NEW YORK – New York City’s landmark Empire State Building turned blue this weekend to mark what would have been legendary singer Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday.
The skyscraper’s top lit up in blue on Saturday night to pay tribute to Sinatra, who was known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes” and was born on Dec. 12, 1915, in nearby Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Empire State Building had turned Sinatra blue, or royal midnight blue, to mark the singer’s death on May 14, 1998, Hoboken History Museum director Robert Foster told EFE.
The Sinatra centennial was celebrated at a gala in his hometown of Hoboken, where some Italian restaurants, including Leo’s Grandevouz, prepared special menus with live performances of some of the singer’s biggest hits.
Francis Albert Sinatra, the only child of Italian immigrants who settled in New Jersey, dropped out of school at an early age to pursue a music career after winning a local radio station’s singing competition.
Sinatra’s repertoire included iconic songs by American composers like Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, among others.
The singer’s hits included “New York, New York,” “My Way” and “Strangers in the Night.”
Sinatra also starred in numerous films, such as “Pal Joey” (1957) and “Young at Heart” (1954), winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “From Here to Eternity” (1953).
The singer, who died at the age of 82, was associated with New York because of the lyrics of one of his most famous songs, but he actually lived more than half his life in Los Angeles.
The house on Monroe Street where Frank Sinatra was born is gone.
A fire destroyed the building decades ago and a star-shaped plaque in the empty lot notes that the town’s most famous native son lived there for the first 21 years of his life.