The Fourth of July came late to Secaucus this year. Or, more accurately, it came multiple times. The first celebration occurred on July 2, with a party at the town pool. Food was served beginning at 4 p.m. and the party band Alotta Colada was scheduled to play in the evening, with fireworks to follow. Instead, a storm whipped up overhead, the weather service announced a flood warning, and the show was postponed.
July 4 “Take 2” took place on Wednesday, Aug. 6, and this time the weather cooperated, leading to an enjoyable day of celebration for hundreds of town residents and their guests.
‘The best town in Hudson County’
“We came the first time for the actual Fourth of July and it was a washout so we came today just to have a good time with the kids at the pool,” said Goethy Revollo, a resident of Xchange who attended with her family. “We stayed for a little while the first time but it was a very long line and when the thunder started we left.”
Daughter Chloe, 22 months old, swam a little at the “Take 2” celebration and had a ball playing on the grass with her bubble gun.
“Any event that Secaucus does is great for us. We love this town.” --Joseph Revollo
“It’s the best town in Hudson County,” said Marie Simboli. Originally from Bayonne, Simboli moved to Florida for 15 years. She’s lived in Secaucus about seven years now. “Long enough to know we got it good here.”
Her friend Terry Boitano lived in Secaucus 20 years ago, then moved to West Orange for medical reasons. She’s been back since December, living in senior housing. “I was glad to come back,” she said. “I love it.”
Neil Fajardo toted his weary 2-year-old daughter Lily around the field. “We just came for the fireworks and to hang out. There are always activities, which is nice. The movies, the drive-in, that’s something we did this year.”
Fajardo has lived in Secaucus his whole life. When he started a family he thought about moving elsewhere. “We started to look for a house somewhere else and everywhere we went we compared it to being around Secaucus,” he said. So they wound up staying put.
Food, music, swimming, and fireworks
Secaucus resident Dominga Padilla brought her friend Joann Brown and family to the “Take 2” event as guests. “This is wonderful,” said Brown, who visits Secaucus often. “Whenever she calls us we come on over.”
The town provided 1,500 hot dogs for the event and 1,700 waters. Servers were kept busy running back and forth for more, as people lined up for food.
Even so, it was smaller scale than the first food fiesta on July 2.
“The first night we had sausage and peppers, corn, mixed vegetables, string beans,” said one of the servers, who preferred to remain anonymous. “We had green beans, chick peas and spinach. It was pouring rain out and people just wouldn’t leave. We had a lot of stuff the first night. This is an abbreviated version.”
Yocasta Santiago and Brittney Smith were among the lifeguards keeping watch over the crowded pools. “It’s fun,” said Santiago, soon to be a junior at William Paterson University. “I like it. You have to always watch them. I had three saves already over the summer. You blow your whistle three times and you jump in, you save the person. I saved a man before. That was my scariest save. Kids are really easy. They’re not heavy at all.”
Lifeguards are hired by the town for the summer. “And then you have the winter for school,” said Santiago. “I’ve been doing this for four years.”
Smith, a rising senior at Secaucus High School, was new to the job. “It’s my first year doing it,” she said. “I like it a lot.”
The band fired up about 7 p.m. with a set of upbeat songs that ran the gamut from “Cheeseburger in Paradise” to “These Boots Were Made for Walking.” Residents of all ages danced on the open lawn, from toddlers to seniors.
Their set lasted about an hour and a half before darkness (and mosquitos) began to descend and everyone settled back in preparation for the big event. Just past 8:30 the lifeguards cleared the pool and then the fireworks began, bringing a chorus of oohs and ahhs from the attendees.
The impressive display was visible for many miles around over the Meadowlands.
Art Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.