If Hoboken’s favorite son was still alive, he would have turned 90 on Monday, Dec. 12. While it might seem odd to some to celebrate Frank Sinatra’s birthday seven years after his death, in Hoboken it is a tradition.
Francis Albert Sinatra was born on Dec. 12, 1915 to parents Anthony Martin Sinatra and Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra. Sinatra grew up in a tenement building at 415 Monroe St. in Hoboken. Sinatra’s modest start in show business was with The Hoboken Four.
Even though Sinatra eventually moved on to a bigger and better solo career, where he recorded over 2,000 songs and appeared in 58 movies, Hoboken has never forgotten Frank or his family. In 1947, Mayor Fred De Sapio gave Frank Sinatra a key to Hoboken, and declared Oct. 30, 1947 “Frank Sinatra Day.”
Hoboken City Clerk Jimmy Farina has celebrated Sinatra’s birthday for 22 years, since he began working for the city. Sinatra has special meaning for Farina as his uncle, James Petrozelli, was in The Hoboken Four with Sinatra.
Every year on Frank’s birthday, Farina gets a birthday cake and invites locals who remember the family to the party.
“Every year, I used to send an invitation to Frank [Sinatra] hoping he would come,” said Farina.
According to Farina, several years ago, Frank’s granddaughter A.J. came to the party. Farina believes that Sinatra’s talent spans generations.
“[Frank Sinatra] was unique when he was coming up as a singer,” Farina said. “In the ’50s he had a slump, but he came back up again. He still has a large following. He’ll go on forever.”
This past Monday, city employees, locals, and Mayor David Roberts shared a toast in City Hall to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Ed Shirak Jr., who used to have a museum for Sinatra in Hoboken, was invited to cut the cake and sing.
“I appreciate Jim Farina and Ed Shirak and all the great Hoboken residents that keep Frank alive,” said Mayor Roberts. “I appreciate all the steadfast recognition of Frank every year.”
Eileen O’Leary, Hoboken resident, came to the party. O’Leary has been coming to the party for years. According to O’Leary, she saw Frank in concert many times and used to get letters from Frank and Barbara Sinatra. In addition to O’Leary, many long time residents came by to honor Sinatra.
And although Frank Sinatra is gone, his memory will always be alive in Hoboken.