Happy Saturday. Before I get into the updates, some housecleaning. First – reminder to set your clocks forward one hour overnight Saturday night / Sunday am and check and replace your batteries in your smoke alarms.
Second - I want to thank everyone who has provided feedback on Hoboken’s water crisis and filled out my 2 Question Survey about my running for re-election.
I will provide a summary of both in a future newsletter. I am on the City Council Public Safety Committee (along with CM’s Ramos, Quintero and Jabbour) and we recommended to the administration that we have an official debrief which has now been scheduled in two weeks. I am not sure if the mayor’s office will be seeking input from the public prior to this event, although I did make this recommendation, but I still welcome any further input from you that I plan to incorporate at that meeting. The goal of the debriefing is just to come away with ideas for the city to improve on its preparedness for next time. And regarding my 2 Question Survey, if you have not already, please take the 1 min to fill it out. Click HERE.
In this newsletter I am going to cover the following:
- The Hoboken Fires – If you don’t know what this is, you should.
- 2nd Ward Business Updates – Recent and Future Openings
- 2nd Ward Construction Updates – Walkways, Sidewalks and Parking Spots
- 2023 Municipal Budget – Mayor Bhalla's Proposed 7% Tax Increase & Public Budget Workshops
- Hoboken Homeless Shelter – 3,000,000th Meal and Current Needs
THE HOBOKEN FIRES
If you do not already know about this dark time in Hoboken’s history, you should. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, at a time of significant gentrification in Hoboken, there were a series of suspicious fires at rent controlled properties that took the lives of 55 Hoboken residents, mostly Puerto Rican and mostly children, displacing thousands of people. This led to the founding of the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. Referred to as “Arson for Profit”, many of the fires happened overnight when residents were sleeping in buildings and often where it was discovered that fire alarms were disconnected. Although no landlords were ever convicted, many were known to threaten tenants with burning down buildings. In response, many tenants created 24/7 building watch efforts to keep look out for any potential fire being started. Milca Guzman, who many of you know from Wallace Elementary School, told me her personal account of this and it took my breath away. Can you imagine living with that fear. Children went to school with the fear they and their families might die by fire at night. I moved to Hoboken in 1994, just over a decade after these fires came to an end, and anytime there was a fire in town, my neighbors would question whether it was a “Hoboken Fire” which is how I began to learn about this history.
There are several ways to learn more about this – and I really, really, really want you to attend all and any:
CURRENT EXHIBIT - HOBOKEN HISTORICAL MUSEUM
The Fires: Hoboken 1978-1982 - Hoboken Historical Museum (hobokenmuseum.org). A powerful exhibit with photographs, stories and news articles of the tragic fires. You can also listen to personal accounts by survivors of those fires. One example is Tapia Family - The Fires: 1978-1982 - YouTube. This exhibit will go on until next year.
HOBOKEN FIRE VICTIMS MEMORIAL
PROJECT PLAQUE UNVEILING 3/12 @ 230PM
Originally planned for 2022, this is finally happening. I hope you will join me in attending.
- When: Sunday, March 12th, 230 PM
- Where: Tom Olivieri Park, 1225 Willow
There has never been any memorial or public acknowledgement of those who died by arson in these fires. This plaque will remember the dead as well as those who bear the physical and emotional scars from those tragic events.
SPEAKER SERIES – HOBOKEN HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Sunday’s at 4PM at the museum.
- March 12th (after plaque unveiling) - Janet Ayala, survivor of the fire on April 30, 1982 at the Pintor Hotel at 151 14th St that killed 13 people, including 7 children. "The Fires" exhibit curator Christopher López will be present and there will be a general reception afterwards at around 5pm. This event will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook. I stood next to Janet at the opening of the exhibit and overheard her telling her story as she pointed at the photographs of bodies being lifted down from higher floors. I cried silently.
- March 26th - Bill Bayer, photographer for the Hudson Dispatch newspaper during the time of the fires whose pictures are an important and impactful part of the exhibit.
- April 2nd - Mark Singleton and Rande Hoppe, Hoboken residents and Hoboken Shelter board members will discuss “The Fires, and the founding of The Hoboken Shelter."
- April 16th (note time is 6pm)- Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, Ph.D. Hoboken-born consultant on the exhibit. Award-winning writer, scholar, and associate professor of afro-diaspora studies at Michigan State University. The Hoboken Fires: A Call to Witness - Hoboken Historical Museum (hobokenmuseum.org)
MILE SQUARE THEATRE PRODUCTION - YUPPIES INVADE MY HOUSE AT DINNERTIME
The play runs March 31st to April 8th so purchase your tickets now! Set in the 1980s, this play chronicles Hoboken’s gentrification, a time commonly referred to as “Hoboken’s forgotten history” when the Hoboken fires happened and many people died and were displaced. Nearly every word in the text of this play is taken verbatim from more than 40 interviews of community residents who lived through that time, newspaper clippings, letters-to-the-editor that appeared in the Hoboken Reporter, and other primary source documents.
2ND WARD BUSINESS UPDATES – RECENT AND FUTURE OPENINGS
FINALLY!!!! It has been reputed since last fall when Jersey Digs wrote an article that Dumbo Market would be coming to 1425 Washington St. Yet, we had not seen really any evidence and each time I called our zoning office to see if they had yet applied for approval, they told me that had not. UNTIL YESTERDAY!!!! I called and yes, it has been confirmed – Dumbo Market has submitted their application to the Hoboken Zoning Office!!! It is officially in process! They will need to go before the Hoboken Planning Board, a process that will take a few months. And residents will be able to attend and show support and express any concerns – mostly what I have heard is their potential impact on traffic / pedestrian in the area and maybe the need for better traffic controls at 15th and Washington. Hopefully they will be able to open before the end of the year!
It’s coming back! I can honestly say that my diet has changed dramatically since they shut down temporarily due to a kitchen fire. Green Garden, at 1202 Washington, has been my go to Chinese food forever. They are currently rebuilding, but I do not have a re-open date. I will definitely be first in line when they do! Chow Fun with beef and / or Lake Tung Ting Shrimps with extra shrimp. Mouth watering just at the thought…
A new vet is opening on the 1400 Block of Washington. I have not personally confirmed this, but my neighbor says they are having an open house tomorrow / Sunday from 12-2 and will be opening on Monday. They already seem to be taking appointments: Hoboken Animal Hospital & Vet Clinic | Bond Vet. As of right now, they show being open Sunday through Thursday 10am – 8pm. Not sure why they are not open Friday’s and Saturday’s. They are offering new clients a $25 first visit nose-to-tail exam. So stop by to check it out and learn more. Sadly, they don’t see rabbits…
I will admit, although excited about their coming to the neighborhood, I didn’t think I was the target audience. BUT I WAS SO WRONG! I am lovvving Toastique! I am not a juice person, but they have a pomegranate fennel juice that I get about every other day. I have tried two of their toasts – the burrata one and the current seasonal ham and cheese one. Both amazing (I am addicted to the burrata one). Their gluten free bread choice has been great and I am told their regular breads are delicious too. And I have to say, I really also enjoy their cold brew coffee which is often hard to get right. If you haven’t already gone, it is definitely worth the trip! Located at the SW corner of 15th and Washington.
Off the beaten track, this store opened on 11th at the base of 1125 Maxwell, between Hoboken Vets and 16 Handles. Not a highly trafficked location, and one I found when I walked my dog one day. But it was a great find. Just Food for Dogs in Hoboken, New Jersey - 1125 Maxwell Lane | JustFoodForDogs The store mainly offers freshly prepared food for dogs and you can select specific foods for a variety of health options like weight management and healthy digestion. They also have a small selection for cats as well. My dog is super picky. I tried the lamb and rice option and he liked it! And he specifically loves these treats!
If you like to feed your dog this kind of food, please stop by and check them out and support this local 2nd Ward business.
Let’s get ready to rumbbbblllllleeee! Rumble Boxing Hoboken just opened a couple of weeks ago in the Shipyard shopping center. You can find their main entrance at 1202 Shipyard Lane just before 12th around the corner from Starbucks. This new fitness center has classes that revolve around boxing – both skills and strength training. Something I have always wanted to try and looking forward to doing so!
Speaking of Starbucks, exactly one month until re-opening on April 11th for the 12th and Hudson location with a new, remodeled look!
2ND WARD CONSTRUCTION UPDATES – WALKWAYS, SIDEWALKS AND PARKING SPOTS
So many construction vehicles in the 2nd Ward right now!
14TH AND HUDSON
As you see, the county is back fixing what was an oversized bump out designed by Hoboken at the SW corner of this intersection. What effectively they are doing is preserving the street narrowing, pedestrian safety type benefits of having bump outs, but thankfully now allowing for better and safer maneuvering of vehicles through the intersection. The huge positive of these bump outs is that we can have parking all the way to the bump out, where without the bump out, you could not have parking within 25 feet of the crosswalk.
We will be adding approximately 10 street parking spots on Hudson and 14th that did not exist previously. The striped areas on the east side of Hudson approaching the intersection in what was a north bound travel lane will mostly be converted to parking soon. And the south side of 14th approaching the intersection at Hudson, also a former travel lane, will be converted to parking as well. There is a new loading zone that was installed just west of the fire hydrant, to support all the businesses in the area. Originally the city had approved putting it directly in front of the proposed dispensary at the former Hudson Tavern, but I was able to work with the city to move it closer to Washington to benefit more businesses.
Finally, the county will complete the installation of the various planted areas and final concrete pours to replace the temporary asphalt this spring.
MONARCH SITE WALKWAY ET AL.
Construction is underway for the new walkway along the former Monarch site that will link the existing paved walkways by the Hudson Tea and the Shipyard / Sovereign buildings. To me this is the single most important change to this area and will finally make walking in this area safer and more inviting. Second on my list was removing the debris collecting skunk house that had been located at the NW corner of the site. Done. Third on my list, and probably top on many people’s list, especially my neighbors who organized the effort around keeping Cove Point a natural area, was starting the process to provide access to the more natural area of the site just north of the parking lot. I spoke with our Director of Environmental Services and the current plan is to remove the pile of debris that Applied had created to keep people from accessing the natural areas, and create a safe pathway to the natural beach located on the east side of the site (not the inlet that is on the west side by the Hudson Tea). The city has already moved its kayak storage container from the Park / 16th empty lot and will be building out launch access from this beach.
In terms of other temporary uses and visioning for the site, a public process for this is expected to begin later this year. But for now these changes will be a huge improvement and benefit for all who walk, ride and potentially paddle, in this location.
16TH STREET PIER
2023 MUNICIPAL BUDGET –
MAYOR'S PROPOSED 7% TAX INCREASE & PUBLIC BUDGET WORKSHOPS
Late yesterday (Friday) afternoon, Mayor Bhalla's team sent out a nixle about his proposed budget with a 7% increase but unfortunately without actually including the budget itself for the public to review. This lack of transparency is frustrating and not much of a surprise from an administration that runs the city like a big long campaign funded by taxpayers. What it did include was a long narrative on why you should believe that 7% increase is ok. It is not OK with me. I look forward to the administration’s presentation of the budget at the City Council meeting on Wednesday (agenda, FB link, YouTube link) so we can all learn more details about Mayor Bhalla’s budget including how much debt we have (big driver to the tax increase), the main increases in spending, and what our surplus looks like.
There will also be three nights of budget workshops starting Thursday the 16th via zoom that I encourage you to attend and ask questions. Below are the dates. Councilman Russo chairs the City Council Finance Committee and will be presiding over these hearings.
Thursday, March 16, 2023 (Zoom)
- Administration (Finance, Constituent Services, and Mayor’s Office) and – 6:00 pm
- Corp Counsel (Legal spending) – 6:40 pm
- City Clerk – 7:10 pm
- Community Development (Redevelopment, Zoning, and Rent Control) – 7:40 pm
Monday, March 20, 2023 (Zoom)
- Public Safety (Fire, Police, OEM, and EMS) – 6:00 pm
- Health & Human Services (Health Codes, Senior Services, and Rats)– 7:00 pm
Monday, March 27, 2023 (Zoom)
- Transportation & Parking – 6:00 pm
- Environmental Services (Engineering, Parks and Recreation) – 6:30 pm
- Water Utility – 7:15 pm
After these workshops, when I have a better understanding of the details I will circulate a newsletter about my thoughts on the budget and any proposed tax increases.
HOBOKEN HOMELESS SHELTER – 3,000,000TH MEAL AND CURRENT NEEDS
A week ago, we honored the Hoboken Homeless shelter as they served their three millionth meal in just over 40 years. Crazy, right. Tragic that the need seems to increase each year. Amazing that they have provided so many meals and services over those years to those who need it most. A huge thank you to Jaclyn Cherubini and her team and all the volunteers that made this happen. The shelter relies on the generosity within our community to continue serving and have asked that I pass on the message that they are in need of coffee, creamer, spices, and 30 gallon trash bags. So if you happen to be going to the store and can pick some up, you can donate in person at 300 Bloomfield. Feel free to reach out to me as I am also happy to facilitate the drop off.
Please share this with your neighbors and everyone you know who may be interested in this information. And always feel free to reach out any time on any issue important to you: 201-208-1764 or [email protected]. Sincere thank you for responding!
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