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21 News Stories You Missed in Hoboken + Jersey City This Week

by Alena Competello
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It’s that time again: time for the weekly news roundup to catch you up on all the news you may not have read this week. From a battle over bike parking in Hoboken and a bomb threat at the hospital, to multiple acts of service and the end of an American Dream, this week did not disappoint! Keep reading for all the headlines you missed this week in Hoboken and Jersey City:

Hoboken 8th Grader Opens Pop-Up Shop, Sells Rare Sneakers to Benefit Jubilee Center

elite kickz hoboken

To say Hoboken eighth grader Joseph “JoJo” Petruzzeli is an avid sneaker fan would be an understatement. And this kid also has a head for businesses, turning his love for sneakers and streetwear into Elite Kickz, which resells rare kicks online. Now, JoJo is turning his attention to his local community, specifically his beloved Jubilee Center, which offers a host of recreational and educational programs for kids. When he recognized a need for a cool sneaker store in Hoboken, and combined that with his love of the Jubilee Center, this young entrepreneur had the idea to create his Pop-Up Shop, with a percentage of proceeds going towards the Center.

The Elite Kickz Pop-Up Shop is open for just five days: Saturday, July 25th-Thursday, July 30th from noon to 7PM.. So stop by 1200 Washington Street and get your self a stylish (and rare) pair of kicks.

New Jobs Added to Hoboken Girl’s Job Board Platform

hoboken girl job board

With the economy being what it is, and so many people spending inordinate amounts of time on the internet for work, Hoboken Girl recently launched a new job board resource. Check it out every day for new jobs and resume-building resources. Luckily, now that reopening is underway, more jobs are up for grabs, as employers look to rebuild their businesses. To streamline the process (we always want to make it easier for you!) we’ve created a job board for all of our readers and business owners to get all the latest local jobs listings — complete with jobs available by businesses in NJ, NY, and of course — across Hudson County. Applying to any and all jobs is free of charge, and there are also opportunities to sponsor/feature your resume on the site. Click here to apply.

‘Slow Streets’ and ‘Summer Streets’ Initiatives Continue in Hoboken This Weekend

summer streets hoboken

On Friday, the City of Hoboken + the Hoboken Business Alliance announced the continuation of two programs to facilitate safe, socially distant activities for pedestrians and businesses over the weekend. “Slow Streets,” designed to facilitate more public space for residents to safely jog, walk and bike, took place on Park Avenue from 5th Street to 14th Street, 10th Street between Hudson Street and Grand Street, and Grand Street between 10th and 11th Street on Saturday and continues today from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.started up again on Washington Street and 1st Street at various times on Friday and Saturday, and also continues today.

While “Summer Streets” expands space into the street for socially distant dining and shopping. After piloting last week, “Summer Streets” was revamped this weekend on 1st Street between Washington Street and Garden Street on Friday and Saturday and continues today on Washington Street between 1st Street and 5th Street from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

 “Summer Streets”  is a part of the Hoboken Business Alliance’s {HBA} #GoBoken campaign, the goal of which is to, essentially, encourage local residents to support Hoboken businesses while coinciding with the gradual reopening of outdoor dining and retail stores across the state. For more information on #GoBoken and the most up-to-date calendar of events, go to www.hobokenalliance.com

Bike Parking in Hoboken Passes With an Override

hoboken bike auction

The Hoboken City Council’s override of Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s veto this week means residents can now store their bicycles in Municipal Garages for $1 a week. The ordinance was first introduced at the July 8th Council meeting and passed by a 7-2 in favor of the plan.

Then, Mayor Bhalla vetoed the ordinance, stating, “While I am completely supportive of legislation that would potentially add safe bicycle parking for residents, the Ordinance is severely lacking in the detail and substance that would be necessary to successfully implement such a program.”

But the story doesn’t end there: on July 22nd, the Council held a special session and overrode the Mayor’s veto in a 6-3 vote. There’s been plenty of contention over the issue, with Councilman Phil Cohen calling the plan “half-baked,” while the co-sponsor Councilman Mike DeFusco argued the plan is “sensible,” and that the Mayor’s veto was a matter of politics.

Residents Urged to Save Local Soccer Learning Center

A local soccer club’s fall season is in jeopardy and may be forced to shutter operations. The Soccer Learning Center has hosted community camps at the CERC gym on 9th Street in Jersey City for over a decade. The state gave the club a green light to resume indoor classes, but The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), the city agency that manages the CERC, will not sign a lease, according to one of the Center’s coaches.

According to the coach, the CERC building is being sold to the County of Hudson, but the sale is on hold indefinitely due to the pandemic. And, the Center claims, JCRA will not allow them to hold a temporary lease during the sale proceedings, which would let the classes resume. The Center is urging residents to ask local leaders to encourage the JCRA to issue interim leases so ALL of the essential recreational programs at CERC can reopen in the fall.

Hoboken University Medical Center Reports No COVID Patients for First Time Since March

emergency hospital

In a remarkable milestone last week, Hoboken University Medical Center {HUMC} reported zero cases of COVID-19 patients for the first time since the pandemic started. This is a welcome development, seeing as during the peak of the outbreak in April, the hospital care for 124 COVID-19 positive inpatients in one day.

Ann Logan, Chief Hospital Executive attributed the milestone to “the remarkable commitment and incredible sacrifices our nurses, physicians and staff made to provide the best possible care for COVID positive patients and other members of our community requiring acute care in recent months.

Dr. Achintya Moulick, CEO of CarePoint Health, added, “This achievement is a testament to the incredible staff at Hoboken to best manage this unprecedented time. We plan on taking additional steps in the near future to further protect patients and staff from coronavirus, and reassure our community to feel comfortable to seek necessary care and treatment for other purposes.”

Jersey City Eatery El Gordo Expands to Union Township

El Gordo
If you know anything about good Peruvian food, you already (or should) know all about El Gordo, a chic Peruvian Eatery Chain operating for more than 24 years with locations in Passaic, Paterson, and Jersey City.  Owner and Brand Strategist Lizeth Morales announced this week that the restaurant is expanded, again, this time opening its doors on Morris Avenue in Union Township this August.
Like the other eateries in this beloved chain, El Gordo Union will be moderately priced and offer authentic Peruvian style Rotisserie Chicken, along with other famous Peruvian dishes (think Arroz Chaufa/Peruvian Fried Rice and Lomo Saltado/ Stir Fry Sirloin). The opening menu will offer takeout and delivery from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

“Although this is not how we planned our grand opening, we feel that keeping our original plan will allow us to implement important procedures in preparation for dining without restrictions. I’m excited to bring more than 20 years of tradition to Union Township!”  said Morales.

All are invited to El Gordo Union’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, August 14th at noon. If you haven’t tried El Gordo yet, come get a taste of Peru from an eatery Table Hopping NJ hailed as “one of seven great Peruvian restaurants in the state.”

HoBOOken 5K is Going Virtual in 2020

A Hoboken tradition, and the Hoboken Shelter’s biggest fundraiser of the year, is going virtual! The HoBOOken 5K Halloween Run to End Homelessness is the Hoboken Shelter’s has some tricks {and treats!} up its sleeves this year, including a modified pricing structure, a virtual scavenger hunt for kids, Hoboken’s only 5K medal, t-shirt design contest, a virtual costume contest, and more. 100% of the proceeds from the HoBOOken 5K go to the Hoboken Shelter, which is currently on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Sign up today!

Jersey City Councilman Surrenders to Charges of Simple Assault and Criminal Mischief

{Photo Credit: @jrobinson_jcwardf}

An alleged ex-girlfriend of Jersey City Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson filed a complaint of simple assault and criminal mischief against the Light Rail Cafe Owner at the West District Police Precinct, on July 17 at approximately 1:30AM, according to The Hudson Reporter. Councilman Robinson surrendered to the charges and was released on his own recognizance on July 21st.

According to the news outlet, the woman claims Robinson had been “drinking all day” and, after saying she was too busy to sign a bill receipt he presented to her “started grabbing tables and flipping them as well as breaking a bottle and throwing it on the floor.” The complaint further states that when the woman tried to hug Robinson in an attempt at reconciliation, he allegedly “reacted aggressively holding her by her arms and swinging her back and forth” before he allegedly “threw her down one flight of stairs.”

In response to the complaint, Councilman Robinson’s attorney, Christopher Adams of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP, stated, “These are false allegations made by a former girlfriend,” said Adams in an email. “I can’t imagine what her motivation was, but the events of the day and evening in question are covered by surveillance video, and it is the opposite of what she alleged.” The video, Adams contends, actually tells a different tale, wherein the alleged victim is seen “grabbing, pulling, kneeing and putting Mr. Robinson in a headlock, while is he trying to leave.”

The case is before the Jersey City Municipal Court.


Implosion at Closed Jersey City PSE&G Plant Wakes Residents


If you were jolted out of sleep around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning, you’re not alone! The home-shaking boom was the result of an implosion at the former Hudson Generating Station at Duffield and Van Keuren avenues, near the Hackensack River. Angry residents took to social media to express their anger and frustration by the unplanned work.

And you are woken up to a huge blasting noise,wonder what the heck that was-wish people do this announced and during day time👀#jerseycity #nearI9 pic.twitter.com/P5myKtFd3a

— Madhavan (@madhavang) July 24, 2020

Residents were demanding answers and the City’s response left them wanting. City Councilman Rolando Lavarro Jr. attempted to answer questions on his Facebook page, but was similarly caught off guard by the work.

If you were awakened by a loud explosion this AM, I’m told it was the implosion of the old boilers at the PSEG plant on Duffield Street at 5:40 this morning. Presumably it was all controlled and planned. FYI

Posted by Rolando Lavarro Jr. on Friday, July 24, 2020

According to nj.com, Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione deferred calls to the demolition company, Independence Demolition, which declined to comment.

More information is expected to be made available from Hilco Redevelopment Partners of Chicago, which owns the property.

Beloved Hoboken Eatery Cucharamama Announces Closure

cucharamama hoboken

For the last 16 years, Chucharamama has nestled quietly at the corner of 3rd and Clinton, and dazzled patrons with its delectable South American-inspired menu. In a simple Instagram post on Saturday, the restaurant officially announced its closure.


“To our amazing community, dedicated customers, family, friends and staff: We are heartbroken to announce the closing of Cucharamama. We had hoped to be able to reopen but due to recent developments that option is no longer visible. Thank you for letting us serve you for the last 16 years. We will miss you ❤️” it read. No further comment was made available to Hoboken Girl by the restaurant at the time of publication.

Intrepid Gym Added to List of Outdoor Workout Class Offerings

out door fitness classes gyms hoboken

Intrepid Gym joined the litany of Hoboken gyms offering outdoor workout classes. After the City of Hoboken announced an executive order that would allow for socially-distanced outdoor fitness classes to return to the Mile Square last month, plenty of gyms are on tap and ready to help you sweat it out this summer. The outdoor classes are being held by individual fitness studios that have applied to host an outdoor class of up to 15 people with social distancing guidelines {there must be at least six feet of space between each participant at all times}. The classes this year will also cost cash — fees for each class will be determined by the fitness studio holding it, so it’s important to contact studios directly and purchase classes. You can join Intrepid Gym at Pier A Park. Click here for a full list of local outdoor workout offerings.

DVORA 175 Luxury Residences Debut in Downtown Jersey City

dvora 175 exterior

A nearly-completed 14-story residential building inDowntown Jersey City, DVORA 175, kicks off leasing in September. DVORA 175 is a new collection of 148 luxury rental residences located at 175 Second Street. The building offers proximity to PATH  trains, water ferries, and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and features a monumental exterior clock visible down Marin Boulevard.

Among the amenities are a street-level café lounge open to the public, an upper deck mezzanine level ideal for co-working space, and a Wellness Center. DVORA 175’s rooftop is next level  with a pool, private cabanas, BBQ areas, outdoor showers, and green space. Residents can also take advantage of onsite, enclosed parking with direct access to the building, Tesla and DC Superchargers, and EV car sharing service.

DVORA 175’s collection of residences features one-, one-plus-den, two-, two-plus-den, and three-bedroom floorplans, including Garden and Penthouse homes. The residences – most with balconies and uninterrupted views – feature custom built-in closets, kitchens with fully-integrated appliances, and in-home washers and dryers.

Interested in leasing? Prospective renters can be placed on a VIP Waitlist by visiting www.dvora175.com. Initial occupancy is scheduled for October.

Heal Hoboken Apparel and Accessories Available for Purchase

heal hoboken
Hoboken residents: looking for a way to support the local community? You’re in luck. Men’s and women’s tees, tanks, and totes are now available for purchase thanks to @healhoboken! Heal Hoboken is a local venture launched by @miskowskidesign (aka @hoboken_made and @drummond_st) with the mission of, you guessed it, creating and amplifying ways to help heal Hoboken. 100% of the net proceeds from this fundraising drive, initiated in partnership with @the_localthread will support the @hobokenrelieffund. Stock up now!

The End of an American Dream?

american dream mall new jersey

Like much of Hoboken during the torrential rains this week, the $5 billion mall, American Dream (formerly Xanadu) seems to be underwater. Last month, American Dream developer Triple Five Group missed its third mortgage payment and now, according to NJ.com, retailers are fleeing the space and getting out of their leases. It’s been just six months since the massive mall partially opened in October.

Prior to the pandemic the mall had already lost two tenants, Lord & Taylor and Barneys New York. Now there are several other possible tenants considering cutting their loses, including Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and The Children’s Place. Tenants CMX Cinemas and GNC both filed bankruptcy because of COVID-19, with the latter no longer opening at the mall, according to the Commercial Observer.

Before closing due to the pandemic, American Dream, or 8% of it, had opened to the public. Among the attractions: a Nickelodeon-branded indoor theme park, an NHL regulation-sized ice skating rink, golf course, and an indoor ski slope. The rest of the mall was set to open in phases, which included an observation wheel “nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty,” a 400-seat food hall, up to 18 full-service restaurants, and retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Dolce & Gabbana, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and more were expected to open at the mall this March, according to 6sqft.com.

Even as reopening plans unfold across the state, there’s no reopening date for this Dream set, at least not anytime soon.

Jersey City Westside Community Fridge Offers Free Food for Struggling Residents

community fridge

The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, leaving some locals struggling to make ends meet and even buy food regularly. Jersey City resident Tatiana Smith saw what was happening in her community and she stepped up and decided to do something about it. Enter the Westside Community Fridge.

It all started a few weeks ago, when Smith bought a large refrigerator, ran an extension cord from her home and had it stocked with fruits, vegetables and other items by the next night. Word spread quickly, courtesy of social media, and now Smith, a software designer, has a second job of sorts: keeping the fridge stocked.

The food is free for anyone who needs it, and a small sign on the fridge reads “Take what you need, leave what you can.” There’s a wide variety of food to choose from, and Smith told nj.com that she’s had some help keeping the shelves full. Cash donations through apps like Venmo ( westsidecommunityfridge) or Cashapp (westsidefridge) are also welcome, to help Smith purchase food.

The fridge will stay at 214 Delaware Avenue until it breaks down, Smith told the news outlet. “In a couple weeks the benefits are going to end and the eviction moratorium is going to be lifted. and people still don’t have jobs. I think this is going to be a real issue. When people get desperate they do desperate things. I just want to do my part. No one should go hungry during this pandemic.”

Part of Hoboken’s Sinatra Drive Made More Pedestrian Friendly

open streets pilot hoboken sinatra drive

In another move to promote safe outdoor activities, the Hoboken Council passed an ordinance at its special session on Wednesday to provide more public space for expanded outdoor dining and open streets on Sinatra Drive between Newark Street and 4th Street. The ordinance permits restaurants to construct parklets and streateries in the street space next to their business, and also restricts vehicular traffic during certain hours to pedestrianize the roadway. The ordinance (which can be read in full here) will also restrict parking on the east side of the street from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The initiative runs which runs from August 1st to October 15th.

Acclaimed Play ‘The Net Will Appear’ Returns for a Virtual Run

After thrilling audiences with its 2017 debut at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre, New Jersey playwright Erin Malloy’s play, ‘A Net Will Appear’ took a trip across the Hudson to Broadway. If you missed out on the shows first run, not to worry! According to hmag.com, the play is going online for a limited run with original cast members Matilda Lawler (The Ferryman) and Richard Masur (Risky BusinessOrange Is The New Black) to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and Needham Goes Purple. The play relays the story of an unlikely friendship between two neighbors — on their rooftops, a 72-year-old man {Masur} and a 10-year-old girl {Hoboken resident Matilda Lawler }, who save each other from their lonely worlds below.

This limited-run engagement is presented in partnership with Needham Goes Purple, and is raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s, while also emphasizing the importance of connection in the era of social isolation. The performance will be available online July 19-24, 2020.


Jersey City HAP Tower To Be Redesigned

hap tower jersey city

{Photo Credit: @hap_ny}

Four years after New-York based HAP Investments purchased a large parking lot at 500 Summit Avenue for $26.5 million near Journal Square, the proposed development, HAP Tower, is being revamped. Originally, the Tower was slated to be a 740-unit rental high-rise set with 42 stories and 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail to go with 200 parking spaces, according to Jersey Digs. The outlet was also the first to report a September 2018 lawsuit filed by HAP against the accusing the City of stalling the development. In another piece of exclusive news, Jersey Digs reports that both sides of the issue have resolved their differences and a compromise, it seems, has been reached.

Under the settlement, which has yet to be officially announced, HAP will dedicate 0.80 acres of the project’s land for a municipal park and neighborhood community center, and set aside $2.5 million towards the construction of the facilities, which will be deeded to Jersey City upon completion. HAP will also need to provide no less than 40 parking spaces for patrons visiting the community center under the agreement.

Before initiating the project, HAP must meet with city professionals and a designated design committee from the Hilltop Neighborhood Association, rework their 500 Summit Avenue proposal, and circulate new construction and design drawings to both groups within six months.

In exchange, HAP Tower is granted “automatic approval” based on plans the company submitted to the city from November 2017 “supplemented and further amended by the modifications” of the settlement agreement. The company will still need to apply to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency for designation as a redeveloper under the deal’s terms.

Back in June, HAP posted a new rendering of the project and plans seem to be underway. More formal news about the renovation and redesign are expected before the end of the year.

Jersey City Man Arrested for Hoboken Hospital Bomb Threat

hoboken hospital

Tensions were high in the Mile Square this week when a bomb threat was called in to Hoboken University Medical Center on Monday. The initial investigation fell to Hoboken Police Sergeant Steven Kranz, who supervised the scene with approximately a dozen officers and detectives. Hudson County Sheriffs and Jersey City Police Department K-9 units were also on scene to assist with assessing the situation, which was ultimately deemed to be a false threat.

Later that same day, the the alleged caller was identified as 39-year-old Jersey City resident Eliezer Ocasio, who was placed under arrest, charged with Terroristic Threats and two counts of False Public Alarm. This latter investigation was carried out by Detective Bret Globke and Det. David DiMartino, who were able to locate the origination of the call at a payphone near 400 Newark Street. Det. John Quinones generated the warrant complaint charging Eliezer Ocasio. The warrant complaint was processed by JCPD and Ocasio was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility. He is innocent until proven guilty.

All Saints 8th Graders Donate $10K to Hoboken Relief Fund

All Saints Donate

Acts of service are part of the value system at All Saints Episcopal Day School in Hoboken. So it should come as no surprise that when their trip to Ecuador (part of the school’s exchange program) was cancelled due to COVID-19, the graduating class at the school decided to donate the $10,000 they had raised to fund the expedition to charity.

“They said immediately, ‘We want to give it back to charity,’” their teacher Erin Moran told Hoboken Girl this week. “When someone mentioned Hoboken Relief Fund, they all got behind it right away.”

“We know people are struggling because of COVID-19,” explained Mara Reba, a member of the Class of 2020. “The Hoboken Relief Fund was the best choice for us because it directly supports the Hoboken community.”

“Hoboken has given us so much over the years and helped us grow,” shared Lucas Laine, another 2020 graduate. “Donating this money is the least we could do.”

Hoboken Relief Fund Co-Chair Councilman Phil Cohen said the Fund’s Board was blown away by the students’ generosity. “We’ve gotten bigger checks,” the Councilman said, “but this one touched us in a way that was just extraordinary.”It says so much about who these kids are, what their values are, and what a great education and experience they’ve gotten at All Saints.”

Hoboken Welcomes New Vegan Restaurant

happy vegans hoboken 3

Vegans (and veggie lovers in general) rejoice! Clifton-based Happy Vegans is officially joining the plant-powered restaurant movement in Hoboken. This new restaurant will be located at 410 Washington Street and feature a delectable Turkish plant-based menu and a bevy of delicious drink options. Happy Vegans plans to open soon for outdoor seating, delivery, and pick-up and can soon count itself among a healthy list of vegetable-forward spots in the Mile Square.

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

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