Mar 27, 2011 | 4191 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print

That is what Michael R. Parkes is, a jewel to those who know him. Everyone who speaks of Mr. Parkes speaks highly of him personally and professionally. Mr. Parkes is an unassuming West New Yorker and Bergenline Avenue businessman who for 41 years has been in the jewelry business, Michael’s Jewelers, Inc. Mr. Parkes gives off the warm feeling of the old time businessman who wants to make his customers happy with the sale of genuine good products from his shop, and he takes his time in doing so to the customer’s satisfaction.

Born in West New York on Hudson Avenue, Mr. Parkes fondly remembers his deceased parents Michael Sr. and Mary Eisenhauer-Parkes. After his father’s death, his mother remarried, and his step-father, also now deceased, was named Emil Zingg. He has a brother Ronald, who lives in Fairview, in Bergen County. Mr. Parkes is married to his lovely wife Bertha Sneider-Parkes, who now runs the family jewelry business on a part-time basis.

A graduate of the old Saint Joseph’s of the Palisades High School on 64th Street in West New York, Mr. Parkes studied general teaching at the former Jersey City State College, now known as New Jersey City University. However, feeling that he wanted to go into business, he worked part-time after school in a West New York jewelry store called Vincent’s Jewelers. When that jewelry store went out of business, Mr. Parkes, who now was working full-time, saw the opportunity to own a jewelry business and became a sole proprietor. He tells us proudly that his father-in-law Lester Sneider, who was a carpenter, renovated the full interior of the business offices where they still are along 63th Street and Bergenline Avenue. Michael’s Jewelers began its business career in 1970.

His business sells all types of jewelry, with full service repairs, etc. He also deals with a long line of suppliers of gems and precious metals, and his business has life-time associations that are international in scope. He also attends various jewelry and gem shows in New York and cross-country, and has received certification in various kinds of course work from the Gemological Institute of America in New York. However, Mr. Parkes asserts that working within the business gives you the practical knowledge about jewelry, gems and precious metals that is also truly needed.

Mr. Parkes has also taken on community duties that satisfy him and broaden his love of West New York, so his wife takes over the business on a part-time basis weekly for him. These community duties are being the Coordinator of the W.N.Y. Urban Enterprise Zone; chairman of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC Board); and president of the West New York Chamber of Commerce! As for the UEZ, within the Town-Zone, tax revenues are to be used for various projects, allowed and overseen by the State of New Jersey, and he finds this activity to be very important for the Town of West New York. Mr. Parkes is also a past president of the W.N.Y. Kiwanis Club.

In his leisure time, Mr. Parkes likes to golf, and walk for exercise. When it comes to music, he likes the Big Band Sound of the 1940s, the Blues, and 1950s Rock & Roll. He is also a collector of rare coins, which shows a historical side of Mr. Parkes. He supports local police and fireman activities, and is a communicant of Saint Joseph’s of the Palisades Roman Catholic Church.

So what else does Mr. Parkes like to do? He tells us, with a hint of humor in his voice: “To read about the exploits of Guttenberg’s Athletic Living Legend Brian Guaschino at the University of Tennessee, and Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega and his new appointee as West New York Assistant Town Clerk , in “On The Streets Where We Live,” because they are his friends!

To Mr. Michael R. Parkes – All the Best – Because You Are The Best!

Weehawkenite Lauren Rodriguezhas been named to the Honors List at Fairleigh Dickinson University Metropolitan Campus/Hackensack-Teaneck, in Bergen County. Best wishes Ms. Rodriguez!

Juan Bernhardt of North Bergen has graduated from the State University of New York/New Paltz with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Congratulations Mr. Bernhardt!

North Bergenite Wendy Suarez has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president and executive assistant to the chairman, president and CEO, at the Provident Bank, also known as the Old Beehive for its industry in banking. Congrats to you, Ms. Suarez!

The Latino Leaders Fellowship Institute together with the Rutgers-Camden Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership and the New Jersey State Department of Community Affairs Center for Hispanic Policy, Research, and Development had the following North Hudson County students participating in their recent programs. They are: Yailen Hernandez and Wilson Martinez of North Bergen; Johan Zafra Lopez of Secaucus; Carlos Paniagua of Union City; and Joanna Rodriguez and Lucrisleyda Taveras of West New York. Leaders of Tomorrow, make us proud!

HUDSON, A COUNTY OF ISLANDS! Readers, recently after speaking with Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli and former Mayor Paul Amico, a.k.a. “The Sage of Secaucus,” it was determined that Secaucus basically was an island as it was surrounded by the Hackensack River and three creeks, namely the Penhorn Creek, Mill Creek, and Cromakill Creek. Then this columnist also spoke with Neil Carroll, the West New York Chief Senior Advisor to Mayor , and who is also the father-in-law to Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith who is also the Hudson County Democratic Party Chairman. Mr. Carroll said that the Peninsula City, a.k.a. the City of Bayonne, was also once an island because of the man-made Morris Canal that in the past cut off Bayonne from the southern part of Jersey City.

This columnist checked it out, and found the old canal dry bed where it used to run, as Mother Nature re-secured her dry land. Then we can look at old library maps and find that Hoboken was once an island with marsh-lands, and that Harrison, East Newark and Kearny in west Hudson County as one land-mass are separated by the Passaic River to the west and the Hackensack River to the east, and that Jersey City, North Bergen, Union City, Guttenberg, West New York, and Weehawken are all one large land-mass. The newest island, man-made that is, is J. Owen Grundy Park, off of Exchange Place in Downtown Jersey City in the Hudson River, named after the deceased and well-known former Jersey City Historian.

Now speaking of the Hudson River, we have Liberty Island and Ellis Island, part of which is man-made; both located in New Jersey/Hudson County/Jersey City-Hudson River waters! Ellis Island has a walking bridge just like Grundy Park does, if a person would rather walk to them. So, if a traveler wants to day-trip or have a week-ender, visit the Islands of Hudson County, see the sights, and reclaim your history! And away we go!

And so it goes … until next time …see you around town …MATT

Readers who would like to contribute to this column can do so by mailing your news items along with your photographs to Matthew Amato, columnist, c/o The Hudson Reporter, 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, New Jersey 07030.

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