always remember your name when you come in here. Always, ‘Hello, how are you?’ Always happy to see you.”
Richard Ceriello drove up from Brentwood, Long Island. It was his first time visiting Lenny’s and he shared that he had seen “Saturday Night Fever” plenty of times with his “old man.” Ceriello was going to surprise his dad with a pie from Lenny’s Pizza.
“I came down here to get him some pizza from the old neighborhood where he used to hang around back in the days,” Ceriello said.
Brothers Tony and Frank Vento agreed that the closure was the end of an era.
“I think [Lenny’s] is the last item that has been around from the movie because everybody else is either closed or sold off,” the two told amNewYork Metro.
Regular Steven Busch shared that he’s been going to Lenny’s ever since he was a teenager, when he used to go cruising up and down 86th Street in his 77 Cadi convertible.
“Every Sunday, I came here, and I got pizza,” Busch said. “This is the end of Bensonhurst. It’s really sad.”