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Hoboken Ceremony

The two biggest differences between the New York and Hoboken were the venues and the polish.

New York's was indoors in a dark hall, and very slick, with top-ranking postal officials and a film tribute. Hoboken's was outdoors on a bright and sunny afternoon, and very much a hometown celebration. There were sunbathers and frisbee throwers in Pier A Park, right on the Hudson River, when we arrived.

There was also a postal truck selling the new stamp, other stamps, and various USPS souvenirs, at the western end of the park, furthest away from the river (but on the closest street). And a few hundred yards from the speakers' platform set up near the river was a long USPS table where stamps and souvenirs were also being sold, and cancellations applied.

There ceremony started about 15-20 minutes late, while postal workers tried to make sure the large poster of the stamp design didn't blow away. The eventual solution was to station three workers next to and behind the blow-up to hold it down (and hold up the clothing covering the design until it was time for the dignitaries to "pull it off").

Postmaster Artie Tate was the master of ceremonies in Hoboken (versus Dave Failor, the top stamp manager at postal headquarters, at the New York event). Tate's daughter sang the national anthem. Postal supervisor Maria Morse, District Manager, Customer Service & Sales of the Northern New Jersey District, read same speech that her ultimate boss, chairman of the Postal Service board of governors Alan C. Kesler, had read that morning. And at various times, Tate seemed to introduce what seemed like every elected official in the area: The police chief, the fire chief, a member of the county board of freeholders, and many more.

That prompted Frank Sinatra, Jr., to recite some of the Italian-American names of the officials introduced and comment, "There's a lot of garlic in this town."

Other than that opening sally, his remarks in Hoboken were similar to those he'd made that morning.

That's not to say the Hoboken event wasn't a good ceremony. It was. It was just different, and very enjoyable, too. It was a day in the park with Frank and his admirers.

One of those admirers was actor Danny Aiello. Since the start of the ceremony was delayed and there were no other celebrities available before the ceremony, Aiello was pounced upon for television interviews. He gave more interviews after the ceremony, and signed some autographs for those who recognized the 74-year-old actor.

Actor Danny Aiello was available for interviews and autographs before and after the ceremony.

Another was celebrity photographer Ron Galella, who mostly took photos of Frank, Jr., and mostly passed unnoticed otherwise.

Ron Galella's 1998 Christmas card.

When the stamp design was unveiled, Rep. Alberto Sires, D-N.J., whose district includes Sinatra's hometown, pointed to the poster and said, "Is that a Hoboken smile or what?"

Again, there was no formal autograph line, no announcement that anyone would sign autographs, but as soon as the ceremony was over, a crowd formed around Frank Sinatra, Jr., and he signed autographs and gave interviews for about 15 minutes.

The fans and TV cameras couldn't get enough of Frank Sinatra, Jr., after the ceremony.

Then he and those assisting him said that was enough, and he began the long walk back to the "green room" at the Frank Sinatra Post Office at the other end of the park.

More pictures from Hoboken are here

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