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N.J. city attorney says town can't stop 'Sopranos' filming
NEWARK, N.J. -- Tony Soprano is welcome in the North Jersey town of Bloomfield.
Earlier this week, the town's mayor and council had denied a permit to film the series' final scene, saying they found the HBO mob drama a disparaging portrait of Italian-Americans.
Township attorney Brian Aloia has decided, however, that the town clerk is required to issue a filming permit and the council doesn't have a say unless the permit requires a waiver. A waiver wasn't needed for "The Sopranos" shoot because producers would be filming in a commercial area instead of a residential one after 8 p.m., he said.
HBO was to shoot the scene at an ice cream shop in Bloomfield. The town borders Newark, where fictional mob boss Tony Soprano grew up.
Aloia said the clerk must issue a permit after determining that a shoot fulfills certain legal requirements, such as having adequate insurance.
"She must look at the application in an objective manner," he said. "She cannot consider, for instance, what's being filmed or in this case if she likes the show or doesn't like the show."
Permits were approved last week. But after complaints, the council voted again on Monday and rejected them.
Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy, whose wife is Italian, voted against the shoot twice.
"I don't think 'The Sopranos' depicts the life of a typical Italian American in a positive way," he said, "and I still don't like the way people see New Jersey based upon 'The Sopranos' series."
The owners of the old-fashioned ice cream parlor selected for the series' final scene, Holsten's Brookdale Confectionary, said personal feelings shouldn't stand in the way.
After receiving word on Friday of the town's reversal, co-owner Ron Stark said he was excited about becoming a pop culture landmark.
"Hopefully this will all work out," he said.
The show is scheduled to resume April 8.