Ricky Russo’s story is truly one to be told. He was born in Trieste, grew up in his beloved city, then one day decided to turn his passion, music, into his job. That’s how he became a music reporter, DJ, radio and TV writer. He studied Humanities and wrote his thesis on the origins of punk film. He worked hard, but always to a great musical soundtrack.
According to him, the Big Apple came into his life suddenly, “I wanted a change. In Italy I worked well enough, but New York remained for me the dream I had to accomplish, my life’s objective, both from a professional and personal side.”
After just a few days, his American friends started calling Ricky “The most enthusiastic man in New York”, a nickname that brought him luck and fits him to a T.
Then came the idea of the walking tours, which “stemmed from the desire to share my experience of New York with the Italians that come here for tourism or to live here”, the Triestine tour guide declares.
Not only tourists, even renown figures such as Jovanotti, Chef Rubio, I Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti, journalist Emma D’Aquino, and many others, were fascinated by Ricky Russo’s walking tours.
Ricky’s itineraries vary and there is something for everyone. In the Midtown one, which is probably the most traditional, you learn about cinema, literature, television, and comic books. If you’re more into Rock ‘n’ Roll and Punk, then the East Village tour is the one for you.
Otherwise, you could experience the New Wave in Brooklyn, Gospel and Jazz music in Harlem, or take the Asbury Park tour (in New Jersey), which focuses on The Boss and Bruce Springsteen. And let’s not forget the tour dedicated to “The Warriors”, the 1979 cult film.
A few days ago, we had the pleasure to take part in the not yet mentioned Greenwich and West Village tour.
Our tour started in Washington Square Park, where the lively Ricky welcomed us enthusiastically. In the range of a few square feet, our guide delivered many stories, anecdotes, and fun facts about the area.
Greenwich Village presents itself as a quintessentially bohemian neighborhood, whose alternative wave marked the history of New York and of its image. The atmosphere is dynamic and pleasant, thanks also to the strong presence of students from New York University.
Here, we traced the steps of the Beat Generation, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Woody Allen, Neil Young, John Lennon, Edward Hopper, and Jackson Pollock.
It was also a pleasant and charming experience to explore the setting of cult TV shows such as “Friends”, “The Cosby Show”, and “Sex and the City.”
Afterwards, we stopped by the famous Caffè Reggio, a small café where the city’s greatest intellectuals came to meet over espressos and cappuccinos.
Literally two steps away, is Cafe Wha?, where great artists such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Cosby, and many others performed.
On the tour, we also observed the small basketball field called “The Cage”, where many NBA recruiters came scouting for future talents: a must see!
Finally, we saw two historical buildings: the first one was the Brown Building, better known as the place where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire took place on March 25, 1911, killing 146 people. The building became a National Historical Landmark in 1991 and a New York City Landmark in 2003.
The second historical location was Stonewall Inn, where the famous “Stonewall riots”, organized by the Gay community as acts of revolt, took place, resulting in a series of violent clashes between the protestors and the New York police.
At the end of the tour, we saluted Ricky with a “Daghe”, which means “take life as it is and enjoy it.”
All of our Triestine guide’s adventures, his anecdotes about the city, and much more can be found in his latest book “Daghe! El Greatest Hits”, published by Piccolo Cafe.