The grand opening of the William V. Musto Cultural Center last Saturday, June 11, at the Union City Free Public Library was set in historical stone. What more can be said that the Union City Mayor and Board of Commissioners and guest speakers didn’t say is open to conjecture. However, the real answer is: a lot more! Thus, in order to get further on, into a person, and/or persons; you have to let true memories flow. Therefore, here we go…
There once was a very young man, a college student, who visited the inner halls of the State House while it was in session with friends from Jersey City in the very early 1970s. During a brief break from the proceedings in the general hall up came a very strong voiced man who was introduced to me as State Senator and Union City Mayor William V. Musto who seemed already to have known who the young man was, exchanged pleasantries, and then went back to business in session. Before he left he invited the young man to Union City, and the young man had this up-coming legend in Hudson County politics as a guest speaker at his college.
This young man got involved in Jersey City politics only to realize that the “knives in the back” that political experts talk so much about also leave scars, and these mental and emotional scars can last for years. Well, bad times come and bad times go, and good times are meant to always treasure as golden years. Thus, when that young man fell on hard private and public industry times, it was Mayor Bill Musto who came to the rescue with employment to fit his college degree status, and the rest is grateful memories, and a true political education that never ends.
Working beside the master can give a person many insights of why the top leader is who he really is. Campaigning door to door brings “polity” to the neighborhood, as the people meet their mayor and ask questions. People visited the mayor’s office and were never turned away, and had their say. People down on their luck, who were given interviews in private industry or in government, and received employment. Young men who became employed in government and then attended law school, or ran for public office were weaned by Mayor Musto. Many to this very day are still from “The Political School That Bill Musto Built!”
The “Father of the New Jersey Lottery” is another name that Mayor Musto was known for in his heyday. Moreover it was interesting to see Mayor Musto and State Assemblyman Chris Jackman, of West New York, who later became a state senator, walk along Journal Square discussing such issues as well as politics after county Democratic meetings were held.
The North Hudson County Democratic leader, who for a brief time became the Hudson County leader, teaming up with two other North Hudson legends – none other than West New York Mayor Anthony M. DeFino and Mayor Steve Cappiello of Hoboken – together with State Sen. Wally Shiel of Jersey City in the early 1980s was a first for North Hudson. Mayor Cappiello of Hoboken was the county Democratic Chairman, and Mayor Musto was the leader. Such a combination of a non-elected Democratic leader and an elected county Democratic chairman was in vogue during the reigns of Mayor Frank Hague and Mayor John V. Kenny of Jersey City. Seemingly, Mayor Bill Musto carried on this strategem until circa 1983, as the only North Hudson Democratic Mayor to do.
The intimate side of Mayor Musto was his leisure trips to the race track, his inviting his friends and lieutenants to his home for Neapolitan Ice Cream, cake and coffee, and to his office on Saturday mornings for cartons of Italian sandwiches, soda, and more coffee, just to speak about the past week’s happenings and next week’s objectives. This was all leisure down-time, and the twenty or so people who attended really looked forward to these activities. Furthermore, if Mayor Musto felt that a person was making mistakes in their own personal life, he would even call them personally to lend advice, help out in family matters, marriages, family funerals; whatever, he was there for you.
There are so many more things that can be said, and much to much to list here, but that is how a true legend is created, and that is why this columnist still visits his gravesite in Fairview, New Jersey along Dan Kelly’s Hill, because this columnist was there, and is also a “composite”
of many of the things that the reader has read above, even to his county school employment days. Thus, to Mrs. Rhyta Musto, Bill’s lovely wife, herself a former Union City elected Commissioner, and to their entire family, All The Very Best!
Readers, recently in Hoboken a street was named “John Muller Way” because the Muller Insurance Company agency has been doing business there for over 100-years. Well, scions of the family, brother Roger Muller of Hoboken and Secaucus, and sister Erika Muller of Secaucus, we hear both are wondering what it would feel like having streets named after them!?!? OK, both are hockey team players, and Roger likes scuba diving, and Erika likes kayaking along the Hackensack River. So, perhaps someone can convince Secaucus Michael Gonnelli to name a town back road to Erica’s Expressway, and river beach spot called Roger’s Reef. And away we go!
Amanda Echevarria of Guttenberg, has been named to the Dean’s List at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Congratulations Ms.Echevarria!
North Bergenites Ivis Arias, Julian Castano, David Dumenigo, Mariuxi Gilces, Yailen Hernandez, Nallely Hiciano, WilsonMartinez, Mariette Ng, Adriana Ponce, and Derrick Valerio, were all named to the Dean’s List at Fairleigh Dickinson University/ Metro Campus, Bergen County. Best Wishes to all!
Reverend Monsignor Gregory J. Studerus, pastor of Saint Joseph of the Palisades Parish in West New York, has been appointed to a second six-year term ending in 2017, announced Archbishop John J. Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. Congrats to you, Father Studerus!
NOW READ THIS! Stopping by the Lincoln Tunnel Exxon Mobil Station and Tiger Mart in Weehawken recently at their coffee shoppe, this columnist met the town’s Policeman of the Year, none other than Police Officer Joseph “Joe the Rock” LoRocco, who was sporting his new hair style, fit for a policeman! Coming into the coffee shop, I immediately yelled to the crowd of over a dozen customers, as to the greatest town police force in North Hudson County, and they all said “Hooray for Weehawken!” One township shopper Ms. Kristie Orosz, said that Weehawken’s Finest are great policemen! So now after Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner reads this, this columnist thinks that Policeman Joe The Rock, should get a raise, a promotion, a Policeman of the Month Award, or All Of The Above!!! Best of Luck to Police Officer Joe “The Rock” LoRocco! …….
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.