Frank Sinatra’s Drive

On December 23, 2012 · 6 Comments

As Ol’ Blue Eyes — Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra — so famously sang:

If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
Hoboken, Hoboken

Say what?!? Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1915, not New York City, and that’s where he lived his first couple of decades including his formative years as a performer.

(Now I can’t get that blasted song out of my head. Maybe you should turn it on in the background and join me.)

View Larger Map

The fine residents of Hoboken don’t want anyone to forget that point, or be overshadowed by their rivals directly across the Hudson River either. Sinatra is their son despite what the song may imply. I’m pretty sure I had a general awareness of the Hoboken connection although it didn’t have much meaning to me until I noticed Frank Sinatra Drive (above) and the park of the same name that runs along its edge while updating my United States Ferry Map.(1)

Hoboken wasn’t the only place to claim a slice of the Frank Sinatra legacy. He was also intractably intertwined with Las Vegas, Nevada. Unsurprisingly, Sin City played homage to the crooner through a broad avenue hugging the eastern edge of Interstate 15, paralleling the western side of the Las Vegas Strip. It provides easy backdoor access to many of the famous Vegas Strip casinos including of course New York New York. I guess that makes sense too. Once again, Frank Sinatra can be found just to the west of New York. Hoboken needs to tip its hat to its friends in Nevada for geographical accuracy.

View Larger Map

Notice how Dean Martin Drive hugs the other side of I-15 and then crosses beneath the interstate to join Frank Sinatra Drive? They join and become Industrial Drive. There was a "push to change Industrial Drive to Sammy Davis Jr. Parkway" as recently as 2011.

If the Davis name change is approved, he would join a growing list of Strip entertainers whose names grace the valley street signs: Elvis Presley Court, Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Debbie Reynolds Drive, Jerry Lewis Way, Mel Torme Way, Wayne Newton Boulevard and Roy Horn Way.

I don’t know whether this effort will succeed although the proposal gained support and began fundraising to pay for signage. It would be great cosmic justice to reunite the three leading members of the Rat Pack in Vegas, even figuratively. The intersection seems otherwise unremarkable on its own merits (street view) and could use some improvements or at least a little notoriety.

View Larger Map

Additionally Sinatra had an association with Rancho Mirage, California where he lived in "The Compound" at 70588 Frank Sinatra Drive, along a fairway of the Tamarisk Country Club.

Sinatra built this sprawling 2.5 acre residence in 1954 to include a main house, movie theatre, five guest houses, an actual train caboose turned into a barbershop and sauna, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and a personal art studio. Each building was named after one of his songs: New York, New York, High Hopes, The Tender Trap, Send In the Clowns, Chicago, and My Way.

This period coincided with the golden age of Palm Springs at the midpoint of the Twentieth Century when movie stars and entertainment legends gathered in the desert east of Hollywood for drinking, carousing and golf.

Various roads named for Frank Sinatra span the globe, with no discernible connection to his legacy beyond a simple memorial placed by appreciative fans. I found Frank Sinatra Place in El Paso, Texas (map) along with various other tribute streets (Cheryl Ladd? Really?). Frank Sinatra can also be found in a trailer park in Mesa, Arizona (map) where he’s paired with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, but also with Marilyn Monroe and Mae West (shortened erroneously by the map bots at Google to "May W."(2) Both were uncovered with just a few minutes of searching. There must be considerably more Sinatra this-that-or-the-other detritus scattered about the United States.

View Larger Map

International tributes can be discovered easily, too. I think I’m partial to Frank-Sinatra-Straße, in Steinheim an der Murr, Germany were he keeps good company with John Lennon, George Harrison, Louis Armstrong and Janis Joplin plus a raft of classical music composers. Rua Frank Sinatra in São Paulo, Brazil probably comes in a close second (map) were he’s paired with Martin Luther King and Che Guevara. Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King and Che Guevara would have been a much more interesting Rat Pack. It sounds like the setup for a bad joke: "Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King and Che Guevara walk into a bar…"

(1) I always reserve the most onerous chores for the holidays when I can put some concentrated hours and effort into them. I’ve finally started updating from v2 to v3 of Google’s JavaScript Maps API. Yes, I know, I should have done that a couple of years ago. That would have required effort and energy so instead I procrastinated until Google sent me a reminder saying that they could pull the support plug as soon as May 2013. This ferry page is my initial v3 prototype and I still have some link checking to complete and such. I’m not happy with the bass-ackwards way I had to code it so maybe I’ll come up with a more elegant scripting effort later. Whatever. It’ll work for now and it buys me some more time. I can kick-the-can down the road just like the best politicians. Those of you that have been begging for better NYC ferry coverage also get your wish. That was a complete freaking nightmare. Don’t expect anything fancy either. I know that ferries don’t cross overland through the tip of Manhattan.
(2) I’m not sure why I find it so funny. In this instance shortening West to W. is completely inappropriate because West is a surname in this context rather than a cardinal direction. I’d like to think it’s an Easter Egg placed by Google Maps although the stupid bot theory is considrably more likely. Occam’s razor and such. My amusement probably has more to do with the bottom entry on this old article.

On December 23, 2012 · 6 Comments

6 Responses to “Frank Sinatra’s Drive”

  1. Peter says:

    Elvis was a major Las Vegas headliner for many years, yet he hasn’t gotten much in terms of street-name honors. All I can find* on Google Maps is a very short dead-end road called Elvis Presley Court on the north side of town. Of course Elvis has been honored with Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, which is a major thoroughfare.

    No, I can’t figure out El Paso’s Cheryl Ladd Court, either.

    * = I’m excluding Elvis Alive Drive off the road to the Mount Charleston recreation area, which gave me no end of amusement when I drove past it several years ago, as it looked more like a landowner’s whimsey than an actual, official street.

  2. Peter says:

    My favorite bit of Elvis-cult lore is the oxygen tank at Graceland, which is used to revive visitors who collapse after being overcome with emotion. It is said to get frequent use.

  3. David Overton says:

    I always thought the second “New York” in the song was referring to the state. If so, then the alternate version would be “It’s up to you Hoboken, New Jersey”. But maybe I’ve been mistaken all this time…

    • You’re probably right… although I’m sure if you asked someone in NYC they’d probably say the second New York in the song is redundant. People from the rest of the state would likely beg to differ.

  4. Fritz Keppler says:

    Or, as native New Yorkers have been known to say,

    The city so nice
    They named it twice

Comments are closed.

12 Mile Circle:
An Appreciation of Unusual Places
Don't miss an article -
Subscribe to the feed!

RSS G+ Twitter
RSS Twelve Mile Circle Google Plus Twitter
Monthly Archives
Days with Posts
September 2017
« Aug