Many of the old-time residents of Union City still remember working in the embroidery and silk factories that filled Union City and gave Northern New Jersey the title of Embroidery Capital, or frequenting the famous Hudson Theater on New York Avenue that was a common stop for many of the most famous burlesque acts. Joan Torino, Ellye Farrelly and Hope Diamond, the "Burlesque Queens," made up one of the acts that frequented the old theater throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
Burlesque thrived in the city's Hudson Theater in the early to mid 1920s, bringing together a full orchestra, a chorus line, show girls, singers and comics.
"It is a wonderful thing to be able to go back in time and see the change in the city through the years," said Tina Yandolino, commissioner and lifelong resident of Union City.
Hundreds of people packed the 20 blocks that were part of the parade's procession Sunday to celebrate the city's 75th birthday. Some were residents that had moved out of the city but came back to watch the parade. "Some of [the onlookers] were older than the city," said Gale Kaufman, director of public relations and public information officer for Union City. "But they were all there."
Everyone got involved
Although the city's actual anniversary was on June 1, the city thought October was the best time to hold the parade.
"We didn't want to have a parade over the summer," said Kaufman, who added that a lot of people go away over the summer. "We were thinking about the weather and that the schools would be back in session now." Having the schools in session was a top priority for the city since every school in the city and many of the neighboring towns participated in the event.
"This is the first event where we got participation from every one of our schools," said Kaufman.
Commissioner Tina Yandolino added, "Of course what makes a parade so successful is having children."
The Union Hill and Hoboken marching bands, representing the formation of Union City from the towns of Union Hill and West Hoboken, led the parade. Emerson High School's marching band as well as Memorial and Weehawken high school's marching bands performed in the parade.
Each grammar school also featured its marching band, and other organizations in the parade.
Miss USA, Lynnette Cole, was featured at the parade as well as Miss Brooklyn, Kristen Albanese, who was escorted by Union City youngsters sporting Mets and Yankees gear in honor of the World Series.
"Everything about the parade was a highlight," said Kaufman. "Everybody had a lot of enthusiasm." The parade ended with a celebration in Washington Park on Second Street and Palisade Avenue.
"It was such a wonderful culmination of a year of planning," said Yandolino. " It turned into such a wonderful day."