This year’s belated spring showers seem to have finally come to an end, hopefully leaving nothing in their wake but summer sunshine. But Jersey City residents aren’t afraid of a little heat. They just use it as an excuse to take their year-round cultural fun outdoors. So, with the official start of summer three weeks away, here’s an overview of some hot events on tap for 2012.
Get out there and enjoy it before the snow shoveling season returns.
Ward Tour this Sunday
This Sunday (June 3) Bike JC will host the third annual Ward Tour, a sixteen-mile group bike ride through all six wards of Jersey City. The tour gets underway at 11 a.m. at Exchange Place, the same spot where the tour ends later that day at around 5 p.m.
Riders and non-riders alike are invited to also participate in the celebratory festival taking place in honor of the tour from 1 to 5 p.m. The festival will feature great goods from Not Yo Mama’s Craft Fair, live music, a nonprofit showcase – and beer! (And, hey, what goes better with cycling than brew, right?)
Bike JC is a citizen-based advocacy organization that aims to make Jersey City streets welcoming for bicyclists, by promoting bike-friendly policies, including bike lanes, bicycle safety education, and traffic law enforcement.
The tour starts downtown and travels up Montgomery to Grand Street, then heads south on Garfield Avenue in Greenville where it hooks back north via Danforth and Mallory to Lincoln Park. Exiting the park, it heads north along Kennedy Blvd. to North Street and Palisade Avenue in the Heights, eventually coming down Newark Avenue and Seventh Street to end up back downtown and finish at Exchange Place. Avid and novice cyclists alike are welcome.
There is a $5 registration fee. Riders must be at least 10 years old to participate and all participants must wear helmets.
Fairs & festivals
Once June rolls around each year Jersey City residents will look for almost any and every reason to have a street party, as is evident from the many festivals and fairs that take place throughout the summer months each year. This year is no different and anyone looking for a little outdoor fun need only to step outside and follow the sound of music.
On Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association will host its 27th annual Hamilton Park Festival. The fest will include live entertainment, activities for kids, vendors, food, and a beer garden with ale from the Hamilton Inn. New at this year’s festival are five sports clinics that will focus on tennis, basketball, skateboarding, and general fitness. There will be clinics for children and adults throughout the day. Rain date: Sunday, June 10.
On Sunday, June 24, beginning at 2 p.m., the Philippine American Friendship Day Parade will kick off the 2012 summer season of ethnic festivals.
This annual festival will take place in Lincoln Park. Several other ethnic festivals follow quickly on the heels of the Philippine American Friendship event. On Saturday, July 7 the Egyptian Festival will take place at Journal Square beginning at noon. Three weeks later the West Indian Parade will start at City Hall at 1 p.m. The Puerto Rican Parade and Festival will return to its roots this year with its annual event, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 5 at 1 p.m. Organizers say the parade will be more family-oriented this year. The next day, on Monday Aug. 6 at noon at City Hall, the Bolivian Parade will flood the streets with music and dance. Keep the dancing shoes handy for the Sunday, August 12 Ecuadoran Parade, which begins at Exchange Place at 11 a.m., and the Gay and Lesbian Parade and Festival on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Exchange Place. The rainbow festivities will get underway at noon.
Rounding out the summer’s slate of pride parades will be Polish Heritage Week, which begins on Sunday, Aug. 26.
Whew! This is almost more fun than one city deserves, but Jersey City is worth it.
The city is still firming up dates for its summer concert series. Keep an eye on the Jersey City Reporter for the schedule once it’s announced.
Van Vorst Park will once again play host to a “Movies Under the Stars” series this summer, with regular screenings of films on Wednesdays beginning June 13 at 8 p.m. At press time the Division of Cultural Affairs did not yet have a listing of specific movies that will be screened in the park this summer. Movie dates have, however, been selected. After its 2012 debut on the 13th, subsequent screenings will be held in Van Vost Park on June 27; July 11; July 25; Aug. 8, and Aug. 22. All films will begin at 8 p.m. and are free to the public.
Wet & wild
Last weekend, during the Memorial Day holiday, the city opened its public pools and park sprinklers, offering limited weekday hours until the end of the school year.
The Lafayette Pool and Aquatic Center (at Johnston and Pacific) is now open each weekday morning from 7 to 10 a.m. for lap swim/senior swim and from 4 to 7 p.m. for open swim.
The indoor pool at Pershing Field (at Summit and Central avenues) is currently open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends. Teens ages 13 to 17 can swim between the hours of 3:30 and 6 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on weekends without adult supervision. Please note there is a nominal fee to access the indoor pool at Pershing Field.
Last week the city announced that its second outdoor pool, at Pavonia and West Side avenues, will be closed until later this month for maintenance and repairs.
All three pools will be opened weekends and extended weekday hours after the school year ends.
Sprinklers in city-run parks will be on seven days a week from 11 a.m. p.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. The 14 city parks that have sprinklers include:
1. Dr. Lena Edwards Park, 325 Johnston Ave.
2. Arlington Park, 785 Grand St.
3. Audubon Park, 103-129 Bergen Ave.
4. Virginia Ave. Park, 74-80 Virginia Ave.
5. Venator Watson Park, Stevens Ave. & Kennedy Blvd.
6. Wilkinson Avenue Park, 146-152 Wilkinson Ave.
7. Terrace Avenue Park, Thorne St. and Terrace Ave.
8. Rev. Ercel Webb/LaFayette Park, Maple St. & Van Horne Ave.
9. LaPointe Park, 90-92 Dekalb Ave.
10. Country Village Park, 30 Sycamore Road
11. Pershing Field Park, Summit Ave. and Pershing Plaza
12. Roberto Clement Park, Enos Jones – 8th St. & Brunswick St.
13. Columbia Park, Bartholdi Ave. & Kennedy Blvd.
14. Bayside Park, 480 Garfield Ave.
The pools and sprinklers will remain open through Labor Day. For more information on pool hours and sprinklers, contact the Division of Parks and Forestry at (201) 547-4449.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.