Just call him Ol’ Brown Eyes.
Suave Bay Ridge balladeer Eddie Gentile, 61, did the chairman of the board proud when he took to the stage at Xaverian High School in a tux and belted out “New York, New York” — his crowd-pleasing croon earning him top prize in Saturday’s Senior Idol contest, co-presented by A.A.R.P. Chapter #5055 and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), and emceed by legendary TV host Joe Franklin.
The victorious vocalist, who once performed on Franklin’s show, scooped up $500 for his masterful rendition of the world-famous Sinatra standard — an easy song-pick, according to the cool canary, who has been singing and acting up a sweet storm since retiring as principal of IS 285 in East Flatbush, performing with, among others, the Stravelli Players, and the M.A.S. Swing Band.
“It’s such an iconic song, everybody knows it and everybody loves it!” he cooed.
The dazzling ditty was also timely, added the minstrel, because it re-fueled Gotham’s patriotism on the heels of 9-11’s 10th anniversary, and coincided with the Yankees being in the playoffs, a point which must have resonated as loudly as Gentile’s smooth vocal chords with judges Joe Loposky, Xaverian’s music director, first Senior Idol winner Nancy Liatsis, and professional entertainer Frankie Marra.
His winnings won’t last long in his pocket, cracked Gentile.
“I’m going to pay off some bills!”
The event also boosted Xaverian’s coffers.
A raffle helped raise $1,000 for the music department, said organizer Gail Asfazadour, who had a reason of her own to sing about — since staging the Senior Idol competitions, her group has increased its membership from 35 to more than 600.
“It was an extraordinary night, the turn-out was amazing and the talent was superb,” she marveled.