Jeremy Halperin, Xchange's developer, said he started the event in 2008 so that Secaucus residents know the development belongs to them.
“Everybody who lives in Secaucus, whether you're a resident in other parts of town, we want you to know that this [Xchange] is yours,” Halperin told a crowd, shortly before lighting the tree. “This is for everybody, and we really hope that people enjoy it throughout the year.”
At the gathering, Halperin also donated two $5,000 checks: one to the K&S Social and Athletic Club, a social welfare organization, and one to the Secaucus Emergency Fund, which helps local needy families.
“Thank you very much for all that you do,” Halperin told the Club. He also praised the Emergency Fund for “doing amazing things every year,” including assisting residents after Hurricane Sandy.
“Every year, it has grown, to what we hope this year is 3 or 4,000 people [attending], hopefully,” said William Hayes, the owner's representative for Xchange. Hayes works with project managers, property superintendents, and vendors to design the event's lights and fireworks display.
Mayor Michael Gonnelli also made an appearance, along with some council members. “It's a whole bunch of people here from all different religions, and it's one big, happy family,” Gonnelli said, before the lighting ceremony.
“This is such a perfect night, every year,” Lisa Snedeker, co-founder of the Secaucus Emergency Fund, added. “You don't care how cold it is.”
Jasmin Negron, who works as a concierge at Xchange, brought her 5-year-old son to the event. It was the first time she'd ever attended.
“I love it,” she said, of her impressions. “The way they have everything set up for the kids and the families, it's great.”
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