San Francisco celebrates Valentine’s Day honoring Tony Bennett by dedicating cable car

Jerold Chinn
3 min readFeb 16, 2024
San Francisco dedicated Cable Car №53 to the late singer Tony Bennett in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. | Photos by Jerold Chinn

City officials dedicated Cable Car №53 to the late Grammy award winner Tony Bennett outside of the Fairmont Hotel where the singer performed his signature song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” in the hotel’s Venetian Room for the first time.

Mayor London Breed and Bennett’s widow, Susan Benedetto, and other city officials rode on the cable car along California Street to Mason Street before the event began. Since Bennett’s passing last July, the Market Street Railway Museum has been advocating for the city to dedicate a cable car to the beloved singer when he died last July.

“With one phrase in one song, Tony Bennett made our cable cars world famous. He reminded us of how special our city is — special in so many ways, especially our history of diversity,” said Rick Laubscher, president of the museum.

Breed praised Bennett not only as a singer but as an ambassador and philanthropist who showed up to support the city.

“When former Mayor Dianne Feinstein was trying to save our cable cars in 1980, it was Tony Bennett who also stood there and helped us through that process to appeal to people to make sure that we protected and save and preserve these cable cars for people like us to enjoy today.”

The mayor also noted that Bennett was a painter and painted one of the hearts as part of the Hearts in San Francisco project, which helps raise funds for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. The heart painted by Bennett can be seen in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel.

“I am overjoyed to be here with all of you today on Valentine’s Day in a very city where Tony and I first met and where his signature song got its start,” said Benedetto. “Fans from all over the world will forever have a place to visit and feel close to Tony.”

The SFMTA said the cable car was built in 1907 and originally ran on the O’Farrell, Jones and Hyde Line.. Cable Car №53 includes several tributes to the late singer, including in the front and back of the cable car’s painted ribbons that read “Halfway to the Stars Since 1873.” Inside the cable car includes plaques with a photo of Bennett that read “This Cable Car Is Dedicated to Tony Bennett” with musical notes.

Visitors and residents can find and ride the cable car on the California Line.



Jerold Chinn

I am a freelance reporter in San Francisco with over a decade of experience covering transportation in the city. Bylines include SFBay and The Ingleside Light.