I travel all over the world, and I still love Astoria best. The people are beautiful there, because they make the city work. The elevator operators. The doormen and the stagehands in the theaters.
I would come out and sing for my family—the little Al Jolson songs. Jolson used to do blackface. And one time, I went in my mom’s bedroom and I put white powder on my face, and I came out before all my relatives and I said, “Mammy.” Oh, they were screaming. They couldn’t believe how funny it was, you know. It was all white powder instead of black.