November 19, 1935 – May 6, 2021
New York cabaret impresario Arthur Pomposello, who for decades presided over the fabled Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, has died. Pomposello passed away Thursday at Lenox Hill hospital of complications related to the COVID-19 virus. Arthur Pomposello was instrumental in reviving the great American Songbook at the Oak Room after the space had been shuttered for decades as a cabaret venue. The Oak Room, the New York landmark and site of the legendary Algonquin Round Table, initially became a nightclub in 1939 but was silenced a few years later during World War II, and did not present live music again on a regular basis until 1980. The idea to reopen the Oak Room was Donald Smith’s (publicist, producer and eventual founder of the Mabel Mercer Foundation). Smith received the go-ahead from Algonquin owners Ben and Mary Bodne, and Andrew Anspach, Bodne son-in-law and manager of the hotel. Along with a perspective on how to position the venue, Arthur Pomposello—then serving as a bartender in the Blue Room—pitched the idea of himself performing the duties of booking agent and host of the Oak Room to Anspach and the Bodnes. He was given the opportunity to book a show, and immediately recruited the talents of Susannah McCorkle. The singer was a sensation, thus assuring Pomposello of his place at the forefront of Oak Room operations where he remained for a generation. Dapper and distinguished in black tie, he was the epitome of old school elegance. He also possessed a charm that was befitting of the New York institution. But Pomposello’s truer gift was for spotting and developing talent and knowing how it would sell at the hotel. Artists who performed at the Algonquin during his tenure include Harry Connick Jr., KT Sullivan, Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, John Pizzarelli, Eric Comstock, Tovah Feldshuh, Nancy LaMott, Mary Cleere Haran, Stacey Kent, and Wesla Whitfield, to name a few. The eldest son of Concetta and Arthur “Scotty” Sr., Pomposello was born in Harlem, raised on Colgate Avenue in the Bronx and graduated from the Michigan State University Hotel Management program. He began his career as a food and beverage manager and maître de at some of New York’s finest eateries in the 1970s, including nightclub impresaria Regine’s Café Reginette and, working alongside the late restaurateur and cookbook author George Lange, Hungaria and Café Des Artistes. An avid film lover, he simultaneously found time to act as a supporting player in a number of New York film productions, including The Seven Ups, Dog Day Afternoon and Badge 373. In a bit of meta casting, he had a recurring role in the ABC soap opera One Life to Live playing the part of a maître de. Three children – Peri Kish-Pomposello of Fairfield, CT, Sean Pomposello and his wife Shaun of Redding, CT, and Chris Pomposello and his wife Sarah of Ridgefield, CT; Two grandsons—Matthew Kish, Daniel Pomposello; Three granddaughters—Grace Pomposello, Sophia Pomposello and Aveline Pomposello, survive him and his son Adam preceded him in death. A celebration of his life will be held at Riverside Memorial Chapel 76th Street at Amsterdam in New York on May 12 at 7 pm – 9pm and a private graveside service at The Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY is planned.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
May 12, 2021
Pompi, Remembering happy and fun times with friends at Chances where you worked.
Handsome and debonair. A kind, charming and charismatic smile. A gentleman always.
May your soul rest in peace. May your spirit
capture the sound waves of melodious
My prayers for comfort and peace
for all your family.
May 11, 2021
Artie revitalized the Algonquin Room by bringing in entertainment, singers & performers.
Artie & I are first cousins, grew up in Harlem together and played a kids and always got in trouble. Artie had the best smile and best laugh! We started in construction together. I remember one day we were painting 5 floors high on a swinging scaffold. Artie saw a good looking woman below and pointed her out to me. “Look at her”! I said, “I’d like to bite her ass and let her drag me a block or two”. We both laughed so hard, I thought we would fall off the scaffolding.
I moved to California, and I would fly back to see him & reminisce about the old days when we were young. We would laugh because he was a good looking “man’s man” and I was a cop. We’d spend hours telling each other old stories. I will miss him.
May 10, 2021
Pompie, I first met you when I was 19 years old at Chances through my brother Tony. He spoke so highly about you and Bob Farley that I had to meet both of you. From the start it was a friendship that would last during our ups and downs. You were always so nice to me and my friends. All of us developed a good friendship that lasted 50 years. Those were good times! You gave me good advice about jobs, good food, dating and life in general. I will miss our chats, your friendship and your good heart. Rest In Peace, my good friend.