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Mayor Adams Awards Key to the City of New York to Legendary Actor and Co-Founder of Tribeca Festival Robert De Niro

June 8, 2023

Key to the City of New York to Honor De Niro’s Decades of Contribution to Acting and Critical Real-Life Role Revitalizing Post 9/11 Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams yesterday awarded a Key to the City of New York to legendary actor and co-founder of the Tribeca Festival Robert De Niro for his lifetime of achievement and service to New York. Mayor Adams presented the key to De Niro as they celebrated the actor and philanthropist’s decades of contribution to film and over 20 years since the founding of the Tribeca Festival.

“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,” said Mayor Adams. “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.”

“The true key to the city is its people,” said Robert De Niro. “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 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.

Mayor Eric Adams presents a Key to the City to Actor Robert De Niro
Mayor Eric Adams attends opening night of the Tribeca Festival and presents a Key to the City to Actor Robert De Niro.

De Niro, a born and bred New Yorker, is one of the most celebrated actors of all time. He has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Golden Lion, the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. His iconic films span decades, including “The Godfather Part II,” which won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1974. His longtime collaboration with director Martin Scorsese earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film “Raging Bull.” De Niro’s notable film credits include “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Deer Hunter,” “The King of Comedy,” “Goodfellas,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Heat,” and “The Irishman,” to name just a few.

Along with acting, De Niro is producer, director, and co-founder of the Tribeca Festival. In the aftermath of 9/11, De Niro’s contribution to Lower Manhattan and the launch of the Tribeca Festival in 2002 were instrumental in revitaltizing New York City’s economy and cultural landscape. For over 20 years, the annual Tribeca Festival has been a leading voice in media — ranging from film and TV to shorts and music — maintaining New York City’s reputation as a global cultural hub.

Robert De Niro and Mayor Eric Adams holding the key to the city, with Martin Scorsese, and Jane Rosenthal standing next to them
Robert De Niro, Mayor Eric Adams, Martin Scorsese, and Jane Rosenthal on the opening night of Tribeca Festival.

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 beloved 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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