NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man who gained fame singing Frank Sinatra on Second Avenue has been missing for more than a week, and his family is desperate to find him.
Gary Russo, 54, was last seen at his Queens home located near 156th Avenue and 90th Street around 12:15 a.m. on July 28.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the 54-year-old iron worker shot to YouTube fame in 2011 for crooning out Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin classics at the Second Avenue subway project during his 30-minute lunch break.
He was the foreman for the subway project.
But now, his missing persons poster lines his Howard Beach street. His sister-in-law spotted him leaving their shared home last Tuesday at 1 a.m.
“I texted him as soon as he left: ‘Gary, where are you going? Are you going to work early?’” said Leonora Russo. “But he never got back to me.”
“It didn’t make any sense to me at all. I was really worried,” said Russo’s friend, Apryl Nebozenko. “This is not Gary, this is not Gary.”
Friends spotted Russo’s car on Monday on 165th Avenue, not far from his house. It was locked, and the keys were gone.
That was when police launched an all-out search, combing through a reedy field.
“They called helicopters and then the next day, the mounted police; I think the park police came in,” Nebozenko said.
Friends acknowledged that Russo had been feeling depressed after the death of a family friend, and they found evidence that he bought a plane ticket more than a month ago.
But they could not figure out where the plane ticket was to, or when he was to fly.
Russo’s old friends on Second Avenue, such as bar owner John Pavich, had a message for Russo.
“Gary, come back,” said Russo, of the Bounce Sporting Club. “If you’d like, we’ll open the doors Tuesday night for you. You could sing all the ‘Summer Wind’ and all the Tony Bennett songs you’d like.”
Police said Russo is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds.
It is unclear what he was wearing when he disappeared.