Summer recreation program to start; Many activities scheduled throughout July and August
Every year around this time, Chuck Barone's life becomes a living hell, but a fun living hell. The director of Weehawken's Parks and Recreation has to run around making the last minute preparations to kick off the township's summer recreation program, which begins, for both the young and the young at heart, this Wednesday. Months of planning sessions and idea-creating meetings are crammed into the last few days. "It's definitely the busiest time of year," Barone said. "There's no denying that. There's a lot of activity going on." Barone has been busy hiring part-time seasonal help as park supervisors and counselors. But he's also spent a lot of time and energy putting the final pieces to a very extensive and elaborate program, which will feature many of the old standard activities, with a dash of some new ones. "We always like to try a few new items, to see if there is interest," Barone said. "This year, we've added a few new things, just for a change." Barone said the biggest addition to the summer program is the Xtreme Bowling, which will be held Friday afternoons, from noon to 3 p.m., at Wallington Lanes in Wallington. The bowling features laser lights and contemporary music while the youngsters, ages seven through 13, are bowling. The cost is $5.75 per session, where the youngsters get soda and pizza along with the bowling. Weehawken Recreation will provide the transportation. "We had a winter bowling program that was very popular, so we decided to give the summer bowling a try," Barone said. "It's something different and gives the kids a chance to come inside and cool down while having fun. Mayor (Richard) Turner liked the idea, so we decided to go with it." Another new item will be the Tuesday and Saturday morning Aerobics on the Hudson, taught by local aerobics instructor Melanie Strauch. The group will meet at Hamilton Plaza Park and work out from 9 to 10 a.m. "Aerobics has become very popular, with perhaps 40-60 people signed up," Barone said. "With the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, it seems to be perfect." There will also be T'ai Chi and Yoga classes strictly for adults at the Senior Nutritional Center on Highwood Avenue. The T'ai Chi classes, taught by Christine Jordan, is an exercise of the body and mind, emphasizing relaxation, balance, coordination, concentration and proper breathing. They will take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights, between 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Yoga classes, taught by Martha Truglio, will begin Tuesday, July 18 and run every Tuesday night, following the T'ai Chi classes. Safe way
There are two other new activities planned for the summer. First, there will be the Weehawken Safety Town USA program, in which members of the Weehawken Police bicycle squad will be teaching youngsters in the first and second grades the proper safety procedures when biking. Safety Town is a miniature town complete with streets, street signs, traffic lights and crosswalks. After the completion of the week-long course, which will take place July 31 through Aug. 4 at Weehawken Stadium, the participants will receive a certificate if they pass a bicycle safety test. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win a free bicycle. The other will be a grand finale to the summer recreation program, namely the Summer of the Century Field Day, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Weehawken Stadium. The grand party will feature free hot dogs, soda, popcorn and watermelon and will feature a host of contests and games for the youngsters. Some of the old standard activities will also be a part of the summer program. Each of the township's three parks and playgrounds, namely Louisa Park, Gregory Park and the newly refurbished Pizzuta Park, will have daily activities with games, arts and crafts and free lunches. Children ages 6 to 13 will be able to swim at the West New York municipal pool daily between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children will be transported to and from the pool from Town Hall. There will be instruction and competition in several sports, like soccer, basketball, and indoor roller hockey. There are field trips scheduled to Island Beach (July 17), the Bronx Zoo (July 19), the Children's Museum (July 20, for ages 4 to 7), Van Saun Park (Aug. 2), Swartswood State Park (Aug. 14), Shea Stadium (Aug. 27) and Yankee Stadium (Sept. 17) to see the Mets and the Yankees. There are also trips scheduled in which participants are expected to pay a minimal fee to offset costs. They are: Point Pleasant Beach and Boardwalk (July 13), Fair Tale Forest (July 25), Wild West City (July 27), Mountain Creek (Aug. 1), Tomahawk Lake (Aug. 8), the Newark Museum and Planetarium (Aug. 16) and a trip to see the theater production of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp at the John Harms Theater in Englewood (Aug. 10). Probably the highlight of the summer months will be the numerous contests that the recreation department sponsors, such as the model-making contest (Aug. 7 at the public library); the watermelon eating contest (July 26 at Weehawken Stadium); the Pie Eating Contest (Aug. 2 at Weehawken Stadium); the Amateur Photo Contest (Aug. 22 at the Public Library); the Largest Vegetable Contest (Aug. 17 at the Public Library); the Adult Dance Contest (Aug. 3 at Louisa Park) and the Home Run Derby (Aug. 1 at Arricale Field). "The model-making contest was a big hit last year," Barone said. "We're going to use cars this year instead of planes. And the other contests are always very popular and bring everyone out." Barone said that a flier announcing the recreation program will be mailed to all Weehawken residents this week, as well as further reminders during the summer about upcoming events. Don't forget: All programs are limited to Weehawken residents, and proof of residency is required. Some of the field trips will require pre-registration. If there are any questions, contact the Recreation Department at 319-6061.