‘Parade of Ships’ will launch Fleet Week on the Hudson
May 20, 2018 | 220 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HUDSON COUNTY – Fleet Week New York will run from May 23-29, and the kickoff event, the Parade of Ships will be held on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the United States Coast Guard Silent Drill Team will perform on Liberty Island, home to the Statue of Liberty, from 1 to 2 p.m. Some of the best places to watch the great ships pass from Battery Park to just south of the George Washington Bridge, once the time and date of the procession have been announced, are on the New Jersey side of the river. All the locations are open to the public and accessible for free. Try watching from the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park (1 Audrey Zapp Dr.); Exchange Place in Downtown Jersey City; the NJ Transit Terminal, Pier A Park (100 Sinatra Dr.), Pier C Parks (340 Sinatra Dr.) and Maxwell Place Park (11th Street and Sinatra Drive North) in Hoboken; and Weehawken Waterfront Park (1 Port Imperial Blvd., Weehawken). For up-to-date information on all FWNY events, visit the official FWNY website at www.fleetweeknewyork.com, "Like" FleetWeekNewYork on Facebook, or "Follow" @FleetWeekNYC on Twitter. FWNY photos can be viewed on Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/fwnypao and Instagram at www.instagram.com/fleetweeknyc. Join the conversation on social media by using #FleetWeekNYC.
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COLON, SONIA
May 20, 2018 | 150 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A mass of Christian burial was offered May 12 at St. Patrick R.C. Church for Sonia Colon, 66, of Jersey City. She passed away on May 3 in Lithonia, Ga. after a brief illness. Born in Jersey City, Sonia was a lifelong resident. A graduate of Ferris High School, she went on to earn an associate’s degree from Hudson County Community College. Sonia worked as a teacher’s aide for the Jersey City Board of Education for 39 years, retiring in 2017. She also volunteered as a coach for the Special Olympics, but her true passion was spending time with her grandchildren and great-granddaughter. She was the daughter of Maria R. and the late Deatrio Colon; mother of Angelo W. and Sonia Colon, Jr.; grandmother of Elena M. Bello, Melissa A. Colon, Elisabel M. Bello, and Elasia M. Howard; great-grandmother of Ariana M. Hurtault; sister of Ida Poventud, Elsie, Raymond and the late Angelo M., Rose M. and Angelo L. Colon. She is also survived by a son-in-law, Alfonzo Howard and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.
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WELCOME TO HOBOKEN
Everything new residents (young or older) should know
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
May 20, 2018 | 487 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WELCOME
LONG AND SOFT – Hoboken residents often debate which local deli has the best fresh “mutz.” You can’t go wrong if you try any of the places that make their own. Pictured: Vito’s on Washington Street.
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In May and June, college graduates move to Hoboken to start a job, and families move to town before the new school year. Last week, several Hoboken residents offered tips to recent grads and new families who are starting a new life in the mile-square city. Their tips covered restaurants, bars for different age groups, getting a dog, using public transportation, and even joining a gym or sports league. Resident of two years Michelle Ciancimino, 24, suggested new residents join a local gym to meet their neighbors. She goes to a CrossFit gym and it’s a “tight knit community,” she said. CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness program that incorporates elements from several sports and types of exercise. Similarly, Megan Pijanowski, 25, suggested joining one of the adult athletic leagues such a ZogSports. (www.zogsports.com). Through ZogSports, participants can play basketball, hockey, dodge ball, touch football, and volleyball with other adults. Pijanowski has lived in Hoboken for about six months. Before that, she lived in Manhattan. “I liked that Hoboken was a smaller feel than the city,” she said. “It has more of a community feel.” The average rent in Hoboken ($2,897, according to Zillow) is often lower than in Manhattan ($3,942), and generally includes more space. Hoboken residents can get to Manhattan in 8 minutes via the PATH train ($2.75 each way) or 10 minutes via the ferry ($9). Dan Falco, 26, a resident of only two months, said he works in Manhattan and “you get more bang for your buck in Hoboken. I looked a little in Jersey City, but when I visited Hoboken I fell in love. I really loved all the restaurants and shops and views of the city. It’s got a younger crowd, but families too.” Restaurants to try New residents had a variety of restaurant recommendations. Residents often mention the large slices at Benny Tudino’s, fresh mozzarella and sandwiches at places like Vito’s, Fiore’s, and M & P Biancamano, and the steaks at Arthur’s Tavern and Dino & Harry’s, as well as the Italian eats and Frank Sinatra jukebox at Leo’s Grandevouz, and baked goods at Carlo’s Bakery (the “Cake Boss” downtown) and Giorgio’s (uptown). But some had other suggestions. Anthony Castagliola talked about Mr. Wraps on Seventh and Garden streets, noting that they accept Duck Bills from Stevens students. Allison McGovern said new families with young children should take advantage of eateries that cater to them, such as Choc o Pain, a group of local bakeries that has a separate playroom in both their uptown and downtown locations. Several restaurants in town offer discounted or free kids’ meals one night a week. McGovern also suggested Anthony David’s for a great brunch or BYOB date night, and Stingray Lounge for tasty cocktails. Dan Falco, who admitted to having a sweet tooth, said he really loves Lepore’s Chocolates on Fourth Street. “I’m a huge candy binge eater and that place is amazing,” said Falco. “It’s my guilty pleasure. I’ll spend like $35 a week there on chocolate.” He also recommended mozzarella from Fiore’s: “I walked in there recently and they gave me a piece and I died.” Alan Korovin said one of his favorite spots is Willie McBride’s. “They have a live band on most Saturdays and the play a lot of ‘90s cover songs,” he said. Pijanwoski recommended Pier 13 on the north waterfront. The outdoor bar attracts both young people and families with outdoor eating and drinking, and food trucks nearby. Sammi Gyurko said she enjoys House of Que. “The food is good and on Saturdays they have dueling pianos.” She also said she feels the bars in town are based on ages and suggested residents explore before settling on a favorite. She said the bars uptown seem to cater to a mid-twenties and up crowd. She likes McSwiggan’s Pub downtown but feels 10th and Willow has more people her age, mid-twenties and older. Lindsay MacFeetrs recommended outdoor cafes for dog lovers and suggested Bin 14 for a nice dinner al fresco. Family town While Hoboken has always attracted the young, more families are staying in town as well, taking advantage of the parks, recreational activities, free summer concerts, and school options (including the growing public schools, charter schools, and federally funded pre-K). Resident of five years Kelly Shireffs said one of her tips for residents starting a family is to join the Hoboken University Medical Center’s new moms’ support group (www.pamperedpregnancy.com) “It really helped me make friends,” she said. “I mean, we are now celebrating fifth birthdays together.” Hoboken moms also have several Facebook groups (including one for working moms) and an internet newsgroup with daily digest. Brenda Giacumbo, the broker for Prominent Properties in Hoboken, said, “Our rental market is really active. We have a lot of people in their early 20s just out of college who want to move close to the city, and we get lots of students and international students who move to town for Stevens.” She said she sees more people looking for condos as “there are a lot more families that are staying.” Giacumbo said she gives people a tour of Hoboken and directs them to restaurants like Dino and Harry’s or the Madison Bar and Grill, and community events like the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival. Cassie Zito, who has lived here for two years, said she likes the fact that young people and families live together. “I love that there’s such a good mix of people,” she said, “people my age just out of college and starting their careers, young families, and even older couples.” Other tips and tricks Sammi Gyurko, age 26, will move into her Hoboken apartment on June 1. “It is such a social town,” said Gyurko. She said that her mother was nervous about her moving from home in central New Jersey, but Hoboken seemed safe. “My mom told me she felt like she didn’t have to worry about me here,” she said. Lindsay MacFeetrs recommended that residents get a dog. “I have met so many people in the dog parks,” she said. She said Hoboken had more pet-friendly options than the Upper East Side, where she used to live. Pijanowski said residents should know about how to get around town, not just transportation options to New York. “There are cabs, buses, the HOP, Uber and shuttle buses [from various developments],” said Pijanowski. “I wouldn’t have been so stressed with finding a place that was downtown and near the PATH if I had known.” Resident of eight years Laurie Heines said if you’re living in an apartment with friends, try to get a room in the back. “We have garbage collection every night,” said Heines, “which is great, but the trucks are so noisy.” She also recommended that residents with kids take advantage of the city’s summer programs like Movies Under the Stars, which are free screenings on Pier A Park in the summer. Zito said she enjoys the free outdoor fitness classes on Pier A. “Hobokennj.gov and Hoboken’s social media does a good job of updating you on free events in town and how you can get involved,” she said. Former resident of five years Kathleen Childs said new residents should explore. “Don’t just go to the obvious places like Washington Street or downtown,” she said. “Explore the city’s edges.” Residents can also take the Light Rail train ($2.25) south to Bayonne or north through Weehawken and Union City to North Bergen. They can also use the light rail elevator on Ninth Street to head up to Jersey City Heights or to Union City. Falco said residents can get a visitor parking permit at City Hall if they have friends visiting (see sidebar). SIDEBAR Parking rules to know Hoboken residents said that the parking rules are confusing for out-of-towners. Some said they gave up their cars when they moved here. Residents can rent a Zipcar or use options like Enterprise or Hertz in town. Resident of 10 months Lindsay MacFeetrs said she is glad she has a parking spot. “It’s so nice and definitely worth it,” she said, because street parking is difficult to find. There are fewer than 10,000 on-street parking spaces in Hoboken, and nearly 15,000 resident parking permits issued annually, according to the city’s website. Here are the rules: Most streets in Hoboken are designated on one side as “Resident Permit Parking Only” with a green sign with white letters. That means people with other permits, such as business or visitor, can not park there. The other side is “Permit Parking Only” with a white sign and green letters. All people with permits can park there. Also, people without permits can park there for up to four hours, but then have to leave. (Moving to a new four-hour spot doesn’t help; you get four hours total on city streets without a permit.) Most of Washington Street has metered parking with machines that allow you to pay via credit card, cash, or by phone. The city also has various municipal garages for visitors to park in. If you have guests, you can pick up visitor permits for $5 per day. Watch out for street sweeping, though – most streets have street sweeping once a week or more often, and that can earn you a ticket if you forget to move. Fees for a residential permit $15 per year for the first vehicle in a household, $30 per year for the second vehicle in a household, and $90 per year for the third. They and other permits can be purchased at City Hall at 94 Washington St or online at HPUOnline. (https://www.govonlinesaas.com/NJ/Hoboken/Public/EnSuite/Shared/Pages/Main/Login.aspx ) Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.
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Poland’s president comes to Jersey City
Katyn statue controversy rages on as protestors shout ‘shame!’
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
May 20, 2018 | 583 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STATUE
PAYING THEIR RESPECTS – Poland’s President Andrezj Duda, and his wife, Agata, came to Jersey City to visit the monument to Polish soldiers
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Polish President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath on May 16 at the base of a statue memorializing the World War II massacre of Polish soldiers, while protestors in the background, despite being restrained by security forces and the U.S. Secret Service, shouted “Shame! Shame!” in opposition to the statue’s pending removal from Exchange Place. The memorial commemorates the 1940 Soviet murder of 22,000 Polish officers in Katyn Forest in the western Soviet Union. Although Duda was in the United States on official United Nations business, he met briefly at the site with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in an attempt to play down what has become an international conflict. Created by Polish-American monument sculptor Andrzej Pitynski, the statue was moved to Exchange Place in 1991. Jersey City, along with officials of the Exchange Place Special Improvement District, have proposed moving the statue to a new location one block away on York Street. The city intends to create a park at the statue’s current location. While this started out as a local issue, the incident escalated into an international conflict when Fulop exchanged angry Tweets with the head of the Polish Senate, in which Fulop accused the senate leader of being a Holocaust denier. Poland recently enacted legislation commonly called “the Holocaust bill” which makes it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Holocaust and other atrocities – a law that has put Duda also at odds with the nation of Israel. Polish Senate Speaker Stanislaw Karczewski criticized Fulop for plans to move the statue. Fulop then responded calling Karczewski a Holocaust denier, and “a known anti-Semite,” remarks Karczewski in press accounts called “offensive” and “entirely untrue.” Fulop’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors. His grandmother was in the Auschwitz death camp (in Poland) where more than one million Jews were murdered. His grandfather was in a Nazi labor camp. Making peace? Heavy security that included the U.S. Secret Service, Polish agents, and Jersey City police kept the scores of protestors from getting near Duda during his brief visit to the monument. He previously visited the monument in 2016. Duda, who was elected as president on a right wing ticket and has been criticized for his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Warsaw last year, arrived for a brief meeting with Fulop under a rain drenched tent near the statue. The chat with Fulop was brief, but described by Fulop as “fairly straight-forward.” Duda apparently preferred that the statue not be moved, but wanted to be assured that the statue was respected. “I said I couldn’t keep it there because we are building a $5 million park for Jersey City residents, but I will make sure the new location is respected and dignified,” Fulop told the Hudson Reporter. The visit lasted only a few minutes. But there was time for an exchange of gifts. Fulop gave Duda a small replica of the Katyn statue and the flag of Jersey City. Duda gave Fulop a book in English about the massacre. Duda did not give a statement to the press despite a large contingent of Polish and international media on the site. Then Duda, and his wife, Agata, placed a wreath of flowers at the foot of the statue before hurrying off. Politically, Duda and Fulop are light years apart. Duda, like Trump, opposed some immigrant proposals for housing refugees in Poland. Fulop has led the charge against Trump immigration policies by declaring Jersey City a sanctuary city. Duda, unlike Trump, is hugely popular in Poland with a 72 percent approval rate as of earlier this year. Several dozen protestors restricted to the archway of the Exchange Place Center building shouted “Shame” at Duda’s arrival, and then sang the Polish national anthem. At one point a protester, apparently upset by Duda’s acquiescence to the statue’s relocation, intruded into a restricted area holding a sign for Duda asking, “Where is your honor and dignity?” but was escorted out by police. “If he doesn’t move, lock him up!” shouted Public Safety Director James Shea.
_____________ “I said I couldn’t keep it there because we are building a $5 million park for Jersey City residents, but I will make sure the new location is respected and dignified.” – Mayor Steven Fulop.
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Protest at city hall The confrontation at the monument came after an even more contentious press conference on May 14 at which Fulop and some Polish officials announced a compromise on the statue’s relocation. Protestors said they wanted the statue to remain where it is currently located. Yelling “Shame, shame, shame” the protestors drowned portions of statements by Fulop, Poland’s Concul General Jaciej Golubiewski and others, who were trying to explain the details of a compromise agreement that would move the statue to a new location a block away on York Street. For a short time, former state Sen. Ray Lesniak was among the Polish crowd, but left City Hall when the protest erupted. The protestors led by Slawek Platta, an attorney and candidate for New York Senate, said moving the statue would be an insult to the memory of the victims of the 1940 massacre. The city originally proposed moving the statue from Exchange Place to 74 Montgomery St., which the City Council designated for its location in the 1986. The agreement to move the statue to York Street came as a result of discussion with the Polish Chamber of Commerce, Fulop said. The York Street location, Fulop pointed out, would still be on the waterfront, and have similar views of New York City’s Freedom Tower. Fulop said instead of putting the statue temporarily in storage until the new location can be prepared, a new park on York Street would be constructed simultaneously to the Exchange Place renovation, and would allow the city to move the statue directly from one location to the other. Fulop said moving the statue and building the park for it on York Street would cost about $250,000. He said the city will cover some of the costs, but the rest of the funding will be raised through the efforts of the Polish Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. Drowning them out! The controversy started in April when local officials and members of the Polish Community learned that the statue was to be relocated as part of a Special Improvement District project to redevelop the waterfront area. But the Polish community was never consulted. Protestors at the press conference were not happy with the compromise and chanted “Blah, Blah, Blah,” to drown out even Polish officials, who they claim sold out to the developer – Mack Cali – which is spearheading the renovation of the waterfront area. Backed by public officials such as Councilman Richard Boggiano, the protestors demanded that the statue remain in his current location. Platta said the monument contains remains and ashes of some of those who died in the massacre. “Those souls of people buried there are a curse to the mayor for his actions,” Platta said. Fulop said this would not be an issue because the city had already moved the remains when it moved the monument to its current location in 1991. Protestors also claimed the York Street site put the monument near sewer lines and other utilities. Representatives from the Exchange Place SID called the monument “too gruesome” to fit in with the planned changes at the current location. The site would include a playground area for young kids. Protestors, however, said the site accommodates numerous festivals and public cultural events that incorporate kids, such as the recent Holi festival. Under the agreement with the city, the Polish consul would be given the property for the new site for free under a 99-year lease. “Our intentions were never to be disrespectful to the Polish community,” Fulop said, noting that most people who travel in the area do not know what the statue represents. But a park dedicated to the statue might help inform them. Platta, carrying a protest sign, tried to get close to the podium where officials spoke, and was ordered back by a Fulop bodyguard and then by police. Later, when the press conference ended, protestors attempted to take the podium in order to have their side told to the massive media presence. A city official order the microphone shut off. Boggiano ordered them turned back on. The City Council is expected to vote on the plan at its May 23 meeting, and several council members are opposed to it. Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.
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Last chance for affordable waterfront housing?
Council will likely go forward with Metro Plaza abatement
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
May 20, 2018 | 373 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ALL’S QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT – Hudson Exchange West, the largest development project since Newport in Jersey City, is on hold as developers wait to get out of an abatement awarded them in 2015
ALL’S QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT – Hudson Exchange West, the largest development project since Newport in Jersey City, is on hold as developers wait to get out of an abatement awarded them in 2015
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After putting off a decision earlier this month on what to do about a 2015 agreement with a waterfront property developer for a tax abatement, the City Council may have to give up hope of requiring affordable housing units in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Three years ago, the council required all new abated properties to set aside 20 percent of the total units as affordable. Since then, requests for tax abatements have dried up, and the developer for one of the largest projects since the creation of the Newport development in the 1980s has asked to get out of the agreement it has already signed. Council member Joyce Watterman, who authored the 20 percent requirement, said she is going to “fight hard” to require the new 35-story tower at Metro Plaza to live up to its commitment to provide 87 affordable housing units. Forest City, the developer responsible for constructing this and other towers in the Metro Plaza complex near the Harsimus Cove station of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, lost key state funding and has asked the city to do away with the abatement in order to allow them to construct only market rate units instead. The council tabled legislation that would have allowed the end of the abatement at the May 9 meeting in order to review the circumstances behind the request. Forest City plans to construct 12 new residential towners over the next 20 years an 18-acre site near Marin Boulevard and Second Street, close to the Newport Mall and near the waterfront. The Jersey City Council approved a 25-year tax abatement that allowed the construction to move forward. In exchange for the tax abatement, Forest City would pay Jersey City 7 percent of its annual gross revenue from the $449 million project. The agreement requires the new tower to set aside 20 percent of its 432 units as affordable housing under the provisions of the abatement. Forest City wants to revert to paying conventional taxes in order to forgo setting aside affordable housing units.
_____________ “I don’t many people who can afford to raise a family if they are paying $4,000 a month rent.” – Joyce Watterman
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Waterfront affordable housing may be a thing of the past But Watterman said because the waterfront is so lucrative, developers are no longer seeking abatements. It is uncertain if the 20 percent affordable housing requirement that Watterman spearheaded two years ago is discouraging developers from seeking abatements or simply that the market is so lucrative developers feel they can build without abatements. But in either case, Watterman said the next tower in the Forest City development may be the last opportunity the city has to provide housing to people who are not wealthy. “I don’t want to give up those 87 units,” she said. “This may be our last chance to get affordable housing in that part of the city, and I do not want to give them up.” She said she wants to developer to seek alternative funding to the lost state dollars. “They haven’t even tried yet,” she said. “If they had tried and couldn’t get other funds that would be a different story. I want them to try, and then come to us.” Watterman said she had met with Abe Naparstek of Forest City, seeking to find alternative to giving up on the abatement. A key state tax credit program for residential projects like this expired and Naparstek told Watterman financing for the second tower on the property cannot be done with only the tax abatement from the city. The project had received, then lost, $40 million in state tax credit approved by the state Economic Development Authority, which allowed the developers to include affordable housing, officials said. Priced out This comes at a time when people are being priced out of the waterfront area, and opportunities to provide affordable housing are shrinking, despite a campaign pledge from Mayor Steven Fulop when he ran last November . Watterman said she wants to hold firm on the commitment for this tower, noting that the remaining towers planned for the larger project will not be abated and will not have the 20 percent requirement. “Those towers won’t be abated,” she said. “They can make the units in those market rate.” She sees the loss of the 87 units as a significant blow to people who are struggling to live in what is become a very expensive part of the city. One downtown developer, she said, is renting three-bedroom units at $4,000. “That developer is telling me that they will allow people to raise a family there,” she said. “I don’t knowmany people who can afford to raise a family if they are paying $4,000 a month rent.” Last year, a national real estate website rated Jersey City has one of the most expensive cities to rent a single-bedroom unit in at an average of $2,000 per month. The first tower of the complex is a 35-story residential building already constructed on the site of the former Pep Boys auto store at a cost of about $220 million. The second tower is expected to cost as much or slightly more. Between the two initial towers the project would have brought 165 such units to the waterfront for the first time When first projected in early 2017, market-rate rents for the building ranged from $2,325 for one-bedroom apartments to $3,500 for two-bedroom units. Rents on the affordable units will range from $954 for one-bedroom units to $1,194 for two-bedroom apartments. Metro, also called Hudson Exchange West, represents the first large-scale plan for on-site affordable housing since Newport was constructed, city officials said. The city council is expected to take action on the request at its May 23 meeting. Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.
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