State, county, and local officials gathered the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 6 to celebrate the renaming of New County Road to “Paul Amico Way” after the former mayor of Secaucus who served 14 consecutive two-year terms. Amico, 99 years old, was on hand for the occasion.
“Today we have the privilege and the honor to name New County Road after Mayor Amico,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “We are all so proud of what you have done and continue to do for this town.”
Gonnelli said during his remarks that it was County Executive Thomas DeGise’s idea to rename New County Road because that area of town had four streets with the word “county” in their name. The roads included New County Road Extension, New County Road, County Road, and County Avenue.
DeGise approached Gonnelli and asked if he had any suggestions for someone worthy of a street name.
“All throughout Hudson County, the name Amico is synonymous with great public service,” said DeGise.
“All throughout Hudson County the name Amico is synonymous with great public service.” – Thomas DeGise
Arrived in Secaucus 93 years ago
Amico served as mayor of Secaucus for a total of 28 years, from 1963 until his retirement in 1991. He arrived in Secaucus at the age of six from Little Italy in New York City. His 100th birthday is next April.
Amico first worked at Marra Drugs and eventually opened his own business named Paul’s Diner.
After serving in World War II, Amico first ran for office in the 1950s.
He said in a previous interview that in serving as mayor he wanted to establish the same type of reputation that he had for his diner, which was “very well thought off.”
A number of council members and former colleagues shared reflections on Amico’s style as mayor.
Deputy Mayor John Bueckner referred to Amico as a “gentleman,” as did others at the ceremony. The words “hardworking” and “fair” were often used to describe Amico by those who worked with him.
“He was a great boss,” said Claire Grecco, former town clerk from 1982 to 1996. She was the first female to serve in that position. “It was an honor for me.”
“He made a part-time job a full-time job,” said Councilman James Clancy who also served on Amico’s administration. “He took care of everyone.”
“I went to school with Paul,” said Pat DeFerrari. Elected in 1976, she was the first councilwoman in Secaucus who served on Amico’s administration. “This is a longtime coming. This is great.”
“Can’t think of anyone who has done more for Secaucus,” said John Schinnick, former councilman.
Many gathered at the ribbon cutting said that Amico kept to his schedule and had a disciplined nature.
Route to success
County Avenue leads to Paul Amico Way, which runs southwest alongside the Xchange development toward Laurel Hill County Park.
“I am a fellow who at one time as a youngster used to ride that road to deliver medicine and special delivery mail to Laurel Hill at the other end,” said Amico earlier this year when the announcement of the renaming was made.
That area of town has undergone its share of development in the last decade with the addition of the Frank R. Lautenberg Train Station off Turnpike Exit 15X and the Xchange residential apartments.
At Tuesday’s renaming, a representative from U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s office read a proclamation issued by his office commending Mayor Amico for his dedication and service to Secaucus.
“It is an honor,” said Mayor Amico. “It wasn’t something I was expecting but very much appreciated.”
“I am very grateful that the county chose to do it while he is still around to see it,” said Dan Amico, nephew of Paul Amico. Dan served as town clerk a number of years when his uncle was mayor.
“He has always been the standard by which we all strive to reach, but can never quite achieve,” Dan added.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.