No, The Inn in Hoboken Hasn’t Closed + More Local News You Missed

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As always, it was an eventful week in Hudson County this past week. With Hoboken soft-launching its all-digital parking permit system and a new pizza chain planning to open in Jersey City this Spring, there’s a lot of change happening. The City of Hoboken also added a girl’s volleyball division and tennis lessons to its recreational program and Cresthill Academy has announced it’s taking over the space McLoone’s Pier House was formally in, and much more. Keep reading for local headlines from this past week.

New Jersey Passes Bill Requiring Landlords to Notify Tenants if Too Much Lead in Tap Water

water news

Thanks to a new bill {S968} passed by the New Jersey Senate, we may not have to wonder what’s in our water much longer. Approved in a 39-0 vote, S968 puts a faster deadline on how quickly landlords are required to notify their tenants about dangerous levels of lead in their tap water.

Current regulations do require landlords to notify only new renters about lead; however, long-term tenants do not get the same courtesy, even when the lead in their tap water spikes to dangerous levels. Previously, officials had 60 days to alert residents to the presence of elevated lead levels; now, S968 requires landlords to alert residents within 10 days.

Hoboken Parking Officially Launches Virtual Visitor Parking Permits

parking in hoboken

As part of the new Hoboken parking changes of 2020, Hoboken Parking Utility has announced its soft launch of the Virtual Visitor Parking permit system {VVP}. This new system allows visitors and residents to purchase virtual visitor permits online from any internet-enabled device. The new system is available 100% online and offers real-time activation. With the launch of VVP, residents and visitors no longer have to visit the HPU office to buy visitor permits.

The new system also features text message notifications, sending an alert 30 minutes prior to the permit’s expiration, future-date activations, {which allow visitors or residents to activate permits for a future date and time} customizable lengths of either 4-hour, 8-hour, or 24-hour permits, and a permit management portal where users can retrace their online account history and see a record of their permit purchases and activations. It will also feature an interactive map that displays both current and future Temporary No Parking areas so guests can know which areas to avoid ahead of time while searching for a space.

As the new virtual system soft-launches, HPU will still continue to sell scratch-off visitor hang tags until December 31st, 2020. Additionally, all scratch-off hang tags will expire by December 31st, 2020.

To learn more about the new Virtual Visitor Parking permit system, including “how-to” videos and an FAQ section, please visit Hoboken’s official website, here.

Registration for Art in the Park Is Now Open

art park hoboken

Art in the Park is back this summer, bringing children ages one to four a hands-on experience with play dough, paint, glue, bubbles, and more arts and crafts projects. Hosted by local preschool teacher Nora Martinez DeBenedetto, who has been running this six-week summer program for the past decade, the program provides children with an opportunity to socialize, engage in water play, enjoy storytime and sing-a-longs, all while learning about art.

Art in the Park costs $40 for six weeks, one class per week, and offers several sessions. Sessions start the week of June 15th on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at Elysian Park and Wednesday at Pier A Park. There’s an early morning session from 9:00AM-10:30AM and a late morning session from 11:00AM-12:30PM.

Registration begins at 12:00PM on Tuesday. Click here to sign up.

&pizza is Coming to Exchange Place

and pizza jersey city

{Photo credit: @andpizza}

Washington, D.C.-based pizza chain &pizza is making its way to Exchange Place in Jersey City. This pizza restaurant — which also has locations in Cambridge, Manhattan, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia — is prepping to open in Suite 202 at 30 Montgomery Street. If you’ve never heard of &pizza, it’s a completely customizable pizzeria, meaning it allows guests to customize their dough, sauce, cheese, and of course, toppings. Discover more about what &pizza has to offer here.

Hoboken Man Charged in Four Local Package Thefts {Again}

package thief

A package thief in Hoboken has been charged in connection with four package thefts, including three packages from the same Hoboken resident. Joel Arece, 33, of Hoboken was arrested last Sunday and charged with three counts of burglary and four counts of theft in incidents that span from January 7th to January 20th.

According to Detective Lt. Danilo Cabrera, Arece stole packages on three separate occasions from the same Newark Street resident on January 7th, 8th, and 20th. Another victim, who lives on Bloomfield, reported a package stolen on January 20th, saying it had been stolen within minutes of it being delivered to her house.

This isn’t the first time Arece has been booked for stealing packages. In December 2019, Arece was arrested on burglary and theft charges after stealing packages from a 3rd Street and Willow Avenue building around 3:00AM.

Arece was arrested last Sunday while at a Washington Street pizzeria. After police recognized him, they booked him for the Bloomfield and Newark thefts.

Jersey City Council Considering New Food Truck Fee Ordinance

mordis food truck

Jersey City Council is currently deciding on a new ordinance that would make changes to the August 2019 law that forbids food trucks in Jersey City from parking along the waterfront. The 2019 law also raised fees: $40 a day to park on Sussex Street and $200 a day to park on Montgomery Street.

Food truck owners responded to the law with concern that the fee would cause them to go out of business.

Now, the new ordinance reduces the $200 fee by 50 percent. It also seeks to create 52 Mobile Food Vendor Parking Spots, which the City would assign to specific food trucks annually. Food truck owners would still pay fees depending on their parking spots, as some areas are more high-traffic and definitely more desirable than others. The ordinance would now divide Jersey City into zones: Zone 1 includes Christopher Columbus Drive, Montgomery Street, Grand Steet, Sussex Sreet, and Second Street. Zone 1 would cost $10,000 a year or $27 per day to operate in.

Zone 2 covers Summit Avenue, West Side Avenue, and the container village on Martin Luther King Drive would cost $7 an hour for food truck owners.

After November Dorm Fire at Steven’s Institute, Freshman Responsible Charged and Banned from Campus

firetruck

A freshman student at Steven’s Institute of Technology has pled guilty to criminal mischief in connection with a dorm fire that erupted at Steven’s last November. According to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, Thomas Apostolico, 18, of Toms River, has pleaded guilty to starting the fire on February 6th. The fire caused an evacuation of 150 Steven’s students from the building and even resulted in a Stevens police officer receiving medical treatment at St. Barnabas Hospital for breathing discomfort.

After pleading guilty, Apostolico agreed to pay $7,665 in restitution for damage done to the dorm from the fire. Apostolico is also banned from the Hoboken campus and from making contact with school officials.

According to Hudson County View, his sentencing has been scheduled for March 25th.

The fire apparently started around 6:00AM that morning, and according to the prosecutor’s office, Apostolico “set fire to a dryer sheet and then threw it into the garbage can where he had previously discarded fireworks, causing the fire.” The fire was put out by an officer using a fire extinguisher.

VIP Diner Sale Falls Through, Now Welcomes New Management

vip diner new management

{Photo credit: Google Maps}

The VIP Diner at Sip Avenue in Jersey City is a local staple, which is why many local residents were bummed when it was announced that VIP was for sale in April 2019. However, the deal has since fallen through, and VIP will remain open — thanks to new management.

VIP, which HBO has used as a filming location for The Sopranos episodes in the past, has been taken over by local restaurateur Barshay Muhammad, who started his own restaurant called Barshay’s Original Steak N’ Take when he was just 21.

“I didn’t want to change anything,” Muhammad said. “When I took it over, I kept the entire staff and we still maintain the same customers. To me, it’s a landmark. I would love for this place to remain here forever,” he added.

It was announced back in April that VIP had been sold, but according to tax records, the transaction was never finalized. Moving forward, Muhammad says part of the plan to increase VIP’s customer base is to make more dishes that appeal to a variety of different diets, as well as staying loyal to their current fan base.

One reddit user seems to be on-board with a bit of a menu change.

“Good to hear about the menu refresh,” one reddit user wrote. “Eating low-carb there is nearly impossible. You can either have an omelette with no sides, or a $15 salad large enough for three people.”

“We’re going to be around for hopefully another 50 years,” Mohammad adds.

Cresthill Academy Announces Expansion That Will Take Over McLoone’s Pier House in The Shipyard

mcloones cresthill

McLoone’s Pier House will no longer be a restaurant, as local organic daycare and preschool Cresthill Academy has signed a 15-year lease at The Shipyard complex on Hoboken’s waterfront.

Globest first reported Cresthill Academy’s expansion from its existing location at 1300 Frank Sinatra Drive to 1330 Frank Sinatra.

“The larger premises space will allow the organization to offer a wider variety of products and services, and the contiguous space made this expansionary project very convenient for both tenant and landlord,” said Blake Shanaphy of JLL, a commercial brokerage firm. “Cresthill Academy is keeping the commercial-grade kitchen that was part of McLoone’s Boathouse, the restaurant that previously occupied the new space. The childcare provider plans to provide healthy, precooked prepared meals for busy parents and children.”

The expansion means Cresthill Academy — which prides itself on serving organic meals, snacks, and beverages made in-house, as well as cleaning with non-toxic cleaning supplies — will nearly double in size.

Jersey City Implements Plan for Long-Term Art Program Funding, First New Jersey City to Do So

art funding

Jersey City has become the first city in the State of New Jersey to develop a plan for long-term art program funding on the local level.

“We all believe that in order for arts and culture to thrive here, it is important to build new and sustainable models for funding,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement. “That’s why we stepped up to the plate when no one else did, to make sure we can financially support the creative and cultural activities for our residents and children now and for future generations to learn and enjoy.”

Fulop’s plan includes the establishment of an Arts and Culture Trust Fund, which voters would ultimately get to decide on. According to Fulop’s plan, the Arts and Culture Trust Fund would support funding for local artists and art education, funded at a maximum rate of $0.02 per $100 of assessed property value, according to New Jersey Stage.

“Jersey City has long been home to some of the most skilled and progressive artists in the state,” said Heather Warfel Sandler, Chair of the Jersey City Arts Council. “We are excited about the potential to finally support our artists with sustainable funding, and for the public to recognize that the arts are an essential element of society.”

Hoboken Adds Girls’ Tennis + Volleyball Programs to Recreation Department

tennis program

Young girls can now play tennis and volleyball recreationally in the spring as part of Hoboken’s recreation department. The new volleyball league is open to girls in grades 6th through 8th for an eight-week program; once again, the City has also partnered with Tennis Approach to bring group tennis lessons to Hoboken kids ages six to 14.

“I’m thrilled our recreation department is expanding opportunities for our youngest residents, and especially our female athletes,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla in an official statement. “These new sports keep up with the high demand and further improve the quality of life for our children. Thank you to Director Leo Pellegrini and all of our coaches for making these new options possible.”

In recent years, the Hoboken recreation department has been expanding its youth athletic recreational programming, bringing back the flag football program, the expansion of children’s basketball {and the addition of a girls’ division}, the re-intro of tennis clinics, and of course, this new girls’ volleyball league.

Registration is first-come, first-serve and will remain open from now until March 2nd. If you’re interested in registering, you can visit:  http://www.hobokennj.gov/register.

Jersey City Reclaims its Spot as Most Diverse City in the U.S.

jersey city street fair

Jersey City is back in the no.1 spot for Most Diverse City in the United States, after a brief time spent in second place. According to the annual WalletHub ranking, which looks at ethnic diversity in cities, Jersey City once again beats out New York City, Oakland, California, three cities in Maryland, and Spring Valley, Nevada. Jersey City scored a 72.56 in ethnic diversity, with the second-place city scoring 72.01.

“With immigration being an important topic nationally, these rankings only reaffirm the reason that Mayor Fulop has been vocal on this being that Jersey City is the most diverse city in the country,” said city spokeswoman Kim Wallace-Scalcione. “The Mayor believes our diversity is a huge strength and has set policies to welcome new residents as the city grows. We all should be proud to live in a city that holds this distinction nationally.”

Gaithersburg, Maryland came in second, while Germantown, Maryland came in third; Spring Valley, Nevada was fourth, and Silver Spring, Maryland landed in fifth. New York City made the sixth slot, while Rockville, Maryland came in seventh, and Oakland, CA, San Jose, CA, and Kent, Washington rounded out the respective eighth, ninth, and tenth spots.

The annual WalletHub ranking looks at three major components when studying an area’s ethnic diversity: ethnoracial diversity, linguistic diversity, and birthplace diversity.

According to the ranking, Jersey City also ranked first in linguistic diversity — meaning a variety of different languages are spoken in town — and placed second in ethnoracial diversity.

Hoboken’s The W Is Ranked 5th Best Hotel in New Jersey

w hoboken news

{Photo credit: @whoboken}

Hoboken has one of the best hotels throughout the State of New Jersey, according to U.S. News and World Report’s latest Best Hotels ranking. According to the ranking — which looks at more than 30,000 hotels across the world — The W Hotel is the #5th best hotel in the state.

Update on Christ Hospital: Sale to RWJBarnabas Could Be Moving Forward

christ hospital news jersey city

Negotiations between CarePoint Health and RWJBarnabas look like they’re going in a positive direction, reopening the opportunity for RWJBarnabas to acquire Jersey City’s Christ Hospital. A few weeks ago, Hoboken Girl reported that Christ Hospital was in jeopardy of closing after agreements between RWJBarnabas and CarePoint “reached an impasse.” Now, Hudson County View is reporting that negotiations are back on track after a “really productive meeting” put agreements back on the table.

“The meeting was productive in that we walked away with actionable steps and we’re all at the table moving in a productive direction,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told HCV.

Last week, Fulop urged New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to get involved or else Fulop feared Christ Hospital was in imminent peril of closing and filing for bankruptcy. Fulop’s open letter to Gov. Murphy resulted in Murphy overseeing a New Jersey Department of Health appointment of a monitor for Christ Hospital.

The negotiations are made more hostile by an impending lawsuit and countersuit between Carepoint and Alaris Health. Read all about the details of both cases here.

“At least they’re talking again. There’s dialogue. They’re far apart on certain concepts, particularly on the real estate, but we’re still within striking distance of the deal. Emotions and egos cloud good business judgment,” a source told HCV.

According to Eric Bloom, a spokesman for CarePoint Health, CH made “a fair and reasonable” offer to RWJBarnabas.

“CarePoint Health appreciates the efforts by the mayors and state lawmakers to call all parties together to seek a solution. We made a fair and reasonable proposal today to RWJBH on the Christ Hospital property,” Bloom said in an official statement.

Updates on The Inn in Hoboken

the inn

Hoboken Girl readers have been reporting concerns that The Inn, a bar located on 1st Street in Hoboken, may have closed. Now, however, we can confirm that this local spot isn’t closing for good. A source close to the project shared exclusively with HobokenGirl.com that The Inn has “had some issues with the structural integrity of the back of the building, which caused us to have to close for a bit till everything was reinforced.”

According to this source, the 1st Street watering hole is not closing down for good, despite the speculations. That same source has said that “as soon as we are all set and squared away with the inspections, we are good to go.” Although there is no official date for when the doors will reopen, know that they’re working to reopen — despite some structural setbacks. We’ll keep you posted with any updates.

The Boil Opens in Jersey City

the boil jersey city

A new NOLA-style restaurant has officially opened in Jersey City. The Boil opened its doors to the public on Friday, February 14th and is serving up classic NOLA-style food and some dishes with a twist to JC locals out of 8 Erie Street. An exclusive JC menu item, however, is The Whale — an upgrade on the signature seafood bucket that features oversized lobster, king crab legs, jumbo shrimp, and more, available in limited quantities daily. Find out more about The Boil here.

UnitedHealthcare, Hoboken’s Former Health Care Provider, Sues the City

united healthcare suing hoboken

{Photo credit: @unitedhealthcare}

UnitedHealthcare, which formerly was the health insurance provider for Hoboken, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Hoboken in Hudson County Superior Court as of January 27th, 2020. The suit alleges the City did not pay nearly $60,000 in claims because it was gearing up for a multi-million dollar deficit in the upcoming budget.

According to the complaint, UnitedHealthcare had promised “to provide administration” for the city-funded employee benefit plan as of June 1st, 2016. However, the agreement disbanded due to Hoboken’s alleged lack of payment.

The court filing states, “Due to Hoboken’s inability to remit payment in full on the past due fees, UnitedHealthcare terminated the Agreement February 1st, 2018. UnitedHealthcare has honored all valid claims made through that date. When termination of the Agreement was completed, the amount of past due fees that Hoboken owed to UnitedHealthcare was, and now still is, $59,911.40.”

When asked to comment on the case on behalf of the City, city spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri said, “The City always provides payment to vendors for legitimate services performed. However, we cannot comment further on this specific case due to ongoing litigation.”

UnitedHealthcare also alleges they sent four demand letters for the unpaid payments from December 27th, 2018 to May 23rd, 2019 and is claiming Hoboken breached the contract.

Jersey City Police Officer Charged With Stealing Cash From a Man He Stopped in 2018

jersey city police nj

A Jersey City police officer has been found guilty of stealing cash from the wallet of a man he stopped on the street back in 2018. Denzel Suitt, 28, was charged with official misconduct and theft by unlawful taking, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez confirmed.

Suitt stood a one-week trial in front of a jury before the verdict was decided. Police said on March 25th, 2018, Suitt stopped a man on Bayside Terrace who had been convicted more than nine times throughout the years while on duty. Authorities said Suitt stole $600 from the man’s wallet.

Immediately following the incident, Suitt was suspended and then put on administrative assignment, according to NJ.com. There has been no official announcement yet on the future of Suitt’s status in the department.

Il Tavolo di’ Palmisano Now Open in Hoboken

il tavolo

{Photo credit: @il_tavolo_hoboken}

The long-awaited opening of Il Tavolo di’ Palmisano is finally here. As of Sunday, February 16th, this new Italian restaurant is open for business at 700 Clinton Street in Hoboken. Hoboken Girl first reported on this spot back in November of 2019 and now that’s finally here, we’re looking forward to trying the menu items {as it is a self-proclaimed “authentic Italian restaurant”}. Congratulations on the opening!

Art Fair 14C Happening February 21st-23rd in Jersey City

art fair

This upcoming weekend {February 21st-23rd}, Jersey City will be hosting the Art Fair 14C at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City {at 2 Exchange Place}. The event is “non-profit, mission-driven, international art fair,” according to its Eventbrite page. Guests can view and buy a variety of unique pieces from national, regional, and international artists. Plus, HG readers can get 50% off VIP, weekend, and day passes to the event, so get your tickets ASAP here.

Got a news tip? Let us know — email us at hello@hobokengirl.com! We appreciate it.

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Written by:

Stephanie Osmanski writes honest things about health, the planet, and being a woman. Her words have appeared on Business Insider, Parade, Eat This Not That, Dogster, Scary Mommy, Green Matters, Parents, Seventeen, Life & Style, InTouch Weekly, and more. Her articles have been syndicated on World Economic Forum, MSN, MSN UK, and MSN Canada. In her free time, Stephanie and her registered therapy dog, Koda, volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.


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