But he'll get seated at any restaurant in no time, while everyone else stands in line. All he has to do is give his name.
The Bayonne man is frequently mistaken for being a member of "the" Soprano family, which actually does not exist - not in real life anyway.
"You can just go into a restaurant and say your name," he said recently. "I was just milking it."
"The Sopranos," HBO's hit series about a New Jersey mob family, will enter its sixth and next-to-last season in March of 2006. It's so well-known that locals with the last name Soprano get mistaken for being a part of the made-up mob family headed by Tony Soprano [played by James Gandolfini]. There are at least seven listings for residents named "Soprano" in Hudson County.
Life as a Soprano Mark Soprano said the two most popular questions he gets asked are, "Where's Tony?" and "Are you related?" The nameplate on Soprano's desk at the Shipyard development in Hoboken, where he works as a concierge, attracts a lot of attention.
"Especially where I work, every time people walk by, they whisper and say "Where's your Uncle Tony?' " he said. "Especially when you're in a complex with over 200 people, it gets annoying."
But Soprano said he takes the reaction to his name in stride, and doesn't get too worked up about it.
"You can't really be uptight about it; there's no sense for it really," he said.
Sometimes Soprano runs into trouble when he's shopping and tries to pay with a credit card. Associates see the name on the card and are confused.
"Sometimes they'll do a double take," Soprano said, "and then they'll either get another associate they work with, or just look at me and don't say anything."
In one incident while shopping for shoes, he said he saw a woman's reaction to his name range from laughter to worry.
"Some lady was like, 'Are you related?' and I was like 'Yeah'" Soprano said. "She had a huge, Kool-Aid smile on her face and then she was like scared and worried."
Soprano said most of his family members, many of whom live in Bayonne, get the same reaction.
The wedding The best story he has about being a Soprano comes from his brother's wedding, he said. The reception was held at Westmount Country Club in West Paterson, with approximately 200 people.
"In the front room there was a bulletin that said the people being married," Soprano said, "and because of that, everyone was trying to peak in our room."
A few men in Soprano's family look as though they're "connected," he said, so the uncles at the wedding played the part.
"They would escort the people out and tell them the guys don't want to be bothered," Soprano said.
Soprano's take on 'The Sopranos' Executive producer and creator David Chase's show is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, among others, and is renowned among Jersey residents. Chase is a Jersey native himself, and has filmed the series in various locations in the state, often in Hudson County.
Recently, the crew set up in Secaucus at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Harmon Plaza and the Prime Suites Hotel on Mill Creek Road.
Despite this, Soprano said he doesn't watch the show religiously, just when he's home and has time.
"Some of the old people think it's degrading and stuff," he said. "I'm only 23, though, and it doesn't really bother me."
The program does promote a stereotype though, Soprano said.
"If all people think Italians are like that, it's a problem," he said.
Soprano sums his whole experience as just being weird. "I'm like a celebrity without the pay."