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12 Hoboken + Jersey City News Stories You Missed This Week

by Steph
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There’s so much to recap this week in both Hoboken and Jersey City. For starters, toxic levels of lead have been found in the water of Hudson and Bergen County homes, prompting SUEZ water to investigate the cause. Gong Cha Tea, a popular NYC bubble tea spot, opened on Washington Street, and Jersey City’s Bang Cookies announced its plans to open a second downtown location. All this and more below — here are your top news stories of the week in Hoboken and Jersey City!

SUEZ Investigating, Lead Levels in Water Found to Be Elevated

water faucet

Elevated levels of lead have been found in drinking water across Bergen and Hudson Counties, prompting SUEZ Water to investigate the efficacy of its corrosion controls. Testing uncovered that 16 of 108 homes contained water with high levels of lead, a toxic metal that can cause anemia, damage to the kidneys and brain, and even death. It’s the company’s highest record of lead toxicity in its water… ever.

While SUEZ has not offered up much information about which towns are affected, representatives of the water company did specify that the exposure was widespread. The company also seems to know the origin point of the lead contamination, citing that it could be one of two places: either pipes that extend from water mains under the roads and into homes or lead fixtures in homes.

SUEZ customers can check their online accounts at MySuezWater to determine if their home has been affected. Alternatively, customers can call 800-422-5987  or email the customer service center at sueznjcustserv@suez-na.com. SUEZ is offering free testing for homes serviced by lead lines and will provide water filters for any customers whose water lines test above the government standard of lead levels.

Students Lead Rally to End Gang Violence in Jersey City

In the wake of the Newport Mall shooting last week, members of Students Demand Action Hudson County organized and led an anti-violence rally. The purpose of the rally was to raise awareness and call for the end of gang-related violence in Jersey City.

“I’m not a survivor, I was just a witness to gun violence that happens not only in Newport Mall, but on the south side of our city every single day,” said Jai Patel, an organizer. “It took this city, and all the news people here today, it took a shooting in Downtown Jersey City for you to be here today.”

Last Friday, a shooting at the Newport Centre Mall left two people injured and two arrested. Three separate shots rang out near the food court area of the mall, sending the crowd into a panic. Many ran for their lives while other reports claim people hid, not knowing when it was finally safe to come out.

The act of violence is said to be triggered by a daytime shooting that occurred days earlier on Grant Avenue. That daytime shooting was in such close proximity to several school districts, that three schools actually went into lockdown.

“When those students of color lost their lives, we didn’t have any of these rallies. No one came out and organized. No one came out and said, ‘Listen, we have to end this problem. Listen, how do we tackle gun violence,'” said Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Mussab Ali. “But today we’re here, we’re rallying together, because of a shooting in Newport Mall. And shame on us for not coming out there when every single one of those shootings was assigned.”

Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon said he was making gun violence a top priority. Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson called on everyone, including Governor Phil Murphy, to visit the south side of Jersey City.

“This is something that we as a community need to come together to change: we can do it together,” Councilman Robinson said.

Gong Cha Is Officially Open, Offering Bogo Tea Drinks

gongcha hoboken

Hoboken’s latest grand opening is Gong Cha tea and the new location at 527 Washington Street is offering a pretty sweet deal. Buy one, get one free from now until January 20th.

“Attention Hoboken, NJ! Gong Cha Hoboken’s Buy 1 Get 1 FREE Grand Opening promo is will be available at this location only. What more could you ask for? Offer valid from 1/17/19-1/20/19. Get your Gong Cha on. #GongChaStyle #GongChaWishYouHadSome,” the official site tweeted.

Jersey City Closes Acquisition of Bayfront


{Photo credit: Twitter}

Jersey City has finalized the acquisition of Bayfront, the name of more than 100 acres the city bought with the intentions of using it to create more affordable housing for local residents. Back in October 2018, the Jersey City Board approved a $170 million bond for the 8,000 unit project. The property, located between the Hudson Mall and Society Hill off of Route 440, used to be owned by Honeywell before JC used $90 mil to purchase it.

Twenty-three of the acres are planned as open space and an additional $71 million is allotted for design, construction of roadways, sewer and water lines, drainage, traffic control devices, and electric and gas infrastructure. Another $6 million is allotted for the demolition of any lingering buildings on site.

“A big step/accomplishment! Yesterday, we officially closed on the city’s acquisition of Bayfront,” JC Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted. “More than 100 acres we’re buying + putting in more than $150 million. This will be the largest mixed income site in NJ as we want to be bold/aggressive in creating affordable housing.”

Bang Cookies to Open a Second Location in Jersey City

bang cookies jersey city

Bang Cookies — known for its boozy cookies and decadent flavors — is opening a second Jersey City location. The all-organic cookie company is going to 128 Newark Avenue, which previously housed Doyla. Right now, insiders tell Hoboken Girl that opening the second brick and mortar location is slated for spring 2019.

The OG Bang Cookies shop can be found at 1183 Summit Avenue. That bakery will remain open, so Jersey City cookie-lovers can get their fill whether they’re on Summit or Newark.

Garlic + Tahini is Coming to Hoboken

GarlicnTahini Hoboken

Lovers of shawarma unite – Garlic + Tahini House of Shwarma is opening on 4th and Washington Streets, right by Jun’s Macaron Gelato. The new restaurant will offer dine-in and take out options to satisfy any Mediterranean food cravings while on the go.

The Ashford’s Dress Code Comes Under Fire

the ashford jersey city restaurant bar

Brand new Jersey City bar, The Ashford, has come under fire for a dress code that some patrons have called ‘racist,’ according to NJ.com. A sign at The Ashford details the bar’s dress code at length, citing the code as “upscale business casual.”

The code called out oversized jeans and shirts, head gear, ball caps, work boots, gym sneakers, shorts or athletic apparel, sweatpants or joggers, cargo pants, oversized jewelry and chains, sunglasses, camouflage, low or baggy pants, and headphones as banned. It also cited that belts should be worn with pants.

It’s the references to banning oversized jewelry, head gear, and low pants worn without a belt that had some patrons up in arms on social media. Many accused the code of being racially specific, suggesting that The Ashford was using its dress code to target people of color.

Bar owner Kenny Caulfield has since made a statement about the sign, claiming it was “an oversight.” The dress code sign was allegedly hung up for one day during the location’s soft opening. Caulfield says the dress code has since been simplified to “casual neat,” “dress to impress,” and maintains that it has “nothing to do with race whatsoever.”

“That sign, that was a mistake, it was put out and it was rectified straightaway,” he told NJ Advance Media. “It was an oversight, you’re busy, you’re not paying attention to every detail. You’re going 100 miles an hour. …The sign was made up, and it wasn’t reviewed properly.”

The sign has since been taken down.

Battello in Jersey City to Open This Week


One of Jersey City’s favorite wedding venues and restaurants will be up and running this week as of Thursday, serving the city’s most gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. Battello — located at 502 Washington Boulevard — had been temporarily closed for the last 17 months for re-construction of its pier. The wedding venue, restaurant, and bar initially planned on reopening last summer, but that plan didn’t end up coming to fruition. Now, Battello’s PR company has exclusively shared with Hoboken Girl that they plan to open this week for dinner service only {till further notice}.

16 Handles Debuts New Series of Vegan Fro-Yo Flavors

vegan 16 handles

{Photo credit: Instagram}

Fro-yo, anyone? Froyo shop 16 handles has premiered a new line of vegan flavors, sans additives like corn syrup and soy. Made with cow-milk-alternative cashew milk, the first vegan flavor Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle launched on January 16th. The soft-serve vegan froyo is gluten-free, dairy-free, and made with all-natural ingredients like hazelnuts, cocoa, and cashews.

New vegan flavors will launch consecutively in February and then March, with 16 Handles citing vegan and dairy-free options a major initiative of the company for 2019.

Hoboken Plastic Bag Ban Kicks Off on January 22

plastic bag grass

The Hoboken ordinance that bans single-used plastic bags citywide will go into effect as of January 22nd, 2019. The ban stipulates all retailers and food stores must provide customers with paper bags, for a fee of anywhere from 10 to 25 cents. To avoid the fee, customers can bring their own reusable bags when shopping. The ordinance was passed in an effort to reduce Hoboken’s carbon footprint and cut back on the amount of single-use plastic, which is largely non-biodegradable, that often turns to pollution. Read all about the ban here — as well as what to expect when shopping in Hoboken.

Garden State Rollergirls Recruiting New Skaters

garden state roller girls finals

Know what you’re doing on skates? The Garden State Rollergirls — New Jersey’s highest ranked roller derby team — is in search of new recruits. The team is hosting a first-skate event on Saturday, February 16th with the intention of finding “Fresh Meat” players. The event will take place at the Inline Skating Club of America in North Arlington at 9:00AM.

“Our Fresh Meat class is really a unique experience where you not only get in better shape while building the foundations for roller derby, but you also develop some amazing friendships along the way,” said Diem Zee, a graduate of the Fresh Meat program. “There really is a unique bond you form from all the literal ups and downs of skating.”

Garden State Rollergirls are New Jersey’s premier all-women flat track roller derby league, consisting of approximately 40 skaters. The league has two traveling teams, the all-star Ironbound Maidens and the B-team, the Brick City Bruisers. In addition, there are three home teams, the Northern Nightmares, the Jersey City Bridge and Pummel, and the newest home team the Gateway Grim Reapers, who bout against each other throughout the season. GSR is in Division 2 of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).

Anyone interested in attending the First Skate event must be 18 or older and should email gsrrecruit@gmail.com to sign up. The cost is $10 per person and loaner gear is available upon request.

Hoboken Students March in Honor of MLK Day

MLK Day Students

{Photo courtesy of @RaviBhalla}

On Friday, over 600 Hoboken students marched down by City Hall in honor of MLK Day. Hoboken mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla spoke in front of the students and captured the tender moment on Twitter, as he was inspired by their efforts and compassion.


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