the sopranos, james gandolfini, pine barrens

As a tribute to the late “Sopranos” actor, the town of Park Ridge, NJ has renamed a section of its Park Avenue “James Gandolfini Way.”

Gandolfini, who hailed from Park Ridge, is of course is best known for his role as Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos. According to Variety, a number of Sopranos cast members attended the dedication, including Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccalieri), Tony Sirico (Paulie Gualtieri), and Dominic Chianese (Corrado Soprano).

Gandolfini died in June at age 51, while on vacation with his family in Italy.

The show, which ran from 1999-2007, made iconic use of the state as a backdrop, frequently employing local landmarks as plot points.

For instance, one of the most famous episodes of the show was called “Pine Barrens,” and took place in the Garden State locale of the same name, a large, dense stretch of forest land in the south of the state.

In the episode, Paulie and Christopher get stuck chasing a member of the Russian mob through the Pine Barrens in dead winter, after they go there to dump what they mistakenly believe is his dead body.

Here’s a clip from the episode:

Though the episode has an enduring legacy as one of the show’s best, as the New York Times reported on Sunday, the real-life Pine Barrens is faced with big problems because of climate change.

The region, also known as the Pinelands, is plagued with an infestation of the southern pine beetle, which is destroying thousands of acres of the forest. According to the Times, scientists say the problem is a direct result of global warming, since in the past the state’s cold winters would kill off the insect before it could spread and do any real damage to the area.

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