Home Culture 10 Hoboken + Jersey City Locals to Watch in April 2024

10 Hoboken + Jersey City Locals to Watch in April 2024

by Hoboken Girl Team
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The months and seasons may change, but here in Hoboken + Jersey City, one thing always remains the same: local residents continue to keep us inspired. As we welcome April, we’d like to introduce you to The Hoboken Girl‘s first “Locals to Watch” roundup of the spring — complete with community organizers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and beyond, who are making big waves in our tiny little corner of New Jersey. Keep reading for 10 Hoboken + Jersey City locals to watch this month.

Roopali Vorkunov | Founder of momcrated

Roopali Vorkunov

Becoming a parent is scary for anyone — but in 2020, new moms had to navigate sleepless nights and first steps amid a global lockdown. With the help of a friend, Jersey City resident Roopali Vorkunav ventured to be a socially-distanced support system for these women in 2021, selling postpartum care packages to new moms around Hoboken + Jersey City. The business is still thriving today, under the name “momcrated.”

Roopali is a mother of two young girls (a five-year-old and a three-year-old), but she’s made a career out of caretaking too: she’s an occupational therapist, and spent 5 years at the Hoboken University Medical Center. Though she’s transitioned to the industry’s business side, she hopes to continue to make a difference. “Healthcare is a thankless job,” she shared with HG. “But I always kept a smile on my face and always aimed to do the best possible thing for my patients.”

Beyond work and motherhood, Roopali has been competing in beauty pageants since she was 15 and is returning to the stage this June in the Miss New Jersey USA competition. She hopes to take the platform with a purpose — namely, to advocate for reproductive rights. She was the first woman in her social community to undergo IVF and hopes to educate younger women about the procedure.

Roopali’s favorite Hoboken + Jersey City businesses: “Grand Vin, Benny Tudino’s, Orale, Karma Kafe, Shaka Bowl, Buddy’s JC, Honshu, Torico, Cangiano’s, bwé kafe, Maman, Hybrid Coffee + Kitchen, Semicolon Cafe, and Kanibal + Co.

Vepo Clean
Harborside Sport + Spine

Learn more about Roopali and momcrated here.

Read More: Meet the Local Resident Behind Hoboken’s Decorative Tree Stump

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Tali Rose Krupkin | Visual Artist

tali rose krupin

Upcycling is the practice of taking something no longer in use and giving it a “second life” or new function. But Tali Rose Krupkin, a Jersey City-based artist, doesn’t just breed new life with her upcycled materials: she creates new worlds.

Tali has been a Jersey Girl for most of her life, attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers and moving to Jersey City in 2017. After a brief stint in the gallery space — and an even shorter stint in corporate — Tali now finds herself as a full-time visual artist, specializing in hand-cut and glued analog collages and paper weavings. She mostly uses magazine pages, advertisements, and found papers for her work, but no matter the medium, her vision remains the same: “By revitalizing fragments from our past and present culture, I parody the initial intent assigned to them.”

Much of Tali’s work has a surrealism to it: a woman bathing in a martini glass, a woman resting on a sushi board. Ultimately, she hopes her work can create conversation — that it “encourages people to connect, feel empowered, have self-love, and laugh a little bit,” as she told HG.

Tali has participated in numerous artist events throughout New Jersey and shared with HG that she’s teaming up with a local business in the coming months.

Tali’s favorite Hoboken + Jersey City businesses: “I like grabbing a bite at White Star on Warren Street. I like getting drinks at Pet Shop and dullboy. For lunch, I’m big on Little Sandwich Shop and Cangiano’s. When I’m in Hoboken, I like going to Antique Bar + Bakery.”

Follow Tali and her journey as an artist here and here

Frank DiCola | Creator of Charity Quest App

frank dicola

It feels like there’s a mobile app for everything these days: rides, food delivery, thrift shopping. The question of whether these apps have helped or harmed society is for another day, but Hoboken resident Frank DiCola has designed an unquestionably valuable community resource, all centered around volunteering.

The Charity Quest App is a database of current volunteering opportunities in the Hoboken area, where non-profits can post positions as needed and locals can browse as desired. “The purpose of the Charity Quest project is to encourage people to serve locally,” Frank shared with HG. “To take away some of the barriers to entry, fear, and “analysis paralysis” that so many Millennials and Gen Z citizens feel about this kind of thing.”

Frank graduated from Stevens in 2015 and has lived in the area ever since. He currently works as a freelance software developer + game designer by day, but was “inspired by the wonderful staff, senior leaders, and volunteers at the charities that first adopted this network.” Most notably, Toni Tomarazzo at the Hoboken Community Center, who Frank said “was the first person to ever give this thing a shove this thing a shot.”

Frank’s business owners he looks up to: “Dave Carney of The Madison Bar + Grill and Anthony Pino of Bin 14 and Anthony David’s. Both of them are very charitable businessmen and it does not go unnoticed.”

Learn more about Frank and his app, Charity Quest here and here.

Tina Nalls | Founder of Community Treasures

tina nalls

Tina Nalls became a North Jersey girl when she moved to Jersey City from Birmingham, Alabama. She sadly lost her 25-year-old mother when she was just a baby and moved to Jersey City when she was 12 years old. Now, as a Ward F resident, Tina makes it her mission to give back to her neighborhood and the Jersey City area through Community Treasures — a group that helps those in need with clothing, food, and other resources.

This supportive group helps anyone in need get anything they need, and stems from Tina’s own experience when she needed help getting an outfit for a job interview. When asked about what inspires her, Tina gave all the credit to the organization that allows her to give back, saying “My COMMUNITY inspires me because they are donating. They are dropping off and they are also helping me to drop off to other families that are in need and that is a blessing. It’s like we’re making history. We’re helping out the community every day and you don’t get that, everyone working together.”

Tina loves that she was able to “do something different” when she made the move from Alabama to New Jersey and looks to further her Jersey City influence even more by setting two goals for the future: finding a permanent home for Community Treasures and getting a new vehicle so she’s “able to continue to help out the community.”

Tina’s favorite local businesses: “Anybody that works for a nonprofit, I look up to them because non-profits are a lot of work.”

Keep up with Tina and her work with Community Treasures here.

Liz Sperman | Owner + Founder of Hayley’s Donut

liz sperman hayleys donut

Photo Credit: Courtney Collins, NonLinear Knitting

Liz Sperman is a hospitality professional with experience in tech, digital, + product marketing. She considers herself an innovator, a levitator, and a ‘givitator.’ With a degree from Cornell University and 10+ years of experience working in marketing, and events + production, her past experiences led her to direct an email marketing program at a well-known nutritional supplements retailer, where she realized her passion for health and nutrition. 

Since deciding to start her own business, Liz has spent over nine years gaining experience in various bakery and food service externships. Her resume boasts positions like barista; cake decorator, production supervisor for a gluten-free cake bites startup; supervisor on a doughnut food truck; and, just before the pandemic, business manager for a top-12 allergen-free bakery in Connecticut.

Liz “soft launched” her Hayley’s Donut business, doing private “drops” on scheduled days and in small markets. As for future dreams of her business, Liz says, “I hope to ultimately grow the business so I can afford to have a dedicated kitchen and retail space.”

Liz’s favorite Hoboken spots: “I love walking the pier in Hoboken, or anywhere in Hoboken with my husband, grabbing a drink or bite to eat at Northern Soul or a coffee at Choc o Pain. Shopping at Vintage on First. Powerflow Yoga Hoboken (RIP) used to be a second home.”

Follow Liz and her journey with Hayley’s Donut here and here.

Jonathan Bevacqua | Owner of CrossFit Hoboken

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The closest thing we have to superheroes are people competing in extreme sports competitions, and Jonathan Bevacqua recently became Hoboken’s very own Flash. Jonathan has lived in Hoboken for 19+ years and owns the town’s CrossFit location at 50 Marshall Street.

Owning a business is a feat in itself, but not too long ago Jonathan completed a 100-Mile Ultra Marathon in which, you guessed it, he ran 100 consecutive miles. Jonathan headed south to the Outer Banks for the Blackbeard’s Revenge race, finishing with an impressive run time of 25 hours and 13 minutes (we cannot even stay up for this long).

Though we believe Jonathan has earned more than his fair share of bragging rights, the 100-mile-runner prefers humility over hubris: “There’s no limit to what one can achieve,” he shared with HG. “I try to lead by example rather than just talk about it.”

Jonathan hopes to continue inspiring the Hoboken + Jersey City fitness community and serve as a reminder “to stay healthy and balanced.”

You can keep up with Jonathan and his fitness adventures here

 


 

Naimeesha Murthy | Co-Founder of Full Ritúal + Founder of Products by Women

Naimeesha Murthy

As a full-time working mom with a career in finance, it’s no wonder that Naimeesha Murthy set out to create a brand centered around health and wellness called Full Ritúal. It’s also no wonder that three jobs weren’t enough of a challenge: so Naimeesha also created Products for Women, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring women in the technology space.

Full Ritúal sells a range of wellness-based products, from lip balms and yoga mats to resistance bands and water bottles. For Naimeesha, seeing how products can positively impact women’s lives is “deeply rewarding,” and she hopes to continue expanding the brand’s reach. Her pursuits push past the material, though. Her nonprofit, Products for Women, is a passion project centered around “mentoring immigrants, helping them navigate their professional careers and visa processes.” This is a deeply personal topic for Naimeesha, who migrated to the U.S. in 2010.

While North Jersey might not have always been her home, it’s certainly her forever home: “I’ve experienced many firsts: our first house, the birth of our baby, our initial jobs, and even our first car,” she says of living locally. “What I cherish most about this area is its diversity and how it caters to families, making everything so accessible. Life outside North Jersey is hard to imagine for me; it’s where I’ve built my life’s foundation.”

Naimeesha’s favorite Jersey City businesses: “I have quite a few favorite local spots, but recently, I’ve been frequently visiting Pinwheel Garden, Razza, and Greenhook Griot Cafe. There are many more amazing places around, but these have been my go-to choices for a while now.”

Learn more about Naimeesha and her work with her two businesses here.

Lauren Parisi | Event Host + Board Member of Party With Purpose + The Hoboken Shelter

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Giving back to the community is what Hoboken resident Lauren Parisi does best. As a legal assistant in art law by day and a trivia and event host by night, Lauren strives “to make fun accessible to all” and thinks that “giving back to the community is the epitome of fun.”

Her influence in the Mile Square doesn’t stop there — she’s also a board member of Party With Purpose, a 100% volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that hosts events to raise money for children’s charities, as well as The Hoboken Shelter, another 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides meals, shelter, and services to those who are unhoused or in need of support.

Lauren says that she wants “to make the community come together for fun and philanthropy,” and she does this through her work with these incredible non-profits as well as through hosting events at bars, private parties, and corporate + charitable events.

When it comes to living in North Jersey, Lauren told HG that she loves “the vibe and fast-paced nature”, but especially loves the community feel in Hoboken, saying it’s a “small town with a vibrant heart!”

Lauren’s favorite local Hoboken + Jersey City businesses: “The Hoboken Shelter, Party With Purpose, True Mentors, Charity Quest, Community Lifestyle, Team Wilderness, Street Life Ministry, Urban Souls, Grimaldi’s, Black Bear Bar + Grill, and Court Street.”

Keep up with Lauren here.

Amy Gillmor | Volunteer for Bruno Project Rescue + St. Lucia Animal Protection Society

amy gillmor

They say “kindness knows no borders” and there’s no greater proof of that than resident Amy Gillmor, who currently serves as a U.S. representative for St. Lucia-based Bruno Project RescueSt. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS).

Amy shared that the conditions are mostly “inhumane and dangerous for dogs in St. Lucia, and there are about 170 dogs in the shelter currently.” Her family works as on-site rescue reps on the island, and she works in Jersey City to organize flight porters for the pups and help locate fosters.

Recently, Amy was a flight porter for a sweet potcake pup named Kicker. “It’s unfortunate how he got his name,” she shared, “but he has since been adopted by a loving family and has been renamed.”

This is where Amy asks the community to join in: “Me and my rescue pup Luna, who is 5 years old, know that the Hoboken/Jersey City community is very dog-friendly! We are hoping that the dog lovers out there can provide a safe and loving foster home for those puppies in need.”

If you’re interested in fostering through Bruno Project, or want to get involved in volunteering, you can apply here. If you can’t, monetary donations are also accepted here.

See More: This Rescue Spent 700 Days in the Shelter — Now He Needs a Forever Home

Erin Curtiss, Andrea Fletcher, Eva McGovern, + Tammy Peng | Board Members of Hoboken United Soccer Club

hoboken united

Hoboken United Soccer Club is a volunteer, parent-led organization that prides itself as the “future of youth travel soccer in Hoboken”. The Mile Square non-profit has nine board members in total, including four women — Andrea Fletcher, Erin Curtiss, Eva McGovern, and Tammy Peng. Through hours-long board meetings multiple times a month as well as other responsibilities, these women “continue to grow and improve the program”, according to President David Steinfeld, who praises the ladies for their dedication to the club.

Erin is the Vice President and legal attorney for the club, and also handles all of Hoboken United’s social media accounts (their Instagram has almost two thousand followers!) David noted that she creates “the most amazing content”, and it shows through their growing following.

As the club’s secretary, Andrea has spent countless hours helping get the club up and running by scheduling fields, registering the non-profit with various leagues, sending out player contracts, and carding all the kids who play for Hoboken United.

Eva works on all things IT-related for the club, and is the person behind the newly-created hobokenunited.com website.

Tammy is responsible for everything related to community outreach for the club — including, but not limited to growing Hoboken United’s partnership with the Hoboken Housing Authority, handling cleat and shin guard donations, and much more.

There’s nothing more important to the club and the board than “the children of Hoboken and soccer”, and the organization looks to “grow the sport of soccer and allow kids to have a competitive, fun place to play in Hoboken” with the help of the hard-working women on the board.

Hoboken United’s favorite part about Hoboken: “Hoboken is a special place and there is nothing exactly like it.”

Keep up with Hoboken United here and here.

For potential inclusion in our next round-up, fill out this Google Form here (or send it to someone you want to see featured!).
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