We will rock you

Painted rocks in Braddock Park cause controversy

Four workers were busy this week painting the rocks bordering both sides of the road in James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park near Bruins Stadium. It was the second time in two weeks the rocks were painted.
The first time caused an uproar when residents unexpectedly discovered that the rocks were suddenly a patchwork red and gold, the Bruins colors.
The town had painted them the first time, but after an online tempest, the decision was made to change them again. Now, one side of the road will be yellow and the other side red.

Public reaction was immediate

“I implemented a plan of inch-by-inch cleanup of the park,” said Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Vainieri, who oversees the county park. An extensive spring cleaning began at the start of April.
“During the course of that, the park personnel got to the area where the rocks were. They were faded, dirty. They took it upon themselves to paint them red and gold, being in the proximity of Bruins Stadium,” he said.
The rocks, which jut out sharply on either side of the road, had always been painted to make them more visible to drivers passing through the park.
“We did one side first, and then we came back and did the other side the same week,” explained one of the workers, Augustin, who later returned for the repainting job. “Before that they were white, but the white started chipping away.”

“According to American safety standards, red and yellow are the paints recommended for safety.” – Freeholder Anthony Vainieri
Drivers were not shy about commenting during the painting.
“The first two days they were all negative,” said Augustin. Among the most common complaints was that the colors represented the North Bergen Bruins, while the park itself belonged to the county, not the township.
Then the tables turned and people started praising the new colors.
“Some like it, some don’t like it,” said Keith, another worker. “We get more positive than negative. The negatives are the wise guys.”
Vainieri was soon alerted by residents of the color change and visited the park himself to check it out. Subsequently he asked residents to vote via Facebook for whether they preferred the new colors or the old.
“It went back and forth, back and forth,” he said. “Red and gold was winning, white was winning. Red and gold won.”
That’s when the county sheriff stepped in.
“The sheriff made me aware that according to American safety standards, red and yellow are the paints recommended for safety,” said Vainieri. “Red and yellow are safety paints recommended for reflection.”
Hence the new colors, although this time they are positioned with one color on each side, rather than a plaid checkerboard. “It’s about safety for the cars and preserving the park the best we can,” said Vainieri.

Art Schwartz may be reached at arts@hudsonreporter.com.

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