(ABOVE: Pete Hamill with our gracious hosts from Leo’s Grandevous. Photo by Craig Wallace Dale)
With the Sinatra Centennial nearly upon us (December 12), a lot of people are exploring Frank’s life and celebrating not just the music, but the man. His story is one of talent, tenacity and genuine character. It’s an honest story, and unflinching—the scrutiny under which Sinatra lived was extraordinary for his time, as the entire world knew of his every step, and his every stumble.
Yet the fanfare surrounding Sinatra’s 100th birthday is primarily focused on respect and adoration. Given his tumultuous personal history—particularly here with his hometown of Hoboken—one might wonder what a man like Frank Sinatra would think of it all.
“I would bet if he lived to be 100—and in certain ways he did; his work is alive,” says Hamill, “but if he had lived to 100, I think he would have smiled.”
Of course, if you’re having a sit-down meal to discuss Frank Sinatra, you can’t do any better than Leo’s Grandevous (200 Grand Street, Hoboken). The place is a virtual shrine to all things Francis Albert, as the walls are covered in Sinatra memorabilia. Frank himself used to stop in to visit on the rare occasion that he was back in Hoboken, and his legendary chair still sits above the bar.
We want to thank our gracious hosts at Leo’s for a phenomenal meal in the perfect atmosphere for what turned out to be an amazing interview with Mr. Hamill. Combined with the tremendous images taken by the supremely talented Craig Wallace Dale, we’ve put together a great story for you—which we’re proud to present as our cover feature for our new issue.
We’ll be sharing more of our discussion with Pete Hamill in the days/weeks to come. We also had the privilege of speaking with New York Times bestselling author and Sinatra biographer James Kaplan, who has written two of the most in-depth explorations of Frank’s life—Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman (Random House).
Kaplan will be speaking at the Hoboken Historical Museum (1301 Hudson Street) on Sunday, November 29th at 4 pm. Then on Thursday, December 3rd, both Kaplan and Hamill will join with Will Friedwald for a roundtable discussion of Sinatra’s life at Little City Books (100 Bloomfield Street), moderated by Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum.
After that, maybe we’ll all go over and get a plate of Shrimp Sinatra at Leo’s, where the food, service and atmosphere are “Nothing But The Best”…