Vincent Pastore, Peter Sohn, Arlene Alda & Eduardo Vilaro make up this year’s class
Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and The Bronx Tourism Council announced that actor Vincent Pastore, animator & director Peter Sohn, author Arlene Alda and dance pioneer Eduardo Vilaro are the 2016 class of honorees for the Bronx Walk of Fame.
“Once again, we have put together a tremendous class of individuals that represent the best of our borough for induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “These four individuals have seen considerable success in their chosen fields, and throughout it all they have highlighted their strong roots in The Bronx. I congratulate Vincent Pastore, Peter Sohn, Arlene Alda and Eduardo Vilaro on their induction to the Bronx Walk of Fame, and I look forward to celebrating their accomplishments during Bronx Week 2016.”
Vincent Pastore has been a star of screen and stage for decades, and is best known for his role in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos, for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in 2001. A City Island resident, Mr. Pastore has appeared in films including Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way, Awakenings, State of Grace, The Godfather Part III and many more.
The first Asian-American to ever be inducted to the Bronx Walk of Fame, Peter Sohn is an award-winning animator and director with Pixar Studios, having worked on numerous hit films including Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Up. Most recently, Mr. Sohn directed Pixar’s 2015 feature hit The Good Dinosaur.
Arlene Alda, who grew up in Williamsbridge and graduated from Evander Childs High School, is an award-winning photographer and author whose work has appeared in numerous books, newspapers, magazines and galleries. Mrs. Alda is the author of 19 books, most of them children’s books featuring her words and illustrations. Her latest book, Just Kids from The Bronx: Telling it the Way it Was, An Oral History, consists of stories about growing up in The Bronx based on interviews with over 60 accomplished and proud Bronxites.
First generation Cuban-American Eduardo Vilaro became artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, the nation’s first and oldest Latino dance organization, in 2009. He is only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispanico. Mr. Vilaro has been part of the Ballet Hispanico family since 1985. As a dancer with the Ballet Hispanico company, he performed throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe for an audience of nearly 3 million while assisting founder Tina Ramirez with the development of dance education residencies.
“I love living in The Bronx,” said Vincent Pastore. “This borough is a great mixture of cultures and ethnic groups—a true cross section of today’s America. And my home, City Island, is growing each year. It’s New York City’s very own Martha’s Vineyard.”
“I am so proud to be honored in this way. The Bronx is a part of me in so many ways, in how I was formed and how my family was formed,” said Peter Sohn. “My father came to the United States from Korea with nothing and he started our family in The Bronx. And just like all those other families that would come to my dad’s vegetable store it became a community of immigrant families that were all just beginning and helping each other out. My career as an artist in film started here as well. There were several years of study and drawing at the Bronx Zoo that helped me fill up my portfolio to get a job in animation. And the stories and memories of my youth here have fueled so much of the work I do at Pixar today. So thanks Bronx. Thanks for taking care of me and my family.”
“I am a first-generation American, and so to be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame is especially meaningful to me. I feel the special connection to the current generation of first generation immigrants in The Bronx, now. It is a deep honor I do not take for granted,” said Arlene Alda.
“I have been blessed with a special life. I create art and impact young people with the arts education and my culture. When I look back and think of what in my DNA made me strong enough to contend with the challenges I had to face, I know it is because I grew up in the Bronx,” said Eduardo Vilaro. “The Bronx gave me the strength and determination to excel and succeed. Growing up in a tough neighborhood wasn’t just about learning to stand up for yourself. It was about community and the neighbors who watched out for you—the helping hand when one of your own was in trouble. We learned the respect and dignity of hard working adults. Behind the often described gritty face The Bronx, there is a community that is full of pride and a beautiful soul that welcomes everyone.”
“Witnessing our hometown heroes take their rightful place on The Bronx Walk of Fame is one of my favorite events for Bronx Week. It fills me with pride to honor these sons and daughters of The Bronx!” said Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of The Bronx Tourism Council.
Mr. Pastore, Mr. Sohn, Mrs. Alda and Mr. Vilaro will be officially inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame as part of the 45th annual Bronx Week, a program of The Bronx Tourism Council.
Bronx Week 2016 is a highly-anticipated 11-day event where the entire borough, including government, business, and the community-at-large, come together to celebrate “The Best of The Bronx” through festivals, concerts, health fairs, parades, performances and a host of other activities. It will take place from May 5th – May 15th.
At the end of the 11-day celebration, these four hometown heroes will be honored with induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame, where their names are emblazoned on a street sign to reside on the historic Grand Concourse forever.
For more information about Bronx Week 2016, visit www.ilovethebronx.com.
Photos of this year’s honorees, as well as the Bronx Week 2016 logo, can be downloaded at the Borough President’s Flickr page, www.flickr.com/bronxbp.