Frank Sinatra's Hoboken See the haunts of Ol' Blue Eyes on a self-guided walking tour of his hometown
by :Christopher Zinsli Gateway Editor
Mar 11, 2006 | 17803 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It would be hard to overestimate Hoboken's love for its favorite son, Frank Sinatra.

His name is found all over the city, at the parks and roads named for him, and indoors in the artwork and memorabilia put together by fans.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the man who became known as "The Voice," there's no better place to start than his former hometown.

Born in a cold-water flat on Dec. 12, 1915 to Italian immigrant parents, Sinatra grew up in a Hoboken very different from what it is today. In the 1930s, the city's residents went to work in factories or dockside on the Hudson River. By night, they frequented smoky nightspots, social clubs, pool halls and bars.

Though the city still maintains an active nightlife, years of improvements have left it far cleaner and safer than it was when Sinatra won over local crowds during his rise to fame.

Sinatra's first taste came when he and three other Hobokenites, together called the Hoboken Four, performed on the nationally syndicated radio show Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour.

The Hoboken Four opened the door for Sinatra to go solo. He later earned gigs vocalizing with bandleader Harry James and then fronting Tommy Dorsey's band, each furthering his career.

Sinatra's 60-year career would influence generations of American popular music, and he is named by many as the greatest vocalist of all time.

Included on this self-guided walking tour are 16 of the most notable sites chronicling Frank Sinatra's Hoboken, including his birthplace, some old hangouts, memorials to the singer, and collections of historical records and memorabilia.

You'll be able to soak in the city's charm and history, grab some great food, and meet some native Hobokenites who idolize the great crooner.

For a map outlining the route, pick up a copy of the Gateway Guide. To walk the path as outlined, allow about 90 minutes plus time to visit each stop. Some locations may not be open at all times.


Birthplace of Frank Sinatra - 415 Monroe St.
The four-story, eight-family apartment building where Francis Albert Sinatra was born in 1915 suffered a major fire in 1967 and was razed the following year, but the address is now the site of a Hollywood Boulevard-style bronze star placed by the Hoboken Historical Museum in 1996 to commemorate the musical legend.


St. Francis Church - 300 Jefferson St.
Frank Sinatra was baptized here on April 2, 1916.


Leo's Grandevous - 200 Grand St.
The original owners of this popular Italian restaurant and tavern, Leo and Tessie DiTerlizzi, were ardent Sinatra fans. Aside from the dozens of large Sinatra photographs and posters adorning the walls, Leo's features a jukebox with plenty of Sinatra songs that was once dubbed "The World's Greatest Frank Sinatra Jukebox." The bar was named by one magazine as one of the best in America in 2002.


Piccolo's - 92 Clinton St.
Sinatra music is played from opening until closing each day in this informal Italian eatery, a fixture in Hoboken for more than 50 years. The back room, which is lined with hundreds of Sinatra photographs, is known far and wide. "I've had people from Sweden, Argentina, Japan - all over the world - stop by just to see this room," says owner Joseph "Sparky" Spaccavento, a lifelong Hoboken resident and, of course, Sinatra fan.


City Hall - 94 Washington St.
Sinatra was awarded the key to the city of Hoboken on Oct. 30, 1947, which was declared "Sinatra Day." Approximately 20,000 fans reportedly crowded Washington Street to catch a glimpse of their hometown hero as he rode in a fire truck driven by his father, Marty. It was Sinatra's last public appearance in Hoboken for almost 40 years.


Frank Sinatra Park
Dedicated on July 14, 1998, "in memory of Francis Albert Sinatra, Hoboken's gift to the world," Frank Sinatra Park on the waterfront boasts impressive views of the New York City skyline. A nearby section of River Road has been renamed Frank Sinatra Drive.


Stevens Institute of Technology - Castle Point
At one point in his life, Sinatra wanted to be an engineer, according to a biography of him written by his daughter Nancy. He considered attending Stevens Tech, which he called "a great school." On May 23, 1985, Sinatra was presented with an honorary Doctoral Degree in Engineering from the school. He told the audience, "I hope you all live to be 400 years old and the last voice you hear is mine."


Union Club - 600 Hudson St.
Sinatra performed at the Union Club, a popular locale for dances and political events, for $40 a week in 1935. Originally called the Deutscher Club, it changed its name during the first World War. In the 1980s, the building was converted into condominiums.


Lepore's Homemade Chocolates - 537 Garden St.
At this small corner confectionary, visitors can view co-owner Ed Shirak's collection of Sinatra memorabilia. Shirak is the author of Our Way, a book about Sinatra. He also raised funds for the Hoboken Historical Museum's Sinatra star at 415 Monroe St.


703 Park Ave.
In 1927, the Sinatra family moved to this address, located in a more prestigious part of town. Frank Sinatra was 12 years old at the time of the move.


841 Garden St.
Home of Frank Sinatra and his family from the time he was 13 until he was 19. When he became a big band singer, he bought property nearby for his parents.


909 Hudson St.
Once Sinatra hit the big time, he bought this property on one of the city's nicest blocks for his parents. Many see this building as a symbol of Sinatra's success. "When Frank made it big, this was his present to his mom and dad," says Robert Foster, director of the Hoboken Historical Museum. "People on the block talk about seeing Frank's limo being double-parked [when he visited for dinner] on Sunday nights."


Hoboken Historical Museum - 1301 Hudson St.
Visitors can purchase Frank Sinatra T-shirts, books and photographs at the museum, which was formed in 1986 and moved into its current space - a former machine shop for the city's shipbuilding industry - in 2001. Also available is a $1 brochure featuring an expanded Frank Sinatra walking tour of the city.


Hoboken Public Library - 500 Park Ave.
The library's second floor holds a collection of Sinatra books and memorabilia that was established in honor of Frank's mother, Dolly, after she died in a plane crash in 1977. Visitors can view original paintings of Sinatra or read one of many biographies, including the unauthorized and controversial His Way, by Kitty Kelley.


Dom's Bakery Grand - 506 Grand St.
Though Sinatra moved away from his hometown once he found fame, he never left behind this small Hoboken bakery. Sinatra is said to have received deliveries of Dom's bread for many years.

St. Ann's Church - 704 Jefferson St.
Known throughout New Jersey for its annual feast honoring the patron saint of women, St. Ann's is said to be the site of young Frank Sinatra's singing debut, at a ravioli dinner. Appropriately, the church is also the site of one of Sinatra's last public appearances in Hoboken, when he joined presidential candidate Ronald Reagan at the St. Ann's Feast in July of 1984.

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