Prepare to scavenge! Egg Hunts on the way

Spring is upon us and that means it’s time to scavenge for eggs.
Two free egg hunts are on their way to Hoboken on the same Saturday: the Hoboken Family Alliance’s Spring Fling Egg Hunt, and Hoboken Grace Community Church’s Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 19.
Hoboken Family Alliance’s egg hunt will be held at Columbus Park at 10 a.m. and includes a shaky egg race, bunny hop race, and a jelly bean guessing contest (for the top prize of a bicycle).
Meantime, the Hoboken Grace Community Church’s egg hunt expects crowds of over 3,000. With the egg hunt gaining popularity since last year, this year organizers decided to add a second hunt in the same place, giving even more kids the opportunity to strut their scavenging skills.
“This event gets bigger and bigger each year. This year, we thought it was time to add a second and we are thrilled for that,” Chris High, Pastor of Hoboken Grace said in a press release. “The Easter egg hunt allows us to serve and love our community here in Hoboken in a big way and we’re excited to get to do that twice this year.”
The two hunts, which will be held at Mama Johnson Field (Fourth and Jackson Streets), will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and then from 1 to 3 p.m.
Check with the event holders to confirm all information. In addition to the egg hunt, attendees will have a variety of activities to take advantage of, including games, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting, and arts and crafts.
Registration for that one, available at www.hobokengrace.com, is required this year.

Residents talk about future of southwest

The city held an Open House this past Thursday, March 10 for the future of Hoboken’s southern corridor that borders Jersey City. Although the city doesn’t own the individual plots that make up the area, a redevelopment plan would let property owners know what might be approved for the area.
Dave Roberts, senior associate of Maser Consulting, told the Hoboken Reporter at the public forum on Thursday that the plan would preserve the industrial feel of the buildings, as well as create park and recreational space. But there are challenges: building on a low-lying area prone to flooding, and facing a “complex vehicular traffic area.”
The dates for two upcoming meetings to discuss the Block 12 property have not been announced yet.
Concepts will be made public at future meetings. The City Council and Planning Board will then vote to finalize a plan.
Much of the dialogue at the first public meeting revolved around access to the city’s proposed Southwest Park, given the heavy traffic.
The park is one of three the city is currently working to open for the public. All three parks (including the proposed park at the BASF-site and the park/plaza at Seventh and Jackson Streets) would have flood retention capacity.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer said at the meeting that she expects construction to begin in the summer. However, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos said at the last City Council meeting on March 2 that the city needs to “put its pom poms away” until solid progress is made on the park, since talks have gone back a decade. Bids are currently out for the project and have an April 12 deadline. The city recently submitted an application for a $6 million low-interest loan to extend the Southwest Park across the street, replacing a privately-owned parking lot.
Remarks from the public at Thursday’s meeting: “Find a better place for a park than an industrial area,” “Please build a park before you buy another,” “Please provide a real timeline,” “Build a very large parking garage with water retention,” “Traffic around park and safe access to park need to be considered.”
Lorenzo Magarelli, who has lived in Hoboken since 1955, fears for the safety of residents pushing baby carriages in the area. “I’m for open space but I think we have enough open space in the mile-square not to take property that could be used as a parking lot,” he said. “We have a parking problem, not a park problem.”
Another longtime Hoboken resident, Deno Bogdanos, here since 1978, was concerned about safety for kids in the high-traffic area.
In January, Observer Highway’s redesign narrowed the once four lanes into two lanes (one lane going each way) and added turning lanes.
Mia Costic, who hopes to move into a residence near Observer Highway, said she’s excited about the park but also weary of how people will get to it with so much traffic.
Roberts says a solution lies in building on the city’s recent pedestrian-friendly efforts like bettering the synchronization of traffic lights.

90-day pilot program will try to alleviate traffic in southwest

In the southwest part of Hoboken, drivers have to contend with gridlock, especially near Jackson Street between Newark Street and Observer Highway.
Now 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos thinks a 90-day pilot program could be instrumental in reframing that artery of town.
Jackson Street operated as a two-lane street until 2012 when the City Council opted to place parking on the east side. A year later, a bike lane was added to the center of the road.
Rush hour traffic is amplified when entering the mile-square city from the south via Jersey Avenue and turning left onto Jackson or heading out of Hoboken and making a right toward Observer Highway.
The pilot program, which the City Council will vote on at the upcoming City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 16, would paint over the bike lane and prohibit parking on the east side of the street from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
Married couple Jason and Kelly Reina, 36 and 38 respectively, has lived in the Jackson Street area since 2000 and said on Thursday that they look forward to the pilot program.
“We feel the bike lane is dangerous because it’s in the middle of the road. The traffic builds up,” said Kelly.
Jason added, “We’ve been around when it was two lanes and I remember the flow of traffic was better then.”

NJ Transit strike may spell disaster for commuters

The potential for an NJ Transit strike starting Sunday, March 13 has local officials working to address the possible traffic gridlock they expect to cause back-ups of up to 25 miles on major roadways at all Hudson River crossings.
Talks regarding the issue – which includes how much rail workers should pay for health insurance premiums moving forward – may reach a compromise before Sunday. Even so, in the event of such a stoppage, NJ Transit has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate up to about 38 percent, or about 40,000 seats, of the existing New York-bound customer base.
“[The city] has been coordinating with NJ Transit and other agencies in preparation for a possible strike by NJ Transit rail workers beginning on Sunday…a strike would result in the complete suspension of all NJ Transit rail service which is expected to result in significant disruptions throughout the region’s transportation system,” Hoboken City Spokesman Juan Melli said in an announcement.
This contingency plan includes adding capacity to existing New York commuter bus routes in close proximity to rail stations, contracting with private carriers to operate bus service from key regional park-ride locations during weekday peak periods, increasing capacity on its three light rail systems, and maximizing use of the available capacity on PATH and ferry service.
The NJ Transit No. 126 bus, which normally leaves from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Hoboken Terminal, will not be traveling to the city. Instead, the No. 126 bus route in Hoboken will operate on a reverse routing system on weekday mornings, beginning at Willow Avenue and 19th Street and running south to Hoboken Terminal, for cross-honoring with PATH and nearby ferry service. During evening commutes, the bus route will go from Hoboken Terminal back to Willow and 19th. Weekend service will operate on its regular route, to and from New York.
“To avoid major commuting delays due to traffic congestion and delays at the Lincoln Tunnel, NJ Transit 126 bus customers are urged to commute to Manhattan via ferry or PATH service,” the announcement from the city reads.
Due to expected crowds on the PATH the city recommends that employers allow staff to work remotely wherever possible.
The city says “thousands of ferries” will offer their services this weekend – taking off near the Hoboken PATH station to Pier 11, Wall Street and the World Financial Center.
“NY Waterway will cross-honor tickets for NJ Transit 126 bus route passengers at all ferry terminals. Service to Midtown/West 39th Street and to World Financial Center is available from the 14th Street Ferry Terminal. Hoboken residents can access ferry service from Lincoln Harbor and Port Imperial via the Hudson Bergen Light Rail.
Melli added that commuters are discouraged from driving to Hoboken as parking is “extremely limited.”
If there is an NJ Transit strike this weekend send your traffic photos to srodas@hudsonreporter.com.

Police seek two alleged burglars for separate incidents

The Hoboken Police Department hopes the public can help them identify two alleged burglars. Photos of each can be found in the breaking news at the top of www.hudsonreporter.com.
The first alleged burglar stole $700 from a local dry cleaning business, Sgt. Edgardo Cruz said in an email.
The man – whose age and place of residence are unknown – allegedly entered a business at 215 Adams St. on Jan. 27 around 6:39 a.m., Cruz said.
According to police officials, who have been seeking the man for over a month, the male allegedly damaged the rear door of the store and allegedly removed $700 from the cash register before fleeing the scene.
The second alleged thief robbed a Hudson Street business on Feb. 27, police officials said via email.
At approximately 1:47 a.m., the man was spotted by security cameras entering a restaurant at 96 Hudson St. “via the rear door while the business was open” and apparently stealing an employee’s bag with credit cards and cash, Sgt. Edgardo Cruz said.
The man apparently spent 20 seconds in the store.
Anyone with information on either robbery is asked to call the Hoboken Police Detective Bureau at (201) 420-2110.

Blaze that destroyed six residences classified as ‘accidental fire’

The fire that raged through six residential units at 505 and 507 Washington St. last month has been ruled “accidental in nature,” Hoboken Fire Marshal Stephen DeVincent told The Hoboken Reporter on March 9.
“We concluded the investigation. It is not a suspicious fire by any means, nor intentional,” DeVincent said. “It was accidental but due to lack of analysis we can’t say exactly how it began.”
The fire originated from the rear bedroom of the 505 Washington St. residence, according to DeVincent, and tore through the top of the building around 10 p.m. on Feb. 13. The blaze was put out at approximately 2 a.m. after spreading to 507 Washington St. and resulted in the injuries of 14 firefighters.
Firefighters were also dealing with frigid temperatures, and suffered minor injuries, and no one died in the fire.
The Hoboken Building Department did not immediately respond to phone calls. At press time, there was no information about whether the apartment will have to be demolished and when the stores on the ground floors will reopen.
Scaffolding has been set up at the site so materials can be removed from the building, DeVincent said.

Speak with the mayor

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer invites locals to bring any topic to the table they choose at her upcoming open office hours.
No appointment is necessary to attend the conferences which will be held April 4 and May 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. The April meeting will be held at Hoboken Catholic Academy, 555 7th St., and Hoboken Historical Museum, 1301 Hudson St.

TRUE Mentors launch website, March campaign

TRUE Mentors, a Hoboken non-profit organization that aims to mentor children, has launched a new website (www.truementors.org) and their 2nd annual “20 Mentors of March” campaign.
The campaign recruits male mentors to partner with twenty young boys in Hoboken.
In addition, the non-profit has – for the first time – hired a full-time Executive Director in Katie Eades.
“I am incredibly thankful for everything I have learned and experienced,” said James Sprout, a Board Member who previously filled that role. “My life will forever be changed by the people I’ve met and skills I’ve acquired.”
Eades said in a press release that she feels honored to take on her new position.
“What excited me most about the TRUE Mentor’s mission is the focus on providing opportunities for children in Hoboken to form relationships with adults in the community,” she said.

Local named 2016 Young Irishman of the Year

Hoboken’s own Seann Farrell has been named the 2016 Young Irishman of the Year from The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Oranges.
Farrell will be honored at the association’s 115th anniversary dinner on March 15 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.
“We are pleased to name Seann Farrell as our 2016 Young Irishman of Year,” said Owen V. McNany, president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Oranges in a statement. “Our board of trustees looks to honor an individual with strong Irish roots who has made a significant impact in his career, community and beyond. As a member of the faculty and coaching staff at Seton Hall Prep, Seann serves as an educator and role model to hundreds of students on a daily basis. His impact as a mentor will leave a lasting impression on our next generation of community leaders.”
In addition to a number of accomplishments, Farrell is a math teacher, member of the varsity football staff and head coach of the freshman lacrosse team at Seton Hall Preparatory School. He is also an advisor to the schools Gaelic Society, which celebrates Irish history and tradition.

Model train exhibition set for two weekends in March

The Society of Model Engineers, at 90 years the oldest nonprofit historical and educational organization of its type in the United States, will be open for two weekends in March to the public for its 90th Anniversary Model Train Exhibition.
The pride of the society, the model train layouts, cover almost 4,000 square feet. The larger “O” Scale layout is 40 feet by 70 feet and has almost 20 scale miles of train track. It features a detailed scenic diorama with realistic track work, roads, interesting structures, bridges and tunnels. The “HO” Scale layout is approximately 30 feet by 45 feet. It also, is fully scenic with miles of scale track. Over 50,000 miniature trees have been installed by the members to depict Northern New Jersey.
The society is the oldest model railroad club in the United States. The membership of over one hundred has joined together in the common interest of preserving the historical significance of American railroads through models and memorabilia.
The exhibition will be open the weekends of March 12 and 13 and March 19 and 20 at its headquarters, 341 Hoboken Rd., Carlstadt, less than one mile from MetLIfe Stadium.
Hours of the exhibition are Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. The requested donation is $7 for adults and $1.00 for children
Additional information and travel directions can be obtained by calling (201) 939-9212 or going to the society’s web site www.ModelEngineers.org.

2nd Annual Lupus Walk will be May 1

The Second Annual Hudson County Lupus Walk, including a day of family-friendly activities, will take place May 1 in Lincoln Park, Jersey City, beginning at 8 a.m. Donations for individual walkers are $10 and you can sign up for the walk or simply to donate at www.daddysunshine.com or at www.hudsoncountylupusdwalk.org. For more information, call (551) 689-0500.

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