Frank Sinatra Stamp Makes It In New York
Including two of the participants at the ceremony.
Before it started, Sinatra's daughter Nancy was snapping pictures of the crowd. Afterwards, U.S. Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., pulled a small camera out of his pocket and also photographed the fans.
His fellow Sinatra fans, it turned out. Postal press representatives say the congressman asked to speak at the first-day ceremony.
In his remarks, Serrano said his father brought Sinatra records home to Puerto Rico from "the war," and the younger Serrano used them to polish his English.
"He may have spoken 'Hoboken,'" Serrano said, "but he sang perfectly."
As proof of his fandom, Serrano revealed this personal e-mail address is "PalJoey514;" 5/14/98 is the day Frank Sinatra died.
The stamp was issued one day short of the tenth anniversary of the entertainer's death, and Nancy Sinatra thanked the Postal Service for giving the family something better to remember for that time of the year.
Nancy Sinatra at the podium.
After a film tribute whose soundtrack consisted soley of Frank Sinatra singing, Dave Failor, executive director of Stamp Services at the U.S. Postal Service, asked, "Is there any doubt why we're featuring this man on a stamp?"
At the start of the ceremony in Gotham Hall, a former bank rotunda, Failor asked how many people attending were stamp collectors and how many were Frank Sinatra fans.
Sinatra fans far outnumbered the stamp collectors at the ceremony.
"My goal is to turn you into stamp collectors," said Failor.
As the stamp design was unveiled, daughter Nancy went to the poster and kissed her father's image.
In her remarks after the unveiling, she said there was only one day better than this, and that was in May 14, 1997, when her father and his family watched on CSPAN and Congress voted unanimously to award him the Congressional Gold Medal.
"Sinatra wept" when that happened, Frank Jr., said in his speeches both in New York and Hoboken. Then, after the elder Sinatra regained his composure, "'And I'd do it all again, too,'" the son quoted his father as saying.
Frank Sinatra, Jr., speaking in New York
Nancy said the obvious place to celebrate the issuance of this stamp was New York, N.Y. "He made it here," she said, in an allusion to the Kander and Ebb song. ("If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.")
She thanked, by name, the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps honor guard from the High School of Graphic Communication Arts and the Concert Choir from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Long Island City in Queens, N.Y.
Frank Jr., noted his father's humble origins as the child of immigrant parents.
"If that [the stamp] wasn't the living embodiment of the American dream, I don't know what is," he said. "This country has been, and is, made of wonderful dreams."
Also participating in the New York ceremony were A.J. Lambert, Frank Sinatra's granddaughter, and the Postal Service's own "chairman of the board," Alan C. Kessler.
When the ceremony was over, the fans didn't seem to want to leave, and most of the dignitaries remained, chatting with the fans, chatting with each other, posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Eventually, after obtaining some autographs or servicing more first day covers, The Virtual Stamp Club contingent myself, Foster Miller, Chris Lazaroff and his daughter and her boyfriend worked our way toward the PATH station four blocks away for the subway trip under the Hudson River to Hoboken.
The account of that ceremony is here.
More pictures from New York are here
Souvenirs from the ceremonies are here