Let’s Be Frank
FOR MUCH OF TODAY’S GENTRIFIED
Hoboken, Frank Sinatra is just a name on
a winding riverfront drive and an adjacent park. But in the city’s western precinct, where the national chains have yet
to displace businesses like Ottomanel-li’s Wine & Liquors and Fiore’s House of
Quality (“famous” for its mozzarella), the
name Sinatra is uttered with reverence.
Sinatra’s repertoire included paeans
to New York, Chicago, the Isle of Capri—
even the moon—but never Hoboken, the
city of his birth. In fact, Sinatra shunned
Hoboken. It’s a shame. Because for those
who remember Frank fondly, Hoboken
is exactly his kind of town.
Stroll through Sinatra’s Hoboken and
you can still see several of his childhood
homes. Step into the bars and bakeries
of Sinatra’s old neighborhood, and you
are likely to encounter Hoboken lifers
whose ancestors catered to Sinatra’s appetite for fresh mussels, warm bread and
strong drink. In the old neighborhood, it
seems everyone has a Sinatra story, and
every business includes a shrine to Sinatra’s Jersey roots.
New Jersey Monthly has created a
shrine of its own with this tribute issue on the centennial of Sinatra’s birth.
For our cover story, Sinatra biographer
Richard Muti mines an array of rarely
tapped sources to paint a detailed picture of the singer’s Hoboken years. In
a companion piece, New Jersey Monthly editor Ken Schlager takes a walking
tour of the singer’s youthful Hoboken
haunts and shares the anecdotes he
heard along the way. We also asked contemporary stars for their personal Sinatra memories—tributes provided exclusively to New Jersey Monthly.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE, we present the
2015 class of Great Oak Awards honorees (page 60). The Great Oak Awards
celebrate New Jersey-based companies
for their support of charitable institutions and social causes. It is our privilege to shine a light on these honorees
and the great example they set for New
Jersey’s business community.
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