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mayor

Steve gets personal


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CONTENTS JCM

FEATURES 16 16 TEN YEARS AND COUNTING Jersey City Magazine anniversary

COVER 20 PEOPLE POWER Mayor Steve gets personal Cover Photo by Alyssa Bredin | tbishphoto 24 WHITE EAGLE HALL Entertainment venue 28 HOVERING ABOVE THE HUDSON Helicopter ride 44 AN ARTS VENUE Mana Contemporary 48 BODY AND SOUL Soul Generation 54 LONG ENGAGEMENT Lesbian marriage

DEPARTMENTS 43 VANISHING JERSEY CITY Capturing the past

12 CONTRIBUTORS 14 EDITOR’S LETTER

47 THE ARTS Gallery listings

32 EDUCATION Charter schools

50 HOODS Van Vorst Park

36 SPORTS CORNER Spar power

58 HOW WE LIVE House proud

40 THE STUDIO Monique Sarfity

66 DATES What’s goin’ on 67 POINT & SHOOT Snow Ball 70 HOW WE WORK Small businesses 73 RESTAURANTS Listings 74 DINING OUT Órale! Mexican Kitchen

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CITY

SPRING 2014 Vo l u m e 1 1 • N u m b e r 1 A Publication of The Hudson Reporter

PUBLISHERS Lucha Malato, David Unger EDITOR IN CHIEF Kate Rounds GRAPHICS STAFF Terri Saulino Bish, Lisa M. Cuthbert, Alyssa Bredin, Mike Mitolo, Pasquale Spina, Patricia Verano COPYEDITING Christopher Zinsli ADVERTISING MANAGER Tish Kraszyk ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Joseph Calderone, Toni Anne Calderone, Ron Kraszyk, Jay Slansky CIRCULATION MANAGER Roberto Lopez CIRCULATION Luis Vasquez ACCOUNTING Christine Caraballo

Jersey City Magazine is published three times a year by The Hudson Reporter Associates, L.P., 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (201) 798-7800, Fax (201) 798-0018. Email jcmag@hudsonreporter.com. Subscriptions are $10 per year, $25 for overseas, single copies are $7.50 each, multiple copy discounts are available. VISA/MC/AMEX accepted. Subscription information should be sent to JCMagazine Subscriptions, 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ 07030. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or other unsolicited materials. Copyright ©2014, Hudson Reporter Associates L.P. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Jersey City Magazine is a publication of The Hudson Reporter Associates, L.P. 1400 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030 phone 201.798.7800 • fax 201.798.0018 e-mail: jcmag@hudsonreporter.com jerseycitymagazine.com

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CONTRIBUTORS JCM

LAUREN BARBAGALLO is a freelance writer. Since 2008, she’s lived in Hamilton Park with her husband Vassily and daughters Caro and Nico. She can be reached at lcbarbagallo@yahoo.com.

TERRI SAULINO BISH

JIM HAGUE

LAUREN BARBAGALLO

began her career as a graphic designer and digital artist. Expanding into the area of photography, she not only creates images but captures them with her camera. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Best of Photography. Her art currently includes digital paintings and photos that can be viewed at tbishphoto.com.

ALYSSA BREDIN is a recent graduate of Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, with a degree in graphic arts. She is pursuing a career in photography. Her work can be seen at tbishphoto.com.

LANA ROSE DIAZ

TERRI SAULINO BISH

CAREN LISSNER

is a freelance writer, Jersey girl, and paramour of concrete and trees. A graduate of Lehigh University and former staff writer for The Hudson Reporter, she lives, works, and plays in her beloved Jersey City. For more info, visit lanarosediaz.com.

ADRIANA RAMBAY FERNÁNDEZ is a freelance writer and yoga teacher. Happy to call Jersey City home, she finds it is an endless source of creative inspiration. You can find her online at: http://adrianarambay.com/

JIM HAGUE is a Jersey City native, who landed a job with the Hudson Dispatch in 1986. He has been the sports columnist for the Hudson Reporter Associates for the last 22 years. ALYSSA BREDIN

STEPHEN MCMILLIAN

CAREN LISSNER is a writer whose 2003 novel, Carrie Pilby, is being made into a movie. She’s the editor and former Hoboken beat reporter at the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit CarenLissner.com.

STEPHEN MCMILLIAN

LANA ROSE DIAZ

MERLIN URAL RIVERA

was born and raised in Jersey City. He is a graduate of Henry Snyder High School and received his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Morgan State University in Baltimore. He is a journalist, actor, and filmmaker. He formerly danced on the long-running television show, “Soul Train.”

MERLIN URAL RIVERA lived in Bulgaria and Turkey before moving to Bayonne. Her short stories were published in Ping Pong, Warscapes, Hot Street and Umbrella Factory, and she can be reached at mement-o-mori@hotmail.com.

VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

ADRIANA RAMBAY FERNÁNDEZ

VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

12 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

has studied publication design, photography, and graphic design. “I’ve been fascinated by photography for 18 years,” he says. One of his jobs as a construction project manager is to photograph job sites.


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EDITOR'S LETTER JCM

S

Milestone

W

SAV E T H E DAT E S

MARCH 7 JUNE 6 2014

2014

e don’t usually pat ourselves on the back, but, as it happens, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Jersey City Magazine. We’ve been privileged to cover a great town that has given us wonderful stories, stunning personalities, and gorgeous images that have kept readers entertained and engaged over the last decade. During that time, we’ve reported on the traditional and cutting edge. In this issue, for example, Lauren Barbagallo profiles two arts venues that celebrate the new and the newly established. The stunning Mana Contemporary is a worldclass organization that has chosen Jersey City for its home. White Eagle Hall, meanwhile, is a classic example of how we are converting existing real estate into venues that accommodate our modern needs— in this case a space for performance, the visual arts, and dining. Education has always been a crucial factor in Jersey City’s evolution. Young families are pouring into the city, and we want them to stay, which means educating their kids. In this issue, writer Merlin Ural Rivera takes a look at how charter schools are doing just that. With each new development or trend, we also try to hold on to the touchstones that have made Jersey City unique. That’s why we instituted “Vanishing Jersey City,” and we hope you will continue sending us your wonderful images of things that are fast slipping away from us. But no city is an island, and we certainly don’t want to be. Over the years, our content has mirrored

Correction The photo on page 23 of the Fall/Winter 2013/2014 issue of Jersey City Magazine depicts a kitchen

PHOTO BY MARIE PAPP

PR E S E N T

what is happening in the country and the world at large. We’ve focused on development, diversity, the food craze, entrepreneurship, the arts scene, and any number of other trends that put us front and center in the global village. Our 10th-anniversary issue is no exception. The national movement for marriage equality has made its way to New Jersey, and we were thrilled to interview one of two lesbian couples who were the first to be married in Jersey City by our new young mayor. Speaking of which, you probably noticed him on our cover. Though writer Caren Lissner talked to him in the middle of the Bridgegate scandal, this story is not about politics. We get up close and personal with Mayor Fulop, learning about his taste in music, how he spends his down time, and he how he keeps in shape. Our photographers, Terri Saulino Bish and Alyssa Bredin, caught up with him at the gym at five in the morning. I was there, too, and had a chance between the treadmill and the weight training for a little chat. He was relaxed, approachable, fun, and very curious about our jobs and the whole business of making magazines. Which brings us full circle. We’ve been making this magazine for 10 years with the unwavering support of our local businesses and loyal readers. Here’s to 10 more.—JCM

designed by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri. It is not the kitchen in Lindsey Lohmeier’s and Matt Brown’s home. We regret the error.


Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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By Kate Rounds

I

n the year 2004, the Mars Rover landed on the Red Planet. A whale exploded in Tainan City, Taiwan. Facebook was launched. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Ground was broken for the Freedom Tower. The Statue of Liberty reopened. Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Julia Child, Johnny Ramone, and Christopher Reeve died. And Jersey City Magazine was born.


PHOTO BY VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ If we were talking marriage it would be our tin anniversary. OK, not my first choice for a birthday bauble, but we have a lot to look forward to: crystal, china, silver, pearl, ruby, gold—and if we are still around in the year 2074— diamond. When our first issue debuted, Glenn D. Cunningham was mayor, Steven Fulop was running (unsuccessfully) for a seat in Congress, the tallest building

in New Jersey had just opened on the Jersey City waterfront, and the Jersey City Medical Center was newly operating on Grand Street. When you publish a semi-annual publication, you are bound to make unavoidable errors. Here are a few from our debut issue: Headline: “9/11 Memorial Statue on the Way.” Oops, not exactly. The infamous “Tear Drop” statue by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli

was rejected by former Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, reportedly because he didn’t like it. The monument to the “Struggle Against World Terrorism” finally found a home on the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor. Here’s another one: “Parks Will Showcase Area History.” Really? We reported that construction was beginning on a series of “History Parks” or “History Gardens.” These “outdoor

Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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THEN AND NOW JCM museums” would tell the story of areas such as Lafayette, Downtown, Journal Square, the Heights, and Greenville. The first park was to be located on the corner of Monitor and Maple. Hmmm, that’s my hood and I have yet to see a history park. Of course, much has changed in the last decade. But the old saw that the more things change, the more they stay the same is also true. In the debut issue, writer Ricardo Kaulessar wrote about JC’s ethnic communities. We reprised that story in our Spring/Summer 2013 issue with a story titled “Tower of Babel: That melodious cacophony? It’s Jersey City talking,” in which we note that 69 languages are spoken in the city. Jersey City’s diversity was on display in the mid-1600s when English, Dutch, Native Americans, and indeed other cultures as well crossed paths in the Bergen and Paulus Hook sections of Jersey City. Immigrants

from one part of the world or another may be ascendant at any given time, but the Golden Door is always wide open. Our food is the best exemplar of our diversity. Recently, I was in need of a Korean translator and had to go no further than the nearest Korean restaurant. Ricardo also wrote a story about our four theaters: the Loew’s, the Stanley, the State, and the Majestic. Today, the Loew’s is thriving as an entertainment venue. The Majestic has been made into condominiums. The State was torn down to make way for an apartment building known as State Square. We wrote about the Stanley in our Fall/Winter, 2011/12 issue. It is now an assembly hall for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In our debut issue, there was a feature titled “Meet the (New) Neighbors,” which profiled new families who had moved to JC. We probably wouldn’t do

PHOTO OF STANLEY THEATER BY BEN AHHI

that now because Jersey City is absolutely erupting with new families, and we just wouldn’t know where to begin. A feature titled “Take This Job” profiled folks with “not-so-normal” occupations. One of them was the everimportant job of crossing guard. We instituted a department called “On the Job With—” and in our Fall/Winter 2012/13 issue, we did a spread on crossing guards. There was a feature on fitness in our premier issue. Again, today there are too many fitness, health, and sports clubs; yoga, Zumba, and Pilates studios, to mention. In our 2004 debut issue, our publishers, Dave Unger and Lucha Malato, who have owned the Hudson Reporter since 1983, penned a Letter from the Publishers. They wrote, “It is our hope that you will discover some of the magic that has drawn thousands of companies and individuals


together on New Jersey’s Gold Coast … We hope you enjoy reading through the pages of Jersey City Magazine and find the stories uplifting and interesting and the information we have provided to be useful.” Now Dave and Lucha have 10 years of experience to draw on. “We’ve learned that there is a real appetite in Jersey City for a glossy lifestyle magazine,” Lucha said. “The magazine is bigger, the photos are stellar, and the stories reflect the changes in Jersey City. Without the endlessly fascinating people who live and work in this town, there would be no magazine.” “And about those changes,” Dave said. “The city has seen tremendous development—from new high rises to renovations of landmark properties. Young people and families with kids have integrated seamlessly into the town’s well-established neighborhoods. While new restaurants, small businesses, and arts venues are thriving, the city has managed to maintain its character, traditions, and sense of history.” Diamond Jubilee anyone?—JCM

LINCOLN PARK

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Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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Mayor Steve PHOTO BY TBISHPHOTO

Gets Up Close and Personal

20 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014


...On relationships, the Marines, and Miley Cyrus BY CAREN LISSNER

F

ive minutes into my interview with Steve Fulop, he gets a call on his cell. “Yes, senator,” he says, and disappears from the conference room into his office. A few minutes later, his press secretary appears to tell me he has to handle something “time sensitive” and he won’t be able to finish the interview today. Was it something I said? “This never happens,” she assures me. She’s right. Fulop has been obsessed with scheduling and punctuality since he joined the Marine Corps in 2002, and nowadays, he rigorously blocks out his time from 5 a.m. until 11:30 at night. He has had to schedule himself even more carefully these days, as everyone wants a piece of him. In January, he was thrust into the national spotlight when he spoke out about Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal, giving quotes to media outlets about his own experiences with Christie’s suspected political retribution. But the young mayor had been in demand well before that. Over the last 50 years, since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, people have pined for a political hero—someone untainted—especially in this modern media age where everything is held up to scrutiny, and especially in storied Hudson County. In fact, in the last five years, other young, seemingly untarnished mayors have faltered shortly upon taking office: In nearby West New York, Mayor Felix Roque, a doctor and Army colonel, beat a machine candidate to assume the town’s top spot in 2011, only to get arrested on federal hacking charges 12 months and two weeks later (he was acquitted after a trial, but his son was not). In neighboring Hoboken in 2009, residents elected a cleancut, handsome young lawyer from Passaic County, Peter Cammarano III, who was arrested a record-setting three weeks after taking office for accepting cash bribes during the campaign. Into this maelstrom jogged a wiry Steve Fulop, only 37 years old and perhaps genuinely unsullied by New Jersey’s particular brand of soot. During his eight years on the Jersey City council, he fought for good-government measures like restrictions on politicians holding multiple government jobs. He also boasted a solid background in finance after a stint at Goldman Sachs. He won the mayoralty last May via a grassroots effort that trampled the local political machine. All those qualifications might be enough to make him a longawaited political hero, but on top of that, there were superheroics: He had joined the Marine Corps at age 24 after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, spending six months in Iraq. His political ads for mayor last year showed him swimming across the Hudson River. He goes for a jog every morning at sunup. He may just be the perfect candidate for higher office. Everyone wants to be a part of his rise.

BABY BOOMER’S BABY

But while many hope Fulop will be governor one day, and he’s been profiled in media outlets from the New York Observer to the Wall Street Journal, few have delved into the non-political quirks that may emerge on the statewide stage. A Baby Boomer’s baby caught between generations X and Y, he frequently uses Facebook and Twitter and makes jokes at

his own expense. He has his office staff wearing plastic bracelets that record details about how physically active they’ve been all day. He hopes to start a family in the next few years, and he makes time to “binge watch” the TV show House of Cards. So what really makes Steve Fulop run?

MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT

It took a week and a half for me to meet with him again after he disappeared into his office that afternoon. Two days after our aborted interview, Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal broke, and Fulop told the press Christie administration had canceled a slew of meetings with him after Fulop failed to endorse him. Once the hubbub died down, Fulop was able to sit down and talk briefly about the scandal, but also about himself, his personal life, and of course, his political future. Fulop came out of his office looking boyish, with a bit of an Alfred E. Newman “aw, shucks” attitude to match. He punctuated his sentences with “like” and “right?,” made jokes implying that he wasn’t hip in any way, and appeared to have a sense of humor about his job. He was wearing a suit and tie, and on his right wrist, the aforementioned plastic bracelet that records how active he is and sends the details to his cell phone. Since he was deployed in the Marines, he’s been making the most of every moment, a quality he learned overseas. The focus on physical fitness is part of that—something he says was not a priority before he enlisted. “We can all see each other,” he says, referring to the fact that most of his office staff sports the bracelets. “Right? Like, for Darlene, the receptionist, so she has one, she’s fairly active. Tony’s out there, he’s fairly active. When someone overtakes someone else, it buzzes. So it motivates them. It has biometrics, your heart rate. We have a lot of fun with it.” If fitness was not a priority early on, neither was politics. Fulop was born in the middle-class suburb of Edison, N.J., in 1977, to parents who emigrated from Romania and Israel. His mother’s parents died in Auschwitz. His parents once owned a deli in Newark and still own Foto-Loft, an immigration services company not far from Newark City Hall. Fulop graduated from J.P. Stevens High School in Edison in 1995 and got his BA at Binghamton University in 1999. He went to work for Goldman Sachs in Chicago, then moved to Jersey City to work for Goldman in Manhattan and to be closer to his family in New Jersey. He knew nothing of Jersey City’s politics, or its growing arts scene. He just knew that Goldman was erecting a rather tall building there. At that point, Fulop had never registered to vote. While working on the trading floor at 1 New York Plaza in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, the southernmost of all of the borough’s skyscrapers, he felt the ground shake. The terrorist attacks inspired him to join the Marines, even though he couldn’t even list all the branches of the military. He was 24 years old. “I knew the Marines were the first ones in; I knew their reputation,” he says. “I tried to figure out what the reserve commitment was, how to navigate it.” His parents were “terrified and upset,” he says. “I was a first-generation American, and I was working for Goldman. Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

21


PHOTO BY AL SULLIVAN

Man about town at the Snow Ball They were Holocaust survivors. This is the land of opportunity and the American Dream, and giving their kids a better life than they had, and here I am throwing it all away. They saw it as an unnecessary risk.” But, he says, “The Marine Corps gave me a lot. Some say it’s a risk and a sacrifice. I got more out of them than they got out of me.” He met people from varied backgrounds, learned to show up on time, and learned to eat quickly so as not to waste valuable moments. He still eats quickly. “They drill it into your head, the punctuality, being places early, how you talk to people, how you eat, how you sleep,” he says. “Punctuality is basic respect, and so is how you address others: ‘No ma’am, yes ma’am, no sir.’” The Marines turned his thought process upside down. “It changes your perspective on what’s important here,” he said, tapping the desk with two fingers to indicate home. “I took meticulous notes, who was emailing me, who was in contact. We got the mail once a week. One person got a sonogram from a baby.” Now, he puts a premium on punctuality. When our photographers tried to meet him for his workout at 5 a.m. last November, he walked into the gym, didn’t see them, and left within five minutes. It took a week to reschedule. In 2004, after Fulop returned from the Marine Corps, he used every minute for something productive: He simultaneously enrolled in full-time Master’s programs at Columbia and New York University, while still active with the Marines. “I was back at Goldman, and I was on reserve duty on weekends,” he says. “A normal, sane person would manage only one of them.”

SERVING THE PUBLIC

It was around that time that the city of Jersey City issued proclamations to military members who were returning from duty. Then-Mayor Glenn Cunningham (now deceased), a Marine himself, noticed that Fulop had left Goldman to join up, and he was impressed. He asked Fulop to run against popular Rep. Bob Menendez in the 2004 Democratic primary for House of Representatives. In the war that is New Jersey politics, the effort was a suicide mission, but Fulop was now aware he could serve the public

22 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

in a new way. He got elected to Jersey City’s City Council and became active, representing the downtown area, which includes the waterfront, the financial district, and luxury high rises. He was 27. Last May, at 36, he beat incumbent mayor Jerramiah Healy to win the top spot in the state’s second-largest city. Rising at dawn and staying up until 11:30 p.m., he’s got enough issues to fill the time—development, crime, the arts, a mediocre school district, and all those out-of-town politicians and journalists who want to interview him and speculate about where he’ll go next. But what serves as inspiration during those 18-hour days? When my questions shifted from political history to how the mayor unwinds, I offered up a “Teen Beat” question, asking about his favorite music. Fulop looked sheepish, as many of us might—no one wants to be categorized based on that favorite Blue Oyster Cult tune. The mayor thought of a way to answer, looking at his cell phone. “Here’s my top 25 played,” he says. “Some electronic music like Avicii. Adele is on there. Calvin Harris. Some pop music. I downloaded a Miley Cyrus song. I don’t know why.” No need to apologize, but we needed specifics. “It’s this ‘Wrecking Ball’ song,” he says. “Cold Play, Jay Z, Eminem, Bush, another Eminem, Jay Z again, something from Les Mis.” I asked what kind of other quirky things he may be into that most people don’t know about. “I don’t think it’s quirky if I’ve experienced it,” he joked. He often pokes fun at himself. During an early January snowstorm that closed schools and shut down roads statewide, he posted on Facebook: “First I am such a wimp I had Robert stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee for the road. Secondly we are now getting our salt spreader refilled at the JCIA complex. They treat the salt with a new chemical so it is more effective as the temp drops. I am sharing this so everyone can share with the work, manpower, and organizing we put into this.” While working those long days, he rarely has time for TV, but he does make a priority of catching HBO on Sunday nights. “I binge-watch House of Cards,” he says, noting the political drama strikes a chord. He tried out Orange is the New Black but didn’t quite get into it. As for sports, he has


always been a Devils fan, but doesn’t have as much time to worship now, and he roots for the Giants. (Quarterback Eli Manning lives just next door in Hoboken.) Then there is that other question that inevitably dogs unmarried politicians when they cross into their midthirties. To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good political career must be in want of a wife. Fulop turned 37 in February, but has rarely spoken publicly of a love interest. I asked if he wants someday to marry and have children.

DOWN TIME

“I do,” he says. “I date. It’s hard to find somebody who wants to be part of this political life. The first time you have dinner at Puccini’s, it’s interesting to someone. The 40th time, it’s not as much fun. I’m constantly at events. It’s hard to find people willing to be a part of that. The short answer is, yes, it’s a priority in the next year.” Is he so rigorously scheduled that he has penciled in a relationship for 2014? “I don’t schedule it, but I think about it,” he says. “Most of my friends are on their second and third kid. It’s something I think about, I’m conscious about.” Because of his longtime single status, rumors have flown on a local website about his sexual orientation, as they do about any political bachelor on the rise. His ally, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, 44 and unmarried, famously addressed his own sexual orientation in a Washington Post profile last summer. On one Jersey City Internet bulletin board, a woman wrote of Fulop in 2007: “Gay? Straight? It doesn’t matter to me, although I would be a little disappointed, I was trying to snag a date with him. If he sticks to the topics of the ward and not to stoop to this [mud-slinging] level, it will already make him the better man.” So how would Fulop respond if he ran for higher office and people asked about his sexual orientation? “People are going to say what they want to say,” he says. “I don’t think it really matters one way or the other. It is what it is. I have plenty of gay friends and plenty of straight friends. It’s a mindset from 40 years ago.” Among those associates is perhaps one of the most famous “gay Americans,” former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who was tapped by Fulop last year to run the city’s jobs commission. If the media pressed him to clarify his sexual orientation, would he? “I never really thought about it,” he says, with only the slightest hint of pique. So what are the chances of Fulop running for higher office, particularly if the governorship were to open up before his term as mayor ended? Would he step up to the plate? “I don’t think so,” he says. “People talk about it. It’s very flattering. My job today is Jersey City. I’d be perfectly happy continuing. This is a big job.” I asked if there are any skeletons in his closet, things no one knows that might scuttle a promising career and disappoint loyalists who thought they’d finally found their political hero. “I got into this business not motivated by money,” he says. “I would have stayed at Goldman. I have people under me. It’s always hard to control and know what everyone is doing. Sometimes people do stupid things. We try to put controls around that. We put the city before our personal agendas.” He cited the huge number of volunteers who worked on his race, and all of the idealistic believers who submitted resumes after he won office. With a clean slate like that, there is always the possibility he could become the first Jewish president. “I’ve never thought

about it and I don’t think so,” he says, smiling. “That dovetails with the personal life and family life. There are time constraints; people change. At some point I may want to go back to the private sector.” That said, he wants to give the people around him the same opportunity to rise in politics that he has had. “I really, really try to get young people involved,” he stresses, pointing to his own political innocence when Cunningham found him. “It’s meaningful work to do. You never know where it will go.” About 35 minutes into the interview, an aide appeared waving a fluorescent Post-It note, which he handed to the mayor to read. “Are we going?” Fulop asked. It was clear that our time had come to an end. Steve Fulop has myriad issues to tackle in Jersey City, some very grave. Last September, three hardboiled youths from his city, ages 13 and 14, were arrested after they took the train to Hoboken and allegedly killed a homeless man simply for sport. Even 18 hours a day may not be enough time to get to everything, particularly if he wants to leave room for House of Cards, pop songs, and long walks on the waterfront. But perhaps there’s a Stevie Wonder who can set a new standard for us to follow. Only time will tell.—JCM

PHOTO BY TBISHPHOTO

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BY LAUREN BARBAGALLO PHOTOS BY TBISHPHOTO

F

or many immigrants to the United States, the first stop after Ellis Island was Jersey City. And at 337-339 Newark Avenue, you’ll find a splendid reminder of our region’s rich immigrant history: White Eagle Hall. In front of the building is a carving of the crowned white eagle, part of the national coat of arms of Poland. The eagle is joined by the carved heads of four famous Polish icons, with very hard-topronounce names.

Olga Levina and Ben LoPiccolo

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Jersey City is experiencing a renaissance in arts infrastructure, and The White Eagle Hall project fits right in. On page 44 in this issue, I profile the fabulous Mana Contemporary, a unique, all-in-one artistic venture that houses artist studios, exhibition halls, performance space, and a complete range of services for artists and collectors. The historic Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Journal Square hosts the Golden Door International Film Festival and is ripe for new entertainment prospects. The Powerhouse was slated to become an arts venue with restaurants, shops, galleries, and a theater, but before that happens, the Port Authority needs to relocate, and much depends on the vision of the new administration in city hall. Under the ambitious direction of its new owners, White Eagle Hall is in the process of being restored to its original glory and purpose, with some distinctly modern adjustments. Built circa 1900, it was the passion of a Polish-born priest who immigrated to Jersey City and served at St. Anthony of Padua’s parish. According to the building’s current owner, Ben LoPiccolo, and his wife, Olga Levina, the priest had a mission to preserve the cultural identity and pride of the city’s Polish immigrants. “Most of them came here to work long hours in factory jobs,” Levina says. “The priest didn’t want them to forget their heritage and where they came from.”

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When first built, the theater was meant to house theatrical and musical performances and serve as a cultural center for Jersey City’s Polish community—an ambition curtailed by the onset of the Great Depression. To keep the building afloat, it was rented out for weddings and parties and, in later years, served in such varying capacities as a bingo hall and a practice space for Coach Bob Hurley’s famed Saint Anthony’s Friars basketball team. After purchasing White Eagle Hall in November 2012, LoPiccolo began restoration and, together with Levina, started to develop plans for the building’s future. They hope to open it in late spring. With Levina serving as artistic director, The Jersey City Theater Center at White Eagle Hall is slated to be an 800-person capacity, flexible-use space for music, dance, theater, and visual arts. Levina is intent on preserving the community-inspired directive of the building’s creator. “One big part of our mission is to preserve history in Jersey City,” she says. “It’s been a golden door for immigrants. For an immigrant coming from another land it’s a process. We want to incorporate that history.” The ceiling—and the stained glass—will be fully restored, with some necessary modifications. Inside the building, laid into the magnificent, sky-high ceiling, are stained-glass portraits of two Polish icons— pianist/composer Frederic Chopin (who is also French,


Levina offers during our tour) and opera singer and teacher Marcella Sembrich, who performed with the New York Met and taught at Juilliard. Today’s music lovers from Jersey and beyond will rejoice to hear that Todd Abramson, co-owner of and music booker for Hoboken’s legendary Maxwell’s, will be booking local and national music acts for White Eagle Hall. He and LoPiccolo hired a top-notch sound company to ensure the stained glass can withstand the vibrations and decibels sent upward in its direction. As for who might be emitting said sounds, Abramson says we can expect similar acts that played at Maxwell’s when it was still a music venue, and more. “In some ways, the programming will be like it was at Maxwell’s,” he says, “but on the other hand, the size gives me the option to book larger acts and have more flexibility. For instance, some artists only want to do shows with a seated audience. Now, we can accommodate that.” There will be two restaurants at White Eagle Hall, both located underneath the performance space. Alice Troletto and Mattias Gustafsson, the married duo behind Madame Claude and Madame Claude Wine, will open Madame Claude Bis. The proposed restaurant will be much larger than the current Madame Claude’s, accommodating more than 80 guests, but it will reference the original bistro’s look and feel. “The design and style will be very much like the first café,” said Gustafsson. “It’s a very typical French bistro style that you see all over Paris.” As for food, they’ll be serving the original Madame Claude’s menu and adding updates that will include a raw bar. They’ll have a full-service bar, with a distinct focus on wine. The older restaurant will become more of a creperie, Gustaffson says, with some old Madame Claude favorites remaining on the menu. His band, Manouche Bag, will serve as the house band at Madame Claude Bis, performing two to three nights a week. “There will be no stage, just like at the original café,” he says. “It’s a restaurant and I want people to retain their dining experience and be able to talk.” Abramson is getting into the action on the restaurant side of White Eagle Hall as well. He and his partners will be opening Bingo (the name is subject to change), a 200-seat restaurant and bar that will serve contemporary American cuisine “before, during, and after the performances upstage,” Abramson says. There will also be a bar in the theater lobby, where LoPiccolo plans to showcase local artwork. He says, “We want White Eagle Hall to be a complete destination experience.”—JCM

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HOVERING above the Hudson

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Helicopter tour offers awe-inspiring aerial views BY ADRIANA RAMBAY FERNÁNDEZ

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hen I accepted the assignment to take a helicopter sightseeing tour, there was no hesitation. As someone who has skydived, bungee-jumped, and recently zip-lined in the Ecuadorian Andes, I was thrilled at the prospect of taking in area sights at 1,400 feet. And the fact that I could do so right from downtown Jersey City, my own backyard, was an added benefit.

On the morning of my tour the sun shone brilliantly, the air felt crisp and cool, and a few wispy clouds stretched lazily above—a gorgeous autumn day— perfect for spending time in the sky. I walked to the heliport, which is at the Paulus Hook pier between Sussex and Hudson Streets. I was scheduled to go on a 20-minute sightseeing tour offered by Helicopter Flight Services Inc., which operates the Paulus Hook heliport adjacent to the New York Waterway ferry. When I

arrived to check in, two European tourists were seated in the waiting area. Eventually two women from the United Kingdom joined our small group for a total of five passengers. Up to six passengers are allowed on each flight, not including the pilot. Most of the people who go on the helicopter tours are tourists—95 percent, in fact, according to a company representative. Helicopter Flight Services began offering helicopter sightseeing tours from Jersey City just a few months PHOTO COURTESY OF HELICOPTER FLIGHT SERVICES


before Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. After dedicating five to six months to repair damage suffered during the storm, the helicopter sightseeing tours were back. The company, which also runs flights from other heliports located in Manhattan, has operated in the New York City area since 1985, founded by aviation enthusiasts Topsy Taylor and John Kjekstad. While I was anxious to get on the helicopter, there were a few pre-boarding logistics that had to be taken care of. An

Up to six passengers are allowed on each flight, not including the pilot. attendant named Yohan Fernandez asked me for my identification and weight. While I’m not often asked to share my weight outside the doctor’s office, I learned that passenger weight is used to help balance out the flight along with the fuel. I was also required to check any bags as a security measure. I was, however, allowed to take my camera. I was also outfitted with a bright yellow life preserver pouch that snapped around the waist. My fellow

passengers and I followed Fernandez to the heliport gate where we received instructions on how to inflate the life preserver vest in addition to other safety information that you typically hear before boarding a flight. A photograph snapped of you by the attendant before boarding the helicopter is available for $25 at the end of the flight. One by one we followed Fernandez single file as the helicopter blades whipped up the air around us. As I stepped onto the heliport, I stepped into a familiar scene from the movies, one in which the main character boards a sleek black chopper set against the cityscape, the sun shimmering off the water. I sat next to the pilot, Floyd Maxson, and put on my seatbelt. I immediately felt enclosed in a cocoon of comfort between the soft, leather seats and a noise-canceling headset. Maxson, who has more than 10,000 hours of helicopter flight experience, greeted us on the headset. We sat in a Bell 407, one in a fleet of six high-performing helicopters operated by Helicopter Flight Services. It’s equipped with a number of safetyenhancing features including a terminal collision avoidance system, which allows the pilot deft maneuvering. The Bell 407 has four blades to make for a

“As we hovered over the Statue of Liberty it took on the form of a minature.” PHOTO COURTESY OF HELICOPTER FLIGHT SERVICES ~ WINTER2014 & SPRING 2014 30 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~SPRING

smoother ride, and is made especially for aerial photography and sightseeing. After hearing the magic words, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride,” we were up off the ground in a matter of seconds for a smooth takeoff. Everything grew small, from people to cars to buildings and monuments as we made our ascent. I felt like Wonder Woman in her invisible jet peering out at the horizon. With floor-to-ceiling windows, I had 180-degree views. As we hovered by the Statue of Liberty, it took on the form of a miniature. I noted the star-shaped pedestal at the statue’s base. Tourists appeared tiny, milling about at the edge of the waterfront. Throughout the tour, Maxson served as our guide, pointing out visible landmarks while also providing interesting historical facts and general information. In addition to Maxson I could hear air control and a bit of music off in the distance. I actually enjoyed getting tidbits of air traffic details as it added to the allure of sitting next to the pilot with the controls and navigation tools. I thought, “I’d love to learn to fly this helicopter!” But we’ll save that experience for another day. Flying up and down the Hudson River, I took in the full scope and breadth of the region. We flew by Yankees Stadium

PHOTO BY ADRIANA RAMBAY FERNÁNDEZ


before turning at an angle and heading toward the George Washington Bridge, which cast a magnificent shadow across the river. As I looked out, patterns emerged, whether it was the repetitive squares and rectangles of building rooftops, the flow of traffic, or the shades of orange, red, and amber in the trees along the New Jersey Palisades. In the distance I saw the shape of the Hackensack River and the Meadowlands as Maxson pointed out MetLife Stadium. As we flew by Weehawken and West New York and neared Hoboken, I regretted that the helicopter ride would soon be over. After a smooth landing, I hopped out of the cabin feeling a bit exhilarated from the ride— experiencing a helicopter high. Hovering above the Hudson in a helicopter I was awestruck at how the experience allowed me to rise above the fray below. With the breathtakingly beautiful views, I appreciated the grandiose nature of all the structures, the people, movement and life that define this amazing area. I’d love to experience the helicopter sightseeing tour again or offer it as a special gift for a loved one. I would also recommend it to out-of-town guests as a great way to take in the sights.—JCM

“I’d love to learn to fly this helicopter.”

Resources Helicopter Flight Services offers a number of tour packages that range from $99 to $299 depending on the length of the excursion. The 20-minute “Ultimate” tour I took usually costs $199 but is sometimes discounted. There’s a $15 flight fee. The company

also offers cruise and air combination packages. They offer full refunds and will reschedule any flights canceled due to inclement weather. Reservations can be booked in advance on their web site or via phone. For more information, visit heliny.com.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum as seen from above. PHOTO COURTESY OF HELICOPTER FLIGHT SERVICES

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CHARTER SCHOOLS adv e n t u r e s i n l e a r n i n g By Merlin Ural Rivera

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harter schools— independent public schools that survive on state funding and private initiatives—started appearing in New Jersey in the late 1990s and have become an important part of state education. Many were founded by educators and community leaders disillusioned with district schools—and parents who retained the belief in a tuition-free and groundbreaking “dream school.” There are currently 87 charter schools in the state, nine of which are in Jersey City. They don’t receive the same amount of funding as other public schools and depend on contributions, grants, and fundraising to meet their expenses. A charter dictates how the schools will be structured but gives them flexibility in creating academic programs, choosing teachers, and establishing philosophies. Teachers are allowed to swim away from the mainstream and experiment with nontraditional techniques. Each charter school focuses on a discrete subject or unique theme. Some emphasize performing arts or civic engagement; others a specific language and culture. Many charters require uniforms and offer longer school days than traditional schools.

Charter schools encourage parent involvement, creating a cozy atmosphere where students can concentrate on academics. They select their students by lottery, which has been criticized by some parents as cherry-picking but has helped class sizes remain small. Many New Jersey charter schools boast great socioeconomic and racial diversity as well as high test scores and abundant opportunities for their students. Here is an overview of some charter schools in Jersey City:

Great Futures Charter High School Great Futures Charter High School, slated to open in the fall with about 125 freshmen, will be Jersey City’s first academic institution focused on health sciences. The school is a joint effort of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County and Jersey City Medical Center—neighbors who share the same vision. The school’s founder, Gary Greenberg, who is also the executive director and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs, says, “The curriculum will offer a complete immersion into the health sciences. By taking classes in both locations and interning in hospitals, the students will have a mind-blowing experience that will expose them to all the different pieces of the

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puzzle in terms of healthcare.” Students may focus on the clinical, technical, or administrative aspects of health care. Through onsite rotations at the Jersey City Medical Center beginning in ninth grade, students will explore various employment opportunities which will help them choose their senior-year internships in “the promised land,” as Greenberg called it. “We want to carry them to whatever they choose their next step to be—college education or a steady career in healthcare,” he said. State funding, Greenberg said, “is enough to keep us on our feet, but if we want to flourish, fundraising is the key.” Great Futures has received a significant number of submissions for its ninth- and 10th-grade classes from different parts of the city.

Jersey City Golden Door Charter School Golden Door Charter School, founded in 1998, is one of the first charter schools in Jersey City. Housed in a beautiful historic building, Golden Door is a second home to about 490 students in kindergarten

Resources Beloved Community Charter School 508 Grand St. (201) 839-5886 The Ethical Community Charter School 95 Broadway (201) 984-4156 Great Futures Charter High School for the Health Sciences 1 Canal St. (201) 333-4100 Jersey City Community Charter 128 Danforth Ave. (201) 433-2288 Jersey City Global Charter School 255 Congress St. (201) 636-8540 Jersey City Golden Door Charter School 180 9th St. (201) 795-4400 Learning Community Charter School 2495 JFK Blvd. (201) 332-0900 M.E.T.S Charter School 211 Sherman Ave. (201) 526-8500 University Academy Charter School 2039 JFK Blvd. (201) 200-3200


PHOTO BY DOUGLAS DAVIES through eighth grade, the majority of whom are black and Hispanic. The school offers art, mathematics, language arts, physical education, music, science, social studies, and health in a school day that is an hour longer than that in traditional schools. Teachers are regularly required to enhance their skills by attending training workshops, and Golden Door consistently outperforms other public schools in Jersey City. Students achieve high academic performance, and by organizing fundraising events for various causes, they are growing as individuals who are already part of the community. Chief Academic Officer Brian Stiles noted that the children like coming to a place that is safe, orderly, and attractive. “We put huge emphasis on high standards of behavior without being overly authoritative,” he said. “Whenever our children go anywhere, people always comment on how extremely polite and well-behaved they are.”

Students are chosen through lottery; currently there is no waiting list for middle school.

Beloved Community Charter School In September 2012, Jersey City welcomed a new charter school inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the “Beloved Community” where people care about one another, choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and create a more prosperous, fair, and happy society. The school was founded on the idea that students wrapped in a caring school climate would also learn to value themselves and others. By developing academically and socially they will build a brotherly society. The school’s Lead Person Kelly Convery emphasized Dr. King’s conviction that “The ‘I’ cannot attain fulfillment without the ‘Thou.’” She said that creating a

strong sense of community in the school, which sometimes might be lacking in the family unit, was crucial. “We teach children how to take initiative and tutor other students— kindergarten kids are matched with third grade, for example. By having them reflect on how this made them feel, we link these children in a community circle,” she said. Through the Sabis Education System, which is a proven curriculum, teachers can assess gaps in students’ knowledge and skills and ensure they are getting the instruction they need. The school has 380 students in kindergarten through third grade, and it will add one grade level every year until it grows into a K-12 school. Almost half the students are African-American, and the percen tage of English-learning students is high compared to other charters. Seventy-nine percent of the students receive free and reduced lunch.

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EDUCATION JCM

The Ethical Community Charter School Founded in 2009, Ethical Community also fosters moral behavior and aims to produce caring citizens. Its vision is rooted in the educational philosophy of Horace Mann, Clara Barton, Felix Adler, and Socrates, whose famous question, “What is the right thing to do?” lies at the core of the school’s ethics classes. The school integrates ethics into a rigorous core curriculum of science, social studies, language arts, mathematics, as well as art, health, music, and physical education. Family School Association President Betsey Barnum said that TECCS set out to create a sense of morality for students who didn’t have religious or family values. “Our children,” she said, “embrace the strong ideals of social justice and become individuals of integrity and awareness. They are kind to each other and they process their role in society better.” Geoffrey Renaud, who teaches the ethics curriculum, engages students in lively discussions of moral issues PHOTO BY ELIJAH WELLS

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through games and examples from literature as well as their own lives. Throughout the school day, students exercise their ethical reasoning and explore various resolutions of the conflicts they face. They also participate in community work, known as Service Learning projects. The school has 280 students from kindergarten through fifth grade and will expand to K-8. Emphasizing diversity, Barnum said that there are 50 languages spoken in the school. The annual gala dinner and the Read, Write & Run 5K race help the school cover its expenses.

Jersey City Global Charter School This is the first school year for Jersey City Global Charter School, which has 170 students from kindergarten to second grade and will add a new grade every year until eighth grade. The MicroSociety program, which is integrated into the curriculum, transforms the school into one big town

where the students vote for a mayor, a governor, and a student president, and hold an inauguration ceremony to swear them in. “Students create a miniature society where peacekeepers maintain order, judges resolve conflicts, reporters track down stories, and entrepreneurs—in their suits and ties— build their businesses,” said Principal Nadira Raghunandan. From 3-4 p.m. daily, the little citizens engage in realworld activities such as preparing a resume, borrowing money from a “bank,” “selling” products, and dealing with the IRS. The school also provides personalized learning plans where the strengths and weaknesses of students are identified through weekly performance evaluations. “We have a colorful student population representing 28 countries,” Raghunandan said, “and we have no more than 20 students in each class. We also offer art, gym, and Spanish classes starting from kindergarten.” The school accommodates working parents with extended school hours from 4-6 p.m. —JCM

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By Jim Hague

T

iara Rodriguez is a sixth grader at Jersey City’s P.S. 23. Elevenyear-old Tiara could be doing things that most girls her age do, like shopping or playing with video games. But four times a week, Tiara heads to P.S. 7 and learns how to become a boxer. “My Grandpa encouraged me to join,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez comes from a family of boxers. Her grandfather, Jose Rivera, encouraged Tiara to become a boxer. Her uncle, Benjamin Castro, was a New Jersey Diamond Gloves and Golden Gloves contender in his heyday. So boxing is in her blood. “It got me inspired to try boxing,” Rodriguez said. She’s not alone. There are 15 girls, potential “Million Dollar Babies,” regularly participating among the 80 or so aspiring boxers in the new Jersey City Recreation boxing program. The program, spearheaded

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by the energetic Lester Albright, is giving kids ages 8 to 18 the opportunity to learn the ropes. “Just giving the kids a chance to learn about the sport is tremendous,” said Albright, who has been coordinating the program for the last four months. “It’s not just about boxing. It’s about learning lifestyle skills as well. We stay on them with their education, with their report cards. We have to encourage that.” Not many people would have figured that boxing could be an allure and an elixir. The sport has lost a little of its luster over the years. Gone are the glory days of superstars of the ring. Most people can’t even identify the champions in each weight division. Sports like mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Challenge, in which combatants climb in a cage to try and punch, wrestle, knee, and kick their opponents into submission, have become more popular than the “sweet science,” as boxing is often called. But that’s not the case in Jersey City, which has a rich

and storied boxing history. It’s a place where James J. Braddock fought dozens of times before becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. It’s where Jack Dempsey fought Georges Carpentier for the heavyweight title at a site called Boyle’s Thirty Acres (now the home of County Prep High School) on July 2, 1921, in the first $1 million purse in boxing history. Sugar Ray Robinson once defended his world middleweight title in Jersey City, and boxing legends such as Gene Tunney, Marcel Cerdan, Max Baer, and Tony Zale all fought here. Muhammad Ali once fought then-Mayor Tommie Smith in an exhibition at the Jersey City Armory. Recently, world champs Mark Medal, Tomasz Adamek, and the late Arturo Gatti all called Jersey City home. Simply put, boxing has always been a thread in Jersey City’s narrative. “There’s a great boxing history in Jersey City,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a boxing enthusiast who trains regularly in the ring. When Fulop became mayor in July 2013, he wanted to


Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek (left) with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and boxing hopefuls.

make sure that the children of Jersey City had a chance to learn and enjoy the sport. “I think boxing is the type of activity that is good for the children,” Fulop said. “It’s an athletic activity that has a little bit of a mental component to it.” Fulop learned that there was a public outcry to bring boxing to the city’s youth. “A lot of community members were asking for it,” Fulop said. “I think that’s what started it. You don’t need a lot of equipment. It’s not costly.” Enter Lester Albright, a former boxer who had a tough upbringing in the Bronx, then moved to Jersey City as a teenager and learned how to box under

PHOTOS BY VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ the old Jersey City Recreation program run by former light heavyweight contender Jimmy Dupree and trainer Mike Shanley. Albright had a taste of amateur boxing success. He fought in an amateur card in Jersey City’s Audubon Park. But at the same time, Albright ran into legal troubles. “I had a lot of physical altercations,” Albright said. “I had a lot of issues with that. I was a very angry kid.” Albright was soon arrested and spent three months in jail, learning the hard way. “I started to look at my lifestyle,” Albright said. “I prayed a lot. I asked God to deliver me. I began to feel a sense of

responsibility. And everything I did was tied to boxing.” Albright decided that he wanted to change his life by helping to change others. “I wanted to take it to another level and create a safe haven for kids,” Albright said. “I wanted to be able to keep them away from the streets, keep kids away from the problems that I had. Sports and boxing helped me get my life back on track. I got the passion to inspire the youth.” Albright started working with the youth of Jersey City in the Boys and Girls Club. In 2010 he started training youngsters in the parks of Jersey City, including Audubon Park and Arlington Park.

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“But kids just started to naturally gravitate to what we were doing,” Albright said. “We kept getting more and more kids.” Sure enough, there needed to be a place for the kids to come regularly, so P.S. 7 became that place. “I know that the program works,” said Albright, who has had professional fighters come to speak to the kids. “We teach them boxing, but there are other aspects, like bullying issues. It’s an overall package. The kids come all the time. They’re really into it.” A ring has been set up at the school and several heavy bags—and lots of kids. If anyone thought that the sport of boxing was dead, all they need to do is pay a visit to P.S. 7 and see these kids in action. Amalio Rosario is only 10 years old, but he’s addicted to boxing. A fifth grader at P.S. 23, Rosario is learning the ins and outs. “I watched boxing on television and became interested,” Rosario said. “I just decided to go, to see what it was like. And I liked it a lot. I learned about self defense and taking care of myself. I learned to protect myself. It’s also keeping me off the streets. Without this, I don’t know what I would be doing.” Rosario already has a goal in mind.

“I eventually want to get in the ring and see how I do there,” Rosario said. Bianca Santos is 12 years old, another girl in the program. “My dad (Edwin Santos) was a good fighter,” Bianca said. “He showed me some of his pictures. I was interested in boxing and found this program. I was so excited to join. I really like the challenge of it.” Does she fear getting hit? “No, I wasn’t scared at all,” Bianca said. “It just gives me more of a challenge. If I’m up against a boy, that would make me work even harder.” Santos, whose father was a Golden Glove contender as well, has a dream. “I want to get in the ring,” Santos said. “That’s my goal. I’m getting better every day and I hope I can get there. I’ve had a great chance to learn more about boxing.” Tiara Rodriguez is happy she’s a boxer as well. “I think I’m doing pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “I’m having a lot of fun doing boxing. It’s what keeps me fit. I’m inspired to keep getting better.” “I just need to keep them interested in it,” Albright said. “I think I definitely can.”

One person is certainly glad the program exists—perhaps the most important. “It’s been a tremendous success so far,” Fulop said. “With that many kids involved, it means we’re on the right track.” Recently, the kids got the chance to have a meet-and-greet with current heavyweight contender Adamek as he trained in the World Boxing Gym in downtown Jersey City, owned by Adamek’s manager, Ziggy Rozalski. Fulop also climbed into the ring to show Adamek his boxing prowess. Adamek posed for pictures with the youngsters, who realized they were in the presence of greatness. “I didn’t know much about him [Adamek] before,” Rodriguez said. “But it’s impressive that he came to where he is from: Jersey City.” Fulop said, “No question about it, we’re going to continue to invest in it and expand. It’s really been an easy win. Everyone is involved, the kids, the parents, the coaches, the community. It’s been great.” As for the coach? “He’s really an example of what a true role model is,” Fulop said. “He’s now giving back.”—JCM

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38 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

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Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

39


STUDIO JCM

Monique Sarfity

From figurative to found objects, a Jersey City artist finds her way

I

ronically, it was a lack of art supplies that led Monique Sarfity to the style of art that currently distinguishes her work. She earned a degree in painting from Parsons The New School for Design. “I did figurative painting,” she says. “Most of my paintings were female nudes—figurative work.” When she started teaching art in middle school and advanced high-school art in Wyckoff in Bergen County, her métier began to change.

40 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014


Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

41


Stevens Cooperative School HOBOKEN CAMPUS Hoboken, NJ 2s-8th grade

NEWPORT CAMPUS Jersey City, NJ K-8th grade

Dynamic Teachers, Remarkable Students Financial aid is available to qualified families. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact us at: admissions@stevenscoop.org or 201.626.4020

www.stevenscoop.org Stevens Cooperative is accredited by the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools

42 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

Monique Sarfity “When teaching, I started playing around with reusable materials, inexpensive ways to use recyclable and reusable materials,” she says. “I got donations from parents and was working with glass, stone, and tile. It was something I was interested in in my own art.” In 2009, she won a grant to go to Ravenna in Italy and study mosaics. “I learned about ancient techniques, and now that’s all I do. I focus on glass and found objects.” Sarfity, a New Jersey native, found her way to Jersey City the way a lot of people do. After attending art school in Manhattan, she wanted to be close to the city’s museums and galleries but in a place she could afford. At first she shared studio space in Hoboken with another artist but now works out of her home on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. She and her husband live above the very artsy bar and eatery, LITM. “I really enjoy what Jersey City has to offer,” she says. “I wind up spending as much time in Jersey City as in Manhattan. I’ve seen a lot of changes. Jersey City has a thriving arts community and opportunities to exhibit work.” Sarfity shows her work in New York, Jersey City, and other parts of New Jersey. Her digs on Newark Avenue put her pretty much in the middle of everything. “We go to LITM, Skinner’s Loft, Park & Sixth,” she says. “We go to all the local restaurants and make sure we frequent all the places that open up in this neighborhood.” Sarfity and her husband definitely plan to stay in Jersey City. “But we’re exploring other areas,” she says. “We might move to the Heights or Bergen Lafayette. We’re seeing what other neighborhoods in Jersey City have to offer.”—Kate Rounds


VANISHING JC JCM

PHOTO BY WILKINS NORIEGA The factory is still in the same location on Fleet Street, but this is the old sign on State Highway

PHOTO BY LINDA LOWENTHAL Birds on Morgan Street building

PHOTO BY BRIAN WAGNER Old rail station at Liberty State Park

VANISHING JERSEY CITY SEND YOUR VANISHING JERSEY CITY PHOTOS TO JCMAG@HUDSONREPORTER.COM. BE SURE TO WRITE “VANISHING” IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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PHOTO BY KENDALL TICHNER

s t r A n A

venue

EXTRAORDINAIRE MANA CONTEMPORARY BRINGS JERSEY CITY INTO THE BIG TIME BY LAUREN BARBAGALLO

In

2011, in an unassuming stretch of industrial buildings right before the entrance to the Pulaski Skyway, a new creative business model for the art world was sprung. Mana Contemporary, at 888 Newark Ave., is the brainchild of artist and entrepreneur Eugene Lemay. With fellow artist and Mana founding partner Yigel Ozeri, he has quickly developed an anonymous patch of Journal Square into a world-class arts destination. Composed of warehouses that will eventually be connected via a Richard Meier-designed sculpture garden, Mana is

44 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

a one-stop shop for the entire arts community. The professional, working artists who rent Mana’s spacious studios have access to in-house framing, crating, and shipping services—not to mention an artist-run foundry, a silkscreen studio, and a café and beer garden. It’s all part of Mana’s mission to allow artists working in different media to collaborate, share ideas, and inspiration. For serious collectors, Mana provides ample space to store and even exhibit their prized collections among five galleries. There is also a custom-furniture design business for museums and galleries and a large glass building slated


PHOTO BY ADAM COHEN

PHOTO BY ADAM COHEN

to host art fairs and large-scale installations. Mana is massive in both size and ambition, and the business is growing quickly. It’s opened a facility in Chicago, and other locations will follow. I asked Lemay how he knew for certain that if he built it, they would come. “Naturally the business side is important here, but first I’m an artist and that’s the controlling factor,” he said. “If an artist doesn’t have a business side, and usually they don’t, a project of this magnitude is not going to be successful. The tactics we are using are determined by the business side, and the concept is developed from the artist side.” Mana does not solely focus on visual arts. There’s also rehearsal space for performing artists. While touring Mana, I spotted Karole Armitage, the famous New York-based choreographer whose company rehearses

PHOTO BY ADAM COHEN

Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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there. She was alone, offstage, intently sorting through her company’s props. This was in late 2013, at a time the public was able to visit Mana via employee-guided tours only. This is set to change in March 2014, when the facility will be open for general admission. You’ll need to pace yourself. You won’t be able to take it all in at one go, and there is no reason to rush such a stimulating experience. In just one visit, I viewed a life-size sculpture of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G, created by Ben PHOTO BY SARAH TRICKER

Keating, who runs the 30,000-squarefoot foundry. He said he will be donating the sculpture somewhere in Brooklyn. Outside, I whizzed by an enormous, hyper-realist sculpture by Carole Feuerman, profiled in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of JC Mag, located in front of the glass building. Recently, an artist used the building to run his motorcycle over his paintings. Back inside, I saw a gorgeous exhibit of “video paintings” by artists Shoja Azari and Shahram Kari—carefully filmed images of nature that are then painted, to lovely effect. I saw a video installation by Azari, “There Are No Non Believers in Hell,” in which famous Renaissance paintings go up in flames as a modern-day evangelical preaches about hell. A few floors up, I strolled among works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Roy Lichtenstein, part of an exhibit culled from the Pop Art Collection of Weisman R. Frederick the Foundation. Lemay was unable to talk about all the rumored Mana projects in development, but he did disclose plans for some educational programming for the local community. Students—in Jersey City and at surrounding colleges—regularly tour Mana. Plans are also in the works for a cinema program, recording studios, and an art school. In huge news for local architecture aficionados, Richard Meier and Partners is set to locate there in January 2014 in a 15,000-square-foot facility that will be open to the public and will include the Richard Meier Model Museum, as well as a research library, archives, and exhibition space.—JCM

46 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014


THE ARTS Call ahead or look online for schedules 18 Erie Gallery, 18 Erie St., (201) 369-7000, balancehair.com/18_ erie_gallery/18_erie_ gallery.htm. 58 gallery, 58 Coles St., fifty8.com. 140 Gallery, 140 Bay St., (908) 296-7679, myspace.com/ 140gallery. 919 Gallery, 150 Bay St., (201) 779-6929, 919gallery.com. Abaton Garage, 100 Gifford Ave., abatongarage.com. By appointment. Actors Shakespeare Company, West Side Theater, New Jersey City University, 285 West Side Ave., Box office: (201) 2002390, ascnj.org. Afro-American Historical Society Museum, 1841 Kennedy Blvd., Top floor, (201) 547-5262. ARTBUILDERS, 193 Montgomery St., (201) 433-2682. Art House Productions, 1 McWilliams Pl., (201) 915-9911, arthouse productions.org Arts on the Hudson, 282 Barrow St., (201) 451-4862, webspawner.com/ users/grigur.

The Attic Ensemble, The Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne St., (201) 413-9200, atticensemble.org. Beth DiCara Ceramics Studio, 11 Monitor St., (201) 388-7323, evening starstudio.net. The Brennan Gallery, Justice William Brennan Court House, 583 Newark Ave., (800) 542-7894, visithudson.org. The Brunswick Window, 158 Brunswick St., (201) 978-8939, bruns wickwindow@ rogersayre.com. Curious Matter, 272 Fifth St., (201) 659-5771, curiousmatter.blog spot.com

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Fish With Braids, 190 Columbus Dr., (201) 451-4294, fishwithbraids. blogspot.com. Gallerie Hudson, 197 Newark Ave., (201) 434-1010, galleriehudson.net. The Gallery Space at Grace Church Van Vorst, 39 Erie St., (201) 659-2211, gracevanvorst.org. Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, New Jersey City University, Hepburn Hall, Room 323, 2039 Kennedy Blvd., (201) 200-3246, njcu.edu/dept/ art/galleries.

see page 52

Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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Body Bod

and

Cliff Perkins takes soul into a new generation BY STEPHEN MCMILLIAN

S

oul artists come and go. Many groups have faded into obscurity, and some of their members have passed away. But several soul artists from back in the day are still keeping soul alive. One is Soul Generation.

“Most of us started when we were 18 or 19 years old,” said Cliff Perkins, who formed the group in 1970. “Who knew what the record business was about? We knew it was about entertainment, but many didn’t know it was also a business. I was fortunate to have an attorney around me and my family.”

Perkins, who works for the Jersey City Department of Cultural Affairs, was born and raised in Jersey City. He attended P.S. 15, Snyder High School, and Saint Peter’s College. Music was not his first love. “I was an athlete. I played baseball and football for my high school’s teams,” Perkins

said. “I wasn’t even thinking about singing then.” Perkins’s interest in music began when he’d go to a music club in high school and listen to the guys sing. He also watched and listened to singing groups like Little Anthony & the Imperials and the Motown acts on television and on the radio. He also followed the local Jersey City group The Manhattans. “They took me under their wing,” Perkins said. “They lived about 10 blocks from me, and I would go to their rehearsals sometimes. Group member Blue Lovett was my mentor.”

Giving birth to a group

SOUL GENERATION IN THE EARLY DAYS. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CLIFF PERKINS.

48 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~SPRING 2014

In 1970, Perkins decided to put a group together. “The group members were myself, Earl Davenport, Thomas Timmons, and Herman Hammond,” Perkins said. “We called ourselves The Citations and for two years we performed in clubs in and around Jersey City.” The band that backed the group on a lot of those shows was another Jersey City group called Kool & the Flames who later became the renowned funk/R&B group Kool & the Gang. Jazz musician Doc Bagbee introduced the group to soul singer Ben E. King who gave them guidance. At that time, Bagbee told the group they needed a new name. “What about Soul Generation?” Perkins asked. Bagbee said, “That’s it!” When Timmons decided to leave, Perkins recruited Jeff Burgess who could not only


sing but was a writer as well. Through Burgess’s connections, he met a producer. They went to the Record Plant recording studio in New York to record their first song, the classic “Body & Soul” which is Soul Generation’s signature tune and later became double platinum. The track, released in 1972, garnered heavy airplay on radio stations across the country and put Soul Generation on the map. The poignant ballad features lead vocals by Hammond and Perkins, who was not initially interested in singing and never took singing lessons. “When I started high school, my register was low,” Perkins said. “As I got older, my voice got higher. Usually, that works the opposite way, but with me my voice got higher as I got older.” To this day, he still sings in that same key with perfect precision and is adamant about taking care of his voice. “I don’t smoke or drink. I just try to take care of myself.”

Hit records The huge success of “Body & Soul” opened a lot of doors. “When you have a hit record and it’s playing around the country, you work with everybody,” Perkins said. The group toured with The Four Tops, Temptations, The Moment, Earth Wind & Fire, Manhattans, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and others. Soul Generation originally recorded on Ebony Sound Records, a Jersey City-based label, where they made about three albums. Their next big hit was 1973’s “Million Dollars.” They would later sign with Buddah Records in New York and work with Tony Camillo, who had worked with Gladys Knight & the Pips. “We did a song called ‘Praying for a Miracle’ which was a hit for us,” Perkins said. The group did two albums at Buddah and took a hiatus in 1979. “I continued to stay in the entertainment business doing jingles, commercials, and

DONALD, CRYSTAL, VEDA, CLIFF background vocals on different artists’ records,” Perkins said. “I then got a call from Sylvia Robinson, who told me that she had broken up with the original Moments singing group (which became Ray, Goodman & Brown) and wanted me to put a new Moments group together. So I became a Moment for a minute,” Perkins joked. The “new” Moments recorded an album with hits such as the popular “Baby Let’s Rap Now” and “Record Breaking Love Affair.” In the mid-’80s, Soul Generation got back together with a new member, Mike Murphy. He replaced Earl Davenport, who had passed away. Murphy was later replaced with Ted West. This lineup stayed together for about four years.

Rebranding When Hammond and Burgess retired, Perkins reformed the group in the mold of the Fifth Dimension and, along with West, added Veda LaRue, who was a background singer for the original group on the road. Perkins also added his daughter, Crystal. When Ted West retired, Donald Taylor was brought in.

“People were like ‘Oh, that’s a different look. I don’t see how you’re going to make it,’ but it worked,” Perkins said. Since the 1990s, the newly revamped Soul Generation has done shows all over the country and even got a request to do a show in Japan. The group has just released a new CD titled Ooh Baby. “It is

Classic soul artists have endured the test of time in this crazy music business.” – Cliff Perkins selling really well,” said Perkins. “I am surprised at how soon and how fast the CD sold.” The group still works with other veteran ’70s soul groups such as Blue Magic and the Stylistics. “Classic soul artists have endured the test of time in this crazy music business,” said Perkins. “I still have the same passion for what I do that I had in 1970.” But the music scene has changed. “I’m from the old

school,” Perkins said. “The songs we made were about love as opposed to the wham-bam-thank-youma’am songs that are out now with no imagination to them.” Said Perkins: “You can’t go into this business thinking you are going to be a star or because of the glitz and glamour. You have to go into it because you love the craft, love the music business, and love music in general. Your voice is not your longevity, because any day your voice can go. If you’re writing and copywriting your songs, that’s forever. Know the business and build your craft.”— JCM

Resources For more information about Cliff Perkins and Soul Generation, visit soulgenerationfeatcliffperkins.com. To purchase Soul Generation’s latest CD, go to cdbaby.com or mauricewatts.com. To book Soul Generation, call (201) 792-2658 or the group’s agent, Carol Hamilton, at (347) 572-4419 or email chamiltonsawyer@gmail.com.

Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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HOODS JCM

Van Vorst Park

A historic park anchors a charming community

V

BY KATE ROUNDS PHOTOS BY VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

an Vorst Park could not be more typical of a 19th century park. Surrounded by brownstones, the small square is filled with shade trees, gardens, walkways, a dog run, and a gazebo, and is alive with activity. Depending on the season, there could be a farmer’s market, a Shakespeare play, a film, live jazz, a book festival, or neighborhood folks walking, playing with their kids, or just passing through. The Friends of Van Vorst Park oversees the activities of the park itself, while the Van Vorst Park Association, which was established in 1975, promotes the quality of life in the neighborhood. It’s the oldest neighborhood association in downtown. The hood is roughly bounded by Christopher Columbus Drive,

Monmouth, Grand, and Marin, and encompasses both Ward E and Ward F. Current president, Marlene Sandkamp, has been involved with the Van Vorst Park Association since 2003 and president since 2009. “The neighborhood is constantly changing,” she says. “It is a mixed, diverse crowd that lives here. Now it has migrated to more families. From 2001 until now it has exploded with children, young couples starting families. The big draw is that it is quiet and residential but close enough to the action. We like it that way.” A staple of the park is the farmer’s market which appears in the spring and stays through November. “It’s exploding with artisanal foods and crafts and keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Sandkamp says. (She likes the word “exploding.”) The purpose of the association, she says, is to “make the commu-

50 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~SPRING 2014


nity a better place to live through activism and keeping the lines of communication open with the city councilmen and women.” In the fall, for example, the association was fighting city hall over a proposed development that would bring 87 micro-units to the neighborhood. The general feeling among Van Vorst residents who protested at a City Council meeting was that the development was designed to bring a young single crowd as opposed to the families who currently live there. “It’s going to be a permanent frat party,” complained one resident. Stay tuned. But the association isn’t always fighting city hall. “It’s a great place to bring problems or concerns or what they are happy about, like a new restaurant or business, and get community support,” Sandkamp says. The concept of working together spans the generations. Sandkamp says that a young woman in her 20s is helping the association with its website. Sandkamp points to Newark Avenue and Grove Street as places with lots of shops and restaurants. “We’re away from the action but close enough to enjoy it,” she says. “We’re fighting to keep and maintain that. Every area has its own vibe. We’re a cool, hip, quiet residential area.” In 1999, Sandkamp and her husband were living in New York City, but they needed a bigger space. Her husband wanted her to look in Jersey City, but she said, “I’m not living in Jersey.” Well, that attitude changed soon enough. “I’ve grown to love my neighbors,” Sandkamp says. “I met my four or five best friends through the association. I want to stay, live, and grow old here. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to come and I’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming to leave.”—JCM

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Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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Jersey City Dance Academy, 107 West Side Ave., (201) 4358943, jerseycitydanceacademy.com. Jersey City Museum, 350 Montgomery St., (201) 413-0303, jersey citymuseum.org. John Meagher Rotunda Gallery, City Hall, 280 Grove St., (201) 547-6921, jcnj.org.

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Kearon-Hempenstall Gallery, 536 Bergen Ave., (201) 333-8855, khgallery.com. The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. 79 Central Ave., (201) 659-2190, kennedydancers.org. The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, (201) 798-6055, loewsjersey.org. Lex Leonard Gallery, 143 Christopher Columbus Dr., Suite 2, lexleonardgallery.com.


ARTS JC JCM

Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Ave., (201) 604-2702, manafinearts.com. NY/NJ Academy of Ceramic Art, 279 Pine St., (201) 432-9315, nynjceramics.com.

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Pro Art, 344 Grove St., (201) 736-7057, proartsjerseycity.org. The Upstairs Art Gallery, Inc., 896 Bergen Ave., (201) 963-6444. Visual Arts Building Gallery, New Jersey City University, 100 Culver Ave., (201) 200-3246, njcu.edu/dept/art/galleries. Windows on Columbus, Christopher Columbus Dr. near Washington St., (201) 736-7057.

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Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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long

ENGAGEMENT Jersey City women tie the knot—legally and for life

BY KATE ROUNDS

C

ross their threshold, and you’re not just entering a home, you’re celebrating a lifestyle, a shared experience of progressive action, spiritual uplift, and compassionate community. The air is charged with a 1960s vibe as the language of civil rights and social justice idles over the kitchen table. Kay Osborn and Barbara Milton were among the eight same-sex couples who were married by Mayor Steven Fulop in the early hours of Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Outwardly, they embody the notion that opposites attract. Kay is a tall, thin 66-year-old. Her face is beautifully etched, reflecting a life richly lived. Barbara, 54, is shorter, a robust, full-figured woman given to bursts of projectile hugging. She is a recent bladder-cancer survivor. “We’re from different classes, different races, different heights, and different life experiences.” Kay says. “Our first reaction is often to think divergently.” Barbara enjoys sports and cooking. Kay enjoys gardening and hiking. But they both like to travel, and their lives are as finely woven as a Persian carpet. They met through political activism, a lifelong passion that has united their public and private personas. Barbara, a clinical social worker, is director of clinical services for the Urban League of Hudson County. She writes a twice-monthly, teen-positive column for the Jersey Journal called “Our Pride and Joy” and hosts the cable public-access program “Focus on Teens” on Channel 51. Kay is an interfaith minister and hospice chaplain, who found her calling after stints as a massage therapist, telephone operator, and worker in the Hoboken shipyards. “I fell in love with the tool belt,” Barbara jokes. The women have been together for two decades. Like many same-sex couples, they might have married earlier had the State been more cooperative. That’s not to say that they didn’t make up for it with a patchwork of ceremonies, anniversaries, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, including a 10year anniversary bash at Puccini’s. Barbara is an only child who grew up in Camden. Kay was born in London, but you would never guess it from her accent. “I’ve been here for 40 years,” she says. “I’ve made the adjustment.” She laughs that she not only sounds like an American but like a New Jerseyan. She has dual citizenship. Kay was married to a man in 1976 and they have two kids. Kay and Barbara dote on two beloved grandchildren. When Kay divorced her husband, she bought the house on Grace Street, where she and Barbara now live.

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FRIENDS FIRST Kay and Barbara have been in each other’s orbit since the mid-1980s in a universe of citizen action and organizing. Barbara ticks off the causes: El Salvador, apartheid, the Rainbow Coalition, women’s rights, the reproductive-rights movement. “We had a political relationship and friendship before looking at each other in other ways,” Barbara says. “I always thought she was adorable and gorgeous.” But it wasn’t smooth sailing at first. “It was a hard transition because of my family,” Kay relates. “They were shocked by my decision. I didn’t feel very understood in coming out. My brother couldn’t say the word ‘lesbian,’ though he managed ‘homosexual.’” But both families have come around. Barbara says that now her family is proud of her and happy that she is happy. Given their politics, when the chance to marry presented itself, there was some ambivalence. “In the past we had a lot of reservations about marriage; it was a bourgeois, patriarchal institution,” Kay says, “but we live in a different time, and it is an important right for gay people. It came so quickly.” She said she did not think it would happen in their lifetimes. Barbara credits “the power of lobbyists and a youth culture that is more tolerant and accepting. It was the power of the sustained erosion of the conservative rock. It was a long, sustained effort with lots of bloodshed.” She points to the well-publicized case of Tyler Clemente, who jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, after being outed by his college roommate.

OCT. 21, 2013 “It was fabulous,” Kay says. “There were six gay male couples and another lesbian couple. There were lots of people, friends, supporters, photographers. A mass wedding is an interesting thing. Beforehand I thought it was kind of weird to be in a crowd. But it was special with everyone saying their vows together. There was a lot of love there with all these loving couples, it was really great.” Kay, who has performed numerous gay and straight weddings, chuckles at the mayor’s lack of “cadence” in performing the vows. But they both agreed that it didn’t matter and they praise him for being “out front” on the marriage equality issue. In fact, the mass wedding had its humorous moments. One participant said, “Without this ring I thee wed.” Another said, “‘til death us do part and then some.” In November, Illinois became the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage. “You expect a backlash,” says Barbara, “but it’s disheartening. There has been an astonishing rash of attacks in the last weeks and months. Kudos to the activists on the front lines.” Says Kay, “The danger I see is gay people becoming complacent. There are still many things for gay people to strive for. The chief concern is how we relate to other disenfranchised people in our society. Do we notice or not notice what is happening to people of color, immigrants, transgender people, and

PHOTO BY ASSATA WRIGHT

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PHOTO BY KATE ROUNDS

other marginalized people. The situation for gay people in other countries is desperate.” They want to see the day when samesex marriage goes national. “Now you travel to the South or a red state, and the marriage is null and void,” Barbara says. “It isn’t recognized federally. It should teleport with us like it does with heteros.” Still, both women maintain a positive attitude, drawing strength from a phrase quoted by Dr. King: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

LIFE IN THE HOOD Kay and Barbara’s home is in a classic Jersey City block in the Heights, with row houses, short driveways, and neat little backyards. “Our pure presence here has shifted attitudes of people,” Barbara says. “We’re ordinary people, working folks with ordinary jobs making a modest living. Our presence here makes our neighbors reckon with the difference of our relationship. They see us together. They see marriageequality signs in the window. We raise consciousness by being on the block.”

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Kay points to an older Italian neighbor who gave them persimmons from his sister-in-law’s tree and Barbara says the Caribbean-Islander family across the street always asks after Kay. “Just by shoveling snow and dealing with blackouts and car problems, we’re ordinary folk,” Barbara says. Barbara and Kay take advantage of Jersey City’s parks, the arts scene, and many restaurants, including Rita and Joe’s, Hard Grove Café, Fusion, Bright Street Tavern, Brownstone, Rumba Café, Ceviche, Gia Gelato, all the restaurants on the “Indian Strip,” and their favorite—ME Casa.

EPIPHANY “We always had eyes for each other,” Barbara says. “We were in Kendall Park, New Jersey, in 1993 at a fundraiser for a candidate running for state senate. The singing group the Righteous Sisters was playing. We were talking and I asked Kay to give me a hug. We were under a dogwood tree, at least we think it was a dogwood. It was a glorious day, Sept. 11.” Kay recalls saying, “I would be happy to give you a hug, it was a long, very long hug. Time stopped. People left and went home. The sun went down, and we were still hugging. Afterwards we were wooing and cooing one another over the phone and with flowers.” When they first became a couple, Kay says, they decided to try living together for a week or a month to see if it worked out. “We’re both fiercely independent, and we’re still checking it out.” Kay says. “It’s our ritual. We celebrate each year we are together.” Says Barbara, “I love Kay after many, many years.” When I visited with them in November 2013, Barbara was sorting through their mementos at the kitchen table, while the family cats, Solomon and Sheba, slalomed around her legs. In the public/private domain that is Kay and Barbara’s life, they expressed hope for “the erosion of the rock of prejudice, ideology, sexism, and religious conservatism,” so that we could “swim in a sea of justice.” They were still wooing and cooing. Let’s hear it for one more year.—JCM

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www.leesimschocolates.com Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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How we

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BY KATE ROUNDS PHOTOS BY VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

DROYERS POINT

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royers Point is a private gated waterfront community in Society Hill with newly constructed townhouses for sale or rent. OK, so that is the official description, but these charming homes are so much more. Just ask Kimberly and Raashan Williams and their five-year-old twin daughters who have lived in Society Hill since 2002. Society Hill is off Route 440, across from The Home Depot on Bayonne Bay. The family moved to the Droyers Point section about two years ago. “We were living in Society Hill and saw these houses going up,” Kimberly says. The new homes seemed perfect for them. Raashan C. Williams, M.D., is the director of the cardiac catheterization lab center at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, and Kimberly is a physician’s assistant at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. “We knew we wanted to stay in Jersey City,” Kimberly says. “Raashan practices here, and the house had to be close and very convenient for him. And it’s an easy shot through the Holland Tunnel to get to the city.” They live in what is known as an “end” house. They don’t have a view of the water but through one of

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HOW WE LIVE JCM the windows they can see the Bayonne Bridge. The house has three bedrooms, two full baths, two half baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry

room, play area for the kids, and—get this—a man cave. That’s right, even prominent physicians need their man caves. This one

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has a wet bar and a 65-inch flat-screen plasma TV. Raashan is a serious Yankees and Giants fan. The walls are painted Yankees blue, and there is lots of sports


HOW WE LIVE JCM paraphernalia, including items signed by stars like Eli Manning. The couple always admired the kind of spa-like bathrooms that you see in

fine hotels. They said they’d like one of those in their home, and last year they made it a reality. Among other amenities, the master bath has a five-foot hot tub. The Williamses love the diversity in Jersey City. Kimberly, who is Filipino, grew up in Bergen County. “That was so the opposite of diverse,” she says. Raashan is half Puerto Rican and half African American. “We have so much invested in Jersey City,” Kimberly says. “It’s a great place to live and raise children.”

They frequent downtown restaurants “all the time,” and Kimberly is a member of the same Mom’s Night Out group as Tameka Alsop. We profiled the Alsop family and their home on Gifford Avenue in our Spring/Summer 2013 issue. “We did a lot of work to make the house our own,” Kimberly says. “Raashan works crazy hours, and he often says, ‘I love being home.’”

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How we

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BRIGHT STREET If you’ve ever been on Bright Street, you can’t miss a building with the words “LUKER BROS.” etched into its stone façade. Legend has it that the former stable once housed props for the Metropolitan Opera, and that urban legend turns out to be largely true. Now converted into condos, the building is simply called “The Opera House.” Nureen Neelum Kumar is a satisfied owner. She’d been living in Manhattan and purchased the unit in January 2007. She couldn’t afford Manhattan properties, needed room for a car, and liked Jersey City because it had not been completely gentrified, and there was a lot of waterfront. “I needed a place with a dining room because I like to cook, and I also needed office space because I work from home,” she says. The unit occupies 1,508 square feet. All the units in the building have a “lofty” feel with open spaces. In addition to the dining room, there is a kitchen,

two bedrooms and two full baths. But it was the “exposed big wide original beams” that really sold Kumar on the place. “They’re spectacular,” she says, “and it has super high ceilings—18 foot.” Each unit has a detached fireplace, which gives it “a skilodge element. It looks like a chalet with sturdy wood and shiny beautiful wood floors,” she says. “It has a monster fireplace, and I use it religiously. I have the wood delivered from Upstate New York in a huge van.” She says she has all the fireplace gear but that it’s “taken some time to learn” how to make a good fire. The unit has a lot of things she’s collected over the years, including a “huge gorgeous granite dining table” that she grew up with. “That’s the starting point,” she says. She bought light fixtures, fans, and chandeliers, and the condo has a lot of Asian art, including East Indian and Philippine art. Kumar, who is a native of South Florida, is a real out-oftowner but has become a

NUREEN NEELUM KUMAR

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HOW WE LIVE JCM

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Jersey City fan. “That was the surprise factor,” she says. A sailor, she loves being so close to Liberty State Park and the waterfront. Kumar loves JC Fridays and frequents Skinner’s Loft, the Light Horse, Madame Claude’s and Port-O Lounge, among other JC favorites, including


the Bright Side Tavern, where, she says, they have “crazy town hall meetings and fight about what’s coming into town.” She has no regrets about her decision to come here. She says, “What I love about this town is there is so much to do.”—JCM

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DATES Want your event listed? Please email us at jcmag@hudsonreporter.com and put “calendar listings” in the subject line.

ONGOING Madhouse Comedy Open Mic, The Dopeness, 332 Second St., (201) 870-7698. Signup begins at 7:30 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. Comics get seven minutes, first two comics of the night get 10-minute sets. BYOB. $5. Friggin Fabulous Open Mic, Trolley Car Bar, 328 Palisade Ave., (201) 360-3233. Signup begins at 8:30 p.m. Musicians, poets, comedians welcome. Free. Let There Be… LIVE!, Grassroots Community Space, 54 Coles St., grassrootscommunityspace.com. 9 p.m. Open performance series welcoming poetry, comedy, song, magic, dance, and more. Seven-minute performance slots and a guest host every month. $5. CanisMinor_opt.pdf

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Dorrian’s Red Hand, 555 Washington Blvd., (201) 626-6660, pmjamnites.com. 9 p.m. Multi-genre singer, songwriter, and band showcase. Second and last Fridays of the month. Free. JC Slam, The Dopeness, 332 Second St., (201) 870-7698. Thursdays at 8 p.m. The night begins with a brief open mic session followed by Poetry Slam Competition. $5, free for students.

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Art House Open Mic, Art House Productions, Hamilton Square, 1 McWilliams Place, Sixth floor, (201) 915-9911, art houseproductions.org. First Thursdays of the month from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Five minute open mic for poets, musicians, performance artists. $5.

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Wordsmithing Wednesdays, Indiegrove, 121 Newark Ave., (201) 589-2068, wordsmithingweb.com. 7 p.m. Poetry, song, spoken word, and creative explosions of all kinds. Open mic and performance by a featured artist each month. $5. Gypsy Jazz, Madame Claude Café, 364 1/2 Fourth St. Live music every Thursday at the café, 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. No cover charge. SJC Green Drinks + ART, HCCC Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk St., sustainablejc.org. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Social and business networking event held every third Thursday evening of the month.

see page 68

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SNOW BALL | PHOTOS BY AL SULLIVAN Everybody loves the Snow Ball, Jersey City’s annual arts gala, put on by Art House Productions and sponsored by The Hudson Reporter. This popular soiree brings out Jersey City’s best dressed and creatively dressed. Proceeds fund Art House Productions’ 2014 season of theater, music, visual arts, festivals, dance, comedy, and poetry events. Food is supplied by local restaurants and food and drink sponsors. Music, dancing, and a silent auction are staples of this much-anticipated bash, which was held on an appropriately snowy January 25.

SEND YOUR JERSEY CITY PHOTOS TO JCMAG@HUDSONREPORTER.COM. BE SURE TO WRITE “POINT & SHOOT” IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

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Art House at Two Boots, 133 Newark Ave., (201) 209-1250, arthouseproductions.org. 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Monthly event featuring live music, performance and film. Free. Bob the Builder: Project Build It!, Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., (201) 200-1000, lsc.org. Children build, fix, plant, and improve using team efforts alongside Bob the Builder and friends. Through April 27. Modern Sage Living Well Workshops, Various locations and dates weekly, editor@modernsage.com, modernsage.com. Living health educator Leah Guy presents workshops covering a variety of topics concerning organic health, alternative wellness and green living. Civics For The Emerging Activist, The Urban League of Hudson County, 253 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., (201) 492-8093. Five class series includes Bill of Rights, Rights & Responsibilities of Citizenship, Right to Petition Government For Grievances, School Board As Power Structure, How to Mount A Voter Registration Drive, and Civics and Social Networking. $5. Free Coworking Fridays, Indiegrove, 121 Newark Ave., (201) 589-2068, indiegrovejc.com. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Come experience coworking and see why it has become the most popular way for entrepreneurs and independent professionals to work. Plenty of Wi-Fi, coffee and beautiful views! Creative Grove Under Siege, Grove Street PATH Plaza, sireloentertainment.com. 3 p.m.–9 p.m. Sirelo Entertainment takes over the weekly marketplace various Fridays throughout the spring and summer with entertainment and cultural attractions. Free. Voter Registration, Simply Feel Better Self Health Space 436 Central Ave. Thursdays and Sundays 1 p.m.-4:40 p.m. To volunteer or for more information call (201) 492-8093. Boca Grande, Boca Grande, 564 Washington Blvd., (201) 626-6646. Weekly events include “Don’t You Know I’m Loco” Comedy Open Mic hosted by Craig Mahoney on Thursdays at 10 p.m. and Live Jazz every Friday at 7 p.m. Free. New Venture Nation, Indiegrove, 121 Newark Ave., (201) 589-2068, indiegrovejc.com. Dates and times TBA. An Incubate NYC program. Full business diagnostic, ongoing business strategic advisory sessions, monthly performance reviews, mentoring and networking. Rolling admission.

69 Years And Still Innovating!! 68 • Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014

Grassroots Community Space, 54 Coles St., (201) 500-5483, grassrootscommunityspace.com. Various arts workshops, fitness events, dance classes held weekly. The “space for hire” also features special events monthly.


DATES JC JCM

CALENDAR MARCH 7 JC Fridays, Citywide, jcfridays.com. All day. Art, performances, music, film, and JC Fridays’ business discounts. Programs include art openings and exhibits, spoken word, music, dance, film/video screenings, theater and alternative performance. Free.

8 Fourth Annual PI-E Day, Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd. Noon-4 p.m. Hundreds of people come out to share the love of pi and pie and support this annual fundraiser. Meet Your Feet, Simple Feel Better Health Space, 436 Central Ave., (201) 492-8093. Time TBA. Foot Massage/Information Session with Carol Crystal covering foot care, use of feet, treatment for what ails them, products, and sensual couple massage who want to participate.

15 Community Rhythm, Grassroots Community Space, 54 Coles St., (201) 500-5483, grassrootscommunityspace.com. 7 p.m.– 9 p.m. Family-friendly drum circle.

22 Civics For The Emerging Activist Second Anniversary Dinner and Civic Award Presentation, The Urban League Of Hudson County, 253 Martin Luther King Dr., (201) 492-8093. Celebration of two years of civic education and advocacy featuring full dinner, free cocktail, graduation cake, DJ and dancing.

27 Getting Real - An Acting Workshop, Hewn Arts Center, 140 Sip Ave., TrishSzymanski@gmail.com. A six-week acting workshop for adults 21 and over, focusing on self-awareness and authenticity. Beginners welcome! Thursdays from 7 p.m.–9 p.m. through May 1.

30-APRIL 5 Jersey City Comedy Festival, jccomedy festival.com. Various locations and times. A week-long, citywide celebration of the art of comedy featuring over 100 different comedians, performers, and artists.

see page 81

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BUSINESSES MAKE JERSEY CITY WORK

How We

WORK BY KATE ROUNDS

PHOTO BY ALYSSA BREDIN

JENN O’MALLEY AND HER DAUGHTERS

THREE LITTLE BIRDS 16 Erie St. (201) 528-3212 threelittlebirdsjc.com Three Little Birds, which takes its name from the Bob Marley song, is a yoga, art, music, and dance studio for families, founded by Jenn O’Malley, who also happens to have three little girls of her own. “I wanted a place for moms to feel comfortable dropping off their children,” O’Malley says. Basically it’s a one-stop shop. In the past, she said, it was “hard to be running around all the time for different classes.” O’Malley says that the studio offers “unique and creative programming with a great team of teachers in a clean and stylish place.” Originally from Philadelphia, O’Malley got her business chops working for Banana Republic in Manhattan.

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“I wanted to have a job but still be with my children,” O’Malley says. “I wanted to have a flexible work schedule and be part of their lives.” She says she found “great people with great ideas to do outof the-box fitness for children. It’s not just a great physical workout but they learn how to be a good sport and how we can learn from losing.” The studio also offers a princess charm school, where girls wear “beautiful dresses and fancy shoes and have a tea party where they learn about manners and respect and being a good friend.” Other offerings include prenatal yoga, new-moms support groups, baby yoga, two-hour toddler drop-off, ballet, break dancing, and birthday and pajama parties. Companies can also rent out the studio. O’Malley’s husband wanted to move to the suburbs but she persuaded him to stay in Jersey City. “There’s so much to offer here,” she says. “The businesses support each other. It’s a diverse community and getting better all the time.”


PHOTO BY ALYSSA BREDIN

HOW WE WORK JCM

DARRYL NG

CANIS MINOR 31 River Dr. South (201) 626-5545 canisminor.net If you’ve been keeping up with your stargazing you know that Canis Minor is a constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere and comes from the Latin meaning “lesser dog.” Closer to home, it’s a fabulous high-end pet food and supply retailer in the Newport neighborhood that also offers daycare and grooming. And, by the way, there is nothing “lesser” about it. That “minor” refers to the fact that it originally majored in smaller dogs, but it now has a huge selection of cat supplies and serves larger dogs as well. “We have customers as far north as Edgewater and as far south as Staten Island,” says owner Darryl Ng. He also has stores in Gramercy Park and Tribeca. In areas like Tribeca, where there are a lot of large lofts, Ng says you tend to see larger dogs.

For some people, Ng says, “dogs are a replacement for kids, and when they start humanizing dogs, they go to smaller dogs, which are easier to keep clean, and they can sleep in your beds, and you can take them places.” In the last 10 years, he says, the trend has been to take dogs on vacation to dog-friendly hotels. In fact, the nearby Westin Hotel calls on Ng when a guest needs dog care for a longer period of time than just an overnight stay. Canis Minor boards dogs 35 pounds and under. “On the food side,” Ng says, “the biggest trend in the last decade is raw foods, which follows the human market. Dogs are carnivores, not omnivores,” he says. “In the wild they eat primarily meat, bone, and organs; they do not eat grains, which require a longer digestive tract.” The store sells specialty clothes for small dogs. “Large dogs have no problem with the cold,” Ng says, “but small dogs can’t handle extreme cold.” If you’re looking for a soft, high-end harness or “blingy” jeweled collar, you’re in luck. A Los Angeles native, Ng got an MBA at NYU and opened his first store in Newport, where he now lives with his wife and three daughters who—ironically—are all allergic to dogs. Says Ng, “I love Jersey City, and Newport is a great neighborhood.” Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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HOW WE WORK JCM

PHOTO BY MEGAN MALLOY

EMMA LAM

A SMALL GREEN SPACE (917) 414-2993 asmallgreenspace.com Most entrepreneurs would be green with envy at the way this urban landscaping company has taken off. Owner Emma Lam launched it in 2009, and now she has four part-time gardeners, a bookkeeper, an office manager, and a thriving Hudson County business. “It grew really fast,” says Lam, who has an unusual background for a successful horticulturist. She was a performing artist, working in theater, regional theater, and summer stock in the United States and the United Kingdom. Lam was born in England but came to Massachusetts when she was four. “I hated yard work,” she says referring to her Massachusetts youth, “but loved English gardens.” She says the English garden was a good model for the kind of urban landscaping she does now. “My husband and I were living on the top floor of a

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five-floor walkup in Hoboken, and the bottom floor had a tiny garden,” Lam relates. Until she worked on that garden, she says, “I didn’t have a clue that I liked gardening.” A lot of her friends were artist types, and when they came to visit, they’d say, “You should do gardening; you’re good at it.” And the rest is history. She took a number of landscape design courses in England and the U.S. “I was addicted,” she says. Her friends and fellow moms continued to ask her to do gardens even though she was not “fully trained.” She says, “People underestimate the value of design. I come up with a concept and work through that concept. I do a scale drawing like an architect with every plant, fencing, decking, and furniture.” She employs a builder, and subcontractors when she needs them, and her company maintains the gardens. The season runs roughly from March through December, depending on the temperatures. Her clients come from Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Edgewater, and she has even consulted in Brooklyn. — JCM


BELLA SORRELLAS

EDWARD’S STEAK HOUSE

1020 Broadway, Bayonne (201) 455-8844 bellasorrellas.com The address is Bayonne, but this eatery has deep roots in Jersey City. Owner David Rivera’s family has a long history of successful downtown Jersey City restaurants. He recently acquired Leonardo Compi, the renowned chef of the legendary Just Sonny’s restaurant. Compi’s genius is in bringing flair to classic dishes, making extraordinary what would be ordinary in other hands.

239 Marin Boulevard (201) 761-0000 edwardssteakhouse.com Edward’s Steak House offers steak, seafood, and other sumptuous fare with an elegant bistro flare. Tucked into a historic townhouse in downtown Jersey City, Edward’s is comfortably upscale. The menu includes all the classic steaks and chops—aged prime sirloin, porterhouse, filet mignon, and more. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or stopping by for a steak sandwich at the bar.

CONFUCIUS ASIAN BISTRO

HELEN’S PIZZA

558 Washington Boulevard (201) 386-8898 confucius558.com Confucius Asian Bistro is a perfect mix of ambiance, excellence, friendly service, delicious food served with an attractive presentation, large portions, and affordability. Stop in for lunch and take advantage of the specials or for dinner to experience a tasty meal in a serene environment.

183 Newark Avenue (201) 435-1507 helenspizza.com Helen’s Pizza, a family owned restaurant, has been serving downtown Jersey City since 1968. Using only the finest ingredients they provide customers with the best tasting pizza, dinners, sandwiches, salads, and now a wide selection of homemade desserts. They have earned their reputation for the best pizza in town. Come taste the difference at Helen’s Pizza. Open seven days: Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Sun. 3-11 p.m. see page 77

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DINING OUT JCM

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PHOTOS BY TERRI SAULINO BISH

W

e were in luck in more ways than one to be eating at Órale! Mexican Kitchen in mid-December. On Thanksgiving eve, a fire on Grove Street gutted two buildings and left Orale! with water damage that forced it to close. But 10 days later, it reopened to the relief of the many diners who have discovered the charms of this downtown eatery, which debuted in April 2013. The word Órale roughly translates into “What’s up?” The first thing you notice is that it has all the hallmarks of a classic Mexican restaurant but with a distinctly hip, Jersey City edge. The cantaloupe-colored walls feature urban murals, and one brick wall is decorated with colorful graffiti. A huge case of perfectly-aligned Jarritos juice bottles is backlit to form a work of abstract art. On another shelf, are those skulls or soccer balls or skulls made from soccer balls? No matter. It’s all part of the Mexican cultural Day of the Dead, a motif that runs through the main dining room and another small room in the back. Below the case is an artfully arranged tableau with a Sombrero and archival pictures of Jersey City, including one of the old Colgate factory. Near the bar is a “Naughty List” of nine things you should not do, including Yelp, not abuse happy hour, and arrive already drunk. Speaking of drinking, Órale! has an insanely long list of tequilas, as well as sangria, classic margaritas, and of course, cerveza. We ordered the Mexican beer, Tecate, and a gorgeous, summery-looking mango margarita. Looking around the dining room, I could see that the margaritas, in various colors, were a big hit.

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Now, have I mentioned that this restaurant actually has food? As a starter, guacamole is a real favorite here. There were six varieties. Our waiter, Jorge, suggested we go for the “Trio Guacamole” which would give us a chance to try small portions of three different flavors. He proposed Casa, with avocado, tomato, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and lime; El Fresa, with seasonal fruit; and Mananitas, with Guajillo shrimp. Good choice. They came with three salsa selections, and the chips were really fresh and crispy. On the left side of the menu are your classic taco and enchiladas and on the other side, the main dishes. We decided, with Jorge’s help, to choose one item from the left side and one from the right. Enchilada Suiza is a rich and flavorful combination of shredded chicken, creamy tomatillo sauce, Chihuahua and Oaxacan cheese. Salmon al la Plancha is composed of a nice square of salmon with black bean and potato puree and pineappleGuajillo sauce. The best thing about this is the crisply cooked top, sort of like the best parts of homemade mac and cheese. Speaking of which, the restaurant has a “Gringo” mac and cheese as an appetizer. But everything else is decidedly— and thankfully—Mexican. We didn’t order dessert, but if you still have room for it after these filling and satisfying dishes, you’ll have a choice of vanilla flan with cajeta sauce and whipped cream; Tres Leches with strawberry sauce and whipped cream; Morenitas (three freshly baked Mexican pecan brownies); and Helados Domingo, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, cajeta, chocolate sauce, crumbled cookies, and caramelized bananas. As we left, the bar had started to fill up with a friendly, fun crowd that you might want to ask, “What’s up?”—Kate Rounds Órale! Mexican Kitchen 341 Grove St. (201) 333-0001 oralemk.com

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DINING OUT JCM

from page 73

HONSHU RESTAURANT

31 Montgomery Street second floor (201) 324-2788/0277 honshulounge.com When craving an exciting Japanese dish or looking for new cuisine with an enjoyable atmosphere, we have the answer—smoking appetizers, sizzling entrees, fresh seafood, noodles, and sweet desserts. No matter your selection, rest assured we use the finest and freshest ingredients to bring out the unique taste of our superb menu items.

IBBY’S FALAFEL

303 Grove Street (201)432-2400 ibbysfalafels.com One of downtown’s most popular eateries, Ibby’s Falafel has been serving Jersey City for more than 18 years. The menu consists of original Middle Eastern cuisine made with authentic ingredients, along with new and innovative additions—the falafel that made falafel famous. Ibby’s offerings are now 100 percent officially halal certified. Open seven days. Catering available. Also located in Edgewater and Freehold. Delivery to all of Jersey City.

KOMEGASHI

103 Montgomery Street (201) 433-4567 komegashi.com Located in Jersey City’s financial district, Komegashi offers fresh, well-presented sushi along with traditional Japanese favorites and an extensive selection of fresh shellfish. Locals and visitors from around the world find this a perfect spot to dine in casual elegance. Open seven days.

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DINING OUT JCM

KOMEGASHI TOO

99 Town Square Place Newport Financial Center (201) 533-8888 komegashi.com Komegashi too offers an authentic Japanese dining experience with a spectacular view of the New York Skyline. The menu includes perfectly prepared sushi and sashimi, kaiseki, teriyaki, and tempura. Located on the river at Newport Financial Center, Komegashi too is open seven days.

MORE

281 Grove Street (201) 309-0571 morejc.com More offers a wide selection of Thai and Japanese offerings, and more. Whether you stop by for a meal or take one to go, the experience will be satisfying. more is located across the street from City Hall.

THE RESTAURANTS AT NEWPORT J.C. WATERFRONT DISTRICT

newportnj.com Overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline is the most diverse dining destination on the New Jersey Gold Coast—The Restaurants at Newport. Located among the luxury apartments and office towers in the Newport section, The Restaurants at Newport include 12 fine establishments: Komegashi too, Dorrian’s, Raaz, Cosi, Confucius, Bertucci’s, Babo, Fire and Oak, Boca Grande Cantina, Michael Anthony’s, Skylark on the Hudson, and Loradella’s.

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DINING OUT JCM

RITA & JOE’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

142 Broadway (201) 451-3606 ritaandjoes.com. A Jersey City favorite, Rita and Joe’s is the next best thing to Mama’s Italian cooking. This family-run restaurant serves delectable homemade dishes served in the comfort of a cozy and intimate dining room. On- and off premises catering are available.

RUSTIQUE PIZZA

611 Jersey Avenue (201) 222-6886 rustiquepizza.com Welcome to Rustique Pizza! The Rosiello family warmly invites you to wake up your taste buds with our delicious food in the casual, friendly atmosphere of our dining room. If you’d rather enjoy your meal at home, we offer free delivery or the option of picking up your entrées or pizza. Our bread, dough, and mozzarella are made fresh daily in-house, ensuring satisfaction each time you dine with us.

SATIS BISTRO

212 Washington Street (201) 435.5151 satisbistro.com Tucked away in the Paulus Hook neighborhood, Satis is Jersey’s City’s best-kept dining secret. Satis is a foodie haven with a fantastic wine bar that serves dinner daily and brunch on weekends. The cuisine is modern European with an emphasis on French, Italian, and Spanish specialties. Menu changes are made seasonally, and specials are run weekly. Reservations are recommended.

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DINING OUT JCM

Goodbye, Winter

Hello, Rooftop Dining

SAWADEE

137 Newark Avenue (201) 433-0888 sawadeejc.com Offering exceptional Thai cuisine, Sawadee is a dining experience that will please both the eye and palate! Enjoy lunch, dinner, or a refreshing cocktail in an inviting atmosphere. Sawadee is conveniently located just steps from the Grove Street PATH.

SHANGHAI BEST

146 Newark Avenue, Jersey City 07302

201.915.0600  skinnersloft.com 







97 Montgomery St. (201) 333-6661 shanghaibestjc.com This brand-new Chinese restaurant opened right next to the new spa, Himalaya Herbal Spa. It offers a full menu of Chinese specialties—crispy noodles, fried rice cakes, dim sum, cold and hot appetizers, noodle soups, flat-rice noodles, and fried rice, as well as vegetarian dishes, lunch specials, chef specials, beverages, and Chinese desserts. Shanghai Best offers catering and free delivery and is available for parties. This is owner Alan Lau’s fifth restaurant in Jersey City. He also owns the adjacent Himalaya Herbal Spa.

SKINNER’S LOFT

146 Newark Avenue (201) 915-0600. skinnersloft.com A chic, loft-style eatery, Skinner’s Loft features a warm, spacious interior with exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and total attention to detail. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail and a fine meal.

SKY THAI

62 Morris Street skythaijc.com This new Jersey City eatery near Exchange Place serves traditional Thai cuisine in a warm and beautiful atmosphere. Enjoy a cocktail before dinner and get ready for an authentic Asian feast.

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DATES JC JCM from page 69

31 INKubator!, Art House Productions, Hamilton Square, 1 McWilliams Place, sixth floor, (201) 915-9911, inkubator@art houseproductions.org. 7 p.m.-9 p.m. An artistic collective of writers, directors, and actors hold monthly meetings to test viability of new work and cultivate networks for artistic advancement. Submission process required. Membership is free.

APRIL Beyond Rubix Cube, Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., (201) 2001000, lsc.org. A major international exhibition about the world’s best-selling puzzle. Begins April 2014. 5th Annual Green Teen Arts & Music Festival, Art House Productions, Hamilton Square, 1 McWilliams Place, sixth floor, (201) 915-9911, arthouseproductions.org. Date and time TBA. Local teenagers to showcase their musical and artistic talents in an eco-friendly community event. $5.

5 Relentless, New City Kids, 240 Fairmount Ave., (201) 915-9896. Shows at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A 90-minute original music production featuring spoken word, skits, and multimedia art.

5-6 Open Studio, 537 Newark Ave., (201) 6162957. 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Over 20 years of art making by Darin DeField. Original mixed media and collage works. Free.

13 Wedding Expo 2014, Hyatt Regency, 2 Exchange Pl., rsvpby.com. Noon-6 p.m. Live entertainment, fashion show, signature dish sampling, dessert cakes by Carlos Bakery, raffle prizes, giveaways, and more. Attending brides only. Free.

19 Community Rhythm, Grassroots Community Space, 54 Coles St., (201) 5005483, grassrootscommunityspace.com. 7 p.m.–9 p.m. Family-friendly drum circle.

28 INKubator!, Art House Productions, Hamilton Square, 1 McWilliams Place, sixth floor, (201) 915-9911, inkubator@arthouse productions.org. 7 p.m.-9 p.m. An artistic collective of writers, directors, and actors hold monthly meetings to test viability of new work and cultivate networks for artistic advancement. Submission process required. Membership is free. Jersey CITY Magazine ~ SPRING 2014 •

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Photo: Alan Schindler

Savor the Waterfront

RESTAURANTS AT NEWPORT

From casual to fine dining—café latte on the run to cocktails under the stars—Jersey City’s Hudson River Waterfront is the perfect setting to ignite your senses and satisfy your palette. Conveniently situated close to the Newport PATH and several New Jersey Light Rail stops, this picturesque promenade offers a tempting array of culinary delights, many with equally enticing views of the Manhattan skyline. If life is meant to be savored, the Restaurants at Newport is a great place to start.

201-963-4900 loradellas.com

201-386-8898 confucius558.com

201-798-1798 battellojc.com

201-610-9610 fireandoak.com

201-533-8989 skylarkonthehudson.com

201-533-8888 komegashi.com

201-626-6646 bocagrandenj.com

201-626-6660 dorrians.com

201-222-8088 bertuccis.com

201-963-0533 getcosi.com

201-626-6006

201-533-0111 raaz.us

newportnj.com



2014 jcm v11 n11 web