Labor Day 2023 marks the unofficial end of summer, and that means one last time for all of our summer favorites. It’s a busy time as school starts up, but we’ve got you covered with all of the Hoboken and Jersey City happenings and news you missed this past week. Among the highlights: Hoboken says goodbye to a longtime legendary friend and neighbor; a Jersey City teacher receives a life-saving transplant; and a new dispensary makes some moves in Hoboken’s local retail landscape. Read on for all the news from Hoboken and Jersey City for the week ending September 3rd, 2023.
Remembering Hoboken’s John Amato Sr. of Fiore’s
On August 30th, John Amato Sr. passed away at the age of 88 years old. John was the patriarch of the current family behind Fiore’s House of Quality — he first started working at the famed Hoboken deli in 1948, later purchasing the store from its original owner (Mr. Fiore) in 1965. In an Instagram post announcing his passing, the Fiore’s team credited John for making Fiore’s the iconic fixture it is today. The store was his “second home,” and his favorite thing was to work alongside his family, serving the City of Hoboken the freshest mutz around.
Hoboken will miss John immensely. His contribution to our community was truly indelible, and The Hoboken Girl feels lucky to have seen him on our (many) Fiore’s runs. John Amato Sr.’s legacy lives on through the Fiore’s team, his family, and his son John Amato Jr., who will continue to serve unmatched Italian eats in town. We send all our love to John’s family, friends, and coworkers.
In celebration of John Amato Sr., we’re going back in the archives to share the history of his family business and Hoboken landmark, Fiore’s House of Quality, located at 414 Adams Street. Read on to learn more about Fiore’s and its historic Hoboken roots.
Signage Up at Blue Violets, A New Hoboken Dispensary
It’s been 18 months since cannabis was legalized in New Jersey, and while five cannabis businesses had announced plans to open in Hoboken, none have. Recently, signage went up at one dispensary, Blue Violets, located at 628 Washington Street. The Hoboken Girl spoke with Lauren Chang Thompson and Max Thompson, the husband-and-wife team behind the shop for an update. Read on for more about Blue Violets and what to expect once the shop opens.
Hoboken’s Getting a New Coffee Shop Called ‘Cafe Cartel’
It’s been the year of the coffee shop here in Hoboken. In 2023 alone, Hey Coffee People and Kompany Kafe have opened their doors, and Jersey City’s famed ModCup announced plans to venture into the Mile Square, Though caffeine might be abundant, another new coffee shop is set to arrive in town at 1100 Adams Street. Called Cafe Cartel, this new cafe is serving up “curated Colombian coffee” and lite cafe bites (including empanadas). Cafe Cartel is looking at a November opening, hoping to be a “local caffeine dealer” for Hoboken residents. Read on for what to expect from Cafe Cartel, a new coffee shop + cafe coming to Hoboken this fall.
New Jersey’s First Yakitori Cart is on Newark Street in Hoboken
Hoboken and Jersey City have a variety of options when it comes to Japanese food, but one of the more unique options comes to locals from a food cart on Newark Street. Erotori, which serves up Japanese-style skewered meats also known as yakitori, is the first food cart of its kind to come to New Jersey (and the entire menu is gluten-free). Read on to learn more about Erotori — NJ’s first yakitori cart — located at 51 Newark Street in Hoboken.
Mysterious Graffiti Appearing Inside Buildings in Hoboken
Photo credit: Mile Joliat via The Hoboken Girl Insiders Facebook Group
Over the past few months this summer, locals have been noticing mysterious graffiti — more specifically, a single “J” — on various walls inside Hoboken residential buildings. While we are unsure of who exactly is doing this, Hoboken residents think that this could be a DoorDasher, and the face of this person who has now vandalized several Hoboken locations was also captured on security footage. Read on for what we know about this mysterious graffiti in Hoboken.
Jersey City Teacher Receives Life-Saving Kidney Transplant
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A retired Jersey City teacher has a new lease on life after receiving a life-saving kidney transplant, according to the Hudson County View. LaVise McCray was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease in 2015 and things took a turn for the worse in 2022. The successful transplant surgery was in March 2023, and now LaVise wants to share her journey as a transplant recipient to inspire others.
New Urgent Care Facility Opens in Hoboken
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An urgent care facility has opened at 609 Washington Street, the former location of Riverside Pediatrics. According to Patch, Live Urgent Care has locations throughout Central New Jersey and in the Philadelphia area. The facility is open seven days a week and offers X-rays, women’s health care, and COVID testing among other services.
Pedestrian Plaza Opens in Journal Square
Per Jersey Digs, a new pedestrian plaza has opened in Journal Square. Homestead Place Pedestrian Plaza is across the street from the PATH Station and is part of the larger, six-building Homestead project, which began in 2019. The project is expected to be completed next year, and the end result will see the plaza lined with shops and restaurants.
New Bar Called ‘Little Bar’ Coming to Uptown Hoboken
Hoboken is welcoming yet another locale to its food and drink scene. The team behind Halifax has just announced that they are opening a new restaurant and bar experience, called Little Bar. This new local spot will bring a unique European-style experience through cocktails and food in a quaint ambiance. With an opening date in late September, Little Bar will be located at 1401 Hudson Street in the uptown Hoboken area. Read on to learn about what we know about Halifax’s newest project, Little Bar.
Progress at One Journal Square
Things are happening at One Journal Square in Jersey City. Per Jersey Digs, the project broke ground last summer but is only now beginning to show signs of progress, with ten floors already built. The vertical progress is a welcome sign for what’s to come of the ambitious project, which will have a 12-story base and two 52-floor towers when complete.
Hudson County to Form Vision Zero Task Force
Hudson County plans to create a Vision Zero task force to reduce roadway deaths, according to NJ.com. County Executive Tom DeGise announced the effort.
Public Lewdness Arrest in Hoboken
Via a press release, the Hoboken Police Department announced the arrest of a Hoboken man for lewdness, after he exposed himself in Church Square Park. On Friday, August 25th, at approximately 10:40M., Police Officers James Barbro and Roberto Cuevas responded to Church Square Park, 400 Garden Street, on reports of a man sitting on a park bench near the Fifth Street and Park Avenue entrance, exposing himself. When they arrived, the caller pointed the suspect out to officers. The man, later identified as 32-year-old Wander Torres, who is unhoused, refused to give his name to police and made threats to the original caller. Torres was transported to Hoboken Police Headquarters, charged with lewdness, and making terroristic threats, and transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility. He was found to have an active warrant from Union City for disorderly conduct.
The Hoboken Police Department has received complaints about quality-of-life issues in and around Church Square Park. The City, Public Safety Department, and Police Department are committed to addressing these issues by increasing routine police patrols in and around Church Square Park. In addition, Hoboken’s social workers have been meeting with those experiencing homelessness in several locations including Church Square Park to connect them with the services they need.
Jersey City Student-Athlete Receives 19 Scholarship Offers, More To Come
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DJ McClary, a junior at Snyder High School in Jersey City, is one of the nation’s top recruits for college football. Per NJ.com, DJ, a linebacker, is one of the top players in New Jersey and is ranked the No. 90 prospect nationwide for the class of 2025. DJ has already received scholarship offers from 19 Division I colleges and is the most sought-after recruit from Jersey City Public Schools in decades.
Hoboken-Based Nonprofit Community Lifestyle Seeks Support
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Per Patch, the nonprofit organization Community Lifestyle has wrapped up a successful summer for 90 children, offering low-cost childcare and camps for families. Between reduced government support, increased costs, and more children attending this summer, Community Lifestyle is looking for support and donations from the community to close out the summer. Donors can learn more here.
Construction of Jersey City Mosque Nears Completion
A new mosque at 530 Montgomery Street in Jersey City is the culmination of decades of hard work, dedication, and faith. Construction on the mosque is nearing completion, marking the third mosque in Hudson County, according to NJ.com. The Muslim Federation of New Jersey started fundraising amongst the community several years ago, and work began in 2020. The mosque is anticipated to open in Fall 2023.
80 River is Rebranding into a Vintage Garage Bar
Photo Credit: Hannah Taub
In 2019, 80 River Street in Hoboken took on its address as its formal name, with the owners of the former locale, Cadillac Cantina, opening 80 River Bar + Kitchen in its place. Since then, 80 River has transformed into something of a fixture for Hoboken nightlife, adding weekly live music performances to its roster of entertainment options. Now, 80 River is undergoing another identity change, this time getting a “new face, new name, new vibe.” In 80 River’s place comes River Street Garage, an industrial-inspired bar meant to feel like a vintage auto garage. Read on for what we know about 80 River’s rebrand into River Street Garage.
Hoboken Swears In New Municipal Judges
^ Hoboken’s new Chief Municipal Judge Benjamin Choi and Municipal Judge Scott Pennington took their oaths of office this month in preparation for their new roles which began September 1st, 2023. (Left to right: Chief Municipal Judge Choi, Municipal Judge Pennington, Hudson County Assignment Judge Jeffrey Jablonski). Photo credit: City of Hoboken.
Via a press release, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and the City of Hoboken welcomed Chief Municipal Judge Benjamin Choi and Municipal Judge Scott Pennington following a swearing-in ceremony at Hudson County Superior Court on August 29th. Mayor Bhalla announced their appointments in July, marking the first time in the City’s history that an Asian American and African American individual held either position. As Chief Municipal Judge, Choi will be responsible for all supervisory and administrative functions of the municipal court. As Municipal Court Judge, Pennington will adjudicate all complaints brought before the municipal court including disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, DUI offenses, traffic citations, and city code violations, among others.
$2 Million Lottery Ticket Sold in Jersey City
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A Jersey City snack shop sold a winning lottery ticket. Per Patch, Gary’s Sweet Shoppe, located at 444 West Side Avenue, sold a ticket worth $2 million for the Monday, August 28th drawing. The ticket matched five for five white balls to win the $1 million, second-place prize for the Powerball drawing. Since the purchaser opted for the ‘multiplier’ option, the ticket doubled in value.
Jersey City’s McNair Ranks High by RE Ranking Website
Jersey City’s McNair Academic High School was ranked #10 of all public high schools in New Jersey by Niche, a real estate and schools ranking website. Rankings included feedback from students, parents, and teachers. Objective data including test scores and class size also went into the rankings.
Hoboken Man in Custody After Allegedly Threatening Parking Utility Officer
A man is in custody after allegedly threatening a Hoboken Parking Utility officer, according to Patch. On Thursday, August 24th, Hoboken police responded to a call about an assault and found 39-year-old Lamar Woodward yelling and highly agitated. A Hoboken Parking Utility officer reported that Mr. Woodward had ‘yelled and attempted to hit’ him, and Mr. Woodward was found to have two outstanding warrants. He was taken into police custody.
Journal Square Jollibee Location Faces NLRB Violations
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The Journal Square location of Jollibee, a popular Filipino fast food chain, was found to have violated federal labor laws in a decision issued by the National Labor Relations Board. Per NJ.com, the NLRB has filed a complaint against the company compelling it to comply with many of the Journal Square workers’ demands. Current and former Jollibee employees had alleged retaliation for their attempts to unionize.
Jersey City-Based Domestic Violence Nonprofit Seeks Volunteers
Women Rising, a Jersey City-based nonprofit that provides support for victims of domestic violence, is putting out a call for more volunteers to join its Domestic Violence Response Team. According to NJ.com, volunteer advocates will receive special training to support victims of domestic violence. Women Rising will host an information session at 7PM on September 12th. For more information, visit the Women Rising website.
Baonanas x 7th Street Burger Debut in Hoboken
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Treats from Baonanas, a Jersey City-based dessert company, will be available at the new 7th Street Burger location in Hoboken. The original banana pudding, Ubenanas, and Cream n’ Cookies half-pints from local company Baonanas will also be sold at the Hoboken 7th Street location. Read more about this new eatery here.
Two Jersey City Police Officers Reinstated After Judges Strike City’s Cannabis Policy
Two Jersey City police officers who had been fired over their off-duty cannabis use must be reinstated and given back pay, according to two recent hearings. Jersey City’s policy prohibiting off-duty use of cannabis by police officers is at odds with the state’s 2021 CREAMM Act, which legalized the adult use of cannabis and goes against the policy recommended by the New Jersey Attorney General to not penalize off-duty use by officers. Per the Jersey City Times, Jersey City’s policy has now been overruled three times in the cases of these two officers, yet the City plans to appeal the decisions in both cases.
Hoboken Couple Launches Kids Clothing Rental Business
^ Shea + Amanda Licata. Photo credit: Amy Rizzuto Photography. Photo courtesy of Amanda Licata.
Hoboken couple Amanda and Shea Licata have launched an online rental company for luxury kids clothes. The company, Your Kids Closet, specializes in special occasion clothing, based on the idea that children outgrow clothing items so quickly that it would be more cost- and eco-friendly to rent rather than buy the items. Parents can pick up the items at the Hoboken location or have the items shipped.
Zero Otto Uno in Hoboken Has Closed: What We Know
Hoboken may have a lot of pizza joints (roughly two dozen as of 2022, for those wondering), but locals know good and well that no two pizza shops are the same. In 2018, a BYOB Italian cafe by the name of Zero Otto Uno brought Neapolitan-style pizza to the Mile Square, serving up 16 different pizza options in its Neapolitan oven at 502 Washington Street. We’re sad to report, however, that five years later Zero Otto Uno has closed its Hoboken location, and instead is moving to Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ and rebranding to 081 Cafe (the English translation of Zero Otto Uno). Read on for what we know about Zero Otto Uno’s closure in Hoboken.
Venti Italian Specialties’ Storefront Opens in Jersey City
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Since 2018, Venti Food Truck has been keeping Italian culinary traditions alive and on the go, serving up delicious Italian specialties at its four-wheel Exchange Place outpost. Now, this beloved food truck officially has a permanent home near the Journal Square neighborhood at 203 Academy Street. The new storefront will expand the Venti food truck menu, with a broader selection of house-made eats + “the freshest mozzarella around.” Read on for what we know about the permanent Venti Italian Specialties brick-and-mortar location, one of the newest additions to Jersey City.
Bayonne Recreation Adds Programming for Teen Mental Health
The Bayonne Division of Recreation has added new programming ahead of the school year with teen’s mental health in mind. According to NJ.com, the program is designed for students aged 12 and up to work on anxiety in social settings. The program is called The Breakfast Club after the classic 80s movie which depicted students from different backgrounds becoming friends after one day spent together.
Three Arrested in Hoboken on Weapons Charges
Via a press release, the Hoboken Police Department shared details about three recent arrests involving weapons charges. All three arrests stemmed from an incident on August 30th, 2023 at the intersection of Fourth and Harrison Streets. 26-year-old Herbie Spann of Hoboken, 45-year-old Farra Mongon of Hoboken, and 42-year-old Charlene Feliciano of Hoboken were arrested and charged with various weapons offenses.
Hoboken Councilwoman Releases Rat Study
Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher announced the results of a July 2023 survey on rats that was conducted amongst Hoboken residents. Via an email to constituents, it was shared that residents feel that not enough is being done to mitigate the city’s rat issues. The survey also resulted in a ‘heat map’ showing where respondents reported rat infestations.
Delay in Hoboken Rent Leveling Board Hearing for Avalon Residents
Residents of the Avalon in Hoboken will have to wait a bit longer to get results from its hearing in front of the Hoboken Rent Leveling Board. Per NJ.com, residents of the Avalon, located at 800 Madison Street, have asked the Rent Leveling Board to consider whether the building falls under the City’s rent control protections. After a 90-minute hearing this week, the Board asked for more time to make its decision. The next hearing will be October 11th.
The Hoboken Italian Festival is Back for 2023
From the St. Ann Italian Festival in Hoboken to La Festa Italiana in Jersey City, Hudson County has no shortage of happenings to celebrate Italian heritage. Another highly popular event that takes place later in the year is The Hoboken Italian Festival, which takes place on the waterfront on Sinatra Drive Promenade between Newark Street and 2nd Street. The festival is back for 2023 and will be held from Thursday, September 7th to Sunday, September 10th. Also known as the Feast of the Madonna Dei Martiri, The Hoboken Italian Festival will be complete with delicious eats, entertainment, and more, as well as fireworks and a procession. Read on to learn more about this year’s festival.