But the first day of May this year will be remembered in Jersey City as the day when residents will have to consult their planners for the many events taking place around the city. Here's a list of some of the highlights for the day:
Festival at 111 First St.
111 First Street, the artists studio space in Jersey City, opens its doors to the public as many of the artists and musicians who have studios in the building will give tours of their spaces, conduct children and adult art workshops, and run live music and performances.
Starting at 1 p.m. and going until 10 p.m., the Mayday Art and Music Festival will feature over 40 artists and at least 20 musicians who will be entertaining visitors throughout the building with events from puppet shows to mural painting.
Elizabeth Onorato, the coordinator of the Mayday Festival, has had a studio in the building for the past 14 years. She said that the festival was organized to not only show the larger community that there's an artists community flourishing in Jersey City, but also to spotlight the recent problems that the tenants are having with their landlord.
Since December 2003, at least 20 artists have moved out of their spaces at 111 First Street as a result of the landlord of the building, Lloyd Goldman, issuing rent increases without offering the tenants a long-term lease, and also issuing eviction notices.
"In many ways to attract the community to 111 First Street, to show them that there's 120 artists, to show our art, to show that we are teachers," said Onorato. "Also, our situation is desperate, we didn't want to wait for June. And when May Day fell on Saturday, we just didn't want to wait."
Onorato also said that she's gotten a great deal of support and interest regarding the festival, with a number of local restaurants offering to cater the festival at no cost and that calls have been flooding in to offer assistance and entertainment for May Day.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Onorato at (201) 659-6856 or check the website www.111firstst.org. Cleaning up the salt marsh
The ninth year of the Salt Marsh Natural Area Shoreline Cleanup at Liberty State Park kicks off 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will have the opportunity to help assist in the cleanup of an area that is rarely open to the public.
Sam Pesin, the president of the Friends of the Liberty State Park, refers to this work as a "good and dirty worthy deed."
"It's such a good feeling cleaning up assorted containers in the salt marsh," said Pesin.
The salt marsh is located just north of the park's Visitors Center. It is recommended that volunteers wear long pants, sturdy shoes and gloves.
Greg Remaud, the president of the Liberty State Park Conservancy and a longtime nature preservationist, pointed out all the various creatures that make the salt marsh their home, which volunteers would see during the cleanup.
"What the salt marsh has is the small bait fish used by fishermen," said Remaud, "several different types of crabs, blue mussels, and a lot of birds."
Remaud said that usually two to three dozen residents from Hudson County come out to volunteer, but he hopes to see more young people help out at the salt marsh.
"You have kids in Jersey City who may not know about these areas and think they have go to the (Jersey Shore) to see these natural areas," he said.
For more information and directions to the salt marsh, call Sam Pesin at (201) 792-1993 or call (201) 915-3409. History tour through the Lafayette section
Starting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Lafayette History Festival and Tour invites visitors to visit one of the oldest sections of the city. Tourists will be able to take one of three tours (guided bus tour, guided walking tour, self-guided tour) of what has been documented as America's first Dutch village.
Organized by the Communipaw Avenue Block Association and Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, the tour will cover 33 sites in an area stretching down Pacific Avenue from Grand Street to Bramhall Avenue, and from Liberty State Park to Manning Avenue. The tours will all start in Ercel F. Webb Park at the intersection of Van Horne and Lafayette Streets. The park itself is undergoing renovation and is slated to have a grand re-opening in June.
Dania Cabellero, the co-president of the Communipaw Avenue Block Association, sees this as a wonderful opportunity to get more of the local residents to help make this a successful festival for this year and for the future.
"This is the third annual festival, we hope it can be as successful as previous years," said Cabellero. "We will have a booth to sign up new members for the block association."
John Gomez, the president of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy who helped organize the event with the Communipaw Avenue Block Association, said that this was his favorite historic tour.
"This is the oldest neighborhood not only in Jersey City, but also in New Jersey," he said. "The first Dutch settlement in the New World was in Jersey City in 1614."
Gomez discovered that bit of history in research he did for a booklet on the Lafayette area that he handed out at the festival/tour.
Gomez grew up in this area until he was 5 years old and his family moved to downtown Jersey City, where he still resides. For him, it's a special occasion whenever he takes part in this festival/tour.
"It's my gift back to the old neighborhood," said Gomez. "Anyone who lives there or visits there says there's something magical."
Gomez also said that this tour would be the launching pad for other historic tours in other sections of the city that would take place throughout the year, and the festival/tour would also kick off Preservation Month in the city.
For more information, call John Gomez at (201) 420-1885 or Rosalyn Browne at (201) 432-6565. Bret Schundler makes an appearance
Former mayor of Jersey City Bret Schundler will be addressing the Jersey City AARP Chapter at 1 p.m. as the guest speaker of the chapter's regular monthly meeting at the Grace Lutheran Church, 982 Summit Ave.
Doris Stoldt, president of the AARP Chapter 5102, said that she had known Schundler for a number of years and found him to be very thoughtful of senior citizens when he was in office, which made him a perfect guest speaker for her event.
Stoldt said that Schundler will speak about his Empower The People campaign to require state and local politicians to get voter approval if they want to increase spending and increase state funding for New Jersey school districts, counties, and municipalities that keep their spending within a set limit.
Schundler has said in recent reports that he would officially announce his run for governor of New Jersey but has not done so as this article was going to press.
The event will cost $1 and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call (201) 798-2142. Workshop on brownfields revitalization
From 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., an all-day workshop on brownfields revitalization will take place at Hudson County Prep High School at 525 Montgomery St. "Brownfields" are polluted properties that must be cleaned up before they are developed.
The term brownfield, part of an Environmental Protection Agency initiative begun in 1995, is defined by the agency as "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant."
The workshop, organized by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Public Enivromental Oversight (CPEO) in cooperation with the Jersey City Department of Public Works and other community organizations.
The issue of brownfields is an especially important one in Jersey City, as it estimated by the State's Department of Environmental Protection that one-fifth of the city's acreage are brownfields that are polluted primarily with chromium, a by-product of the many factories that once existed in the city. Many brownfield sites in Jersey City are being developed as future sites for housing and retail.
Betty Kearns, Environmental Specialist for the city's Dept. of Public Works, said, "The regulatory framework is geared towards the consultants, but I think the community involvement is very important. The community has a right to say what's on their mind."
The workshop will be divided into four panels - community involvement, brownfields regulatory framework, health issues at brownfields sites, and financing brownfields redevelopment - with an introduction by Mayor Glenn Cunningham.
Organizers ask that those attending to pre-register to determine seating arrangements. For more information, call Betty Kearns at (201) 547-6848 or Bob Hersh at (202) 452-8043.
So don't just sit there and read about these events on the day they're happening, or sit around pondering about how "rough winds do shake the darling buds of May." And find something better to do than yell "Mayday, Mayday!" around the house.