Page 1 • August 2018


By Jack De Vries As the year 2000 approached, Clifton, along with the world, sat on the precipice of the new millennium. While people were optimistic about the future, there was also a sense of foreboding as Y2K loomed. Some believed when the calendar changed, mankind’s technological mousetrap would implode as computers would not be able to cope with the “2000” date. Y2K turned out to be a non-event, but the foreboding was well-founded. The next 10 years would indeed be a bumpy ride.


August 2018 •

On Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed. The terrorist attacks on New York City killed more than 2,900 people, including 11 Clifton residents as the World Trade Center was no more. Clifton’s Enea Gjoka, then 13, was in the hallway after finishing music class at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. A student said to him that they had just taken down the towers. At first, Gjoka couldn’t understand why. Then he saw the smoke rising from the buildings in the distance and understood. He wanted to go and help, but his Albanian-immigrant parents said no. • August 2018


At the schools, many parents signed their children out early from class, as teachers tried to keep things normal. Delawanna School 8 teacher Nancy Muddell remembers hearing a faint rumble as the second tower fell. Aware of the situation in Lower Manhattan, Muddell and her colleagues tried to keep the news from their young students, as some might have mothers and fathers working in the affected area. “Here we were,” Muddell said, “just a few miles from the city where this was happening, but feeling closed out because we wanted to keep this tragic event from the children we were supposed to protect.” Above from left, Enea Gjoka, Michael Tarlavsky, John Samra, Tara Keating, 9/11 brought American patriSandy Grazioso, Eileen Keating. Facing page our October 2001 cover. otism to levels unseen since World War II, and Mayor James “After 9/11,” he remembered, “there was no way I Anzaldi recalled older residents telling him that 9/11 was not going to get into the fight.” was his generation’s Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, the He would, arriving in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine U.S. entered into conflicts in Afghanistan and later Iraq. in 2010. At home, flags flew. Service men and women were Throughout Clifton on 9/11, there was uncertainty celebrated, and veterans appreciated. and fear. Following warnings that more government The next year, Clifton instituted an “Avenue of buildings would be hit, City Hall closed. City Manager Flags,” the brainchild of WWII veteran Walter Bob Hammer placed dump trucks filled with sand to Pruiksma. The first celebration (now held on Sept. 11, block the municipal complex’s entrances. Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July and Veterans 16,000 Magazines are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month.

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August 2018 •

Subscribe $35 / year / $60 for 2 Call 973-253-4400 Contributing Writers Jack De Vries, Joe Hawrylko, Irene Jarosewich, Tom Szieber, Jay Levin, Michael C. Gabriele, Ariana Puzzo, Patricia Alex

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Art Director Ken Peterson Graphic Designer Natalia Dymora Business Mgr. Gabriella Marriello Social Media Mgr. Ariana Puzzo

Day) featured 200 flags, each representing a Clifton veteran. Today’s Avenue of Flags days display 1,500 flags decorating the roads around City Hall. 9/11 unified the nation, but came with a cost. Indicative of the sacrifice was the death of Army Special Forces Captain Michael Tarlavsky, a 1992 CHS graduate. Tarlavsky died fighting in Iraq in 2004. There was also tragic loss at home. In 2003, motorcycle officer John Charles Samra, 41, became the first Clifton policeman to die in the line of duty in the city’s history, killed responding to a traffic accident. Samra, a U.S. Air Force veteran, grew up in the Lakeview section and served the department since 1988. Clifton also said goodbye to one of its greatest athletes in 2001 when William “Billy” DeGraaf was remembered by his friends at a July ceremony. DeGraaf was part of the family that founded Clifton’s DeGraaf Dairy. He was the youngest of four brothers, and his family lived on Paulison Ave., near Weasel Brook Park. DeGraaf made his debut for the Clifton Mustangs at just 13, stepping in at quarterback for injured Jim Haraka and leading the Mustangs to victory over Paterson Central, 20-0, before 10,000 fans at Hinchcliffe Stadium. The athletic thrills DeGraaf gave Clifton never ceased during his playing career. He earned All-State honors in football, basketball and baseball, and was an All-American on the gridiron. The late Clifton sports historian Lou Poles attested to DeGraaf’s gifts. “He was a natural,” said Poles. “The first time we went bowling, I struggled to get a 150 score; Billy bowled a 257. In his late twenties, he took up tennis. A few months later, Billy was playing in the Clifton City Tournament finals, losing only to Robert Tanis, one of the best ever in our area.” After graduating, DeGraaf went on to star for Cornell University, earning more honors as a quarterback and pitcher. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he chose to play a few seasons of minor league baseball before quitting after his wife became pregnant.

Still, DeGraaf’s story goes beyond sports. He was remembered as a fiercely loyal friend to all, and never forgotten in Clifton. In a 2000 interview, DeGraaf said: “I can’t believe people remember me after 50 years.” During the decade, Clifton performers readied for the spotlight or continued their outstanding careers. Brian Kennedy (pictured on page 4) practiced with his guitar, while accomplished singer Marlene VerPlanck and violinist Larry Packer, who performed with Jimi Hendrix among others, pleased audiences with their music. While 9/11 and its aftermath would be the decade’s greatest challenge, other significant issues awaited. For Clifton, the next 10 years would be defined by its burgeoning population and resulting development. The added city residents would forever alter Clifton’s landscape and ethnic makeup. While the new Cliftonites added diversity and enthusiasm, the city grew more congested and crowded—a fact lamented by some longtime residents. After dropping in population from the previous decade to 71,000 people, Clifton’s resident count rose nearly 10 percent through the 1990s to nearly 79,000. By 2010, it had climbed another 7 percent to 84,000. CHS in particular seemed ready to burst at its seams as hallways became “mosh pits” each time classes changed. Traffic increased. Existing living space became crammed with people. Established residents demanded answers to how it happened. They hadn’t seen anything yet. Changing City The demolition of the Clifton Theatre in 2001 and building of a drug store in its place (Clifton Merchant Magazine dubbed it the “Walgreening of Clifton”) was a clear sign of the city’s change. However, Clifton’s build-out began much earlier. During the late 1990s, with vacant land and properties dotting the city, the Clifton City Council, looking for tax ratables, encouraged development and the expansion began. • August 2018


Patriotism came in many forms after 9/11/01. Holding supplies at Delta Freight are (from left) Sue Suwalski, Mike Grimaldi, Brian Marshall, Tom Mukaj of Galt Trucking and Brandon Zampese. Luddington Ave.’s Ed Schweighardt snapped this photo of men marching down Main Ave. on Saturday following the attack. Police asked them to leave the road.

The most significant was Cambridge Crossing, a 637-unit housing complex of condos and townhomes built on the former 42-acre Shulton site on Colfax Ave. Voters had rejected building a school there in 1994. Along the Passaic River in the Delawanna section, K. Hovnanian built its 246-unit River Walk I and II property, along with 18 more townhomes on River Rd. Smaller housing developments, like Chandra Arms, sprouted. The former Athenia Steel property on Clifton Ave. was earmarked as a site for a 125-unit senior housing and a park. Vacant businesses along Route 3 were turned into high-traffic shopping areas to rival any town, like the Costco site, Clifton Commons and The Promenade Shops at Clifton. Existing Clifton businesses expanded, and Corrado’s was an example. Opened in its present location in 1975, Corrado’s grew from a simple grocery store catering to Italian-American clientele to a multi-product and service complex, serving both the city’s new and established communities. As the 12 square-mile city became crammed with new development and housing, many citizens questioned if the growth came at the expense of their quality of life and if there was a city plan behind the growth. It turns out, Clifton did have a plan … but it was no longer relevant. As a result of growing public dissatisfaction—along with calls to alleviate student overcrowding by building a new school—Clifton Merchant


August 2018 •

went from a community publication to a burr in the City Council’s side, asking tough questions about lack of planning and representing disgruntled residents’ views. “We moved safe and soft stories to the back of the magazine,” said editor and publisher Tom Hawrylko, “and became fair and frank in the front. I sensed that I was not the only one fed up with the lack of planning and over-development in Clifton.” In 2002, more than 1,300 residents signed a “No More Housing” petition and allowed the magazine to publish their names. Next, Hawrylko invited Carlos Rodrigues of the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth to tour the city and review Clifton’s Master Plan. Rodrigues said the plan should contain opportunities for the public to provide input. “That’s not here,” said Rodrigues. “Right now, it doesn’t give me a sense of what the vision is for either the city as a whole or the different neighborhoods. “It seems like the ‘plan’ part is missing.” Had Enough By 2003, the “No More Housing” movement was in full bloom and the pain of overcrowding was real. A Feb. 2003 Clifton Merchant cover featured angry residents standing in front of a proposed 17unit townhouse location. C&L Developers were confident they would secure the necessary variances for the project. However, after residents hired an attorney, C&L scaled back plans and built eight single-

family homes in accordance with local zoning. In Aug. 2004, the magazine’s cover asked: “What’s Happening to Our Mountain?” Legend has it that in 1867, Mrs. Charles D. Spencer said, “There are your cliffs and the name shall be Clifton.” Now the mountain crown framing the city was no more—reduced to rubble to make room for K. Hovnanian’s Four Season’s at Great Notch, an 800-unit complex straddling the Clifton-West Paterson border. In its place was a new Clifton, teeming with people, energy and vibrancy. Property values rose, though wages lagged behind, and the city grew with enterprising immigrants from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The city had created new ratables and redeveloped vacant or underused properties—as was its aim when the millennium began. But it came with a cost. School Search While the building was here to stay, the contentious school issue would not go away. Additions at the Clifton middle schools were already completed in the nineties, and voters had approved

School 17 in 2002 (it opened in 2004). However, projections said Clifton could add 1,000 students during the decade, boosting its student population to over 10,000. At the time, CHS was already the state’s first or second largest single-campus high school with a student count of about 3,400. Into the fray walked Clifton School Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. The Michigan native took over his position in 2002 and immediately began his pitch against school overcrowding, saying less of it meant an improved learning atmosphere and better grades. Some were resistant to Rice’s message but others listened. Voters approved the 2003 school budget, the first of three to consecutively pass during his tenure. Prior to his arrival, only three in 11 years were successful. Though mostly neutral on where the school should be located, Rice inspired debate in every corner of the city, often pitting neighboring Clifton sections against each other. In 2004, voters approved annex construction to house 500 sixth through ninth grade students on Brighton Rd. Overcrowding advocates said a school to house 1,200 to 1,700 students was still needed.


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While political and school issues dominated the early century, the city remained a vibrant place, filled with personalities, arts and culture. School Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice arrived from Michigan to advocate for students, and groups like the O>Matics were preparing to break out later in the decade.

Many favored building a new school on the Clifton Board of Education-owned Latteri Park, which would cost taxpayers nothing for the land. Clifton Merchant and 2,661 published petition signers endorsed the idea. However, some, especially in the surrounding Rosemar section, were opposed to losing the recreation site, as was the Clifton City Council. Others wanted the new school built on Shultheis Farm or located on Brighton Rd. There was also support for building a school on the Athenia Steel property, led by the Board of Education President Joe Kolodziej. School crowding and overdevelopment would continue to bedevil the city throughout the remaining decade. These issues would influence elections and fuel public debate, causing neighbors to argue about where to build a school. Cliftonites would also question their leaders, and those elected officials would struggle to find the right path for the city. And through it all, Clifton Merchant Magazine would document the journey through these emotional and historic times. The decade’s history will continue in an upcoming issue.


August 2018 • • August 2018



August 2018 • • August 2018


In 2000, Hoffman La Roche was still a major employer as it expanded and invested in new research buildings, seen at left, along Route 3. The Brook Rats’ Reunion 2000: (seated) Teddy Schultz and Joe Wojtovitz; (middle) Joe Billack, Tony Mele, Joe Pitak, Jody Verceglio Zsoldos, Denise Pedranti Lejava, Joe Paci, and Dona Atkinson; (back) Richie Passenti, John Zsoldos and John Lejava.

Dec. 31, 1999 – Jan. 1, 2000: To toast the millennium, the Brook Rats, a group of former teenage friends, reunite. At midnight, they went down to their former hangout, the brook near Hope and Highland Aves. 2000: Downtown Clifton Economic Development Group announces the Clifton Theatre and the Knights of Columbus building will be demolished in the spring to make way for a Walgreens Super Drug Store. 2000: Peter and Joanna Iuliani of J&O Grand Five & Ten Cent Store near Main and Clifton Aves. deny rumors of the store’s closing. Opened in 1938, the Iulianis owned the store since 1987.

2000: Clifton wins accolades from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of 18 communities nationwide for diverting 56 percent of its solid waste from landfills. The numbers showed 38 percent was done via recycling and 18 percent via composting. 2000: Rev. Michael Zemlachenko of St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Putnam Ave. marks his 20th year as pastor. 2000: Tick Tock Plaza takes shape next to the landmark Route 3 diner. Among the first new stores to open shop at the retail plaza were the locally-owned Suzy Homemaker and a Kinko’s printing shop. At Main and Clifton Aves. in 2000, Downtown Clifton merchants preparing for change are from left: JJ Chun of Young Cleaners, Ernesto Tyczynski of Eden Musical, Ronnie Italiano of Clifton Music, Eddie Maldonado of Head Spins Hair O’ Nails Salon, Peter Iuliano of J&O Grand 5 & 10 Cent Store and Angeliki Stathopoulos of the Main-Clifton Diner.


August 2018 •


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2000: The Corrado Family is completing construction of 25,000 sqft. of retail space in the former Bright Star Industries building. 2000: Housing demand increases. At the former Shulton site on Colfax Ave., across from CHS, Town & Country Developers are ready to break ground for 637 condos or townhouses.

Jan. 27, 2000: Henry F. Marrocco Jr., a third-generation funeral director, dies at age 73. Marrocco joined the family business in 1949. He was past president of the Clifton Optimist Club, past commander of American Legion Post 347 and served as a Board of Health Commissioner for over 33 years.

Jan. 6, 2000: Clifton Arts Center opens behind the Clifton Municipal Complex and seeks to further the collaboration of arts and community, says President Jeffrey Labriola.

Jan. 30, 2000: Clifton Super Bowl Family Day is hosted by the Rec Department at the CHS gymnasium and offers a drug, alcohol and gambling-free environment for families. Over 200 attended.

Jan. 15, 2000: The Children’s Theater Workshop of Fiddler on the Roof debuts at the YM-YWHA. Clifton cast members included, Dr. Barry Raphael, John Sitar, Lindsay Mac, Carolyn Liberti, Amanda Gordon and Hadassah Levenson.

Jan. 31 – Feb. 4, 2000: Catholic Schools in our community— Sacred Heart, St. Andrew, St. Brendan, St. Clare, St. John Kanty, St. Paul, St. Nicholas (Ukrainian) and St. Philip—are showcased and celebrated.


August 2018 •

Project 2000 is underway. The $7.8 million bond referendum was passed in 1999. It was a five-year plan to expand and upgrade computer use and technology in Clifton’s 16 public schools. • August 2018


Jan. 31, 2000: Re/Max Realty Professionals opens at 825 Allwood Rd. Wafa Othman is the office owner. Feb. 4, 2000: Clifton Merchant Magazine announces its CHS All-Century Basketball Team: Ed Bednarcik (’75), Bud Campbell (’75), Dennis Cesar (’64), Hal Corizzi (’46), Ed Monks (’67), Al Yuhas (’66), Ray Van Cleef (47), Sam Poulis (’91), Billy DeGraaf (’52), Bill Shaughnessy (’88), Rich Finken (’56), Ken Van Dahlen (’63), Jerry Manning (’59), Larry Kondra (’69) and Rich Conrad (’71). Feb. 9-14, 2000: The globetrotting Marching Mustangs capture the hearts of Canada during their performance at the Carnaval de Quebec. Feb. 10, 2000: The Arts Center presents its first oneperson show, “James Carlin, Painter.” Born in Ireland in 1906, Carlin came to America in 1929 and became a long-time Clifton resident. His career spanned more than 80 years with exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design in New York and Brooklyn Museum. Feb. 13, 2000: The Just Cheer All-Star Cheerleading Team competes for the first time. Team included Kaitlyn and Kim Topping, Danielle Calzaretta, Lori Lill, Jill Gensinger and Dana McNamara. Feb. 16, 2000: “Ella’s House” expands the services of St. Peter’s Haven for homeless families thanks to a bequest from the estate of Ella Brooks, a St. Peter’s Episcopal Church parishioner. Feb. 21, 2000: The 18th President’s Day Adult-Child Bowling Tourney is at Garden Palace on Lakeview Ave. March 2000: The Mustangs Softball Team travels to Orlando, Fla., for the Disney Tournament.

Clifton Arts Center in early 2000, from left, Kathleen C. O’Donnell, Michael Gabriele, gallery director Barbara Flexner, Olive Mickens and pianist Gregory Baron.

March 2000: CMM wins a first place communications honors award by the Boys & Girls Club of America for its Sept. 1999 issue of Clifton Boys & Girls Club’s history and a preview of its renovated facility. March 17-19, 2000: The Junior Mustangs Cheerleading Competition Team travels to Williamsburg, Va., for a national competition. March 18, 2000: Former City Manager William Holster dies at 85. From 1957 through 1982, Holster guided Clifton’s growth from a rural farming community to become the 10th largest city in New Jersey. A city park on Grove St. is named in his honor. April 2000: CMM announces the CHS Mustangs AllCentury Baseball Team. The pitchers included Bill Dobbelaar (’25), Lou Cross (’26), Walt Sidor (’30), Jack ‘Lefty’ Slothis (’32), Ray Van Cleef (’47), Gene Pami (’51), Rick Serrano (’70), Rich Waller (’72), Mark Tomaskovic (’87) and Bob Holly (’78); infielders Ron Plaza (’51), Jason Celentano (’90), Jim Blakemore (’44), George Poydenicz (’45), John Donahue (’33), Todd Spreen (’89), Bob Capo (’95) and Pete Mueller (’79); outfielders Frank Pecci (’52), Ed Sanicki (’41), John McClain (’85), Ed Klimek (’87), Doug Kleber (’72), Paul Pignatello (’72); and behind the plate were catchers Billy DeGraaf (’52), Mike Lombardo (’91), Bob Boettcher (’48). April 8, 2000: UNICO honors Michael N. Corradino at The Brownstone. Corradino devoted 50 years to the Italian-American service organization.


August 2018 •

Dr. Michael Lewko with his mom Stefania and sister Danusia.

Ukrainian Flag Raising

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On August 24, the nation of Ukraine will celebrate its 27th anniversary of Independence from the former Soviet Union. Here in Clifton, Americans of Ukrainian heritage will mark the anniversary on Friday, August 24 at Clifton City Hall. At 6 pm, our group will raise the American and Ukrainian flags and sing songs honoring this milestone. We invite the community to join us.

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Top from left, Rus Schneider, Eddie Maldonado, Dolores Colucci, Al DuBois, Bob Foster, Alice Demikoff; bottom row, Frank A. Lopez, Al Greco, Tom Fieldhouse, Giuseppe Rossi, Leo Hatem and Vince DeRosa.

People2Watch000s Russ Schneider seemed the heir apparent to lead the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce in early 2000. Instead, he took over his family’s business, Schneider’s Flowers on Clifton Ave. He was among the eclectic mix of Cliftonites we suggested readers keep an eye on that year. Others included: Eddie Maldonado who owned a Main Ave. hair salon across from Clifton Theatre that brought hip-hop culture to Clifton Commerce. Vince DeRosa who founded Classical Academy Charter School on Valley Rd. in 1998. Frank A. Lopez (CHS ’98) worked at Wee Care Child Care Center and hoped to become a kindergarten teacher. Principal Alice Demikoff’s School 3 on Washington Ave. ranked first in test scores in Clifton. Al Greco, director of Health and Welfare, who “brings a human face to bureaucracy.” Tom Fieldhouse, a Bell Atlantic exec and past president of the Stallions Soccer League, where he showed leadership and organization skills, who was named VP of the board of recreation. The Boys & Girls Club is fortunate to have Dolores Colucci and Bob Foster. Dolores “is the director who wheels and deals in a positive way to make the new $5 million club a reality.” Big Bob is the operations guy who keeps programs running. Together, and with board members, staff and volunteers, the club is Clifton’s latest showcase facility.


August 2018 •

Giuseppe Rossi was a budding soccer prodigy and 13-year-old son of coaching legend Fernando Rossi and CHS foreign language teacher Cleonilde. Father and son departed for Salsomaggiore, Italy, in Dec. 1999, where Giuseppe played for a youth team in Parma, considered one of the premier club teams in Serie A (Italian First Division) and the world. Leo Hatem has a look that tells a story and a storied business life that began as a jockey. In 2000, he was a budding thespian, having performed as the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof and Virgil in Bus Stop. That spring, he was cast as the butler in Loser Love, a film starring Lauren Hutton and Burt Young. His day job is real estate and apparently Leo is pretty good. In Nov. 1999, he was Weichert’s top lister. What list of Clifton People to Watch would be complete without Alfred DuBois? Al put our city on the map. His innovation and leadership with Clifton’s Clean Communities, and Recycling Programs earned our city accolades nationwide. What’s more, the city reaped thousands in savings and earned more in revenue thanks to the programs. Al also made headlines by taking on the Catholic Church, the Library Board, and other institutions and issues. You may not always agree with him, but admit it, Al is one of a kind. The obvious question then was: What will Al do next? • August 2018


In April 2000, the Vietnam Remembrance Committee with our writer, Rob Wahlers, center. From left: Walter Pruiksma, Rich DeLotto and Norm Tahan. Led by DeLotto, the men researched the names and lives of Clifton military who died in action during the Vietnam War. Their memories were honored in the May 2000 edition of our magazine.

Alfred Pino, Bohdan Kowal, Donald Scott, Guy Tulp, James Strangeway, John Bilenski and John France are among the 29 Cliftonites who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War.

April 18, 2000: Seven candidates vie for three open seats on the Board of Education: Jean Bernstein, Wayne Demikoff, Claudio Gonzalez, Joseph Kolodziej, Melindo Persi, Marcia Schwartz and Jim Smith. Demikoff, Smith and Kolodziej prevailed. May 5, 2000: Ray Zang’s Auto Service celebrates 53 years. In 1947, Ray Zang Sr. repaired cars on the same Clifton Ave. corner where his son Ray Jr. serviced vehicles until 2010. May 7, 2000: The Boys & Girls Club hosts tours its renovated facility. May 9, 2000: CHS Athletic Hall of Fame inducts: Rich Conrad (’71), Andrea Bobby (’79), Howie Vandermast (’84), Lou Capuano, Rich Tate (’69) and Joe Koziol (’85). May 10, 2000: Former Mayor and Councilman Israel Friend dies. Friend grew up in Botany, where his parents owned a department store. An attorney, he ran for City Council in 1966 placing eighth, then won a spot in 1970. In 1973, he was appointed to replace Anna Latteri, Clifton’s first female mayor, who died in July 1973.


August 2018 •

Captains from Mustang spring sports in April 2000, from left, clockwise: Jamie Anzaldi, softball; Amit Desai, tennis; Erin E. Krewer, golf; Tom White, volleyball; Sean Pekarsky, lacrosse; Kevin Riebesell, baseball; Ammar Abbasi, boys spring track and Edith Werpachowska, girls spring track. • August 2018


June 2000: Brian Shadiack is the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. He received a $1,000 scholarship and two $500 gifts. June 2000: Exploration of the Passaic County-owned Lower Weasel Brook Park as a school site begins.

The 1950s were a great time to attend Clifton High School, just ask the 115 former Mustangs who attended a June 21, 2000, get-together at The Brownstone. From top left, Michael J. Palko, Chief Frank LoGioco, Coaches Joe Grecco and Bill VanDer Closter, Walt Calligaro and Bob VanDerLinda; bottom from left, Felix Rossi, Judge Joe Scancarella and Al Mardirossian Jr.

May 12, 2000: Bob Foster, director of operations at the Boys & Girls Club, is honored by the Optimist Club as its annual “Friend of Youth.” May 13, 2000: The BOE and Fire Department host the 11th Child Health and Safety Fair at School 16. May 19, 2000: The BOE terminates a contract to purchase the New York Sash & Door site off of Lakeview Ave. for a new elementary school to alleviate overcrowding. Leaky underground oil tanks and groundwater contamination killed the deal. June 2000: The Classical Academy Charter School graduates its first eighth-grade class. June 21, 2000: They recall themselves as young Mustangs—the battles they fought, the victories they earned. Others recalled those moments as fans—how they loved their team, how special it was to cheer them on. A treasured few recalled how special it was to lead them, coach them, to act as their lifelong mentors. They are the Fighting Mustangs of the 1940s and 1950s, and they would always remember what a special time that was in their lives. Nearly 100 former athletes, fans, friends and coaches gathered at The Brownstone to mark the special days. Organized by Al Mardirossian (CHS ’56), the reunion was in its fourth year and brought back an innocent era that was Clifton nearly a half-century ago.


August 2018 •

July 2000: BOE, city and county officials begin the process to obtain Green Acres approval to swap Lower Weasel Brook Park for another city-owned property. Green Acres would give preliminary plan approval in September.

July 2000: Ten thousand students are projected for the 2000-01 school year. Enrollment grew 2.5 to 3 percent annually during the last decade, and was expected to stay at that rate. The school budget for the year 2000-01 was $82 million.

July 2000: Baha’i of Clifton opens an office on Clifton Ave. to serve as a library, as well as provide information about the Baha’i Faith. July 1, 2000: The Clifton City Picnic is held at Main Memorial Park. The picnic began in 1967. July 22, 2000: The Hawthorne Caballeros host the 36th Annual Drum & Bugle Grand Prix at Clifton Stadium. Aug. 2000: The history of newspapers and reporters who covered our community is reviewed in a historical look back by our magazine. The cover featured a charcoal illustration of a life-sized sculpture Point of View (dubbed Cliff Hall) by J. Seward Johnson, which was in front of City Hall for a number of years as part of the Sculpture Park. In the year 2000, three independent publications served our community.

Fall 2000: Chelsea Park roller hockey rink opens with four teams playing and coached by Darren Amico, Sabe and Joe Centinaro, Mat Cheringal, John Gulando and Mike Scudillo. Sept. 2000: CMM polls 293 residents for opinions about how they will vote in the upcoming 2000 Presidential Election. From 293 responses, 153 (52.2 percent) voted Al Gore, 121 (41.3 percent) voted George W. Bush, 12 (4.1 percent) voted Ralph Nader and seven (2.4 percent) voted Pat Buchanan.

Aug. 12, 2000: Ted Bednarski is elected as president of the Sons of Poland, a fraternal insurance benefit society for those of Polish ancestry founded 97 years prior. Aug. 24, 2000: About 100 people mark the ninth anniversary of Ukraine’s independence by raising the blue and gold flag at City Hall as they sing American and Ukrainian patriotic songs. Aug. 26, 2000: The Millennium Committee organizes Clifton All-ADay 2000, an opportunity for all Cliftonites to celebrate the city’s diversity, which is held at City Hall and surrounding grounds. Summer 2000: Work progresses at Styertowne Shopping Center. New owners, J.K. Management, L.L.C. began an ambitious renovation. Two-thirds of the 36,000 sq-ft. building, which formerly housed Astro Bowl and Ashley’s, was gutted and rebuilt. • August 2018


Sept. 14, 2000: The Clifton Camera Club’s group show, Open Shutters, is the opening exhibit of the Arts Center’s 2000-01 season. Sept. 24, 2000: Lambert Castle re-opens after a multi-year renovation. Features included sculptures, a local history art gallery and a research library. Originally known as “Bella Vista,” the castle (built by silk baron Catholina Lambert in 1892) is on Valley Rd. at the Clifton/Paterson border.

Mayor Jim Anzaldi, Downtown Clifton Director Kirk Johnson, Donna Sidoti of Community Development, and Pat DeLora, chair of Downtown Clifton, announced grants for district business owners in September 2000.

Oct. 11, 2000: Clifton School Traffic Guards are presented with the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award by the Optimist Club. There were 60 guard members (pictured below) working under Clifton Police Department supervision.

Oct. 25, 2000: Michael Cerone, Jr. and Florence Junda receive the first Donald J. Fischer Service Awards for their roles in the successful development of St. Peter’s Haven for Homeless Families. Nov. 2000: Dayton Homemade Chocolates relocates to 100A Market St. Founded in 1912 at Dayton and Highland Aves., the shop was purchased in 1951 by John and Frances Mikardos and remained in the family. It is now in Styertowne Shopping Center. Nov. 5, 2000: The city honors Korean War vets with a parade through Athenia and a service at City Hall. Nov. 23, 2000: The Fighting Mustangs end their season winning the Optimist Cup in a Thanksgiving Day victory over the Passaic Indians, 21-14. The Mustangs finished with a record of 3-7.


August 2018 •

Dec. 2000: The BOE learns its Green Acres application for a new school site is not on the Dec. 11 Green Acres agenda. The next meeting was March 2001. Dec. 7, 2000: The 11th Clean Communities awards are presented. Eight thousand people, 39 organizations and 100 businesses took part in the successful city program. Dec. 2000: Paul VI Regional HS on Valley Rd. is recalled in CMM. Built on the Great Notch Nursery site in 1966, the school closed in June 1990. Former students were Fran Fleischer Hopkins, Steve Hatala, Nick Velicky, Peter Eagler, Joyce Newton Snagusky and Jeff Pompeo. They said the school’s spirit was set by the late Father Thomas Suchon, (right) who passed away in 1976.

With Great Pride, We Recognize the Clifton Office’s Highest Achievers. May 2018 Award Winners

Kathleen “Kathy” Perow

Top Lister

Beryl Bells

Beryl Bells

Top Producer

Top Sales

Patricia “Patty” Badia

Agent of the Month

Beryl Bells

Weichert Pride

June 2018 Award Winners

Patricia “Patty” Badia

Top Lister

Hilda Ferro

Hilda Ferro

Top Producer

Top Sales

Beryl Bells

Agent of the Month

Kaitlyn Barbagallo

Weichert Pride

Here are some of our current homes on the market....

CLIFTON This lovely, 2 Bedroom Cape offers an Eat-In Kitchen, Living Room, hardwood floors, full basement, attic, fenced in, oversized yard. Close to mass transportation. MLS #3488182 $289,000

CLIFTON Situated on a beautifully manicured lot, this 3 Bedroom Tudor boasts a Formal Dining Room, Living Room, Eat-in Kitchen, Family Room with fireplace, basement, deck, 1 car garage. MLS #3482562 $399,000

CLIFTON This well- kept, Colonial Cape features 3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths, Kitchen, Living Room with fireplace, Formal Dining Room, sunken Family Room, full basement and 1 car garage. MLS #3469208 $364,900

Tony Sanchez, Manager

If you’re interested in a career in real estate, call me at 973-779-1900 (office) 973-801-9497(cell) • August 2018


Clifton enjoys one of the most consistant periods of economic growth since its incorporation in 1917, Clifton Merchant Magazine reports in its Jan. 2001 cover story. At right, James J. Bovino of Town & Country and Mayor James Anzaldi pose by the wrecking ball machine before a ceremonial demolition at the former Shulton site on Dec. 22, 2000. Eventually, the site, across from CHS on Colfax Ave., became 637 units of townhomes and senior housing.

Among people in our January edition: Schools Superintendent Bill Liess, Realtors Charlotte Priestner and Mike La Corte, Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej, Realtor Nicholas Tselepis, Librarian Cindy Czesak and Realtor Dan Norton.

Jan. 2001: Robert Ryerson, an 8th grader at WWMS, competes with the US Olympic Gymnastics team. Given two days notice, he performed his parallel bar routine for 8,000 people at the Tour of World Gymnastics Champions, 2000 at Continental Airlines Arena.

Census 2001 shows Clifton’s population climbed 6 percent, to 76,000 residents, during the past decade. The numbers created a major shift. Growth was most profound in Botany and Lakeview, creating a need for a new school. Sites were examined with the focus on what was then called “Little Weasel Park,” as the county offered to sell it to the city for $1. For business, most of the ITT facility on Rt. 3 is converted into Clifton Commons. Styertowne Center is sold and under renovation. The discussed demolition of Clifton Theatre was hoped to jump start redevelopment of the Main Ave. commercial district.

Jan. 19, 2001: The Clifton Theatre, near the intersection of Main and Clifton Aves., is demolished. It originally opened in 1927 as a silent movie theater.

Jan. 2001: The Council votes unanimously to rezone the Athenia Steel property to allow for construction of senior citizen housing and recreational facilities.

Feb. 4, 2001: Cub Scout Pack 22 holds its Blue & Gold Dinner at the Boys & Girls Club. The event, to mark the birthday of scouting, also marked their 50th anniversary.

Jan. 2001: Clifton Library Director Cindy Czesak leaves after 29 years and heading the main library’s building effort to lead the Paterson Library System.

Feb. 15, 2001: An exhibition of paintings by the Clifton Association of Artists opens at the Arts Center, the second winter show for the artists at the Arts Center.


August 2018 • • August 2018


Tom DeVita was named president of the Passaic Valley Water Commission in Jan. 2001, and is pictured with fellow Commissioner Les Herrschaft. CHS senior Rob Vargo was headed to the March 10 State Wrestling Finals. Vargo, who wrestles at 171, had a scholastic record of 124-8. Skaters Tom Hawrylko Jr., (in the kilt) Joey Musleh, Human Services Director Al Greco and Recreation Supervisor Debbie Oliver met at the soon to be constructed Skate Park on Third St.

Feb. 21, 2001: Clifton Midget League honors James McCarren and Frank Gaccione at The Brownstone. The two men were co-founders of Colts football. League founder, the late Henry “Hooks” Brower, the late Angelo Bertelli and the Porter family were also honored. March 10, 2001: Mustangs ice hockey team finishes with a 2-1 victory over Bayonne, capturing the New Jersey’s Public School State championship. The Mustangs end the season 20-8-2. March 12, 2001: Fr. Hilary Conti, O.S.B dies. He established Holy Face Monastery in 1957 and served as director. In 2000, he celebrated 50 years since his ordination to the priesthood.

Fr. Hilary Conti, founder of Holy Face Monastery on Route 3. At right, our March 2001 magazine introduced readers to the living residents and caretakers of East Ridgelawn Cemetery on lower Main Ave. Meet the Sciarrino family, from left, Arlene, Sydney, Gary and Paige.

April 2001: Pat Collucci is appointed brand manager of Great Falls Bank. She was previously senior sales manager of Hudson United Bank on Paulison Ave. April 17, 2001: The BOE holds elections for three available seats. The six candidates include Jayesh Gandhi, Jean Bernstein, Stephen Kolakowsky, Melinda Persi, Joseph Wenzel and Kenneth Kurnath. April 29, 2001: The Optimist Club celebrates its 50th anniversary by honoring School 12 principal Sal Anzaldi with the Friend of Youth Award and Alex Peto with the Outstanding Community Service Award.


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D h J d s R

Under the hands-on artistry of master chef Jerry Luciano, the folks at Amore Ristorante turn a dinner out to an evening with family. In addition to Jerry and his wife Pina, there’s daughter Melissa and son-in-law Roberto Arcucci, the general manager and allaround guy who helps make Amore work in each and every way. The friendly waite staff is also part of the Amore familia. They know their longtime patrons and are welcoming to newcomers as they introduce items on the menu, as well as the many daily specials. Of course, the reason for all this is the generous, delicious and beautifully plated portions of Jerry’s amazing southern Italian cooking ... some of which are pictured. Pastry and dessert chef Pina takes over after dinner with an extraordinary array of (literally) homemade desserts. Gluten-free patrons or those with dietary concerns should know that Pina often has well-suited options prepared in advance. But Pina would be happy to accommodate any specific requests with an advance call.


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Dessert chef Pina Luciano, her husband and head chef Jerry Luciano with their daughter Melissa and son-in law Roberto Arcucci. • August 2018


In April 2001, we showcased the farmers of Clifton. From left are Marietta Barlett-Downing and Nancy Bartlett at Bartlett Greenhouse and Florist on Grove St.; Al Schultheis and son Al Schultheis Jr. at their six-acre farm on Grove St.; Rudy Ploch at his 15-acre farm on Grove; and Jack Morton and Debbie Morton at Richfield Farms on Van Houten Ave.

May 2001: Christopher Burgan is the 2001 Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club. May 5, 2001: The late George Trinkle is remembered as the Clifton Democratic Club hosts its Democrat of the Year Dinner at the Mountainside Inn. May 7, 2001: The 47th Youth Week begins with the theme, “Clifton’s Kids are Kind.” Events included a talent show, fishing contest and family day. May 8, 2001: Clifton Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are Sean Henry (’89), track; Krzysztof Halupka (’95), soccer; Dana Jeannetti (’94), soccer, bowling, softball; John Lischak, coach; Karl Monaco (’87), wrestling; Curt Pezzano (’82), bowling; William Shaughnessy (’88), football, basketball, baseball; Loretta Zahn Pogorelec (’92), volleyball, basketball, softball; Robert Zschack, “Voice of the Mustangs.” May 9, 2001: Passaic Firefighter and Clifton resident Alberto Tirado dies in the line of duty responding to a report of a structure fire at 202 Market St. Upon the company’s arrival, they received a report of a woman and two children trapped. Firefighter Tirado immediately entered the building and began searching for the victims‚ not knowing they had already safely escaped the fire. Refusing to give up the search‚ he continued on and was later found trapped on the third floor where he gave his life trying to save others.


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May 27, 2001: The Scouts of Troop 3 continue a Clifton tradition of decorating the area around the monument in Main Memorial Park with an American flag for every Cliftonite killed during war. May 28, 2001: The city honors Korean War dead on Memorial Day with a roll call of the fallen at the services conducted at Main Memorial Park at 11 am. June 2001: CHS’ Chris Sadowski receives CMM’s 2001 Community Service Scholarship. Sadowski, who lived on Viola Ave., planned to attend Caldwell College to study journalism. The award of $500 was given to reward a student who valued the importance of giving back to Clifton. June 2001: Bart Giaconia is elected president of the Geraci Citizens League. Fourteen immigrant men from the Sicilian village of Geraci Siculo founded the League in Passaic in 1930 to celebrate the traditions and perpetuate their village’s heritage. June 2001: Peter Bakarich, chair of BSA Troop 3’s 77th Anniversary, presents a plaque with 58 Eagle Scouts since it organized in 1924. Bakarich gave the plaque to charter representative John Misko. June 2001: Walter Celuch, president, CEO and secretary of Clifton Savings, is named 2001 president of the Northern New Jersey Savings League. June 2, 2001: The 12th Child Health & Safety Fair is held at School 16, offering health and safety info, and screenings for families. June 4, 2001: The 9th NFL Golf Classic opens at the Upper Montclair Country Club. The event marked UMCC’s 100th anniversary, which is in Clifton on Hepburn Rd. • August 2018


June 7, 2001: CHS Volleyball lost to East Brunswick 15-12, 1513, finishing second in the state with 27-3 mark. Roster includes Chris Siddayao, Nick Schumann, Matthew Seitz, Brian Smith, Jo Siddayao, Andrew Egan, David Baron, Robert Rozman, Brian Van Der Horn, Michael Genchi, Richard Kochan, Dennis Havriliak and Robert Tani. Michael Doktor is named N.J. State and Conference “Coach of the Year.” June 14, 2001: Downtown Clifton kicks off a Red, White & Blue Summer Music Series on Flag Day. The Second Annual 50s Block Party, held at the corner of First St. and Clifton Ave., featured oldies music, antique cars and family fun. June 15, 2001: The Chiropractic Center at Styertowne marks its grand opening. Present were Dr. Joseph Paz, sister Dr. Jacqueline Paz, Dr. Louis Schimmel and George Jacobs of JK Management. June 16, 2001: Dr. Charles Giordano opens his Chiropractic Center at 657 Van Houten Ave. with complimentary chair massages. At the end of the 2001 school year, Beverly Cannata (left) and Ann Catena have taught for a combined 80 years.


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June 2001: Downtown Clifton is a hot topic regarding construction. Conversations were in progress about what should replace the former Knights of Columbus building. Planners, politicians and merchants wanted the U.S. Postal Service there. The projected construction would be completed in the fall. Eventually, plans were finalized and the postal service is located today at Main and Madison, next to Walgreens. June 22, 2001: The mill at 1000 Main Ave. hosts an open house to show off its renovations. As many as 100 jobs may be created by commercial tenants, developers state. The owner wanted to demolish the Herald & News building and construct a McDonald’s restaurant. Meanwhile, the Firestone Building remained vacant at Main Ave. and Hillman St. July 27, 2001: School 3 educators Beverly Cannata and Ann Catena reflect on their experiences as Clifton teachers and how the district has changed. During her 48-year career, Catena taught grade 5, and taught grades 5 through 8 when School 3 went to eighth grade. Cannata, who ran the school’s media center, taught fourth and fifth grade during her 32year tenure. Many changes occurred during those decades, including Catena’s class size shrinking from as many as 40 students to 25, which was still considered large. Another change they saw was the media center evolving from a quiet room with books to one with humming computers. July 1, 2001: St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church on Third St. marks its first anniversary with a service and procession around the block called Raasa. The congregation was founded in 1987 when it rented the Athenia Reformed Church for services. • August 2018


Henry Fette, Chris Sadowski, Joseph Gondola, Billy DeGraaf, Babe Ruth, Eleanor Baker. Some who appeared in Clifton Merchant Magazine in the July and August 2001 editions.

July 6, 2001: When Joseph Gondola, a resident since 1959, was appointed Clifton postmaster in 1963 by President Lyndon Johnson, it cost five cents to mail a letter. Since then, Gondola witnessed changes, including price increases, automation sort mail and the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act, which made the U.S. Postal Service a self-sufficient operation. He reflected on those changes in a CMM interview. July 15, 2001: Elaine and Bob Robertazzi of Liberty Lincoln Mercury of Clifton present a $5,000 donation to the Second Century Campaign of St. Mary’s Hospital.


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National Night Out Against Crime, Aug. 7, 2001. Some of Clifton’s newest, left, Kevin Collucci, Greg Restivo, Vincent LaRosa, Mark Bekier, Crime Prevention Officer Bill Hernandez and Bruce Lawson. • August 2018


Bands at the Clifton Palooza in Randolph in Aug. 2001:

Mad Hatter featured Kevin Kane as lead singer and on bass guitar, Mike DeCaro on guitar and backup vocals and Tom Drogoski on drums and backup vocals. The punk/hard rock band, started in 1998, had two CDs featuring a diverse playlist of songs—Mad Hatter didn't stick to one type of genre. Psychopatch, together for two and a half years, formed when Brian Kennedy (guitar/keyboards/samples), Guy Wayne (drums) and Joe Smith (former bassist) decided to create a one-of-a-kind metal band. After about a year


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or so of practicing and writing their own music, Bill Gaestal joined as a singer/guitarist and Jon Makrs replaced Joe on the bass. Psychopatch expected to release a CD by Halloween, 2001. Out of Step was fronted by Nick Link on guitar and vocals, with Wes Krygsman on bass and backup vocals, and a cool, unique sound provided by Mike Alexander on baritone sax and Alan Grulich on trombone. Both of these guys were headed off to college. They wrote songs about life’s ups and downs, high school days, friends and girls.

The Shook & Garretson families will honor your loved one with respect & dignity • Pre-Need Funeral Arrangements • At-Need Funeral Arrangements • Cremation Services • Memorial Gatherings • August 2018


Sept. 11, 2001: After the terrorist attacks, Cliftonites are united by fear, grief and, finally, resolve and determination. Joe Florio, a WKTU DJ known as “Joey Clifton,” calls for people to donate medical supplies and fills 27 trucks. Eileen Keating distributes patriotic ribbons. Joe Torelli loads trucks. CHS sophomore Aakash Shah calls Mayor Jim Anzaldi about holding an interfaith prayer service. Hundreds attend. Rev. Ned Suffern of the Hope Reformed Church says, “I’m glad we’re turning to God.”

Cliftonites lost on 9/11/01, from top left: Zuhtu Ibis, Kyung Cho, Francis Joseph Trombino, Ehtesham U. Raja, Edward C. Murphy, Edgar H. Emery, Port Authority Officer John Skala and brothers John and Tim Grazioso.

Aug. 2001: The U19 Clifton Stallions defeat Ridgewood Park 5-0 in the Division 1 Metro League Championship at Giants Stadium, completing the season with a 13-0 record, scoring 59 goals and allowing just nine. Aug. 7, 2001: Henry Fette dies at age 96. Fette opened a temporary Ford showroom in Downtown Clifton on Main Ave. across from Memorial Park at the Rt. 46 overpass. He was awarded a Ford franchise on Dec. 15, 1952, and established the current location in 1977. Fette was the lead fundraiser for the Clifton Library that opened in 1953 and grand marshal of Clifton’s 50th Anniversary Parade. Aug. 12, 2001: Brian Reilly receives the FMBA Scholarship from Gary Tufaro and Robert DeLuca.


August 2018 •

The CHS grad attended Caldwell College in the fall. Aug. 15, 2001: The Passaic-Clifton Mobile Intensive Care Unit launches a new Advanced Life Support Bicycle Unit, thanks to the support of Fran and Vincent Ponte of Recycled Paperboard in Clifton. Sept. 15, 2001: After the Sept. 11 attacks, Luddington Ave. resident Ed Schweighardt takes a photo of two men marching down Main Ave. with American flags. Police asked them to leave the road. Sept. 22, 2001: The staffs of Drs. Ray Milazzo and Scott Gardner host a Chiropractic Softball Grand Slam as the two offices compete for the bragging rights of Clifton Ave. The event was held at Eddie Mayo Field on Clifton Ave. and reminded the city that Chiropractic was founded 106 years prior on Sept. 18, 1895. • August 2018


Art & Humanities Month From our 2001 October edition, Susan McDonald, Ronnie Italiano, Jim Yellen, Mike Bertelli, Jean Hoffman Cummings of The Late Show and Matt Garbo.

president of Nicholas Real Estate Agency, is awarded the Senior Real Estate Specialist professional designaOct. 5, 2001: CMM dedicates its issue to those tion. The Senior Advantage Real Estate Council in missing since the Sept. 11 attacks, remembering Murphys, Calif., presented him with the award. Thomas Cullen, John Grazioso, Tim Grazioso, Edgar Emery, Zuhtu Ibis, Edward Murphy, John Nov. 11, 2001: This year’s Veterans Day Parade, “Yosh” Skala and Francis Trombino. which heads down Lakeview Ave. to Nash Park, commemorates the 10th anniversary of Desert Oct. 2001: Real candy apples are still hand dipped at Storm, which began in Aug. 1990 when Iraqi forces Metro Candy Apple, 132 Getty Ave. overtook Kuwait. Oct. 7, 2001: Robert Zschack, the “Voice of the The war ended in Feb. 1991 when an internaMustangs,” is honored by the Clifton Education tional coalition, lead by the United States, Foundation. reclaimed Kuwait to be ruled by the Sabah family Oct. 21, 2001: Salon Ilona, across from City Hall, and a democratic parliament. hosts Hope Cuts 2001 to benefit the Breast Cancer Massive air strikes against Iraq began on Jan. 17, Foundation. The same day, residents Walk to Cure 1991 and lasted for nearly a month before ground Traumatic Brain Injury at the Municipal Complex. troops moved in to force the Iraqi military out of Oct. 26, 2001: Clifton’s Extreme Skate Park is slotKuwait. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers quickly surrented to open to the public. Al Greco, director of dered or deserted their posts as the coalition stormed Human Services, said an exact date would be across the desert. announced. The park would When it was over, Iraq sufbe located on Third St. at fered between 20,000 and Weasel Brook Park and fea35,000 casualties. The ture a roller hockey facilcoalition sustained ity and an extreme far fewer losses with skate park. only 240 killed (148 Nov. 7, 2001: The were Americans) and Council approves a 776 wounded (458 site for a Sept. 11 were American). One monument that of those Americans, will be featured in Rich Musicant, the Municipal worked at the time Complex. for the Clifton Fire Nov. 9, 2001: Nick Clifton’s four Veterans Day Parade Grand Department. Tselepis, broker and Marshals: George Bobal, John Biegel, Jr, Joe Tuzzolino and Joe Imperato.


August 2018 • • August 2018


Our Dec. 2001 magazine profiles Marching Mustangs Director Bob Morgan, seen here with his family: Michele, Matt and Dan. Thanksgiving Day game awards from left, R.C. Scarpa, Offensive MVP, holding the Optimist Cup are Dave Ingraldi and Matt Wright, and Omar Cruz, Defensive MVP. Final score: Clifton 20, Passaic 19.

Nov. 2001: Clifton Midget League is alive and well, despite rumors. CML treasurer Denis Osellame says the 45-year-old group founded by Hooks Brower registered kids for spring baseball. Nov. 2001: Great Falls Bank raises $24,000 for 9/11 victims via the American Bankers Assoc. Families Relief Fund. The firm matched funds collected at the rate of $2 for each $1 contributed. Nov. 14, 2001: The U.S. EPA names Clifton’s recycling program a WasteWise Local Government Program Champion. Clifton is honored with other awards at a ceremony in the nation’s capitol. Nov. 25, 2001: St. Paul’s Church parishioners celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. A procession led by the American Flag concludes with the Papal Banner. In between, flags representing 30 nations are carried into the sacristy by parishioners. Dec. 2001: “Shop Clifton First!” is CMM’s December theme. Although Clifton does not have a mega mall, it has unique, familyowned shops—like Wheels, a


August 2018 •

funky boutique on Van Houten Ave., Leeshock’s frame shop on Lakeview, the Hungarian Spice Shop, also on Lakeview, and House of Nuts on Main Ave. Dec. 2001: The Clifton Quilter’s Guild consists of 50 women of all ages committed to spreading warmth and love in Clifton year-round. The guild was founded in 1989 by Judy Meunier. Dec. 2001: It’s hard to find someone from Clifton who does not know Bob Morgan (CHS ’66). By 2001, Morgan spent 30 years— nearly half of the Mustang Marching Band’s life—as the high school’s band director. His reasoning for staying on for decades as director: Morgan loved music and his city. His profile was part of a feature in which the Mustang Marching Band celebrated 63 years as “The Showband of the Northeast,” delighting people all over the world with its electrifying performances and outstanding musicianship. Other directors during the band’s history included James Moscati, Stanley Opalach, Saul Kay and Patrick Curcio.

Merchants urging readers to Shop Clifton First: Laurie Mocek, Jim Leeshock, Helen and George Kish and Jamal Alazizi.

Dec. 2001: As a child, Nadia Stavko had no intention of putting her face under the water. However, the Boys & Girls Club’s aquatics director became an Olympic swimmer. She was faster than anyone in her hometown of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. From there, she swam for the Russian Olympic team. Dec. 6, 2001: The city recognizes 57 groups and individuals at the Clean Communities Award Program at CHS. In total, over the course of 2001, some 9,000 people recycled to help keep the city neat and litter free. Dec. 7, 2001: Sixty years is marked since the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. However, it felt like yesterday for Harry Murtha, who was in a soda

shop next to the Clifton Theatre when he heard the news. The following day, the city and nearby towns mobilized for war. The Herald-News reported reservists being summoned in Nutley, a defense group meeting in Passaic and armed guards “increasing 300 percent” at the Curtiss-Wright Propeller Division Plant in Clifton. Dec. 11, 2001: The Elementary School Referendum is held and the Clifton Teachers’ Association urges citizens to vote “Yes.” The vote aims to fund a new school to combat overcrowding in the Lakeview and Botany sections. After state funding, taxes would be raised $25 annually over 15 years for the owner of a house assessed at $170,000, the city average. • August 2018


The Manattan Brothers in front, left, Al Soroka (CHS ‘76), Ted Dziuba (CHS ‘75), Rich Davala (CHS ‘75). Left second row, Doug Reed (CHS ‘80), Ken Colgate (CHS ‘76), wearing square glasses is Jim Hassert (CHS ‘76), Bob Fugel (CHS ‘74), Dante Liberti (CHS ‘75), Paul Liberti (CHS ‘78). The Mystery Cats, at top right, feature John Domenick and Dave Desantis (CHS ‘77), Ernie Generalli and Joe McKenna (CHS ‘76) and Kelly Smith (CHS ‘74). At left, Bill Martini with PCCC President Steve Rose.

2002: Clifton’s next big thing is underway and it is called “Cambridge Crossings.” The 637-unit townhouse community on Colfax Ave. turned a vacant property into a multi-million dollar ratable—good news for taxpayers, but residents wonder if the city’s existing infrastructure and municipal services can support such a large-scale development. 2002: Construction is set to begin for the senior citizen housing center on the former Athenia Steel property on Clifton Ave. The city received a grant of $250,000 from Passaic County to pay for designs of ball fields planned for the Athenia Steel tract.

2002: The Nicholas Martini Foundation, headed by Bill Martini, purchases the workshop of sculptor Gaetano Federici before it is sold at a public auction. The Foundation gifted the collection to Passaic County Community College, where objects were on view in the historic Hamilton Club building. Federici’s workshop was re-created in a room on the third floor. Jan. 12, 2002: Bowler Andrew Kropilak (CHS ’04) places first in the North Jersey Singles Tournament with a 181 average and a high game of 237. Feb. 2002: CMM profiles Amos Kaune. Thanks to him, the Clifton Tap Room, at the corner of Lexington and Kulik, hosted some of the biggest names in jazz, including Vinnie Burke, Zoot Sims, Al Kohn and Coleman Hawkins. From there, Kaune opened Gulliver’s on Squirrelwood Rd. in West Paterson, Kid McCoy’s in Clifton and Gulliver’s in Lincoln Park. While he booked some big jazz names over the decades, Kaune also gave young, local jazz musicians an opportunity to play in a great atmosphere.

Andrew Kropilak


August 2018 •

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Taste of Tuscany • August 2018



August 2018 • • August 2018


Our March 2002 cover story about the Clifton Pearl began thanks to Gene Hughes, pictured above, who provided us with the 1857 newspaper that documented the Clifton Pearl Rush. Senior Albert Torres, who finished his career at CHS in 2002 with 1,081 career points, Coach Pete Vasil and sophomore Devon Moffatt, who just netted 1,003 career points and is on his way to smash the school’s scoring record.

March 2002: Attorney Michael Andalaft purchases storefronts and offices from 1111 to 1121 Main Ave., and renovates the near block-long strip to give it a uniform look. Two doors down, attorney Joseph Cella purchased and renovated 1109 Main Ave. Thomas DeVita, Esq., at 452 Clifton Ave., was named Professional Lawyer of the Year by the Passaic County Bar Association. March 2002: Allwood Pet Center, for 16 years at the corner of Allwood Rd. and Market St., expands, adding 30 aquariums and renovating its pet grooming area. March 8, 2002: The Manhattan Brothers return to the Boys & Girls Club to help raise money so the CHS Choir can travel to Virginia. April 2, 2002: WWII vet Walt Pruiksma presents plans at the Council meeting for an Avenue of American Flags to grace the City Hall property. Along with collaborators John Biegel and Keith Oakley, Pruiksma sought advice and discussed feasibility with city engineer Jim Yellen, and investigated paving and storage sleeves with Ken Kievit of Athenia Mason. The committee requested use of one barn on the property to store flags and equipment. April 2002: The Guild of St. Mary’s Hospital inducts its slate of officers: President Theresa Dinnalo; Vice President Constance Wry; Recording Secretary Phyllis Waller; Corresponding Secretary Gloria Stacy and Treasurer Claire Liptak. Members of the Guild have donated time and effort to raise funds since 1926. During 2001, the Guild raised $55,000 for St. Mary’s.


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April 2002: Dr. Rick (Alphonsus Jr.) Doerr is one of four sailors from the Northeast named to the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team for the 2004 Paralympic Regatta. Doerr, 41, a Clifton hand and plastic reconstructive surgeon, was also a 2.4 meter North American and Northeastern Champion. He became paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident in 1992 while completing his residency training in general surgery. April 16, 2002: The CTA urges residents to vote to support the school budget. The BOE also holds elections for three seats. Candidates are Lizz Gagnon, Marie Hakim, Jim Leeshock and John Traier. April 23, 2002: Clifton Municipal Judge Harry Fengya dies. He was sworn on Aug. 31, 1976, and served on the bench for 25 years. He went to CHS with the Class of ’45, but left school to join the Coast Guard. Fengya’s colleagues at the Athenia Veterans Post said they would miss him at their annual memorial service on May 27. Fengya tolled the bell at the services to recall Cliftonites from the post who died while in service. April 27, 2002: The Mystery Cats play The Cottage, 911 Dey St. The group haunted city nightspots since the seventies with a mix of new and original material. May 4, 2002: Clifton Little League hosts a Hometown Heroes parade to honor firefighters, police officers, EMS, veterans, active military and Red Cross volunteers. The parade began at the Rec Center and finished at Clifton Schools Stadium. • August 2018


CHS Athletic Hall of Fame inducted these Mustangs (as seen in their glory days) on May 7, 2002. From top left: Patrick Behan (‘84), Diane Besser-Nelson (‘89), Jason Celentano (‘90), Thomas DeVita (‘91), Donald Grilli (‘60), James Jenkins (‘74), Wojtek Krakowiak (‘95), Clay Pezzano (‘82), Joseph Silva (‘52).

May 10, 2002: The NJ EPA certifies as “clean” the first six acres of the 35-acre former Athenia Steel site on Clifton Ave. Upon that certification, the city forwarded $1.72 million to the owner, National Standard, to begin the purchase. Athenia Steel closed in 1988 and since then, various plans were floated by developers for the tract of land in the center of the city. However, because of contamination and access, no projects materialized until Clifton stepped in and provided a plan for senior citizen housing and recreational fields.

May 14, 2002: When Les Herrschaft announced that he would not run for re-election on the City Council, it opened an opportunity for a newcomer to fill the seat. The six incumbents—James Anzaldi, Ed Welsh, Gloria Kolodziej, Steve Hatala, Stefan Tatarenko, Don Kowal—all won re-election. The challengers, (above from left) were Bev Cholewczynski, Frank Fusco, Alina Bladek, Bob Sidoti, Douglas Burg and Frank Gaccione, who won the open seat.


August 2018 •

May 16, 2002: George Henry Trinkle turns 100. Trinkle only stayed in the city because of Florence Kamphausen’s custard. Originally from Shenandoah, Pa., he came to the city when his sister fell ill. Being neighborly, Kamphausen sent some get-well custard and Trinkle enjoyed it so much that he wanted to thank her. Not long after, they married at St. Agnes Church in Paterson. In 2002, they celebrated 70 years of marriage. May 19, 2002: The Optimist Club presents Deputy Fire Chief Tom Lyons with its Friend of the Youth Award. From 1985 to 1998, he was a volunteer in the Safety Town program, teaching traffic safety to preschoolers. He also founded the Fire Department’s Child Health & Safety Fair in 1989. Lyons is pictured on the cover of CMM’s May 2002 issue (left) with Clifton Police Officer Gary Passenti, 29, who received the Optimist Respect for Law award. Passenti has been on the job for four years and was named the Officer of the Year by members of Clifton’s PBA 36. • August 2018


Police Chief Frank LoGioco, Hall of Famer Bob Cumming, Tom and Ken Kievit Jr. of Athenia Mason Supply.

May 31, 2002: After 41 years as a Clifton cop, Police Chief Frank LoGioco hangs up his holster. On that day, he handed over the leadership of the department to Capt. Robert Ferreri. LoGioco began his law enforcement career in the city on Sept. 15, 1961. He became police chief on March 9, 1990. Despite feeling like he had many more years ahead of him in the department, the bureaucrats at Civil Service disagreed. June 2002: The CTA presents Excellence in Education Awards to Karen Allen, Janet Austin, Barbara Carney, Steven Spota, Naomi Meyers, Mark Tietjen, Donna Weiss, Denise Zeringo, Susan Hague, Roberta Holmes, Gail Blake, Yvonne D’Allessandro, June Fialkowski, Helaine Kerian, Carla Kurtz, Patricia Penn and Susan Stys. Recognition for 25 Years of Service goes to: Arlene Agresti, Candice Balascio, Elaine Bienick, Linda Centinaro, Diana Clough, Elaine Domyon, Kathleen Pasko-Goldenberg, Charles LoPresti, Elaine Marchioni, Carole Markowitz, Eileen Sagui, Karen Sommers and Jean Tobey. June 2, 2002: The Passaic County Bowling Hall of Fame recognizes Bob Cumming, manager of Garden Palace Lanes on Lakeview Ave. since 1980. June 11, 2002: A 9/11 Memorial is dedicated at St. Paul’s R.C. Church. The dedication was on the attack’s nine-month anniversary. Brian Eromenok, 17, an Eagle Scout candidate for Troop 7, CHS student and a Church parishioner built the memorial with his father, Brian Sr. The memorial consisted of an American Flag, two wooden trellises representing the Twin Towers, a patio and bench.


August 2018 •

July 5, 2002: Athenia Mason Supply on Clifton Terrace, near the NJ Transit Station for 56 years, is being squeezed out. In the fall, the two-acre tract housing Athenia Mason was to be paved for a parking lot. The property was owned by NJ Transit and leased on a month-to-month basis. Athenia Mason owner Ken Kievit Sr., who employed 26 workers, plus 25-30 during the summer, said the company expected to stay in Clifton, but needed access to a freight rail line. July 2002: Clifton Skatezone at Third St. and Weasel Brook Park opens. Skatezone was built by the city using a state grant and is managed by the Rec Dept. July 2002: The DAV Post on Hazel St. installs Commander Christopher Sotiro; Sr. Vice Robert McGuire; Jr. Vice Al Alvino; Jr. Vice Vincent Russo; Chaplain Gennaro Aprea; Judge Adv. Vincent Fugarazzo; Adjutant Ted Gusciora; Sgt. at Arms Morton Verhulst; Service Officer Robert Corsa and Treasurer Patsy Veltre. July 2002: Amanda Reece (CHS ’03) attends the National Youth Leadership Forum of Medicine in Houston, while Adam B. Pienciak (CHS ’04) represents New Jersey at the World Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C. July 31, 2002: Supt. William Liess retires after 17 years at the helm and 30 prior as a social studies teacher and assistant superintendent. • August 2018


Faces of Van Houten Ave., in 2002, from left: Ken Barilari of Mario’s; at Nazimek’s Grocery Store, which opened in 1918, the three remaining brothers, twins Henry and Steve, and Joe; Kathryn Statzer, branch manager of Clifton Savings Bank, Gladys Fusiek of Halka’s Florist, Gina Yarrish of Mike LaCorte Agency, Joseph M. Shook, Sr., of Shook Funeral Homes, Joseph P. Barreca of Valley Fabrics and Roy B. Garretson, also of Shook’s.

Aug. 2002: CMM asks its readership if they think Van Houten Ave. is the heart of the city. Landmark spots of Athenia included Nazimek’s Grocery, 567 Van Houten Ave.; Grand Saloon, 940 Van Houten Ave.; and Mario’s Restaurant, 710 Van Houten Ave. There was also a feature on Athenia’s Gem: Lacki’s Jewelers. Aug. 18, 2002: New Supt. Dr. Michael Rice (inset) has a reputation as a fiscal expert. Rice was deputy super of a 17,600 student district with a $175 million budget. In Clifton, he oversaw 10,000 students, 16 schools and a budget of about $100 million. Sept. 11, 2002: A garden and sculpture at City Hall is dedicated, which incorporates a beam from the World Trade Center and a dogwood tree in memory of the nine residents who died on 9/11. Sept. 15, 2002: Robert Leeshock (CHS ’80) meets fans at the Super Mega Show at Newark Airport. Leeshock starred as Liam Kincaid in Earth: Final Conflict, the WB-11 sci-fi series. The Mustang began his path to stardom at School 3 as an astronaut in a play. Oct. 8, 2002: Groundbreaking of School 17 occurs at lower Weasel Brook Park. The city was also set to break ground for the first of two 125 units of affordable senior housing on the former Athenia Steel site. Oct. 11, 2002: The Passaic/Clifton UNICO honors Michael N. Corradino and retired Deputy Fire Chief


August 2018 •

Joseph D’Arco at a Columbus Day beefsteak at the Athenia Veteran’s Post, Huron Ave. Corradino was honored for 50 years of service. D’Arco received the Outstanding Citizen of the Year award for years coaching and directing the Southern Division Little League. Oct. 14, 2002: The Italian Flag is raised at City Hall for the first time to celebrate Christopher Columbus and Cliftonites of Italian descent. Oct. 23, 2002: St. Peter’s Haven honors former board president Nancy Young with its first President’s Award, Lorraine Bremer, a former councilwoman, who served on its board for five years, and Vic Collucci, a retired police officer, who transported monthly food shipments in his truck at no cost. Nov. 1, 2002: As the city prepares for Nov. 5 elections, Council members reconsider the need for adding 14 workers to assist Spanish-speaking citizens in selected voting districts. Poll workers receive a $200 stipend for their day; interpreters are paid $125. Hiring 66 interpreters at $125 per day for each of the four elections (school board, municipal, primary and general) during any given year, will add to the city’s cost for bilingual assistance and could amount to $33,000 annually. “That’s a lot of taxpayer dollars,” said Councilman Stefan Tatarenko, “for a service that I’m not sure has ever been used.” • August 2018


Joe Podolak, an old friend of Clifton who now lives in Arizona, visited our office in Oct. 2002 and left behind a gift, at left. It is a safety patrol badge from the 1940s. It is made of a silver metal and attached to the forearm with an adjustable leather strap and buckle. The embossed words read: Clifton No. 3 Police 7 New Jersey School Safety Patrol. The weight of those words and the strength of the leather strap and buckle must of made the kids who wore these badges feel they were on the proper side of the law.

Nov. 6, 2002: Clifton School Traffic Guards are the topic of Council talks. Guards work about four hours per day in three different shifts: 8 to 8:50 am, 11:10 am to 12:45 pm and 3:10 to 4 pm. For two years, the Council tried to eliminate the lunch shift, and doing so would save taxpayers $200,000 annually. However, at last month’s meeting, 60 Traffic Guards attended to express their displeasure with the attempted move. Since then, CWA Local 102 represented the Guards. Nov. 19, 2002: Four Senior Scouts from Troop 73 are honored at a Gold Award ceremony at St. Andrew the Apostle Church. Laura Bania, Jessica Hamade, Jacqueline Hilt and Amy Jackson receive the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, The Gold Award. Dec. 2002: Attorney Ricky E. Bagolie is elected president of the New Jersey chapter of the national Workplace Injury Litigation Group. The non-profit group advocated for the rights of individual workers and their families through education, communication and research.


August 2018 •

Dec. 2002: Passaic County Public Safety Academy in Wayne opens for Fire and EMT Training and programs. Dec. 5, 2002: Coach Joe Grecco is honored as “All American High School Coach” by the All American Football Association during its 47th annual banquet at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton. Grecco led great Mustang football teams of the 40s, 50s and early 60s through the Passaic Valley Conference’s heyday. Dec. 7, 2002: Grand Marshal Ernie Scheidemann (left) leads the Downtown Clifton Christmas Parade alone Main Ave. Dec. 11, 2002: Voters approve an $8 million bond to build School 17, the first new school since CHS in 1962. Middle and high school overcrowding were unaddressed.

Shop Clifton First in Dec. 2002, with Mike Bertelli, Murray Blumenfeld of Morré Lyons Jewelers, Stanley Jakubczyk of Able Hardware, and Jack and Debbie Morton of Richfield Farms.

Dec. 20, 2002: The city mourns the loss of City Manager Robert P. Hammer (left), 54. His stewardship over the course of seven years was marked by strong leadership and creativity. • August 2018


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August 2018 • • August 2018


When C&L Developers purchased a little more than two-and-ahalf acres of land on 76 Grove St., intending to build 17 townhomes, they could not have anticipated the furor the seemingly small project would create. Considering that another developer was already in the process of opening at least 650 townhomes on Colfax Ave., by comparison, C&L’s Grove St. plan seems insignificant. However, more than 125 residents of the neighborhood where the townhouses would be located were determined to stop the project, and in mid-January, staged a protest, pictured on our February cover. Residents also hired an attorney, James V. Segreto, who has extensive experience in land use cases. “You can tell by the fact that I’ve got 125 clients what the sense of outrage is in the neighborhood,” Segreto said. 76 Grove St. became the tipping point in Clifton’s history, when our magazine took up the campaign to call for No More Housing. Feb. 19-23, 2003: Viola Gjoka, 13, represents the U.S at the Tae Kwon Do Championships in Las Vegas. Over 20 countries competed. Gjoka won a gold medal in the 12- and 13-year-old female black belt division and was considered a 2003 Junior World Champion. March 2003: Following City Manager Robert Hammer’s death on Dec. 20, 2002, the search begins for a replacement. Al Greco becomes interim city manager.

Feb. 12, 2003: Dr. Steven LaPoff (above) dies at age 50. LaPoff was a partner at Immedicenter, Clifton’s urgent-care medical center he co-founded. He left behind wife Susan and sons Mitchell, Jared and Brad.


August 2018 •

Mike Duch of Homemade Pirogi after a 2003 fire.

After calling for Smart Growth in our Jan. 2003 edition, Clifton Merchant Magazine in February began collecting signatures to bring a halt to residential developments “that will over-burden our existing schools, roadways and city services, and have a negative impact on our quality of life.� In the March edition, we interviewed the mayor and council, asking where they stood on the big issues facing our city. In April, we asked residents the same questions. By May of that year, elected officials were considering an application to put 540 unit of condos in a high rise on Dundee Island.

March 2003: CHS boys basketball coach Pete Vasil resigns after a 15-9 season that featured a number of double-digit wins, a few single-digit losses and a 4-0 start. It also included a come-from-behind win over Don Bosco on their home court. Vasil decided to leave on a positive note. He launched his coaching career in 1988 with a start-up program at Passaic Collegiate. Arriving at CHS in 1997, Vasil instituted a 12-month basketball program, competitive summer and fall leagues, and weight training. March 2003: Congressman Bill Pascrell is one of the 22 Democrats to be named to the House Select Committee for Homeland Security.

March 2003: William J. Martini (inset) was sworn in as a Superior Court judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey on Nov. 19, after being nominated by President George W. Bush in Jan. 2002. Martini was a Clifton City councilman elected in 1990 and then ran and won a seat as a Passaic County freeholder in 1992. He is also at the helm of the Nicholas Martini Foundation, established in 1986, which supports a variety of programs in our area. March 21, 2003: Homemade Pirogi at 560 Lexington Ave. and surrounding businesses are devastated in an extensive fire. The fire hit as Lent entered its final weeks, the time of year when Duch and his seven employees were busiest. • August 2018


Some members of the newly formed Athenia Business Association at an April 26 gala. At right, Jo and Bob Obser.

Mid-March, 2003: More than 65 languages are spoken within Clifton Schools, according to a recent report. However, Muriel Sakas, at right, said one is often overlooked: American Sign Language. At age 62, Sakas attended New York University to get her certification as an interpreter and was often in the schools and community helping people connect with the spoken and signed word. March 22, 2003: Rev. Carolyn Keith becomes minister of the Allwood Community Church, which begins a new chapter in the history of the church, founded in 1932. March 27, 2003: The Northern New Jersey Chamber Consortium Business Expo is held at the Wayne Manor in Wayne. The event features 100 area businesses displaying products and services. Gloria Martini, president of the Clifton-based North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce, is one of the event’s sponsors. April 2003: Benjamin Brody is one of 18 New Jersey students to perform with the National High School Honors Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. April 2003: The Clifton Midget League, offering football and baseball, celebrates its 50-year anniversary. April 15, 2003: Tom Miller of Passaic County Veterans Services presents three medals posthumously to Louis Calo for his WWII service: the American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with battle stars and Good Conduct Medal.


August 2018 •

May 1, 2003: A Mexican restaurant and a laundromat will soon replace four vacant storefronts on Main Ave. between Luddington and Barkley Aves., across from DeLuxe Cleaners. May 2003: Rob Ryerson (CHS ’05) qualifies for the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships in Savannah, Ga. At the meet, he was recognized as a First Team Academic All-American for maintaining a 4.0 average at CHS. May 2, 2003: The Optimist Club honors Bob and Jo Obser with the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award for extensive volunteer work. The Friend of Youth Award went to CHS Athletic Director Rick LaDuke for his advocacy of the city’s young people. Police Chief Bob Ferrari received the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award, presented in memory of the esteemed New Jersey superior court judge. May 9, 2003: The Clifton Richfield AARP Chapter 4192 celebrates its 15th anniversary. May 20, 2003: The call for a moratorium is not legally possible, the mayor and council say when Tom Hawrylko presents them with 1,300 signatures. In a half-hour meeting with the mayor and council, Hawrylko asked city officials to take a year to analyze the effect of our city’s current growth of residential development. In short, the council said until Governor McGreevey puts some muscle into the Smart Growth proposals, the city in many ways is powerless to slow or stop development. • August 2018


Alvin Kipnis and his trademark red suspenders on the Aug. 2003 cover. Kids are packed at CHS like sardines on our Nov. 2003 cover. Our Oct. 2003 image opines on development.

May 22, 2003: Jim Murtha receives the Coach of the Year Award from the Knights of Columbus, St. Philip the Apostle Council 11671. Murtha led 23 St. Philip’s teams since coaching his first team in 1968 (taking a 10-year hiatus beginning in 1984). May 22, 2003: The Clifton Arts Summit is held at the Arts Center to promote the arts in Clifton.

Anna Marie Menconi and her dad Stephen open Menconi Music at 309 Lakeview Ave. in May, offering instruction in five private studios on piano and a variety of instruments.

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June 6, 2003: “The City Council (in a 4-2 split) voted to pursue a study to build townhouses straddling the Passaic-Clifton border, despite months of anti-development outcry in the community,” the Herald & News reports. “In a presentation Wednesday night that did not appear on the presentation schedule and was not in the municipal agenda, representatives of the developer K. Hovnanian proposed a 6.4-acre development between Route 21 and the Passaic River... The study approval comes on the heels of a contrary presentation (meaning the presentation of 1,300 petitions) two weeks ago.”

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August 2018 •

June 14, 2003: Ground is broken for 125 units of senior housing at the former Athenia Steel site. However, no solid plans exist for the remaining 33 acres of open space located on Clifton Ave. The city floats ideas for 125 more units of affordable senior housing, as well as creating soccer, baseball fields and an indoor hockey arena.

June 9, 2003: The U.S. Post Office opens at the corner of Clifton and Main Aves. with 1,900 private post office boxes and parking for 18 vehicles. The old station at the corner of Washington and Main Aves. will close and retail services will cease on Paulison Ave. June 17, 2003: At the City Council meeting in which the Master Plan was introduced, residents (pictured on the cover) stage a silent protest. Top from left, Denise Kashey, Walter Hrycykowian, Joe Mathias, Dawn Kaiser, Beverly Cholewczynski, Mike Gimon, Lois Weinbrock, Leslie Kashey and Irene Jarosewich. Bottom: Fabian Calvo, Bill and Lisa Fisbeck, Bob DeLiberto, John DeGraff and Bill Sichel.

June 24 2003: At a meeting of Clifton’s Licensed Beverage Association at Bogey’s are members, front from left: Joe Stolarz, Stolarz Tavern, Vic Rossi of Rossi’s Tavern, Ed Radomski of the Silver Star, Giuseppi Lonati of Giuseppi’s Sports Cafe. Second row: Angelo Curcio of Bogey’s, John Penkalski of Johnny’s, Gerry Touhey of the Grande Saloon, Morris Giannelli of Courtside Pub, Fred Barnes of Dingo’s Den, Mary Chacon of Capo D’Ano, Hope Rodgers of Rumors Pub. Third row: Skip Kazer of the Clif, Pat Brady of Darby O’Gill’s and Joe Adamski of Remember When. Rich Hanke and Phil Lessi of Pub 46 were present, but missing from photo. June 21, 2003: The 90-foot signage tower at Richfield Shopping Center, which served as a landmark to passing vehicles on the Garden State Parkway, is scaled down to 50 feet as work progresses on the retail center, located at the corner of Allwood Rd. and Clifton Ave. During a February snowstorm, the roof of the Rite Aid store collapsed, but is being rebuilt. • August 2018


Since April, 2001, the volunteer Community Advisory Board evaluated 18 potential sites for a new middle school, with a long-term solution being the school’s construction on BOE-owned Latteri Park. On Sept. 24, 2003, they presented their recommendations to the BOE. Chair Joe Holmes asked BOE members to make a decision by November so they can begin marketing the project’s needs to voters. Pictured from left front: Ethel Stein, Margaret Sichel, Linda Bandurski, Ellen Nunno Corbo, and Tom Lyons. At rear, Nick P. Genchi, Fred Torres, Joe Holmes, Harry Swanson and Richard DeLotto.

June 30, 2003: Elizabeth (Betty) Gochman, principal of School 14 since 1990, retires. During her 37 years in the district, she was coordinator of reading/language arts and director of elementary curriculum. July 1, 2003: RU student, senior Rachel Holmes, 22, wins a seat on the Rutgers University Board of Trustees. July 2003: Absolutely Fish on Rt. 46 West is named the 2003 Pet Product News Retailer of the Year. July 27, 2003: Fifty years mark the end of the Korean War in which 54,246 American lives—19 of them from Clifton—were lost in battle. Aug. 28, 2003: Bob Potts, long-time Clifton Recreation Dept. employee, is given a retirement dinner. Potts coordinated a myriad of city sports programs.

Clifton’s new City Manager Barbara Sacks. At right, on Aug. 6 at Liberty Lincoln-Mercury (next to the Tick Tock Diner on Route 3), owners Bob and Elaine Robertazzi, and Renee and John Chirico break ground for their new three story showroom and service facility.

Aug.-Sept. 2003: Ricky E. Bagolie is elected to the board of the Workplace Injury Litigation Group during the annual conference of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America in San Francisco. Sept. 2003: John Santulli is named CHS head boys varsity basketball coach, replacing Pete Vasil.


August 2018 •

Sept. 2003: Barbara Sacks is named city manager. Sacks has a quarter-century of experience in municipal government, serving four municipalities. Sept. 21, 2003: Athenia’s first annual street festival is a success. The year-old Athenia Business Association turned a portion of Van Houten Ave. into a lively 3,000-person pedestrian marketplace.

In November 2003, we asked these residents how to solve the issue of overcrowding in our schools. From top left: Maritza Morales, Rob Harsaghy, Zita Motta, Bob DeLiberto, Joe Bohinek, Joe Cupoli, Tom Miller, Alvin Kipnis. At right, Coach Joe Grecco and family.

Oct. 2003: Richard Bay, a parishioner of SS Cyril & Methodius Church, reaches the final step before becoming an ordained priest. Bay took a less traditional path to the priesthood; many knew him first as owner and operator of Lexington Florist Shop. Oct. 9, 2003: Clifton Fire Captain Gary M. Bolcar dies in a motorcycle accident in his hometown of Wharton. Oct. 10, 2003: Troop 7 BSA at St. Paul Church bestows Eagle Scout honors to Robert Robinson IV. Oct. 12, 2003: Gloria Kostecka’s paintings are exhibited through the month at The Artisans Touch at the lower level of the Styertowne Shopping Center.

Oct. 12, 2003: CHS Athletic Hall of Fame inducts the ’82 Girls Swim team and ’46 Football team; Betty Ann Franko (’92) volleyball, basketball; Jackie Paz (’88) cross country; Gail Meneghin (’84) swimming; John Viola (’84) wrestling, football; Stan Koziol (’83) soccer; Scott Oostydk (’78) football, basketball; Paul Fego (’76) football, track; Gerry Manning (’59) football, basketball; Robert Roberts (’58) athletic contributions. Oct. 14, 2003: The Passaic County 200 Club Awards of Valor go to CPD Lt. John Burke and P.O. Charles Kazmir. Merit awards were given to CFD Firefighter Kenneth Dalton and CPD Sgt. Patrick Ciser.

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Oct. 16, 2003: Dennis Mikula (CHS ’94) of BayleyEllard Catholic High School is the recipient of the New York Jets High School Coach of the Week Award. Oct. 21, 2003: The Council votes 6-0 at a meeting, siding with citizens who oppose building a new school on Latteri Park. The BOE owned the property since 1950. Other possible school locations considered include Dundee Island, Ackerman Ave. on Passaic River; Athenia Steel Tract, Clifton Ave.; Globe Products, 750 Bloomfield Ave.; and an addition at CHS. Oct. 30, 2003: St. Peter’s Haven for Families, part of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, presents its 2003 Donald J. Fischer Community Service Award to Vincent Dymek, Allen Freschi and the late Robert Hammer. Nov. 4, 2003: Voters are asked to approve the creation of a Clifton Trust Fund for Open Space. Homeowners would be taxed between $8 and $17 per year and funds would go to purchase tracts of city land to preserve for green space and parks. Nov. 21, 2003: Motorcycle Officer John Samra is killed while responding to a traffic accident, the first and only Clifton police officer to die in the line of duty.


August 2018 •

Nov. 27, 2003: On Thanksgiving Day, the Joseph S. Grecco Athletic Field at Clifton Schools Stadium is named in honor of the legendary football coach, who helmed the Fighting Mustangs from 1945 to 1963. Nov. 29, 2003: 600 grads who attended Paul VI HS celebrate the spirit of their now-closed school and honor its founding director, the late Rev. Thomas J. Suchon. Dec. 1, 2003: Barbara Flexner, director of the Arts Center, resigns and moves to Atlanta. Dec. 7, 2003: The Clifton Association of Artists celebrates its 40th anniversary at The Valley Regency.

The Main Ave. entrance to Clifton Commons has new signage, a theme that carries into the Kohl’s shopping center, a block toward Nutley. Styertowne Shopping Center (top right) continues to renovate. The former Rowe-Manse Emporium, a 45,000 square foot three-story, structure, was being sub-divided to accommodate national retailers.

There is good and bad news from all the residential development of 2003. As a result of roughly 1,500 dwelling units planned or built in the past year, a boost to the economy was inevitable. From those apartments, townhouses and condos came thousands of new residents, and ultimately, built-in shoppers. “Retail always follows rooftops,” chanted Harry Swanson, Clifton’s economic development director. “And if there’s one thing we’ve got in Clifton, it’s a lot of new rooftops.” Along Route 3, Clifton Commons added Target Stores as the anchor in the 14-acre second phase expansion of this retail mecca. Across the highway, Styretowne Shopping Center has completed a facade renovation and added new stores, including a soonto-open 55,000 square foot Acme; meanwhile renovations continue on the 45,000 square foot RoweManse building. Elsewhere in Delawanna, the once dilapidated Bradlees shopping center on Main Ave., toward Nutley from Clifton Commons, was completely renovated and is now anchored by Kohl’s. Across Main Ave. at the intersection of Clay St., property owner Carmen Maggio, the former owner of Rowe-Manse Emporium, has a proposal before the Board of Adjustment to convert four commercial properties into a retail establishment. When you add it all up, Swanson said Clifton Commons and

Styertowne, in combination with its “big box” neighbors Kohl’s and Costco, form the nucleus of Clifton’s outdoor mall. “The area has become stronger commercially and economically,” said Swanson. “Delawanna has become big box city.” Traffic, congestion and a burden on municipal and school services are the flip side to all this growth that the city is experiencing. While that was well documented in the past year, those issues and questions about planning continue to be an issue. Jan. 2004: The BOE and Council hold their third and final joint meeting on a proposed site for a middle school. Though the site was not announced, Clifton Merchant learns the agreed upon site is Schultheis Farm. Jan. 2004: Councilman Frank Gaccione voices uncertainty about the need for a new school, saying overcrowding can be remedied by removing illegal students. Feb. 15, 2004: City cops have worked without a contract since Dec. 2000. That was when the city and the Clifton PBA 36 reached agreement on the terms of a new three-year contract, with the exception of a union proposal to change the shift cycles worked by its members. By 2004, police worked three static 8hour shifts, a system that was in place since the 1950s. The PBA proposed that patrol officers work four 10-hour shifts, which, the union said, would save the city $100,000 in overtime costs each year and deploy the cops in a more efficient manner. • August 2018


Ernesto Graciela, owner of Eden Musical on Main Ave. The vacant Brogan Cadillac on Passaic Ave. may be converted into a campus offering long-term stays to travelling executives. Ken Kievit, owner of Athenia Mason Supply, purchased the former New York Sash & Door property and relocated his firm to 70 Rosalie Ave. off Lakeview Ave.

Feb. 2004: CMM recognizes hard hats and hard work that go into manufacturing around the city. In our first “Made In Clifton” issue, we highlighted diverse, local businesses and their legacies for our city. Businesses included: International Veiling Corp., 244 Hazel St.; Electrolift, Sargeant Ave.; Bay State Milling Company, 404 Getty Ave.; Swepco Tube Corp., One Clifton Blvd.; MSA CairnsHelmets, 60 Webro Rd.; Paris Lace, Inc., 1500 Main Ave.; Recycled Paperboard Inc. of Clifton, One Ackerman Ave.; Safas Corp, Two Ackerman Ave.; Zozzaro Industries / Zozzaro Brothers, Inc., One Broad St.; Premium Color Graphics, Inc., 95 Industrial East; Clifton Public Schools Career Internship Program, CHS North Wing Office, Colfax Ave. Feb. 2004: A new 55,000 square foot Acme supermarket opens in Styertowne. Renovation continued on the 45,000 sq. ft. former Rowe-Manse Emporium building. Feb. 2004: After nearly two years, construction on the Allwood roundabout nears completion. Feb. 1, 2004: The Rec Department’s eighth annual alcohol free Super Bowl Family Day is held at the Boys & Girls Club. Feb. 26, 2004: Banco Popular, the nation’s leading Hispanic-owned bank, opens on Main Ave, next to Corrado’s. According to the 2004 census data, numbers showed an increasingly large Hispanic population—15,608 in a city of 78,672. That’s nearly 20 percent of the population, a substantial increase from the 1,542 Hispanics recorded by the 1980 census. Census data also shows increasing Hispanic wealth. From 1990 to 2000, Hispanic households with a $100,000 income or more rise 137 percent.


August 2018 •

Feb. 20, 2004: Gov. James E. McGreevey presents a $97,000 check to the Boys & Girls Club to help with its after-school programs. CMM pointed out the city spent $8,000 to educate each of its 10,571 students, while Abbott District cities like Paterson and Passaic spent $11,000 per pupil with state help. The magazine asked: “Thanks Jim! But can we talk about some real issues?”

March 2004: Senior Horizons reports there are more than 1,200 applications for the 125 senior citizen apartments being built on the Athenia Steel site. March 2004: Students, parents and teachers of School 13 on Van Houten Ave. in Athenia celebrate the school’s 80-year anniversary.

gality, Rice said test scores—thanks to Clifton teachers—rank above national and state average. April 20, 2005: The school budget passes by three votes—2,493 to 2,490. Norman Tahan, Kim Renta and Keith LaForgia win three-year BOE terms, while Ken Kurnath ends a 15-year run.

March 5, 2004: The BOE and Council announce its consensus selections for the proposed schools: Schultheis Farm for the middle school and the Mayer Building at 290 Brighton Rd. as the high school annex. March 20, 2004: The Clifton Environmental Protection Commission receives the NJ Environmental Federation’s Activist Award at its annual conference. April 2004: St. Andrew’s basketball coach Jim Smith is named Passaic/Clifton CYO Coach of the Year. April 2, 2004: Supt. Dr. Michael Rice reports Clifton ranks 103 out of 107 in spending per pupil, making it among the most frugal among northern NJ school districts. Despite the fru- • August 2018


Jeff Gruen of Clifton Unite presenting his info regarding traffic access to Latteri Park if the site was used as a school. Packed like sardines, Clifton has 10,571 students, with an estimated 3,356 in CHS alone (a hallway “mosh pit” pictured). Classes are held in the auditorium and cafeteria, and the student population is expected to increase by 200 per year.

May 4, 2004: The Council reverses its earlier course and votes unanimously to oppose the use of Schultheis Farm as a school site in response to a show of 300 residents, led by Bob Wittman, who present 2,661 signed petitions in opposition. May 7, 2004: CMM publishes a petition with 1,300 names, calling for the school to be built on Latteri Park. May 7, 2004: The Optimist Club honors Boy Scout leaders Jack Hayes, Steve Farrell, Gary Forgotson, Keith Oakley, Steve Smith and William Martin with the Stanley Zwier Community Service Award. The Friend of Youth Award went to Karin Christiaens, director of Safety Town. Receiving the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award were Clifton Police School Resource Officers Joe Klein, Roger Schneider, Robert Luciano, Dave Kishbaugh and Joseph Hillyer. May 7, 2004: Clifton Youth Week begins, a tradition dating back to 1953 in which students shadow elected and appointed government officials for the day to learn how our city works.

May 18, 2004: The City Council heard again from residents about school sites at its meeting. Schultheis neighbor Bob Wittmann presents additional proLatteri Park signatures, bringing the total up to 3,300 (now approaching 3,500, per Wittmann). Jeff Gruen, head of Clifton Unite, a group of residents opposed to a school at the Board-owned Latteri property, offers an alternative to our magazine’s slogan, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” Gruen’s slogan: “Can’t fool me, no way the Park is free.” On May 19, the Board votes to meet with the City Council May 26. Before the meeting, the Herald News reports the BOE was considering razing School 14 and building a middle school there. The leak upsets the School 14 community and creates an awkward atmosphere when the Board and City Council meets May 26. Additional meetings are then announced: a Board meeting June 1 at School 14 and another Board-City Council meeting June 2. On June 1, speakers begged the BOE to leave


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Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 10 • Issue 9 • September 3, 2004

(Source - IMS Incorporated/GSMLS)








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July’s cover illustrated the frustration Clifton shared when BOE members failed to make a school site decision at their June 2 meeting. Sad news on Aug. 12, 2004: U.S. Army Special Forces Captain Michael Y. Tarlavsky, CHS (’92), is killed when his unit is attacked by enemy forces in Najaf, Iraq. Former Mayor Jerry Zecker on the September 2004 cover.


At Fornelius and Svea Aves., a dead end offers a link into the middle of the 35-acre tract. Council plans offer only one exit and entrance to a congested Clifton Ave.

School 14 alone and consider other options. Some attendees lectured the Board that a school site is their decision, not the City Council’s, and that the Board did not need the City Council’s approval. “No one is dictating to us,” Board President Joe Kolodziej responded. “We want a solution that’s best for the kids and the community.” As we went to press with our June 4 edition, it was expected that the Board and City Council would announce a school site decision after their June 2 meeting, with sources indicating that the choice was likely to be either Latteri Park or Athenia Steel. June 9, 2004: Residents are disappointed with the BOE’s failure at its meeting to select a site for a 1,700-student grades 8-9 school. The Board postpones a decision pending receipt of results of additional environmental and traffic studies for both the Athenia Steel and Latteri Park sites. By missing the deadline, the Board delays the opening of such a school by a full year, from Sept. 2007 to Sept. 2008. However, the Board did vote to proceed with plans for a December referendum to create a facility for 500 high schoolers at the Mayer Textile building at 290 Brighton Rd. The school, if approved by voters, would open in Sept. 2006, and provide partial relief. The complete solution requires the construction of the grades 8-9 school. June 2005: NJ Dept. of Education recognizes School 13’s ESL/bilingual instruction as a model program. July 2004: NJ DEP says soil contamination throughout the entire Athenia Steel site must be addressed, clouding hopes for school construction on the property. However, Green Acres provides the city a $600,000 grant for the site’s engineering and planning in hopes of placing a park and recreational facilities there. • August 2018


In Downtown Clifton, Gerry Dimitratos and Jimmy Doris of the Famous Midtown Grill, at 1218 Main Ave., were renovating their landmark building in July 2004, adding a new facade and signage, which gives the restaurant a classic, yet contemporary look. Attorney Mike Adalaft just completed the renovation of his building at the intersection of Madison and Main. His neighbor, Jimmy Pappas of San Remo, said the renovations have a positive effect on business.

July 2004: Dennis J. Kirwan is hired as a full-time Clifton Planner, filling a role that was previously performed by a consulting firm. July 2-4, 2004: Say Aloha to a Tiki landmark: Work crews continue demolishing the former Lee’s Hawaiian Islander during the 2004 Independence Day weekend. An eyesore since it burned on July 26, 2003, the building (seen below pre-fire) at Lexington and Piaget Aves. was first constructed in 1713 by Paul Powlson. The building served as a farmhouse, a home and, in 1933 with the return of legalized liquor, it opened for dancing and dining as The Cliftonia. In 1961, it was renamed the Norselander and operated until 1973. In 1974, it opened as Lee’s, a Tiki bar and restaurant, and operated as such until the fire.


August 2018 •

Aug. 6, 2004: The tale of how Clifton got its name follows: In October 1867, a group of residents walked the town, then called Acquakanonk, to ponder new names. Former portions of Acquakanonk already re-named themselves Passaic and Paterson. Possibilities based on family names or local features were considered. Names like Weasel, Garrison, Vreeland and Claverack were tossed around and rejected. Finally, inspiration struck Mrs. Charles D. Spencer. Directing the group’s attention to Garret Mountain, Mrs. Spencer famously exclaimed, “There are your cliffs and the name shall be Clifton.” However, in Aug. 2004, if you were on Route 46 near Great Notch or at St. Philip’s on Valley Rd., you might wonder what Mrs. Spencer could have possibly seen. As the cover of our magazine proclaimed: “What’s Happening to Our Mountain?” On the top of the facing page is a photo from that magazine, one of many we published, showing how thousands of trees were clear cut. The mountain that may have inspired our city’s name was blasted away, and herds of deer and other animals were chased off the 98-acre tract of land onto Clifton’s streets. The project that straddles the border of (what was then) West Paterson and Clifton was for 810 units of upscale condos called Four Seasons at Great Notch. Developer K. Hovnanian would ultimately construct 114 of those units in Clifton. The remaining 596 and the tax ratables from the project would benefit the community that is now called Woodland Park. Four Seasons at Great Notch has one main entrance on Valley Rd. in Clifton.

Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 10 • Issue 8 • August 6, 2004

Also in our Aug. 2004 edition: We drive past it and make jokes about it and so the Passaic River is like the Rodney Dangerfield of waterways. It gets no respect. “The Passaic River has languished for too long,” asserted Capt. Bill Sheehan of the Hackensack Riverkeeper, who hoped to start a Passaic River Patrol. “Many people think the Passaic is a lost cause; they don’t realize what it once was. The patrol was started in order to get people interacting with the river,

using it for recreation. Clifton and the entire area needs to know that the waters do not belong to polluters, it belongs to them.” To let people know the Passaic was really user friendly, CMM and friends kayaked a portion of the placid river from a launch in Elmwood Park to the Dundee Lake on July 22. Paddlers included Joe and Tom Hawrylko Jr., Nick and Greg Barchuk, Joe Cupoli, Andre Olave, Gil Hawkins and Jared Eudell. • August 2018


Mid-July, 2004: Given only one entrance to the 35-acre former Athenia Steel property, City Council and Board of Education officials discuss creating a tunnel below the rail line to offer an entrance via Paulison Ave. Another option they discussed is finding a road level area, such as purchasing and demolishing the car wash above, and creating a road across the commuter rail line from Paulison Ave. to where the new proposed school would go. Summer 2004: The BOE and City Council want to know how long it will take to rid the northern portion of the Athenia Steel site of contaminated soil. The council offers the BOE 11-acres of the 35-acre property in exchange for Latteri Park. BOE President Joe Kolodziej planned to petition the NJ DEP for a conditional waiver on the contaminated property so a school building referendum could be prepared for the April BOE elections. Summer 2004: Al DuBois, a 16-year member and currently chair of the Clifton Environmental Protective Commission, announces his resignation. “With the ongoing development of nearly all of our open spaces in Clifton,” he wrote, ”the impervious paving with asphalt at City Hall, Allwood Road, etc., and the raping of Garret Mountain, I can no longer serve on an ‘Environmental Protective’ Commission that hasn’t protected anything and is ignored, forgotten about, and never asked to interact with the City Council, planning and/or developmental committees within our City,” DuBois wrote in his letter of resignation.


August 2018 •

Aug. 2004: Ron Anello, Clifton’s new football coach following the resignation of Chet Parlavecchio, explains his goals. “Simple: when we come off the field on Tuesday afternoon, we’re a better football team. When we come off the field on Wednesday, we’re better than we were Tuesday. Everything else falls into place. I never talk about winning and losing; I talk about things being done right.” Aug. 24, 2004: U.S. Army Capt. Michael Tarlavsky, CHS ’92, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Tarlavsky, captain of the CHS Swim Team, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was survived by his wife Tricia, their 11month-old son Joseph, his parents Yury and Rimma and a sister, Elina. The Clifton Veterans Alliance will engrave his name on the Main Ave. War Memorial— the first name added in 34 years—later in 2004.

Aug. 31, 2004: Avato’s Department Store on Valley Rd., which served Albion since 1930, closes, joining a list of other classic Clifton merchants who have moved on. They includes Starr Tire on Getty Ave. (to become a Commerce Bank) and the Cloverdale Restaurant, across from City Hall, which would be transformed into a Dunkin’ Donuts. Sept. 15, 2004: What does Clifton’s future hold for you? What is your opinion? For the second year, Clifton Merchant printed a survey to get a pulse of what our readers thought of issues facing our city. For instance, we asked readers to list three of Clifton’s greatest strengths, as well as our city’s greatest weaknesses. In total, some 29 questions were printed and readers could respond to as many as they chose. The results appear in the October edition.

CHS seniors and sports captains in Sept. 2004. Front from left, Kim Habrahamshon, tennis; Jonathan Borrajo, soccer; Marta Leja, cross country; middle, Nina Natoli, gymnastics; Honan Ng, cross country; Maggie Bialek, volleyball; back, Patrick Egan, band; Allison Murray, cheerleading; Emmanuel Ihim, football and Kayla Devlin, soccer. • August 2018


Performance of the City Officials & Organizations



Mayor & City Council

34% • D

Board of Education

40% • F

Board of Adjustment

44% • D

Planning Board

43% • F

Police Department

45% • B

Fire Department

66% • A

Department of Public Works

53% • B

Graded By: The People Of Clifton

Clifton’s Top 10 Strengths 1. Location 2. Good neighbors 3. Public Safety Officers 4. Diversity of cultures 5. Variety of shopping 6. Recycling program 7. Tax rate 8. Cleanliness 9. Marching Mustangs 10. DPW

Clifton’s Top 10 Weaknesses 1. Overcrowded schools 2. Overdevelopment 3. Traffic 4. Too crowded 5. Poor planning 6. Elected officials 7. Poor leadership 8. Increasing taxes 9. City Council 10. Board of Education

The results to our survey in our Oct. 2004 issue.

Oct. 2004: While readers continue to praise their city, the majority of responses to our 2nd Annual Clifton Tomorrow Survey indicate an overall dissatisfaction with the direction Clifton is headed. From issues such as overdevelopment and overcrowding in our schools, we asked 26 questions. Responses reflected a desire for change as can be seen in the results to questions 7 - 13, which pertained to the 2006 municipal election and forms of government. Respondents listed overcrowding in the school system as the biggest concern. It was also listed as the city’s greatest weakness, and the most pressing issue currently facing Clifton. “No more housing – of any kind!” was echoed throughout readers’ comments. Respondents ranked overdevelopment second

place in important issues. It was felt to be a major contributing factor to the school overcrowding, traffic woes and city-wide population density. Blame for the overdevelopment was put on the people running the city, with readers citing poor planning, ineffectiveness and not listening to constituents. That opinion was also reflected in the performance grades issued to elected and appointed officials (pages 14 and 18). Were our survey results relevant? Useful? It depended upon who you are. We figured there would be some who dismissed the responses as “only 130 opinions” out of a city of 80,000 residents. We likened the results to personal interviews with 130 concerned Clifton citizens and voters. School 17 Principal Tony Orlando and his dad Anthony with students Michael Mejia, Richard Saez, Jenniffer Gonzalez and Deyanira Gonzalez at the Nov. 20 open house and dedication of the new facility serving Botany and Lakeview.


August 2018 •

Oct. 2004: City fourth graders improve 5 percent over last year’s math and language scores, and 70 percent of CHS juniors meet math benchmarks, a 12 percent jump. Oct. 2004: Green Acres awards the city $800,000 to acquire remaining acreage on Dundee Island. Oct. 5, 2004: In a move spearheaded by Councilman Ed Welsh, the mayor and council appoint a three-member committee to explore methods of performance evaluation for City Manager Barbara Sacks. Speculation arose that Sacks might lose her post. When asked on Nov. 1 if the rumors were true, Welsh said not to speculate. Oct. 5, 2004: N.J. Army National Guard Cpl. Chris Struening, at right, and fellow firefighters from Station 6 visit School 16. During previous months, the kids corresponded with Struening while he was in Iraq. Oct. 19, 2004: U.S. Army Capt. Robert Soltis speaks before the City Council to thank Cliftonites for the care packages they send his troops. He commands Alpha Company, 725th Main Support Battalion, 25th Light Infantry Division, deployed to Afghanistan.

Oct. 25, 2004: USMC Sgt. Mateusz Erszkowicz visits St. John Kanty School to thank the students for their prayers. The combat engineer, who was born in Poland and came to the United States at age 16, survived an attack on June 29, but he still carries shrapnel. “Thanks for your prayers,” he tells 107 kids, “they definitely worked.”

The City of Clifton is accepting applications without regard to race, color sex or ethnic origin, from residents of Passaic & Essex County, for the part time position of School Traffic Guard. Several positions now open. Starting rate $12.92 per hr.

STOP! if you want a job

Interested individuals may apply online at Type and print your employment application. Bring your typed application to the Personnel Office Clifton City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton NJ 07013 Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for this position.

The City of Clifton is an Equal Opportunity Employer. • August 2018


From left, the 2004 Mustang basketball starting five: Marquis Buckingham, Dave Smith, Adam Bania, Carlos Pena and Randy Cabral. On Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day 2004, some of the many volunteers who help set up and take down the Avenue of Flags on the City Hall campus.

Oct. 25, 2004: Kimberly Topping (CHS ’05) performs at City Center with members of her competition team in a benefit entitled Career Transitions for Dancers. Oct. 27, 2004: The Famous MidTown Grill marks 45 years in Downtown Clifton. The landmark was established in 1959 by brothers Tom and John Foukas. In 1998, they sold the operation to Jimmy Doris and Jerry Dimitratos, who expanded the menu. Nov. 10, 2004: The BOE votes 7-1 to place the Mayer question before voters on Dec. 14. Only 2003 Board President, Marie Hakim, votes against the referendum, explaining. “I cannot support Mayer without the other half of the plan. If the Mayer referendum pass-

es, there is no guarantee that the second part of the original plan would be put into place. I support Mayer only in conjunction with a larger structure.” Another concern of Hakim’s was the expense of holding two referenda vs. one. “They are costly, in the area of $35,000-$50,000 each. We should wait to have the full plan put on a single referendum,” Hakim concluded. Nov. 16, 2004: City Manager Barbara Sacks tenders her resignation. The City Council appoints Al Greco as acting city manager (Greco was the city’s director of Human Services). “It was amicable— there was no screaming or yelling,” Sacks told Clifton Merchant. Nov. 18, 2004: At a parent forum on the Mayer referendum, Supt. Rice spoke about the two-part solution to overcrowding. “(The Mayer referendum) won’t solve the problem,” Rice said. “The second part of the plan is to build a grades 8-9 1,700-student school. There would be 2,400 to 2,500 10th to 12th graders in the high school and each of the middle schools (grades 5 and 6) would be under 1,000 students. “The Board is continuing to work on Phase 2,” Rice indicated. “Some people say, ‘I don’t want to pass Phase 1 until I know what Phase 2 is.’ I don’t get it. You need Phase 1 even more without Phase 2,” he said. Clif Tavern owner Skip Kazer was selling $5 chances to cut his 14 in. pony tail as part of a $1,000 fundraiser for a charity drive for children’s causes.


August 2018 •

It was all Clifton on Thanksgiving Day 2004 in what may be the last game played in Passaic’s Boverini Stadium. The Mustangs trounced the Indians, 48-0, and took home the Optimist Club Trophy, sponsored by the Optimist Clubs of Clifton and Passaic. Drum Major Pat Egan looks on as Director Bob Morgan conducts the season finale, “What I Did For Love.�

Nov. 19, 2004: Over 400 attend the Coach Joseph Grecco Scholarship Fund’s beefsteak at the Boys and Girls Club. Funds raised pay for scholarships for Fighting Mustangs exemplifying the coach’s spirit of excellence on the football field and in the classroom. Nov. 20, 2004: City and BOE representatives meet with NJ DEP officials to submit the Remedial Investigation Workplan and grant application and discuss using a por-

tion of Athenia Steel for the middle school. Completion of the review is promised by NJ DEP by Jan. 9, 2005. Nov. 25, 2004: On Thanksgiving morning, the Mustangs defeat the Indians, 48-0, at Boverini Stadium, Passaic. Dec. 9, 2004: Attorney Ricky E. Bagolie of Bagolie Friedman, LLC, relocates his firm to the Five Corners Building, Newark Ave., Jersey City. Bagolie was president of the Clifton Passaic Chapter of UNICO.





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Dec. 14, 2004: Six months of lobbying for voter’s endorsement of a 500-student annex at 290 Brighton Rd. culminates with the approval of the “Mayer referendum” by more than two to one— 68 percent of the 4,550 voters favor the idea.

pay extra taxes for services the city should provide. The group would host a meeting on Jan. 12 to discuss options.

Dec. 26, 2004: Cliftonites Tom Hawrylko of CMM, Orest Temnycky, Jerry Fedun, Jerry Kuzemczak and Mike Celuch volunteer to be among the Dec. 15, 2004: The Botany 12,000 International Election District Task Force initiates action Observers in Ukraine. The volto establish a Special unteers helped ensure a fair and Improvement District in the hisdemocratic process. Earlier toric district similar to the one in The timeline of Clifton history will stormy political events helped Downtown Clifton. Business ownpick up with events beginning in the world realize that Ukraine ers and residents would pay a 7.7 January 2005 in a future edition. was a free and independent percent tax to set up the SID. The nation, not a region of Russia. In Oct. and Nov. 2004, money would be used to enhance security and improve many watched in horror as election interference conditions, making it more attractive for shoppers and occurred and opposition candidate Viktor investors. By the following month, many Botany merYushchenko was poisoned. By Dec. 27, nearly all the chants and business owners favored the formation of a votes were counted and Yushchenko’s lead became SID. However, some residential property owners were unassailable. not as enthusiastic. They said they should not have to


August 2018 •


Waad Mustafa, Daniel Marrielo and Giovanni Chapal all received honors and awards this past month.

CHS grad Waad Mustafa received a $1,000 scholarship and 8th grader Zuzanna Banko from WWMS received a $500 scholarship, in the form of a Coverdell Education Savings Account (CESA), thanks to the generosity of Spencer Savings Bank. In total, Spencer awarded $26,000 in scholarships to 34 gifted students in the communities it serves in northern N.J. at a scholarship ceremony marking the bank’s 16th year supporting education dreams. Daniel Marriello, a Clifton resident and rising junior at PCTI in Wayne this fall, attended the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders June 29-July 1 in Lowell, Mass. The congress is an honors-only program for high schoolers passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Several Nobel Prize winners stood out to Daniel, as well as some featured masters of life success

and happiness. “Listening to Dr. Sean Stephenson really inspired me,” he said. “He overcame so many obstacles to achieve what he wanted.” The purpose of the event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct top students in the country to stay true to their dreams and provide resources to help them reach their goals. At the end, Daniel was inducted into the Torch and Laurel Honor Society. Giovanni Chapal was named Best Player of the Barcelona Summer Cup in Spain, an international summer futbol tournament, July 3-6. Chapal (CHS ’19), plays forward for Clifton’s U-16 New Jersey Stallions. The Stallions won five games in Spain, culminating in a 1-0 win over Alca If, from Norway. Chapal is looking forward to his senior year, where he’ll play forward for the Mustangs Soccer team under coach Stan Lembryk. • August 2018


VOLUNTEER Members of Clifton’s Committee for Individuals with Disabilities; seated front, Andrea-Christine Kischkat and Marilyn Rowan, Standing from left: Lisa Zinis, Saul Jaffe, Layal Helwani, Pat Bednar, Lauren Murphy and Colleen Murray, Missing is Dr. Roger Rossi.

Clifton’s Advisory Committee for Individuals with Disabilities was established in 1980 and the goal of the group is to be an advocate and voice for individuals with disabilities. The primary task is to gather and present facts, information and data that may help and assist the mayor and council make policies pertaining to matters affecting individuals with disabilities in the community.

Ranging from assessing needs in the parks and playgrounds to being an extra set of eyes on the road for those who park in spaces reserved for those with handicaps, members see their role as one which is evolving. The Committee’s work includes making recommendations regarding programs, legislation, policies and enforcement of local, state and federal codes and laws. Issues addressed cover every stage of life: from childhood programs and special education to the needs of disabled seniors. Appointed for four-year terms, the committee is comprised of residents, including people with disabilities, parents, professionals, a City Council liaison, a Health Department liaison, and a secretary. The committee meets 7:30 pm on the third Monday of each month in the Health Department on the 2nd floor of City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave. Have an issue which needs attention? Attend a meetings and ask questions or make suggestions. Contact the committee via email at: Power of One’s Back2School Outreach is underway, collecting non-perishable food items and school supplies. The goal is to provide elementary school students in need with a free backpack filled with supplies. The program has helped over 1,300 in the city. Volunteer at a food and school supply drive on Aug. 11 from 10 am to 4 pm. Another opportunity is Aug. 29 from 3 to 6 pm to help pack and sort donations. Register at and click events, call Kim Castellano at 201-328-2326 or email


August 2018 •

MUSIC & ARTS Over 21 years of age? Dance the night away on Aug. 17 at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, 181 Colfax Ave., from 7 to 11 pm. The hot summer night dance party is sponsored by Garden State Honda. The $40 tickets include beer, wine and soda (BYOB also permitted) and a BBQ buffet in the VIP area. DJ Marvin B spins to help raise money for Camp Clifton. Call 973-773-0966 x111 or email

The 2018 Summer Concert Series is sponsored by the Clifton Board of Recreation on Sundays through Aug. 19. Events are at 7:30 pm at Main Memorial Park, on Park Slope and Main Ave. The dates feature Mushmouth – Cover Band, Joey Arminio & ‘The Family’ – American Bandstand Music, and Emerald Experience – Party Band. For weather cancelations, call Rec Weather Hotline at 973-470-5680.

One Fine Tapestry: A Carole King Tribute. Gerard and Diane Barros are the duo who perform and celebrate the career of Carole King at Lambert Castle on Aug. 19 at 5 pm. It is the final performance of the 2018 Lambert Castle Concert Series, featuring local musicians and a variety of musical genres. All concerts are performed in the historic atmosphere of the castle. Admission is $15.

Historic Botany Village host free Friday and Saturday concerts in Sullivan Square throughout the summer. The next party features The Jersey Swamp Cats on Aug. 3. Other featured performances include The FrostKings, Rock Kandy The 80’s Experience, The Detours and The Malpractice Show Band. For a complete line-up and more info., go to

Last month, we wrote an article about Tiffany Sheppard where we incorrectly referred to her as Tiffany Bray. Tiffany is in need of a kidney; her story can be found in our July 2018 issue. To learn more about donating a kidney, visit the Living Donor information page at To complete a Living Donor referral form, visit • August 2018



Come to the grounds of City Hall on Sept. 11 and take in the 2,060 displays of patriotism. Perhaps you will even meet a couple of veterans who served our nation.

The Clifton Police Department will host the National Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 7 from 5 to 8 pm at Main Memorial Park. The event is free and family friendly so folks of all ages are invited to attend. Kim Castellanos of the Power of One is helping to organize volunteers to help out in a myriad of ways. To volunteer, go to and click events. Fire Chief Kevin McCarthy and Lt. Charles P. Stauhs collaborated to publish a history book celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Clifton Fire Department. The book took over four years to research and write, and was finished in time for the 100th Anniversary of Clifton’s Fire Department on July 18, 2018. Through photos and a narrative, the 32-page book features a historical retrospective, from the horse and buggy days to today’s modern equipment. Nostalgia buffs will enjoy a list of locations of the Gamewell Boxes, the old fire alarm call system stationed on telephone poles. For those who recall those days, you may even hear the gong that identified the location of a fire, and find out how trucks and men were dispatched to a blaze, pre-computer era. Sadly, there is a tribute to Clifton’s only Line of Duty Death. A page recalls Arthur McPartland, who died at the age of 56 when he had a heart attack fighting a minor rubbish fire. Readers can peruse a roster of all CFD members since Clifton Fire service began in 1918. To purchase a book, email The cost is $10 if purchased in person or it can be mailed for an additional $3 to anywhere in the United States.


August 2018 •

Clifton’s Avenue of Flags on the grounds of the municipal complex will feature 2,060 flags—each sponsored by a family in memory of a living or deceased veteran. The next display goes up the morning of Sept. 11. Volunteers are always welcomed to show up at 6 am to help post the flags which will grace the City Hall property till dusk. Volunteers are also needed at 6 pm to help take down and store the flags. The ever-growing display is called the largest American flag exhibit east of the Mississippi River. Flags are three by five feet and stand on a 10-foot pole with a brass name plate. To sponsor a flag ($110), Keith Oakley at 201-774-6666. Keeping cops in Clifton is a growing priority. Councilman William Gibson confirmed in July that officers are leaving the department for “a greener paycheck,” reported It is not as rare as people might think. Gibson said that at least 15 officers left since 2013 for higher paid positions. Clifton’s starting salary for rookies is $30,000. The councilman said neighboring depts. can start at $40,000. Why should we care? For many reasons— including added response time for understaffed cops. The goal is for 20 recruits in the next police academy class.


On July 4, fans watching the Yankees’s 6-2 win, over the Atlanta Braves were thrilled by backup catcher Kyle Higashioka’s third home run. Since 1920, Higashioka was just the ninth player to have his first three major league hits go for home runs – a list that includes the Yankees’ Alphonso Soriano, the Red Sox’s Mike Greenwell and the Phillies’ Ed Sanicki. Clifton’s Ed Sanicki? The one who has a baseball field named after him in Albion Park? That’s right. The former CHS star who led the Mustangs to a 1941 Passaic Valley Conference Crown hit three straight home runs for Philadelphia in 1949. In his first big league at-bat, Sanicki slammed a Rip Sewell pitch for a three-run homer at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. His next two hits were also homers, including one at Shibe Park, the Phillies home field. Sanicki grew up near Valley Rd. and attended School 5. After starring for CHS, he played semipro ball for the Wonder Bread team and the Curtiss-Wright squad, where he was future Hall of Famer Larry Doby’s teammate.

“A man from the plant gave us jobs as propeller blade inspectors,” said Sanicki in 1997. “He was more interested in getting us to play for his plant’s team. We had a grand time playing together and got to be buddies.” After serving in the Navy, Sanicki signed with the Phillies for $2,500. He led the Wilmington Blue Rocks to the Inter-State pennant in 1946 and a league championship the next year. In 1948, Sanicki moved up to the Phillies top farm club, the Toronto Maple Leafs, where manager Ed Sawyer called him a future Joe DiMaggio. An injury ended Sanicki’s baseball career in 1952. After graduating from Seton Hall, he taught special education in Clifton for the next 30 years and was the Mustangs baseball coach from 1957 to 1963. Ed Sanicki passed away in 1998. • August 2018


Birthdays & Celebrations - August 2018

Happy Birthday to... Send dates & names...

Tom and Lori Hawrylko celebrate their fourth anniversary on Aug. 18, Lori’s 60th is on Aug. 4 and Tom’s 61st is on Aug. 15. Ottilia Kedl turned 12 on July 23 and brother Alexander celebrates his 10th birthday on Aug. 28. Greetings to Emilie Oakley who is 25 on Aug. 22.

Jack and his wife Anne Houston celebrate their 32nd anniversary on Aug. 8

Margot Villanova................8/1 Kim West...........................8/1 Angelo Greco ....................8/2 Karen Lime ........................8/2 Michael Urciuoli .................8/2 Lori Hawrylko ....................8/4 Kevin Ciok.........................8/4 Scott Malgieri ....................8/4 Mark W. Mikolajczyk .........8/5 Christina Sotelo ..................8/5 Ed Gasior Sr. .....................8/6 Sean McNally ....................8/6 Gladys Shefchik .................8/8 Chiara Cristantiello.............8/9 Jean Schubert.....................8/9


Emily Hawrylko ................8/12 Danielle Swede ................8/13 Andrew Cronin ................8/14 Kimberly Mozo ................8/14 Michelle Smolt..................8/14 Christopher Antal .............8/15 Peter Bodor......................8/15 Tom Hawrylko ..................8/15 Andrew Noblett................8/15 Jessica Oliva....................8/15 Maria Pinter.....................8/15 Susan Van Blarcom ...........8/15 Daniel Wolfe....................8/15 Arlene Hard.....................8/17 Bella Bulsara....................8/18

August 2018 •

Alexandria Veltre..............8/19 Michael Melendez............8/20 Rachelle Swede................8/20 Cara Cholewczynski .........8/24 Yasmin Ledesma ...............8/24 Joanne Pituch ...................8/24 Robbie Lucas....................8/25 Eileen Gasior ...................8/26 Cameron J. Popovski.........8/26 Adam Brandhorst .............8/27 Peter Fierro, Jr. .................8/28 Nicholas Swede. ..............8/29 Michelle “Mish” Choy .......8/30 Joe Rushen.......................8/30 Kathleen McKenny............8/31

Peter & Christina Kedl celebrate their 14th anniversary on Aug. 21.



Rudy Hudak turns 89 on Aug. 17. Phil J. Smith will hit a milestone plus 2 on Aug. 24. Happy Anniversary to Nancy & Mike Ressetar on Aug. 15 and to Bruce & Diane Drake at 47 years on Aug. 22. • August 2018



On July, 31, Clifton Fire Chief Kevin McCarthy, at left, promoted officers Ryan Fitzsimmons to Deputy Chief, Angelina Tirado to Lieutenant, Frank V. Yodice to Lieutenant and Michael S. Montague to Captain. While reaching the ranks required years of service, months of studying and the support of family and fellow officers, the ceremony became historical in that Tirado, on the job since 2010, was the first female to serve with Clifton’s Bravest and to achieve the rank of Lt. While Tirado was featured on our cover in October, 2013, the milestone was also a tribute to her dad, the late Passaic Lt. Alberto Tirado, who died in the line of duty on May 9, 2001.


August 2018 •

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Clifton Merchant Magazine - August 2018  
Clifton Merchant Magazine - August 2018