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Socially-Distanced San Franciscans Join Tony Bennett Virtually to Sing City by the Bay Anthem

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- In the midst of distancing and isolation, people came together for a few minutes Saturday to sing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" and remember why they love the city by the bay.

San Francisco feels a lot different from the place Tony Bennett began singing lovingly about in 1962.

"I never thought in a hundred years that I would ever walk around Union Square and it'd be this quiet," said Wayne Alexis.

At noon on Saturday people took to song to show where their hearts still lie.

From professional crooners to former mayors to the legions on social media trapped in their homes, the city may have changed but the song remained the same. Mark Robinson has sung in clubs all across town but said this day's performance was one for the books.

"I mean, I've had some weird gigs but playing to an empty Union Square, it's right up there," Robinson said.

A small but appropriately-spaced crowd did form outside the Fairmont Hotel as its general manager led a singalong next to the statue of Tony Bennett. Former mayor Willie Brown, who used to hit all the right notes as a politician, did his best with the old standard.

Union Square would normally be teeming with tourists but, now, some of the most famous stores in the world sit quiet and empty. It's a bit unnerving and that's what today's song break was all about.

"The idea is to lift all our spirits in this very challenging and uncertain time for people to be reminded that San Francisco is really an incredible and special place," said Karin Flood with the Union Square Business Improvement District.

And while it's true that the vibrancy of the city by the bay may be under wraps right now, the day will come when this place will once again be open to welcome back those who left their hearts here.

Saturday's citywide singalong was initiated by San Francisco chief of protocol, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, and was intended as a tribute to all the front line health care workers and first responders working during the shelter in place.

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