- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg marched with local officials in the Bronx yesterday, a day before the city's main Columbus Day parade that he planned to sit out because organizers would not allow him to walk with two cast members from "The Sopranos."
"It's great to be in the Bronx and it's great to be at a parade where you can march with all your friends," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday.
Organizers of today's parade in Manhattan say the hit HBO show perpetuates negative stereotypes of Italian Americans.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation had sought a federal court order banning Mr. Bloomberg from bringing Dominic Chianese and Lorraine Bracco to the annual celebration. Mr. Chianese plays New Jersey mob boss Junior Soprano; Miss Bracco plays one of the few principal characters in the show with no mob ties a psychiatrist treating mobster Tony Soprano.
After both sides agreed that organizers had the right to invite or disinvite anyone to their parade, the judge said he had nothing on which to rule.
Foundation Vice President Frank Fusaro said they still wanted Mr. Bloomberg to march by himself. But the mayor said he instead would have lunch with the actors.
Mr. Bloomberg said he invited the pair to march because Miss Bracco acts as a city spokeswoman on environmental issues, and Mr. Chianese makes a public service announcement for tourism.
"Everybody should lighten up a little," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday.
Donna Inzano of the Bronx agreed.
"It's a TV series," she said. "They're not really in the mob. They're only actors."

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