Nightly News | August 03, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, every now and then something happens in the big city to surprise you. Take New York. There is this massive construction project going on here in Manhattan . They're building a new subway line on the East Side . Great for jobs, but the mess and the noise have made life difficult for the neighbors. But from this big dig , a hidden gem has emerged to cheer the local folks at the same time every day. His story tonight from NBC 's Anne Thompson .
ANNE THOMPSON reporting: It's four years and counting for this cacophonous assault on Manhattan 's gentile Upper East Side .
Unidentified Woman: I was walking down the street like this....
THOMPSON: An urban symphony known as the Second Avenue Subway Project . A headache inducing chorus of cranes, generators and sirens, until this iron worker puts up the mike and turns on his karaoke machine. This sound soothes the savage New Yorker .
THOMPSON: Foreman Gary Russo turns grimaces into smiles on his lunch break.
Mr. GARY RUSSO: I never knew the power of the smile. Honestly, it's such a great gift.
THOMPSON: Even his crew sitting in what they call the orchestra section is impressed. Do you guys have a favorite song that he sings?
Unidentified Man #1: " Mack the Knife ," I think.
Unidentified Man #2: Yes.
THOMPSON: In just two weeks, Russo 's gone from a shower singer to a quarter million hits on YouTube , talking to reporters about his Frank Sinatra -like sound.
Mr. RUSSO: Their comparison is overwhelming.
THOMPSON: Building a fan base in the worst acoustics imaginable. And how much longer will they have to listen to this din? At least until December 2016 , another five noisy years.
THOMPSON: For Russo , this isn't about money or fame, but realizing at 50 he needs to do what he loves.
Mr. RUSSO: Don't worry about getting paid. Don't worry about, you know, is it hard or not. Just do it.
THOMPSON: His job and his passion moving New Yorkers. Anne Thompson , NBC News , New York .