NYC carriage drivers leave note on Tony Bennett’s Central Park bench

New Yorkers continue to honor legendary crooner Tony Bennett in one of his favorite city spots.

Notes and flowers appeared Saturday on the Central Park bench that bears the name of Bennett, who died Friday at age 96.

The park’s iconic carriage drivers left a touching note on the perch, slightly tweaking the lyrics to his 1953 song “Please Driver (Once Around the Park Again),” to read: “Please, Tony, once around the park again…We can’t believe you’re gone…”

“RIP, Central Park icon, Tony Bennett,” they wrote.

Tourists were seen taking pictures of the multiple bouquets and note on the bench, which is located on Center Drive near Central Park South and Sixth Avenue.

The jazz singer often visited the park and was seen in the later years of his life being pushed around the beautiful greenery in a wheelchair.

The Astoria native lived on Central Park South for 25 years.

Flowers left behind on a bench for Tony Bennett as a carriage passes by.
Flowers on the Central Park bench bearing Tony Bennett’s name on Saturday.
Robert Miller

Plenty of flowers and bouquets were left on the bench dedicated to the crooner.
Plenty of flowers and bouquets were left on the bench dedicated to the crooner, who died Friday at age 96.
Robert Miller

Note left for Tony Bennett on a Central Park bench.
A park’s iconic carriage drivers banded together to leave a touching note on the bench, slightly tweaking the lyrics to Bennett’s 1953 song “Please Driver (Once Around the Park Again),” reading: “Please, Tony, once around the park again…We can’t believe you’re gone…”
Robert Miller

He also would sit in the park and paint his favorite spot in watercolor.

“I have many spots I like around the park,” he told the New York Times in 2015. “I always paint nature. Nature is the boss.”

The Grammy winner said at the time that the park inspired his art, and he sketched or painted around 800 different scenes from it, from men rowing boats to taxis driving in the rain.

He would usually go to Central Park early in the morning to avoid any detection or would meet up with other friends who liked to paint.

“I live in the city, but when I enter the park I’m in the forest,” he told the outlet.

Tony Bennett sitting on a park bench in Central Park in 2016.
Bennett often went to the park to paint scenes from it in watercolor and collected around 800 paintings over the years.
Luis Guerra/AKM-GSI

He had a park bench dedicated to him, which was purchased in honor of his 95th birthday in 2021.
Robert Miller

Bennett often painted as a child and even learned it in high school at the High School of Industrial Arts on the Upper East Side. Throughout high school, he would paint Central Park for homework assignments, the Times reported.

Several high-profile New Yorkers remembered the singer on Friday.

“A working-class kid from Queens, Tony Bennett, sang our song to the world. Don’t let the lyrics fool you – he left his heart right here in New York City. May he rest in peace,” Mayor Eric Adams tweeted.

“I will always be grateful for his outstanding contribution to the art of contemporary music. He was a joy to work with. His energy and enthusiasm for the material he was performing was infectious,” Long Island native Billy Joel wrote on social media with several photos of the two working together.

“He was also one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known.”

Tony Bennett in 2019
Bennett, seen in 2019, lived near Central Park and visited it often.
udo salters photography / BACKGRID

Bennett was a regular at the Brooklyn Diner on West 57th, around the corner from his Manhattan home.

“He was the sweetest, nicest guy you’d ever want to socially spend a couple of hours with. There couldn’t be a nicer New York kind of a guy,” the restaurant’s owner Shelly Fireman told The Post.

“It’s sad for America; it’s sad for New York and we’re going to miss him a lot.”

Gerard Renny, who owned Lucky’s Bar and Grill on 57th Street and Sixth Avenue, another of Bennett’s neighborhood haunts, bought one of the singer’s works — a Las Vegas cityscape — for his then-pregnant wife.

“When he found out I bought that, one day I show up and my manager hands me an envelope and it’s an autographed photo thanking me and wishing me all the best for the baby.”

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