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De Niro honored with Key to the City at start of Tribeca Film Festival

Mayor Adams on Wednesday awarded a Key to the City of New York to Robert De Niro, the legendary actor and co-founder of the Tribeca Festival, for his lifetime of achievement and service to New York. It was the festival’s opening night.

“From ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ to ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas,’ Robert De Niro’s work remains an iconic part of New York City, as much as he is himself,” Adams said. “Robert has starred in, directed or produced over 140 movies, received two Academy Awards, and delivered art that will stand the test of time. Despite his success, Robert has never forgotten his roots as a lifelong New Yorker, co-founding the Tribeca Festival and helping revitalize and reenergize our city after 9/11. Thanks to him, New York City will continue to be the place to film, produce and make television and movies for years to come. For his decades of contribution to film and philanthropic support of New York City, I am honored to present Robert De Niro with a Key to the City of New York.”

From left, Robert De Niro, Eric Adams, Martin Scorsese and Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

“The true key to the city is its people,” De Niro said. “I’m honored to accept this recognition on behalf of my eight and a half million neighbors.”

“Robert De Niro is a visionary. He saw the potential for a massive resurrection of Tribeca and the possibility of creating a new city within a city,” said director Martin Scorsese. “Bob did this while still being devoted over the years to his craft of acting, and along the way greatly supporting the arts — not only in the city, but worldwide and remaining prominent in much-needed political and social activism. Now, the Tribeca Festival is an indomitable institution and a beacon, and Tribeca itself is the most vibrant, alive location. It is the place to be and will continue to grow.”

De Niro founded the famed film fest in 2002.

The Key to the City of New York was first awarded in 1702 by New York City Mayor Phillip French, when he offered “Freedom of the City” to Viscount Edward Cornbury, the then-governor of New York and New Jersey. By the mid-1800s, it became customary to award the Key to the City of New York as a direct symbol of the city’s wish that a guest feel free to come and go at will. Today, the Key to the City of New York is a symbol of civic recognition and gratitude reserved for individuals whose service to the public and the common good rises to the highest level of achievement.

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