The Generational Divide of ‘The Sopranos’

Jan 13, 2019 411

BY: Joe Nocera

When I read that Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the HBO drama “The Sopranos,” I immediately thought back to the time in 2007 when I interviewed Len Riggio, the executive chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc. 

Riggio is a prickly man, quick to find offense, and surprisingly defensive about his lower-middle-class Brooklyn upbringing. He believes powerfully that his Italian-American roots have caused people to stereotype him as a hothead when in fact he’s a cultured, sensitive man. I was working on an article about Riggio’s relationship to the art world — he has one of America’s great contemporary art collections — but before we got started he remarked on my last name, and asked me if I was an Italian-American too.

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