San Francisco’s singing ambassador, Tony Bennett, will unveil “his” street sign on Saturday, June 2nd in front of the storied Fairmont Hotel where his first public performance of the iconic classic “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” took place in December 1961.
On June 2, a free-and-open-to-the-public block party with food, music, big-band dancing and a special interactive “Heart Salute” to the legendary crooner took place on the 900 block of Mason Street, hitherto to be known as Tony Bennett Way. The legislation renaming the street was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in November of last year, and was one of the last official acts of the late Mayor Edwin M. Lee.
“Tony Bennett forever immortalized our great city with the legendary song ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco,’ so it is only appropriate that we return the favor by renaming a portion of Mason Street in his honor,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. “Throughout his iconic career, Tony has been a wonderful ambassador for our City, always eager to literally sing the praises of our home. It fills me with pride to formally recognize San Francisco’s longtime relationship with our great friend by announcing the unveiling of Tony Bennett Way.”
Scheduled to be on-hand for the event are U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Italian Consul General Lorenzo Ortona and San Francisco Director of Protocol Charlotte Shultz among other dignitaries. Liam Mayclem, KCBS Radio’s “Foodie Chap”, will emcee the event. Providing entertainment will be the Cosmo Alley Cats, Accordionist Suzanne Ramsey, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the San Francisco Boys Chorus, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and The Dick Bright Orchestra. Shawna Ferris from Beach Blanket Babylon will lead the crowd in a sing-a-long of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
“On any street in the world, you can hear San Francisco’s singing ambassador singing his signature song, our song,” said Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, San Francisco Director of Protocol and organizer for this weekend’s event. “So, it’s perfectly appropriate for us to now have a street named in his honor here, right in front of his statue. I promise, this Saturday will be a true love-in on the streets of San Francisco.”