John Travolta returned to Lenny’s Pizza in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, over 40 years after his Saturday Night Fever character Tony Manero made the establishment famous.
Dressed in a white suit jacket and black shirt that mimicked the iconic outfit he wore in the 1977 film, the actor was all smiles as he was honored by the borough in what was dubbed “John Travolta Day.”
Wife Kelly Preston was by his side at the event, dressed in a long-sleeve black patterned dress. The two danced to the Bee Gees’ music from the film’s best-selling soundtrack, and sampled slices from Lennys as they were cheered on by thousands of admirers gathered along 86th Street.
Travolta, 64, put Lenny’s Pizza on the map in the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever when he ordered two slices from the eatery, stacked them, and ate them together as one. Lenny’s has since named the “double-decker slice” in Travolta’s honor, local outlet PIX-11 reported.
“It’s not often that we have an opportunity to recognize a great actor who helped turn Brooklyn into a cultural touchstone of the late 1970s,” New York State Senator Marty Golden told the crowd, in video captured by PIX-11. “John Travolta did exactly that.”
For his part, Travolta appeared to be overjoyed and humbled. “We love you. We love Brooklyn,” he told the crowd in the PIX-11 clip. “Thank you very, very much.”
“I’m so humbled, it’s amazing,” he added as police escorted him through the crowds, according to the outlet. “I never expected this big a turnout, it was awesome.”
Preston, 55, shared video and photos of the afternoon on Instagram.
“Having a total fangirl moment!!! 💁🏼♀️” she wrote. “Thank you Brooklyn for an insane day 😍.”
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Saturday Night Fever followed the dual life of Travolta’s character; a star on the discotheque dance floor but a working-class man with a dead-end job and an unsupportive family back at home.
The film — which was directed by John Badham — popularized disco music across the world. A Sylvester Stallone-directed sequel, Staying Alive, was released in 1983.
Travolta is in the Big Apple to support his new movie, Gotti, in theaters on Friday.
The week also marks the 40th anniversary of another one of Travolta’s treasured films: Grease.