Updated Tuesday, Sept. 1 1:39 p.m.
A missing Howard Beach man who gained notoriety as the “Second Avenue Sinatra” for singing American standards at the subway construction site was discovered dead Friday inside a park near his home after taking his own life, officials said.
Gary Russo, 54, who became famous in 2011 after a YouTube video of him singing Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” during his lunch break while working as an iron worker at the Second Avenue subway site went viral, was last seen at 12:15 a.m. on July 28 at his home on 90th Street near 156th Avenue.
Police found Russo at 2 p.m. Friday inside Spring Creek Park near 165th Avenue and 92nd Street with a rope around his neck hanging from a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman from the medical examiner’s office said the manner of death was suicide.
A few days after Russo was reported missing, a law enforcement source said on Aug. 6 that police and local volunteer firefighters searched the Spring Creek area for any evidence of Russo, but nothing was found.
According to published reports, Russo hadn’t been heard from since he went missing and his car was discovered abandoned in the Howard Beach area earlier in August. He had also been apparently feeling down after a breakup with his girlfriend.
For local residents and workers, Russo’s daily performances were a relief from the ongoing construction noise. After the video of Russo singing went viral, he went on to be featured on “Good Morning America” and other news outlets.
Russo also covered some of Sinatra’s greatest hits during a show at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, and co-wrote with psychologist Dr. Andrea Goeglein a self-help book, “Don’t Die with Your Song Unsung,” on the power of “positive psychology” and setting goals to find happiness.