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Summer 2016 - V3 - N1

Life o n th e Peninsula

Scouts Honor

Bridge to the Future

Shape Up!

Kids Mean Business

Fighting Champs Pom Poms to Powerhouse

The Write Stuff Bayonne’s Ballerina


2 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


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Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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FEATURES 14

BRIDGE BITS

18

PRO WRESTLING

CONTENTS BLP

18

Alien Landscape

Fighting Champs

COVER BAYONNE BRIDGE

Pro wrestling comes back to town BY TARA RYAZANKSY PHOTOS BY MAX RYAZANSKY

H

eavy metal pulses through the giant arena. The crowd, which ranges in age from children to senior citizens, mills around before the show begins. They line up to get autographs and take photos with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars, like Rhyno. They shop at the various tables selling wrestling magazines and DVDs. Everyone is waiting for the Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) Homecoming event to start. The BCB Bank Pavilion is enormous. Even partitioned in half, as it is for the event, it is big enough to fit thousands. Beyond the black divider, wrestlers are warming up and hanging out. Rivalries seem forgotten for the moment. There’s even a massage therapist to help them limber up or address any injuries to come.

Cover Photo Victor M. Rodriguez

DEPARTMENTS

The venue is a new one for JAPW. In fact it’s new in general, but the independent wrestling federation has a long a history in Bayonne.

Back in the Day JAPW was launched in 1996 when the late Frank Iadevaia approached Jeff Shapiro and Pierre Pilger, who later became a partner in charge of talent, about putting on a wrestling event at Charity Hall, now a liquor store on Broadway at the corner of 37th Street. “I used to run Charity Hall, which was the bingo parlor,” Shapiro says. “Bayonne, back then, had the Hometown Fair which was all along Broadway. I was outside setting up the tables of all of the stuff that we were selling, me and Pierre, and Frank came along and said, ‘Would you guys be interested in doing wrestling in Charity Hall?’ I said I guess we could, I mean

the place could hold two- or three-, maybe even 400 people if we set up a wrestling ring. So we agreed and two months later we had the first show in Bayonne. That’s really how it started. Frank founded JAPW.” But JAPW left Bayonne after the promotion came under scrutiny for violence in 2000. “Back when Joe Doria was the mayor, the New York Times had come out with an article about us that unfortunately tied us in with a South Jersey group that made some of the matches very gory,” Shapiro says. That group, Combat Zone Wrestling, used weapons like boards wrapped in barbed wire. “A couple of people who had never attended anything complained to the city, and all of a sudden Governor Christie Whitman got involved. The city didn’t stop us, but they sent people to watch the show.” The size of Charity Hall was another factor that led JAPW to leave Bayonne

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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CONTRIBUTORS

22

HELPING HANDS

EDITOR’S LETTER

19

22 BADGE OF HONOR

Scouts

Boy Scouts live and breathe the oath

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT Hometown Novelist

HOW WE WORK

32

CATCHING UP WITH

34

In

Jared Hart

SPORTS/FITNESS Elite Cheer

HELPING Anthony Elia and Timothy Ryan

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38

HOW WE LIVE

40

ON THE JOB

42

SENIOR MOMENTS

44

EDUCATION

46

EATERY

48

DINING OUT

Photo by Craig Dale

28

BY KATE ROUNDS

Park Bayonne

40

Bayonne Ballerina

Western Electric Retirees

Junior Chamber of Commerce

The Da Vinci Room

Listings

4 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

Photo by Craig Dale

our technological maelstrom, where things change at warp speed, some traditions endure. There have been Boy Scouts in Bayonne since the founding of the organization in 1910. Now, about 250 registered Scouts, from first grade to age 18, are bettering themselves and doing good works in Bayonne. Many of you may remember the Boy Scout Oath, in which Scouts promise “To help other people at all times.” These kids are doing it in many different ways, but “Scouting for Food” is one that resonates with most folks in town. It’s an annual event that takes place, appropriately, right before Thanksgiving. All Scouts participate, serving the local food banks. Residents are asked to leave food in a bag on their front porches or stoops. Scouts are then driven around to collect it and deliver it to the food pantries, where they check it and sort it. John Hughes is Scout Master of Troop 25. “Every rank advancement has a service component,” he says. “Scouts have to participate in so many hours in an approved service project in order to fill the requirement.”

Though Scouting has been around more than a century, obviously the program has to adapt to the challenges of each new decade. In the 1970s, Hughes guesses that there were about 1,500 boys in the program. “Times change and kids change,” he says. “We’re in competition with a lot of things nowadays. Kids don’t play; everything is organized into play dates. They’re involved in football, soccer, tai chi, baseball, and a zillion other activities. If they miss a baseball game, they’re benched.” Not to mention technology. “You’ve got computers,” he says. “Kids spend a lot of time playing video games in a dark room.”

SOARING TO THE HEIGHTS

Photo by Craig Dale

26

What do former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Gerald Ford, basketball great and Senator Bill Bradley, astronauts Neil Armstrong and James Lovell Jr., former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Bill Gates’s father all have in common?

Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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NEIGHBORS

caring for NEIGHBORS

WE TA K E C A R E O F

BAYONNE For Bernadine Pirozzi, it’s being there with a smile, a laugh and a helping hand. It’s supporting school fundraisers, local businesses and her church. It’s being a proud lifelong resident and a dedicated employee of the 128-year-old hospital where she was born, just as her children and grandchildren were. Because together, we take care of our own. In exceptional ways. To make this community healthier for each and every one of us.

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Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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TERRI SAULINO BISH CRAIG WALLACE DALE DELFIN GANAPIN

ALYSSA BREDIN

TARA RYAZANSKY

VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

AL SULLIVAN

C O N T R I B U T O R S

B L P

MAXIM RYAZANSKY

TERRI SAULINO BISH

VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

is an award winning graphic designer, digital artist and photographer. Capturing many of the iconic images featured in print and online publications across Hudson County. You can view more of her work at tbishphoto.com.

has studied publication design, photography, and graphic design. “I’ve been fascinated by photography for almost 20 years,” he says. One of his jobs as a construction project manager is to photograph job sites.

ALYSSA BREDIN

MAXIM RYAZANSKY

is an award winning designer and photographer. Her work is featured in numerous publications including, 07030 Hoboken and Jersey City Magazine. You can see her full portfolio at tbishphoto.com.

is a photographer whose work has been exhibited in galleries and published worldwide. A recent transplant to Bayonne, he spends his spare time trying to figure out the best pizza place in town.

CRAIG WALLACE DALE

is a writer who recently moved from Brooklyn to Bayonne. She works as a blogger for Nameberry.com and spends her spare time fixing up her new (to her) 100-year-old home.

TARA RYAZANSKY is a Hoboken-based photographer. Craig has been telling stories with his camera for national magazines, Fortune 500 corporations, and private clients for more than 20 years. When not shooting for clients, Craig teaches the finer points of digital photography from his school, Beyond the

DELFIN GANAPIN is an editorial assistant at the Hudson Reporter. In his spare time, he is immersed in contemporary geek and pop culture and has contributed to a small geek culture blog called We Are Geeking Out.

8 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

AL SULLIVAN has been a staff writer for the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain since 1992. He was named journalist of the year in 2001 by the New Jersey Press Association, and photographer of the year in 2005 by the Garden State Journalists Association. In 2001, Rutgers University Press published a collection of his work, Everyday People: Profiles from the Garden State.


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Bayonne Mixed Bag First, I want to say how happy The Hudson Reporter crew is to be in Bayonne. As many of you may know, we had a great run in Hoboken for more than three decades and are now enjoying our new digs at 447 Broadway. Which puts us right in the middle of the action in this ever-evolving town with its wide range of cultural and entertainment options. Many of those activities are on display in this issue, offering lots of contrasts. We’ve got published authors like Robin Constantine, and we’ve got the Western Electric Retirees who have a surprising story to tell. If you’re looking for real polar opposites, how about wrestling and ballet? Our dynamic duo—Tara and Max—went toe to toe (not really) with professional ballerina Jaime Hickey and spent an evening with Jersey All-Pro Wrestling.

PHOTO BY MARIE PAPP

EDITOR'S LETTER BLP

Another contrasting pair are the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Bayonne’s championship cheerleaders. But they both mean business! As you all know, Bayonne is famous for its many charitable organizations and the many volunteers who donate their time, money, and good will to keep them afloat. One such group is the Boy Scouts. Find out what they’re doing to make Bayonne a better place. By the way, we had a great shot of them (see page 22) that we were considering for the cover. In fact, we got a question from a reader about how we choose covers. Sometimes, it’s something nostalgic, like the Boy

Scouts. Sometimes it’s something cutting edge, like the wrestlers. Sometimes it’s just a great photograph that draws people in. In this issue it was something iconic, beautiful, and evolving. You know what it is. If you’re cruising around in the MOTBY area, you may have wondered about those, well, what are they exactly? Big concrete blocks? Al Sullivan wondered, too, and went out to photograph them and find out what the heck they’re doing there. Hint: They have something to do with our cover shot. There’s more in this issue, but before I go, remember our cover guy in our very first issue? Musician Jared Hart. Well, it seems that he is having a lot of success out in the big wide world. We caught up with him when he was having some R&R in his hometown. That’s him, chilling on his front steps. Not a bad idea. Chill out with Bayonne: Life on the Peninsula .

DATES

2016

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

Ongoing Bayonne Farmers Market, Fitzpatrick Park, Avenue C and 27th Street, Tuesdays, 2-7 p.m., through October. The Hudson Toastmasters Club meets on the first and third Tuesdays of every month in a classroom in the basement of the Bayonne Public Library, at the corner of 31st Street and Avenue C. Enter through the 31st Street side. Guests are welcome. Toastmasters International encourages the art of public speaking

10 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

and develops leadership skills. Cub Scout Pack 19 meets on Tuesdays 7-8:30 p.m. Visit pack19.pbworks.co m or call (201) 4244548. St. Henry Flea Market, (201) 3390319. St. Henry hosts a flea market on the third Saturday of every month 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Pine Room (basement) of the school. Enter via the parking lot. Tables are $20 for one, $25 for two. Call Barbara Silvay at (201) 339-0319. The Bayonne Women’s Club meets the first Thursday of every month at Grace Lutheran Church, 836 Ave C, at 7 p.m. For more informacontinued on page 25


Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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e p a c s d n a L n e i l An A are e g d i r B ne n o y a B new e h t BY f T o O s M e t c a e Pi stored

14 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


STORY AND PHOTOS BY AL SULLIVAN

M

any people know that, historically, the Bayonne Bridge is one of only two steel bridges of its kind in the world; it has a sister bridge in Sydney, Australia. But few people know that both bridges were constructed at the same time, and as sister bridges, they were both scheduled to coordinate their grand openings. In fact, a pair of golden scissors was made to cut the ribbon for the Bayonne Bridge and then be flown to Australia for its ribbon-cutting. Afterward, one half of the scissors would be kept in Australia as a memento. The other half would be flown back to the New York area. But after the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bayonne in 1931, only half the golden scissors arrived in Australia, so the ribbon was cut with reconstructed scissors, half from the original golden pair, half with a new scissor of steel. In anticipation of the newly reconstructed Bayonne Bridge, officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have been scrambling to find both halves of the original golden pair. The search for the American half may well be in vain, especially if the piece had been stored in the World Trade Center with other historical artifacts, all of which were lost when the towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

PIECES OF A NEW BRIDGE The rebuilding of the Bayonne Bridge is filled with interesting details. Many of the pieces for the new bridge, for example, are being stored on the former Military Ocean Terminal, creating an eerie science-fiction-like landscape. The MOTBY was one of several triage centers set up in the hours after the attack on 9/11, and these

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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pieces are within walking distance of the city’s tribute to those who lost their lives on that day. These parts are also adjacent to the former studio space for Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, which depicted the destruction of the bridge and was his own homage to the victims of the attack. Strolling around where the new pieces of the bridge wait for their transport to the bridge construction site, I feel like I’m in a dream, an alien world filled with iconic images of Bayonne’s past and future. Poking up from the ground is the U.S. Army water tank that still bears the original name from when this area served as a military base. While the barracks, train station, and other buildings have long been demolished, many of the original bomb-proof storage structures remain. The Bayonne Bridge, since its opening in November 1931, has become a symbol of the city. Construction started on the original bridge in the mid-1920s and coincided with the construction of the Empire State Building. Both were considered engineering marvels of their time. The opening was such a big deal that President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt (then governor of New York) came to Bayonne via motorcade to help cut the ribbon. The bridge opened for business on Nov. 15, 1931, and saw more than 7,000 cars cross between Bayonne and Staten Island on the first day. The first vehicle to cross was a RollsRoyce owned by then Bayonne Mayor Dr. Lucius F. Donohue. But with the collapse of the Stock Market in 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, the bridge didn’t reach its eco-

16 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


nomic potential until the close of World War II. The heyday for the Bayonne Bridge came in the mid-1960s, when New York completed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, allowing an alternative route to Brooklyn from Staten Island and New Jersey.

RAISING THE BRIDGE The reconstruction of the Bayonne Bridge today has global significance. For most of America’s history, New York has been a significant harbor, bringing in trade from around the world. Cargo docks lined both sides of the Hudson River from Weehawken to Bayonne, and along the West Side of New York City, as well as both sides of the East River in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Thomas Hurley, who played the boy on the rooftop with Marlon Brando in the classic film On the Waterfront, was born and raised in Hoboken but moved to Bayonne when Hoboken “stopped being Hoboken,” working in nearby Global Terminals until a few years ago. Most of the cargo ports are along Newark Bay, requiring ships to pass under the Bayonne Bridge to reach them. But new, larger cargo ships can’t pass under the bridge despite extensive dredging, so the Port Authority must raise the bridge. Each piece stored at the MOTBY is like a piece of a large jigsaw puzzle which, when completed, will give a clearer vision of the future, not just for Bayonne, but for the entire region. —BLP Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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FIGHTING CHA

Mafia and Monster Mack of Da Hit Squad are ready for action.

18 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


AMPS Smily enters the ring to take on “2 Hot” Steve Scott.

Pro wrestling comes back to town BY TARA RYAZANKSY PHOTOS BY MAX RYAZANSKY

H

eavy metal pulses through the giant arena. The crowd, which ranges in age from children to senior citizens, mills around before the show begins. They line up to get autographs and take photos with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars, like Rhyno. They shop at the various tables selling wrestling magazines and DVDs. Everyone is waiting for the Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) Homecoming event to start. The BCB Bank Pavilion is enormous. Even partitioned in half, as it is for the event, it is big enough to fit thousands. Beyond the black divider, wrestlers are warming up and hanging out. Rivalries seem forgotten for the moment. There’s even a massage therapist to help them limber up or address any injuries to come.

The venue is a new one for JAPW. In fact it’s new in general, but the independent wrestling federation has a long a history in Bayonne.

Back in the Day JAPW was launched in 1996 when the late Frank Iadevaia approached Jeff Shapiro and Pierre Pilger, who later became a partner in charge of talent, about putting on a wrestling event at Charity Hall, now a liquor store on Broadway at the corner of 37th Street. “I used to run Charity Hall, which was the bingo parlor,” Shapiro says. “Bayonne, back then, had the Hometown Fair which was all along Broadway. I was outside setting up the tables of all of the stuff that we were selling, me and Pierre, and Frank came along and said, ‘Would you guys be interested in doing wrestling in Charity Hall?’ I said I guess we could, I mean

the place could hold two- or three-, maybe even 400 people if we set up a wrestling ring. So we agreed and two months later we had the first show in Bayonne. That’s really how it started. Frank founded JAPW.” But JAPW left Bayonne after the promotion came under scrutiny for violence in 2000. “Back when Joe Doria was the mayor, the New York Times had come out with an article about us that unfortunately tied us in with a South Jersey group that made some of the matches very gory,” Shapiro says. That group, Combat Zone Wrestling, used weapons like boards wrapped in barbed wire. “A couple of people who had never attended anything complained to the city, and all of a sudden Governor Christie Whitman got involved. The city didn’t stop us, but they sent people to watch the show.” The size of Charity Hall was another factor that led JAPW to leave Bayonne

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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for the Rahway Recreation Center. In the end, the negative attention influenced the promotion to change their approach. “We decided to take away any barbaric style and stay true to old-school wrestling,” Shapiro says.

Veteran Wrestler

Azrieal comes off the rope on to his opponent Joey Janela.

Many of the wrestlers at the event were mentored by Iadevaia, including Bayonne resident Danny Lopez. He wrestles under the name Danny Maff as part of Da Hit Squad tag team with Monsta Mack, Homicide, and Low Ki. He got his start in 1998 with JAPW, but his history with wrestling goes back even farther. “I was born into the business,” Lopez says. “My father was a referee and a small independent promoter. The Bayonne Wrestling Club was where Goodyear Tires is on the Boulevard. That was a wrestling gym. That was like in 1977 or ’76. I saw it firsthand, and I was soaking it in as a child.” He first learned of JAPW when a friend gave him an extra ticket to a show at Charity Hall. That night Iadevaia made an announcement about a wrestling academy that he would be opening, and Lopez was inspired to begin his training. “Me and Frank became great friends and that’s how I got my start,” Lopez says. “I’ve wrestled in Japan. I’ve wrestled in England, Germany, the Dominican Republic. I’ve wrestled all over the world, and it all started by walking through the doors of Charity Hall. I’m 42 years old, and I’ve lived a real good life. I’m a Bayonne boy, I love Bayonne. This is where my story begins.” He represents Bayonne in the ring. He says, “My nickname is The Bayonne Badass. I take no crap from anyone. I fight for the blue-collar guy.” A blue-collar guy himself, he works at Philips 66 Refinery in Linden.

Lasting Legacy

Chris Dickinson delivers a top rope superplex during the Main Event match.

20 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

This past September Iadevaia died suddenly at age 43. He was affectionately known as Fat Frank, or Adorable Anthony, back in the ’90s when he’d get in the ring. “It took the heart right out of us when Frank passed,” Shapiro says. “Probably the toughest week I ever


had. It was like losing a brother. We were not only a wrestling group, we were friends. Our families grew up together. We went to each other’s weddings, birthdays, we traveled together. Sometimes you just think, I don’t want to do this anymore because we lost our cheerleader, but I know that Frank would want JAPW to continue and we hope to do so.” “This is it coming full circle,” says Jenn Iadevaia, Frank’s widow, who joins Shapiro, staffing the door and greeting longtime friends and fans. “This is what he wanted to do, just come back one more time,” she says. “We all have jobs, we all have kids, it’s like you come home from work and you start work again,” Shapiro says. “I run a promotions agency that specializes in sweepstakes, games, and contests on social media sites. Pierre is a longshoreman. He just got off the boat. Jenn is director of an program in the after-school Beechwood area. So everybody is really busy.” Lopez had an especially busy day. He competed in a match in Rahway before taking to the ring at the BCB Bank Pavilion. He says it’s not the first time that he’s competed in two events in one day, but this time he did it because the event was so meaningful to him. “JAPW in Bayonne is where I started my career, so once I heard that they were doing a reunion show, I knew it would have been so important to Frank,” Lopez says. “There’s no way I was going to miss that. I think he was looking down on us and smiling. Da Hit Squad was something that Frank put together. Without him this unbelievable wrestling journey we’ve been on would have never taken place.” “I know that Frank would want JAPW to continue and we hope to do so,” Shapiro adds, noting that plans for a 20th anniversary show are underway. “I think Frank would have been absolutely ecstatic,” he says. “That’s the biggest crowd we’ve had in Bayonne.” The event presold nearly 200 tickets, and about 300 more people attended, making it JAPW’s largest event in Bayonne. After all of these years the strength of the name is still out there,” Shapiro says. “It keeps growing and growing. We have the best fans around.”—BLP

Kimber Lee competes with Annie Social for the JAPW Women’s Championship.

Kimber Lee is victorious as the new Women’s Champion. Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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HELPING Anthony Elia and Timothy Ryan

22 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

Photo by Craig Dale


BADGE OF HONOR Boy Scouts live and breathe the oath

Photo by Craig Dale

BY KATE ROUNDS

In

Though Scouting has been around more than a century, obviously the program has to adapt to the challenges of each new decade. In the 1970s, Hughes guesses that there were about 1,500 boys in the program. “Times change and kids change,” he says. “We’re in competition with a lot of things nowadays. Kids don’t play; everything is organized into play dates. They’re involved in football, soccer, tai chi, baseball, and a zillion other activities. If they miss a baseball game, they’re benched.” Not to mention technology. “You’ve got computers,” he says. “Kids spend a lot of time playing video games in a dark room.”

SOARING TO THE HEIGHTS

Photo by Craig Dale

our technological maelstrom, where things change at warp speed, some traditions endure. There have been Boy Scouts in Bayonne since the founding of the organization in 1910. Now, about 250 registered Scouts, from first grade to age 18, are bettering themselves and doing good works in Bayonne. Many of you may remember the Boy Scout Oath, in which Scouts promise “To help other people at all times.” These kids are doing it in many different ways, but “Scouting for Food” is one that resonates with most folks in town. It’s an annual event that takes place, appropriately, right before Thanksgiving. All Scouts participate, serving the local food banks. Residents are asked to leave food in a bag on their front porches or stoops. Scouts are then driven around to collect it and deliver it to the food pantries, where they check it and sort it. John Hughes is Scout Master of Troop 25. “Every rank advancement has a service component,” he says. “Scouts have to participate in so many hours in an approved service project in order to fill the requirement.”

What do former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Gerald Ford, basketball great and Senator Bill Bradley, astronauts Neil Armstrong and James Lovell Jr., former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Bill Gates’s father all have in common?

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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What does achieving Eagle mean for him? “It’s a great honor,” he says. “It shows the work a person puts into scouting.”

FUN AND GAINS Photo by Victor M. Rodriguez

You guessed it. They were all Eagle Scouts. “It’s the ultimate rank, a big deal, and only four percent of Scouts achieve it,” Hughes says. Another Eagle Scout is former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who now heads the Boy Scouts of America. One of his first undertakings was to address the controversy over gay Scouts and Scout Masters serving openly. They now can. Bayonne Eagle Scouts have served with distinction in Afghanistan and Iraq. Eleven percent of State Police are Eagle Scouts, and a high percentage of West Point cadets. To become an Eagle, you need to earn 21 merit badges and complete an Eagle project. “That’s the one that often foils a young man,” Hughes says. “He has to plan and put together a service project that benefits the community.” Bayonne Scout Anthony Elia, 16, was awarded the Eagle designation in June for overseeing the construction of a new food pantry for St. Vincent’s. A Bayonne native, he’s been in scouting since 2007. “Last year, the food pantry was moving to a new building,” Anthony says. “My Uncle Jim helped me build shelving for storing the food.”

Photo by Craig Dale

HELPING HANDS BLP

MATT KLIMANSKY

24 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

Scouts are involved in many activities, such as swimming and archery. While these endeavors are fun, there’s more to it than that. “Participating develops skills,” Hughes says. “It’s not easy, especially for younger kids,” to load an arrow and hit a target. “Swimming is physical fitness,” Hughes says. “They’re not playing Marco Polo. They’re working toward a lifesaving badge.” One thing that distinguishes Scouting from the many other activities that boys do is that it’s a “boyrun program.” At their Wednesday meetings they choose themes, do the presentations, run the games, and prepare a calendar for the year, which includes the trips they will take. They’ve been whitewater rafting in Idaho, hiked the Lakes District in England, and visited St. Croix, among many other expeditions. As Anthony Elia says, “Scouting has so much to offer—sports, climbing, camping, and technical things, such as engineering. The leadership skills you learn will be beneficial in any career.”—BLP


from page 10

tion, like the Bayonne Women’s Club on Facebook. Free Caregiver Support at the Bayonne Public Library, Family caregiver meetings for those caring for loved ones who have serious medical conditions, disabilities, or are unable to care for themselves. Grief support group for those dealing with the loss of a loved one who was once under their care. Home care worker free educational workshops. For more information, call (917) 9521420. Chair Yoga for seniors with the Division of Recreation 56th Street Senior Center. Every Wednesday 10-11 a.m. For information, contact the 56th Street Senior Center at (201) 437-5996. Petland Discounts Adoption Events, Bayonne Feral Cat Foundation Cat & Kitten Adoption Days at 533 Broadway between 24th and 25th Streets on Wednesdays. Companion Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) holds adoptions Sundays 1-4 p.m. at PetValu, 307 Bayonne Crossing Way. For more information, contact CARE at (201) 436-6595, or contact Pamela Lindquist at (201) 4366484. Andrean’s Senior Club is looking for new members 55 years old and over. Group meetings on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 4th Street and Story Court. Contact Dottie at (201) 8584104. Bayonne Girl Scouts seeks adult volunteers to help lead troops after the membership drive at Mt. Carmel Parish Center 39 East 22nd St. For more information, contact Registrar at (201) 339-1845. Pastor Victor Llerena, LSW, will host a series

of free workshops, “Healthy Families,” on Tuesdays at the Polish American Home at 29 West 22nd St. Discussions will include conflict resolution, effective parenting, mental health, building stronger relationships, and more. Call (201) 339-3902. Bayonne Feral Cat Foundation is looking for volunteers and foster homes for pets. If you would like to help, please contact Kathy at (201) 823-2363.

Joyce-Herbert V.F.W. Post 226 Museum seeks military history, military memorabilia and military paraphernalia, and donations to support the growing military museum. All items are either donated or loaned to our museum. The contact persons for donations are Commander Glen J. Flora and Director and Senior Vice Commander Joseph Kennedy. The museum at 16 West Ninth Street is open Saturdays, 12-4 p.m.

Young at Heart Seniors meet on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 12:30 p.m. at the Senior Center at West 4th Street. Registration for the upcoming Bayonne PAL Basketball Summer Season begins April 25. Registration is available for all boys and girls that are Bayonne residents between the ages of 5 and 15. The summer cost is $25, and it is separated into two sections: Summer Skills

(ages 5-9) and Hot Hoops (ages 10-15). The deadline is June 10. The entrance to the building is on the 23rd Street side of Midtown School, door number 7. If you are a new registrant please bring either your child’s passport or your child’s birth certificate and a copy of a utility bill (cable, PSE&G, etc.). Office hours are 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call (201) 8586966, ext. 11. continued on page 31

Can you help Hudson County Animal League with the cost of caring for the homeless felines by clipping cat food and litter coupons? Send them to P.O. Box 3589, Jersey City, N.J. 07303 or P.O. Box 4332, Bayonne, N.J. 07002. They are also looking for foster parents to foster an animal until their forever home is found. For info, call Kathleen at (201) 895-3874 or Charlene at (201) 200-1008. For the youth group, for community service hours or for adults, contact Lorma Wepner at (201) 437-7263. Hudson County Animal League Adoptions, every Sunday, 12-4:30 p.m., Fussy Friends, 148 Newark Ave., Jersey City, (1/2 block from Grove Street PATH). For information, call Kathleen, (201) 8953874; every Sunday 1-3:30 p.m., Petsmart, 400 Mill Creek Mall, Secaucus. For information, call Charlene, (201) 598-0952 or Kathleen, (201) 8953874; Petvalu, 307 Bayonne Crossing Way, Bayonne. Every Saturday, 124 p.m. For information, call Charlene, (201) 895-0952 or Kathleen, (201) 8953874.

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

25


Three Novels to Her Name Hometown landmarks populate her pages BY TARA RYAZANSKY PHOTOS BY MAX RYAZANSKY

R

obin Constantine loved visiting the Bayonne Public Library when she was growing up. “One of my favorite things to do was browse the shelves and discover new stories to fall in love with,” she recalls, naming Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton as favorites. “I’d usually check out way too many books to read by the time they were due.” Now you can find her novels upstairs in the young adult literature section. Most of them are set here in Bayonne. Constantine writes contemporary romances that are meant for ages 14-18, but she finds that plenty of adults enjoy her work. It seems like everyone can relate to a good coming-of-age story. “It’s such an exciting time in life. Everything is before you,” Constantine says, adding that there’s also plenty of drama. “It’s built-in tension as a teenager.” When Constantine was a teen she went to high school at Holy Family Academy. Her first two novels are set in the similar hallowed halls to those that closed here in Bayonne in 2013. “Before Holy Family closed, they had this multiyear reunion, and I went,” Constantine says. “I didn’t realize how much it did influence my work, because I looked around and thought, Oh my God, this is the school that I picture when I write. I think making things authentic really gives it a sense of place. I’m not sure that I could write about somewhere I’ve never been.” She still has close ties to Bayonne, though she and her family relocated to the South several years ago. Her hometown has been a great place to set her stories, but it’s also where she first began her journey as a writer.

BAYONNE BEGINNINGS Right after college Constantine got a job at a public-relations firm that specialized in promoting Broadway shows. She commuted from Bayonne to her job in the city. “It was a small firm that did big things,” she says. “It was fun, exciting and 80 hours a week. It was the kind of job that didn’t leave much time

26 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


for anything else, so when the time came to start a family, I knew I needed a change.” She also wanted to follow her dream and become a writer. When she had her first child she decided to leave the office world behind and try writing full time, all while taking care of a newborn son. “I had thought, When I have a kid I am going to stay at home. I had a vision of myself with a baby on my lap, typing away, but the reality is that they don’t do that. They need things and want things.” But she had a really great support system in town. “My parents would watch him,” she says. “I joined a writing group here in town, probably when he was around one, and they would come and watch him when I went off to my writers’ group. I wrote when my son napped. Looking back I don’t know how I did it, but I did.”

NOVEL EXPERIENCE The Bayonne Writers Group, a club that met in the library basement, was a source of encouragement for Constantine. “That was the first critique group I’d ever joined, and while it was more social it was a first step toward my goal of being published,” Constantine says. “I’ve been seriously writing for 20 years. Not chained to my desk, hammering-out-aword-count kind of writing, but seriously pursuing this dream of being an author since about 1997.” Part of that pursuit was entering her work in contests. Constantine entered the Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest for ChickLitWriters.com. One of the judges was agent Tamar Rydzinski of The Laura Dail Literary Agency. Constantine won. Rydzinski offered to represent her. “I was thrilled,” Constantine remembers. “I was on my way!” But her first novel didn’t sell. “I wrote another novel and over the course of a year went through several rounds of revisions with my agent until we felt it was ready to submit,” Constantine says. “The Promise of Amazing went out on submission the Monday after Thanksgiving. I tried not to obsessively check my email because I figured chances were I wouldn’t hear anything until after the holidays. When I got the call from Tamar, it was honestly surreal. After a nail-biting week and a half, while all sorts of scenarios danced through my head and no Christmas shopping was done, my manuscript sold! Best Christmas present ever!” Constantine soon came out with her

write and trust your instincts. It’s also not enough to love writing on the good days; you have to love it on the awful days when it feels like everything flowing from your fingertips is clichéd drivel. Those are the days you need to care about it the most. Keep putting one word down after the next and be wise enough to know the magic rarely, if ever, happens during the first draft.”— BLP

The Season of You & Me is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound and iTunes. robinconstantine.com

Robin Constantine second published novel, The Secrets of Attraction. It is a companion novel to her first book, so the two share characters and are both set in Bayonne. Locals will notice a reference to Judicke’s doughnuts and other “Bayonne Easter eggs” hidden within the novels.

THREE’S A CHARM Constantine’s third novel is on shelves now. It’s also set in New Jersey, but this time the town is a fictionalized version of Cape May. Constantine summarizes The Season of You & Me: “As the story opens, Cassidy, still reeling over her recent breakup, decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their bed and breakfast on the Jersey Shore. A fresh perspective and new job as a camp counselor sounds like the perfect way to put her ex behind her, but once in Crest Haven she realizes it’s not as easy as it sounds. “At Camp Manatee she meets Bryan, who is returning to his former position as camp counselor after a spinal-cord injury. Bryan is ready to prove that being in a wheelchair won’t hold him back from enjoying his life. Worried parents and overly concerned friends do a number on his confidence, but he’s determined to regain his independence on his own terms. “Cass and Bryan become fast friends and team up for the camp scavenger hunt. While neither one of them is looking for romance, they can’t deny their growing feelings as the summer progresses.” Constantine is already brainstorming story ideas for her fourth book. Her advice to anyone who dreams of writing a novel is to just do it. “Never give up,” Constantine says. “Keep writing the story that you want to

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Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

27


BY KATE ROUNDS

DENTISTRY WITH MONIQUE 475 Avenue C (201) 339-2142 dentistrywithmonique.com

W

e visited Monique on one of those cool sunny days last May. It’s a compact, well-designed office. She was inbetween patients, so it was quiet, just Monique and her two staff members, Meredith and Marta—and a workman inspecting the front door. You could call Monique’s team the three M’s. For 10 years, Marta was an employee of Monique’s mentor and stayed on when Monique took over. Meredith worked in another office for two years with Monique. “I knew she would be an asset if I opened my own practice,” Monique says. “When that day came I asked if she would like to join me, and she gladly accepted the offer. I am proud of the team I have and know that the success of the practice is never because of one person but because of the team as a whole.” After talking to Monique, I wasn’t surprised that she ran such an efficient operation. She’s hands-on. She does it all herself, whether it’s dentalcleaning or oral surgery. At 34, tall and slim with long blonde hair and electric-blue high heels, she’s not your grandmother’s dentist. She’s a general dentist. “I love oral surgery, taking teeth out, implants,” she says. “There’s nothing I don’t like.” Monique knows when she has to refer a case to a specialist, but “nowadays patients like one locale where they can find everything they’re looking for,” she says. “It keeps me focused. I like the challenge. I wouldn’t

MEANS

want to do just one thing all day.” Here’s Monique’s back story, in her own words: I moved to Bayonne in fifth grade, attended St. Mary’s Star of the Sea, Bayonne High School, St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, and finally the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. I began my venture in the dental profession at the age of 18 when my dentist Dr. Grazyna B. Zielinska offered me a job in her office. It was the best decision I could have made because it changed my world and was one of the reasons I do what I do today. I wasn’t one of those dentists who knew at a young age that this would be my career. I had a friend in high school who always knew she wanted to become a dentist, and my response was, “that is disgusting, you want to dig in people’s mouths? Gross!” We went to separate colleges and lost touch for a while and then met up in dental school. The look on her face was priceless when she saw me on the first day. Of course her reaction was, “What are you doing here? Didn’t you say this was a gross profession?” Obviously, she was laughing as she said it. “Well I guess it isn’t as bad as I thought” was my response. Starting off working as a receptionist and then progressing to assisting and managing the office is where my passion for dentistry began to bloom. Over the years, Dr. Zielinska not only was my boss but became my mentor. We grew a motherdaughter bond. She was like a second mother to me. She had two sons, so I was the daughter she never had. Watching her over the years as an entrepreneur and assisting her during dental procedures made me realize that this is my calling. I enjoyed going to work every day. I enjoyed the dentistry and finally over time I could picture myself treating patients. It is a very rewarding profession on so many levels. My parents emigrated from Poland, and my father worked hard as a young man so he could provide a good life for his family. His

28 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

BUSINESS PHOTO BY ALYSSA BREDIN

BAYONNE

MONIQUE DARDZINSKI dream was for his children to have a better life than he had as a child, and he always pushed us to work hard. My siblings and I were raised to be kind to others, work hard, get a good education, and good things would come our way. So, when I finally found my path in life, I knew my parents would be happy that their hard work had paid off. That was a reward in itself for me, to make my parents and my mentor proud. Now that I’ve been a practicing dentist for almost 10 years, it’s rewarding when I am able to not only change patients’ smiles but their lives as well. When that patient first walked through the door, she barely smiled because she was embarrassed by her teeth. After the work is completed, a whole new person walks through the office doors, beaming with happiness, confidence, and a smile you can see from a distance. It is also satisfying when I can comfortably take a patient out of pain. I understand most patients fear dentistry or were

traumatized at one point in their lives because of a bad dental experience, and it’s rewarding when I can gain that patient’s trust and give them a gentle, comforting experience that enables them to gain trust in dentistry again. It’s a real thrill when I work on a patient, and they fall asleep in the chair. Crazy as it may sound, it happens often because I know that patient feels comfortable and relaxed. The benefits of dentistry are many. I’m a dedicated wife and mom of two, and I am also dedicated to my practice. I make sure the patients feel my dedication to them because I want to create a lasting relationship and assure them that each time they walk through that door, the experience will not change.—BLP

Monique places implants and provides same-day denture fabrication, repairs, and relines. Visit dentistrywithmonique.com to view a full range of dental services.


PHOTO BY ALYSSA BREDIN

STANLAW FITNESS 629 Broadway (201) 339-1400 stanlawfitness.com

W

alk into Stanlaw Fitness, and you know you’re not in your grandfather’s gymnasium. It’s light and airy and new, with none of the garish colors and lighting that you get in some fitness clubs. Owner Mike Stanlaw, a BHS graduate, born and bred in Bayonne, sets the tone. He’s young (30) and enthusiastic and is living his dream. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s in social work, he started to take stock. “I was always interested in fitness and enjoyed it,” he says. “I’ve been working out since I was a kid. I did weight training and boxing.” He’d been working part time as a trainer at New York Sports Club, Bally’s, and Total Fitness. “I was confused about what I wanted to do,” he says. “I wanted to go with my own creative vision. There were certain things I wanted to do, and I was limited in the gyms.” He started thinking about owning his own business. “There’s a little bit of entrepreneurship in the family,” he says. His sister and brother-in-law own funeral homes in Jersey City and Belleville. You could almost say that his business would compete with theirs: Stay healthy long enough and you can stave off the funeral home. In 2014 he sat down with his family and his fiancée (now wife) to discuss the risks of starting his own business: looking for a building, buying equipment, insurance, legalities. “Everything went as flawlessly as possible,” he says. “My family is my biggest supporter.”

EXERCISING INSPIRATION “I really want to get Bayonne into the best shape ever,” he says, “not just in the physical sense, but feeling great. This should be a healthy place, where they come to get the stress out and meet their physical goals.” Mike’s background in psychology and social work helps. “You have to adapt to every single client,” he says. “While I’m

MIKE STANLAW assertive, I really go with the flow. You learn what makes people motivated, and what discourages them.” Everyone’s different. Some, he says, want to look good for the beach or their weddings. Others want to improve athletic performance or relieve anxiety. Group dynamics is an important element of the Stanlaw experience. “Comradery is part of the group workout,” Mike says. “Members know each other, they have fun, they laugh, and then there’s the hard work.” Three trainers help Mike make it happen.

A lot of mothers will be thrilled with Mike’s youth fitness program. “We see a lot of kids who are healthy and energetic, who have ambition and do well in school,” he says, “but the expansion of technology—iPods, iPhones, video games—is definitely leading to childhood obesity and a lot of laziness.” The center offers kickboxing, weight training, yoga, spinning, TRX, and many other activities, classes, and training programs for both kids and adults. For a full rundown of offerings and schedules, visit stanlawfitness.com.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST

HIS OWN PERSONAL BEST

Mike learned a lot from his mother, who’s been a hair colorist for 47 years at Hair Cutting Plus, two blocks away from the gym. “I learned customer service and how to treat people with respect from her,” Mike says. “Your client is the only person who matters. She’s made some amazing relationships with clients, who associate her name with quality service.”

Stranlaw Fitness opened in July 2015. One year out, what are Mike’s goals? “I just want to continue building the business and keep the personal touch,” he says. He’s up at 3 a.m., and sometimes isn’t home until 9 p.m. after taking a yoga class. But, he says, “I still have a smile on my face. I absolutely haven’t worked a day in my life.” He says, “I love the fact that coming here is the best part of somebody’s day.”

Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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HOW WE WORK BLP

MORRISSEY’S MOVING & STORAGE 792 Broadway morrisseymovingcompany.com

(201) 222-1224

Y

ou’ve probably seen that hilarious Optimum ad showing “Three Brothers Moving” throwing boxes of snow globes down a steep staircase. The commercial is funny, but there’s nothing funny about your precious belongings getting broken or lost in a move. Moving is right up there with wedding-planning and department-of-motor-vehicle visits when it comes to stress levels. You might be abandoning a beloved homestead, headed to a new city, or just worried that you’ll never see your stuff again. That’s one thing you don’t have to angst about with Morrisey’s Moving & Storage. Those breakable heirlooms? They’ll arrive safe and sound. The company, which has been in business for about 34 years, has offices in Hoboken, Jersey City, Roseland, and recently moved to a new location in Bayonne at 792 Broadway. “Now we have more foot traffic with more visibility,” says owner Ralph Morrissey. “It’s nice.” Though he comes from a family of longshoremen, Morrissey has long been into moving. “In the Army I was always getting things from point A to point B,” he relates. When people move, the storage end of the business also prospers. “A lot of stuff they can’t take,” Morrissey says, “or they don’t know what to do with it.” The company also offers bin services, packing tips, and moving preparation. Morrissey operates all over the tristate area, as well as in Pennsylvania, with a small fleet of trucks, ranging in size from 14 to 53 feet. Anyone who’s ever hired a moving company knows that the work is backbreaking. “If it wasn’t for those people, we wouldn’t be so successful,” Morrissey says, referring to the

PHOTO BY ANDREW HANENBERG

RALPH MORRISSEY AND STAFF movers. “They are so dedicated and honest and hardworking. If someone asks them to do something they smile and do it. If we have to move something 10 times to make the client happy we’ll do it.” Morrissey movers follow U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines and are given the latest equipment and tools to do their jobs. “Customers get quality service at a reasonable price,” says Morrissey. He offers in-house written estimates and doesn’t change the price, once the job is done. Says Morrissey, “We protect your furniture and treat your family with respect.”

30 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

MORRISSEY’S OFFICE IN BAYONNE


from page 25

Registration for the upcoming Bayonne PAL Basketball Winter Season begins April 25. Registration is available for all boys and girls that are Bayonne residents between the ages of 5 and 15. The winter cost is $100. The deadline is Aug. 29. The entrance to the building is on the 23rd Street side of Midtown School, door number 7. If you are a new registrant please bring either your child’s passport or your child’s birth certificate and a copy of a utility bill (cable, PSE&G, etc.). Office hours are 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call (201) 8586966, ext. 11. Healthy Bones classes, Bayonne Public Library, Mondays 10-11:30 a.m. Balance, weight training, and health and nutrition information. If interested, call (201) 436-1928.

AUGUST

Tommy James and The Shondells, Cream, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, The Human Beinz, and The Hollies. Movies at the Library: The Peanuts Movie, Bayonne Public Library, 697 Avenue C (corner of 31st St.), 1 p.m. Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies in pursuit of his archnemesis. Meanwhile, his pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home to win the love of his life. Summer Sounds: Gerald Esposito and His Trio, The Amphitheater of DiDomenico-16th Street Park, between Avenue A and Newark Bay, 7 p.m. This singer/stylist will give you a centennial celebration of the music of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. Be entertained by the tribute to this iconic figure. Enjoy songs from “Summer Wind” to “Fly Me to the Moon” and many more.

10

Summer Sounds: Large Flowerheads, The Amphitheater of DiDomenico-16th Street Park, between Avenue A and Newark Bay, 7 p.m. Take a trip back to the 1960’s with the Large Flowerheads. Their repertoire includes numbers from The Box Tops, Buckinghams, Beatles, Neil Diamond, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin,

17 Movies at the Library: Inside Out, Bayonne Public Library, 697 Avenue C (corner of 31st St.), 1 p.m. After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—conflict on how best to navigate the new city, home and school.

Summer Sounds: Beginnings, The Amphitheater of DiDomenico-16th Street Park, between Avenue A and Newark Bay, 7 p.m. Beginnings provides the ultimate tribute to the group Chicago. The horn section will electrify the audience and the vocals will make you feel like you are at an authentic Chicago concert as they play all the hits of that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group.

20 Hudson County Animal League Casino Bus to The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. at 10 a.m. Bus departs from CWV Post at 23rd Street off Broadway; parking lot at end of street. Tickets are $35 with $30 play back and $5 food coupon. Come and join the fun. Good food, great shopping at the outlets right in the casino and $2 bus ride into Bethlehem for people to visit. Call Lorma at (201) 437-7263 or Barbara or Eddie Prokop (201) 437-5721 or email Lormalady@aol.com. Order tickets early; bus is usually sold out.

24 Summer Sounds: The Nerds, The Amphitheater of DiDomenico-16th Street Park, between Avenue A and Newark Bay, 7 p.m. It’s pure over-the-top entertainment when The Nerds

come to Bayonne, bringing the sand and boardwalk atmosphere of the Jersey Shore to Newark Bay. Playing the hits of classic rock and roll, The Nerds deliver an exciting, edgy, and totally fun show. Break your glasses, fix them with a Band-Aid, and come out to enjoy New Jersey’s zaniest bunch of cover rock stars, The Nerds!

28 Phyllis & Adelaide’s fun-filled bus ride to Sands in Bethlehem, PA. Cost is $35 per person, which includes a $30 Slot Play return and $5 food coupon. Bus leaves from East 35th Street at 10:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served on the bus and a raffle will be held. For tickets or information, call Phyllis at (201) 3394517. Proceeds benefit various charities in Bayonne.

31 Young at Heart Seniors trip to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, $30 to receive the package of the day. Bus leaves from 4th Street and Broadway at 9:30 a.m. For information, contact Nona at (201) 3390104.

SEPTEMBER

see Samson at the Sight and Sound Millennium Theater. Trip includes one-night hotel accommodations in the Amish country, familystyle breakfast and dinner, Kitchen Kettle Village, and Amish farmlands tour. Cost is $273 per person, double; $328 per person, single; and $269 per person, triple. Bus leaves from 4th Street and Broadway at 9 a.m. Contact Joan at (201) 436-7596.

25 Phyllis & Adelaide’s fun-filled bus ride to The Tropicana in Atlantic City. Cost is $35 per person, which includes a $25 Slot Play return. Bus leaves from East 35th Street at 10:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served on the bus and a raffle will be held. For tickets or information, call Phyllis at (201) 339-4517. Proceeds benefit various charities in Bayonne.

28 Young at Heart Seniors trip to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, $30 to receive the package of the day. Bus leaves from 4th Street and Broadway at 9:30 a.m. For information, contact Nona at (201) 3390104.

15-16 The Young at Heart Seniors is sponsoring a trip to Lancaster, PA, to

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Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

31


CATCHING UP WITH


“That’s hysterical and totally bizarre,” Hart says. “I felt like I was in high school and I got caught kissing in the hallway, except of course on a screen in Target.”

BY TARA RYAZANSKY PHOTO BY MAX RYAZANSKY

BAYONNE BREAK

J

ared Hart kicks back on his stoop. He’s enjoying the comforts of home on a break between tours. He’s in Bayonne for only for a few weeks before heading out on the road again with his punk band, The Scandals. If you don’t know Hart from his music video, which you might see at your local Target, then you might remember him as the cover boy on the premier issue of Bayonne: Life on the Peninsula (Spring 2014). His bags are barely unpacked from his last tour, where he did double duty as both the solo opening act and as backup guitarist for the headliner, Brian Fallon. He might spend a lot of time traveling as a musician, but New Jersey is still home for Hart. “All of my junk mail still makes its way to Bayonne,” he jokes. He says that he does miss one thing about his hometown while he’s away: “Pizza; 110-percent pizza.” He’s clearly still the same guy that he was when he was featured in this magazine just before he left on his first European tour with The Scandals. “It was an absolute blast,” he says. “We made a ton of friends who I still keep in touch with regularly, and it really motivated me and the band to push the music to a new level.” He’s just come back from his third trip playing in Europe. This past tour was supporting his new solo album, Past Lives & Pass Lines, which features acoustic songs that are gritty but heartfelt. After opening each show as a singer-songwriter, he stayed on stage to play in Fallon’s band. Fallon is known for fronting the New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem, but this tour was to promote his solo album, Painkillers. “Playing with Brian has been amazing,” Hart says. “Standing on a different end of the stage took a bit to get used to, and playing two sets a night was a new experience. It was definitely exhausting, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Working with Fallon has put Hart in the spotlight. He has performed on shows like The Daily Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “When I was asked to play with those guys, the possibility of doing that never even crossed my mind,” Hart says, “It was something I had always wanted to do but never really thought it could happen, so I’m extremely grateful for the experience. The weirdest part was

watching the shows after they aired. I think I was more anxious watching them than the part where we actually played.” He was also featured in Fallon’s music video for his song, “A Wonderful Life.” In the video Hart isn’t strumming his guitar; he plays more of a romantic lead, strolling down the Asbury Park boardwalk and making out at a bonfire party. The video is popular enough to be played at Target stores nationwide on the giant screens that tower above the electronics section. Hart learned this when friends spotted him while they were shopping and texted photos.

The short break that Hart is taking in Bayonne isn’t all rest, relaxation, and pizza. He’s been working on new music as well. “I’ve actually been writing a lot while I’m home,” he says. “I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of really talented people who are working on some great things right now, and it’s helped kick me into gear too. There’s been many nights locked in the studio over the past couple of weeks.” The Scandals were back on the road playing concerts with California punk band T.S.O.L. “I’m excited to get back in the van with those guys,” Hart says. “We’re going to be putting out some new music in the coming months, so we’re really looking forward to that.”—BLP Past Lives & Pass Lines is available at say-10.com, and tour dates and information about The Scandals can be found at facebook.com/NJscandals.

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From Pom-Poms to

POWERHOUSE

The Onyx, Diamond, and Platinum teams practice basket tosses.

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SPORTS CORNER BLP

From left to right; Diamond and Onyx flyers, Gabriella Murillo, Jayla Barnes, Meghan Cotto, Avery Morales, Alyssa Gollomb, Payton Savo, and Samantha Murillo doing extensions with their teams.

Bayonne is a bastion of cheerleading BY TARA RYAZANSKY PHOTOS BY MAX RYAZANSKY

F

orget the pop-culture cliches. In Bayonne, cheerleading is about more than getting to the top of the social pyramid. The boys and girls on our local teams are strong athletes. It’s a good thing the ceilings are high at Bayonne Elite Cheer’s gym at Saint John’s, a former wedding venue on 27th Street. Cheerleaders, known as flyers, are thrown in the air as they do acrobatic moves. The ones called bases hold and catch them while executing the kind of stunts that win competitions. The entrance of the gym is lined with trophies. Some are taller than the cheerleaders who won them. The newest addition is the U.S. Finals trophy that the Diamonds took home from Rhode Island. The Diamonds are a junior-level team at Elite. The program has 250 students in eight groups. Elite is a recreational team that is open to kids ages 4-18. It was formed in 2012 by a group of Midtown Community School teachers who coached cheerleading, including Samantha Pecoraro, Denise DeRocco, and its director, Carla Aceti. They decided to start a recreational squad outside of school because it would free them from gymnastic stunt limitations at the grammar school level. “With recreational cheerleading there are no restrictions because we’re not a part of the Bayonne Board of Education,” Aceti says, adding that safety is important at Elite. The staff is well-trained, with a one-to-five instructor/student ratio, and the gym is outfitted with a spring mat to prevent injury. This

allows them to put more emphasis on stunting. But Elite isn’t just about intense competition. “The kids have such an amazing relationship with their coaches,” Aceti says. “It’s like a safe haven or a second home. They know they can come to us with whatever it may be, school work, personal problems. Some of the kids, their kids are here now. It comes full circle. It’s such a nice thing to see. It becomes a passion, it’s like, in the blood.” It certainly is for Aceti’s family. Her sister, Andrea Mantone, is a coach. Aceti also works with her daughter, Chelsea Aceti, who is executive director at Elite. “Oh, it’s great,” Aceti says. Her daughter did lots of activities as a child before she finally committed to one thing. “She picked cheerleading like a little mini me.”

Evolution Elite is growing up. This is the first year that it has graduating seniors who went through the program. Saying goodbye is emotional for students and parents. “My girls have two more years,” says Jennifer Golomb. “I think that final year they are going to have to follow me around with a mop for the whole season.” Her kids, Madison Schwarz and Alyssa Golomb, are both 16. Cheering has built their confidence. “My daughter was very introverted,” Golomb says. “She’s my step daughter, so I’ve been with her since she was five. My other daughter is very outgoing, and she had already cheered a year before we moved to Bayonne. So Alyssa decided to join

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SPORTS CORNER BLP

Flyers Carmela Martinez, Erianna Scott, Melissa Randall, and Arianna Suarez of the Platinum team doing basket tosses. with Madison at Midtown with these coaches. Now she’s outgoing, she’s talkative, she has a group of friends that always have her back. It brought her out of her shell.” Golomb also notes that the sport has become more serious since her days cheering for Pop Warner. “I think cheerleading has become more popular,” she says. “It’s definitely more of an aggressive sport than it used to be and tumbling is like, 90 percent of it.” “There’s a whole different emphasis on athleticism,” Aceti says. “I think of how far they’ve come from the beginning, how far the program has evolved and the friendships that the kids have made. Winning is always, always great, but that’s not the only thing. We try to teach them lessons in life.

Athletic Prowess There’s a new recreational squad called Cheer Force Athletics (CFA) that has a long

history under the name Hudson County Angels. The executive officers, Charlene Wepner, Donna Nunez, and Kim Wepner have been coaching together for more than 25 years. “We have changed our name this year to have a fresh start with our new staff and new colors to show that there is a new force in the sport of cheerleading,” Nunez says. But that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten the history. Nunez says Charlene Wepner, who was once her coach, is considered an innovator in competitive cheerleading, especially during her time as coach at Marist High School. Her team won the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship six times running. “She also brought New Jersey’s first World Championship back to Bayonne with her Marist team in 1988,” Nunez says. “If you cheered in this town, either you, your sister, your daughter, your aunt, or even your granddaughter at one point probably cheered under the direction of Charlene

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Platinum team member Carmela Martinez doing a scorpion.


Wepner. Every program in Bayonne has individuals that came through one of her programs. That is the true testament to Charlene’s life work. She is cheerleading. This year we have added new directors to enhance our already winning tradition at CFA, Jenifer Cotter, Priscilla Boyle, and Kim Weimmer, all of whom have come through our programs, and their daughters are currently members of the CFA family as well.” CFA is about athletics. “Cheerleading today isn’t the pompom and saddle shoes it was in the past,” Nunez says. “These members are true athletes with strength and passion that enhance the sport they love. They dedicate years of their lives to it. It makes them strong in both body and mind. It gives them leadership qualities that stay with them throughout their lives.” CFA has a practice space at Saint Henry School on 27th Street and Avenue C. The program is open to kids ages 4-18. “We are the most affordable program in Bayonne,” Nunez says. “Our goal has always been to help kids reach their full athletic potential regardless of their ability to pay. We do it because we love the sport.”

Bee Line The Bayonne High School cheerleading squad is called the Queen & King Bees. They pump up the crowds at sporting events and pep rallies as well as competitions. “Our biggest competitive accomplishment has to be becoming state champions and being able to do so two years in a row,” says former head coach Pauline Klimkowski. “Bayonne High School had never won a state title in cheerleading, so you can only imagine the excitement and pride we all felt.” Klimkowski recently stepped down to focus on her new baby. She passed the torch to new head coach, Mariah Hernandez. “The cheerleaders are the spirit of the school,” Klimkowski says. “High-school cheerleading just brings a different kind of excitement and experience for the kids. It encompasses everything a cheerleading team should have: tradition, school spirit, leadership, and a feeling of pride in their school.” The entire coaching staff is made up of BHS cheer alumni. “Our coaches have a love for the pro

gram because they have been in the shoes of their athletes and care about the success of the Bayonne programs,” Klimkowski says. “The kids on the team have amazing role models to look up to. And because so much time is spent at cheerleading, it is extremely important that these children are with people they can model themselves after and who are showing them how to act and carry themselves. We also have cheerleaders who have gone on to cheer for George Washington University, St. Peter’s, Montclair State University, and Rutgers University.” Cheerleading is growing across the country and even the world. “Our Bayonne community heard the buzz and caught on to this growing sport,” Klimkowski says. “I think the elementary program here in Bayonne gives the kids a taste of what cheerleading is and can be for them, and they get hooked. Cheerleading is one of those sports that once you’re in, you will probably be in it for life. I love seeing so many cheerleaders around town with bows in their hair and enjoying something I enjoyed for so many years. I am so glad to see how much it has grown in Bayonne.”— BLP

My Platinum team member Melissa Randall doing a liberty.

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Kheila and Jasper Moore

PARK BAYONNE How we

Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez

J

asper and Kheila Moore came this close to passing on a chance to be pioneers in Bayonne’s new and exciting residential development boom. They were living in Jersey City and ready to move to a bigger place. They were about to sign and commit to a lease in a new apartment building in Jersey City when Kheila put on the brakes. “We’d been married for seven years and living in Jersey City for 13 years,” Jasper relates, “but we needed more space and were looking for a two bedroom. We found a beautiful brand new building. We toured it and liked it,” and then… “Kheila wanted to check out one more property,” Jasper says. “I asked her where it was, and when she said Bayonne, I said I don’t want to go to Bayonne; it’s too far away.” Kheila is a Hoboken native, and Jasper grew up in Rahway. Kheila, who is an immigration officer with Homeland Security, commutes to New York City. Jasper, a creative director, owns his own company and commutes to Hackensack by car. He agreed to check out the property, and the rest is history. “We took a tour, and it was amazing,” Jasper says. “It was really crazy because the space was almost identical to the one in Jersey City: the layout, the color of the floor, the bathroom …” But there was one defining feature. “The rooftop deck had an unobstructed view of Staten Island, Newark, and New York City,” Jasper says. “The Jersey City place had a nice view but not like the one in Bayonne.”

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HOW WE LIVE BLP

Another big draw? “The closets were bigger,” Jasper says. “There was an extra 200 feet of closet space.” The two apartments were also about the same price. The Moores occupy a fifth-floor apartment in a seven-floor building. They have two bedrooms, two full baths, a washer/dryer, and kitchen/dining room/living room in an open layout. The kitchen has an island and a breakfast counter, and the bedrooms are at opposite ends of the unit. “It has floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap all the way around the apartment,” Jasper says. The building offers concierge services Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. As for that rooftop amenity? It has an indoor and outdoor lounge and a full gym. But if you want to do your exercising outside, the building is right across the street from Bayonne County Park. The Moores don’t have a dog, but pets are allowed in the complex. Park Bayonne is in the process of creating an outdoor courtyard with gardens. If you’re wondering about transportation, the 45th Street light rail station is about a 15-minute walk. But the building also offers com-

plimentary shuttle service to all the PATH stations in Jersey City and Hoboken, as well as to the mall on weekends. There’s also a bus stop in front of the building. Jasper parks his car in the property’s two-level heated parking garage. The Moores haven’t lived in Bayonne long enough to explore the city but are looking forward to getting to know their new hometown. Meanwhile, Park Bayonne has everything a resident could want. Says Jasper, “Once I get home, I don’t want to leave. I change clothes, go right up to the deck, where you can grill on the roof and sit in a sun chair.” —Kate Rounds

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ON THE JOB WITH BLP

FROM FRONT LEFT: Trinity Korpi, Veronica Dominguez, Jennifer Fuehrer, and Emily Morris take a class with Jaime Hickey.


Jaime Hickey BY TARA RYAZANSKY PHOTOS BY MAX RYAZANSKY

P

rofessional ballet dancer Jaime Hickey starts her day by running to catch the light rail. She heads into the city to maintain her training with a class at one of her favorite dance studios. “I kind of like to change it up,” she says. “I go to Igal Perry’s class a lot, and Willie Berman. They’re former dancers who are older now and teach ballet technique classes. You can meet lots of dancers there, all types: ballet, modern, contemporary, professional, or not. It’s an amazing place.” Training every day is important to Hickey, who has danced on stages all over the United States and beyond with ballet companies and as a freelance ballerina, “It’s amazing how fast things go if you take time off,” she says, but Hickey doesn’t seem to allow herself much down time. After ballet, Hickey will practice Bikram Yoga in the city. This style of yoga is also known as hot yoga because the studio is heated to around 104 degrees. “I try to go three times a week just because that helps me to recover. It’s kind of like physical therapy when you don’t have physical therapy,” Hickey says. “I would love if one opened in Bayonne!” But it’s easy enough to hop on the train. In fact, Bayonne’s close proximity to New York City is part of what made ballet feel so accessible to Hickey when she was a child. She is a Bayonne native who still lives in her hometown. “When I was little my dad had found a studio in Carnegie Hall called Miss Neubert’s Ballet Institute and he took my sister there, but I was too little,” Hickey recalls. “I remember going there to watch and I was like, ‘Wow.’ We’re so close to professional ballet companies. You could easily go watch a show. We’re in the perfect location, I think. All of my auditions were in the city, so it was so easy. My parents took me in, we rode the train, did the audition and then we were home in an hour.”

FIRST POSITION Hickey started dancing here in Bayonne. She began to get serious about ballet at age 9 while dancing at Ms. Huguette’s Dance Studio. Her instructor, Lettie Abdelaziz, still teaches there. “Her classes are what made me fall in love with ballet,” Hickey says. “I loved how difficult it was, and I love challenges. Things didn’t come very easily for me in ballet. I wasn’t always very flexible or strong. I was pretty weak, actually.” Hickey says that she had a natural talent in picking up steps and combinations, but it was hard work that brought her to a professional level. She completed the American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum, a teacher training program. Now she hopes to inspire students the way that her teachers inspired her. “When I was taking classes with Lettie, when I was still kind of a beginner, the way she taught us about the history of ballet and the technique behind everything, I just loved it. It was so interesting to me.” After a day of working on strength and flexibility, Hickey heads back to Bayonne to teach Ballet Technique to an Intensive Study Group. She leads a small group of dedicated dancers who are 11-16 years old. After class they crowd around her to ask questions about how to make it as a professional ballerina.

“I love seeing the little ones now,” she says. “It brightens my day to show them that it is possible. I grew up here, so they know it’s achievable, as long as you have the heart for it and the dedication for it.” Hickey works as an instructor when she’s in between performances. This summer she plans to return to teach a summer program that she taught last year. “It’s an intensive for a week,” she says. “When you have ballet that long, every day you see rapid improvement, and I am co-teaching with my friend Oliver Till, who trained at the Royal Ballet in London.” The summer course, July 1115 and 18-21, is for advanced students ages 10 and up. It’s open to the public. Hickey is also available for private lessons.—BLP

Contact Jaime Hickey for details: jaimehickey@gmail.com facebook.com/jaimehickeynj instagram.com/jaime_hickey


Thanks for Calling Western Electric retirees still on the line

BY KATE ROUNDS PHOTOS BY VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ

M

ost people don’t pine for the days when you could work on the assembly line at a factory in Kearny. But after chatting with some Western Electric Retirees, it began to seem like a pretty fabulous gig. There’s so much love and loyalty for the company that, more than 30 years after the plant closed, its retirement group was able to muster about 30 former workers on a cold, drizzly May afternoon.

Busy Signal At its zenith after World War II, Western Electric’s Kearny Works was the busiest manufacturing plant in the American Telephone and Telegraph Company’s vast network. Many of its 24,000 workers came from nearby Bayonne. Robert Hanley, writing in the New York Times on Jan. 29, 1983, offers an excellent snapshot of a dying enterprise in a dying era. The hook was that the company’s general manager had just announced that the plant would close over the next three years. At the time, there were about 4,000 employees working in a huge complex on the northern shores of Newark Bay. The 145-acre plant was surrounded by oil refineries, truck depots, chemical plants, and tank farms. A worker told Hanley, “the days of smokestacks. The days of factories are over.” Not only that. The irony was that this behemoth of a company “used to make the best telephone in the world,” according to a 27-year veteran, and no one could have predicted that three decades later just about everybody on earth would have a four-inch phone in their pocket.

Static on the Line Among the factors blamed for the shutdown were Reaganomics, foreign competition, and a deep recession. As General Manager Ron Butterfield told the Times, “The worldwide recession has had a severe effect on demand for telecommunications products,” and Kearny Works was at 50 percent production capacity. The following year would herald one of the biggest shakeups in telecommunications history. On Jan. 1, 1984, AT&T would shed its 22 local telephone companies, igniting an era of stiff competition. According to Hanley, Butterfield vowed to try and retain employees, transfer them elsewhere in the Bell System, or help them find new jobs.

Hanging Up At the beginning of 1983, unemployment in Hudson County was at 14 percent. Employees at Kearny Works were spending their combined payroll of $128 million in stores in the surrounding area and in their own communities of Bayonne, Jersey City, and Newark. One local bar owner told the Times that the plant generated 20 percent of his business. Though many workers had voted for Reagan, one veteran employee said, “Nobody figured he’d knock the block off the blue-collar worker.” Another veteran predicted, “In 10 years you won’t be able to buy an American telephone.”

Grandma Bell In March 1984, Kearny Works employee G.V. Apgar put together “A Brief History of the Kearny Works.”

42 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016

After World War II, he wrote, “The Kearny Tract had become a city in itself.” He went on to catalog its amenities: two company-owned locomotives, a bus that ran between buildings, an on-premise garage with car mechanics, a fire truck, ambulance, and a well-equipped hospital. Employees spent their lunch hours at the library or shopping in the Wekearny Club stores, which included a jeweler, shoemaker and appliance retailer. The club provided space and equipment for card players, ping pong, chess, and a rifle range. Outdoor recreation included softball, horse shoes, parks for strolling, and a fishpond. A full-time gardener maintained the shrubbery and lawns, and a hothouse supplied cut flowers and plants for the offices.

Hello and Good-Bye At the Fourth Street Senior Center, Western Electric Retirees President Eileen Colacino brings the meeting to order. Secretary Frank Kotula reads a prayer honoring veterans for Memorial Day, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, the recognition of members with May birthdays, and a 50/50 raffle. To the left of the stage is a Christmas tree with lights twinkling, bedecked with pink and white flowers. Member John Vida is serving coffee and “tea cakes,” which are delicious and look and taste a lot like scones. Just about everyone in the room had worked for the company for at least three decades. They were layout operators, bookkeepers, and customer-service representatives; they were in the cafeteria, accounts payable, payroll, and finance; they wired and assembled “miniature relays,” repaired small parts, supported the engineering department, and made circuit cable boards. Barbara and Michael Gawason met at the Kearny Works and have been married for 50 years.


SENIOR MOMENTS BLP

EILEEN COLACINO

Aerial view of the complex James Vida, John’s twin, likes to say that they worked at the plant 33 years, seven months, and 22 days, which corresponds to their birthday on July 22, 1933. Bill Thomas reveals that they called the plant “The Country Club.” All the members related that at lunch hour, they made ceramics, “danced to whatever records were popular,” played softball, bowled, and dressed up on Halloween. “I loved it,” said Antoinette Bugeja. “It was wonderful. People were respectful. It was a great place. The people were great, there were no fights, everybody got along.” When you retired, she said, people wrote in your “memory book.” “They wished you luck. The boss would hate to see you go.” A highlight of the Kearny Works’ year was the crowning of the “Hello Charley” Queen. The derivation of the name is a little complicated. Suffice it to say, it has to do with a beloved benefit-services employee. President Colacino said that in the early 1980s, 1,000 members would come to a Retirees meeting. Things have changed. “There was a lot of loyalty,” said Estelle Landisis. “Now everybody’s independent, not in groups. They don’t talk anymore. The cell phone is the worst thing ever invented.” Though there were a lot of smart people in the room, I didn’t spot a single smartphone. But Estelle Landisis has a 70-yearold rotary phone and a wooden telephone booth in her house.—BLP

JAMES VIDA

ROSEMARY VIDA

Telephone booth

A replica of a Western Electric security vehicle

ANITA BLAWICZ

TERI HEIGHT

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The Junior Chamber of Commerce with advisers Leigh Schaefer and Irene Pyke, along with the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce board members. The first official meeting of the Junior Chamber and Bayonne Chamber took place at at breakfast at the Bayonne High School library. Photo by Caitlin Mota.

The Bottom Line? The Junior Chamber really means business

L

ast winter the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce had an inspiration: to launch a Junior Chamber. The idea was to partner with Bayonne High School’s business majors to help them gain business skills and get involved in the community. That’s how Bayonne Junior Chamber of Commerce President Britcely Brito, 18, tells it, and the

plan seems to be working. “When my home-room advisor said they were starting a new business club, I was down for it. I told other senior friends, and they were all down for it.” The students who jumped at the chance? “Business kids,” Brito says. “Kids who take all the business classes, kids who want to be entrepreneurs.” Currently, there are about 10

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members—seven seniors, the rest juniors, ages 16 and 17. Brito is probably typical of Bayonne’s budding business geeks. Her family moved to Bayonne when she was five. Both parents owned their own businesses, her father a car dealership and her mother a clothes boutique. “I was always interested in owning my own business,” she says. Her


EDUCATION BLP mother is a model of resourcefulness: “She started the boutique when she was pregnant and couldn’t stay at her job.” But it was something that happened to her aunt that was a defining moment for Brito. “I was about 10,” she relates, “and my aunt got laid off from her job. She was struggling to pay rent and pay her bills. I didn’t like that. In order to support my family, I didn’t want to rely on someone else to pay me. I wanted to be able to be my own boss. My aunt was not fired for bad performance; she was laid off.”

HELP STARTS AT HOME “The trigger for starting the Junior Chamber was when I attended a conference at the Board of Ed about the new business academy,” said Bayonne Chamber of Commerce President Matt Dorans. “I always wanted outreach from the chamber to the student level because I believe grassroots starts at the student level to understand how business operates.” The senior chamber invites the students to events. “We went to a business event at the cruise port,” Brito says, “and a business gala at the golf course. We were introduced to mentors, who gave us a big project as a way of helping Bayonne to become better.” That project? “To reboot Broadway,” Brito says. “In general to make it much prettier.” Her group came up with ideas for a sporting goods store, art gallery, and “therapy spot.” On June 13 they presented their ideas at an event at R&Bz. “There was a big PowerPoint presentation about how much money we’re going to make. The chamber is helping us with the project. They answered questions, and there was a guest judge. Whoever wins will get a monetary reward.” The two first-place winners were Sidney Larina and Stefanie Kulczynski with S&S Athletics, and Britcely Brito and Valerie Caamono with Broadway Reboot.

classes.” Brito started her freshman year at New Jersey City University this fall. “NJCU is a really good school for business,” she says. She’s majoring in marketing and minoring in entrepreneurship. “My goal is to be founder and CEO of my own company,” she says. She has an idea for a software company promoting her own makeup and clothing line. All the seniors will be going to college. “I want to talk to new kids about how great and beneficial the chamber is,” Brito says. “It teaches you a lot about business. Everyone on the chamber owns a business and has gone through struggles.” A sentiment echoed by Dorans. “Next year we want to reach out to the eighth-grade,” he says. “Parents of eighth graders should be on the lookout for a letter from us. We want to expand on this bunch of really bright, active students. You never know, they may give back and contribute to our local economy.” Meanwhile, Brito has her own projects to work on. She’s doing a business plan for an Etsy shop app with another Junior Chamber member.

“We can sell the accessories that we make,” she says. “I like to make things. I’m pretty creative.” Marketing, she says, taps into this creative instinct. When she sees jewelry or clothing, she’s always thinking, “This would be handier if it had this instead of that cloth, or this would be a better shirt, or watching TV, this would be a better plot. I should write a movie of my own!” She’s also going to help her mom with a clothing boutique, specializing in top-notch bridesmaids and prom dresses. “You wear them once and never wear them again,” she says. “We’ll buy them and sell them to girls who need dresses.” The bottom line? Says Brito: We all want to be our own bosses but change the world in different ways.”—Kate Rounds

Attend Our Fall Open House

MEETING OF THE MINDS

Sunday, October 2, 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, October 18, 7-8 p.m.

When the Junior Chamber meets, “we talk about what we want to do in the future,” Brito says. “We’re all interested in business and business

Contact our Admissions Officer, Barbara Verdonck, at 201-437-4545 Ext. 225 for more information Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016 •

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IMAGES BY TBISHPHOTO

It

would be hard to find a restaurant that fits more perfectly into the community it serves. Come to think of it, “restaurant” doesn’t adequately describe this Bayonne favorite. Yes, you can enjoy a sit-down dinner, but the Da Vinci Room has made a name for itself as a gathering place for parties of all kinds. The ornate dining room with brick walls, large chandelier, and myriad paintings was a fun shoot for photographers Terri Bish and Alyssa Bredin. They also enjoyed a delicious meal of Basil Pesto Crusted Salmon with mashed potatoes and spinach; and New York Strip Steak with Red Wine Demi Glaze, topped with thin fries.

For dessert, a scrumptious cannoli, drizzled with caramel. The story begins with the smashing success of Mona Lisa Pizza in 2002. “As it grew, we needed more space and took over the florist next door,” says owner Chris Cocchi. “We moved the pizzeria to the florist and created the Da Vinci Room.”

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What exactly had he created? “We mostly do boutique-style events for groups of about 85 people,” he says. They include showers, communions, confirmations, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, repasts, and small weddings. “Milestones,” Cocchi sums up. Family-style is a popular option. “The food comes out in giant platters as if you were sitting at home with the food getting passed around,” Cocchi says. “It’s very intimate.” In fact, “family” is an important concept at the Da Vinci Room. It’s not a family business but Cocchi says he feels as if his staff and customers are family.


EATERY BLP

“Bayonne is a traditional familyoriented town,” he says. “People still have old-school values that you don’t get anywhere else.” And an influx of new people from Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Hoboken is bringing youthful adventure to longheld traditions. These new folks will definitely be taking advantage of online ordering with a Da Vinci Room app.

“I believe Bayonne is up and coming,” Cocchi says. “We’re on the cusp of great things. There are a lot of new faces and interests, but people are rooted and staying here. It’s God’s country below 8th Street.” The extension of the light rail a few years ago and the renovation of SilkLofts in 2014 were both “great additions,” he says. Cocchi’s family is from Sicily, and he comes to Bayonne via Staten Island. No surprise, then, that the cuisine is Italian American. The pizza tradition is as rich as melted mozzarella. The restaurant makes more than 128 types of pizza, including gluten-free and wholewheat pizza and pasta. It’s famous for its award-winning buffalo pizza.

Photographer Alyssa Bredin sums up the Da Vinci Room experience. She says, “Everything was delicious.”—Kate Rounds The Da Vinci Room 165 Broadway (201) 535-5050 bayonnemonalisa.com

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s g n i t s i L g D in in Broadway Diner 1075 Broadway

(201) 437-7338 broadwaybistrobayonne.com The Broadway Diner isn’t just your normal everyday diner, but a destination diner. Offering “The World’s Best Pancakes”, they feature a wide variety of hearty breakfast dishes and a vast selection of lunch and dinner entrees that are made from the freshest ingredients. No matter what you crave, The Broadway Diner is the only place to find it! Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Broadway Diner 8th Street Bistro 226 Broadway

(201) 455-8239 broadwaybistrobayonne.com Offering a delicious “All You Can Eat Italian Buffet” every Sunday between 3 and 9 p.m. The buffet features authentic homemade Italian delicacies and a great option for a traditional Sunday meal at an affordable price for the entire family. The Bistro also offers a gourmet deli featuring mouth watering Italian sandwiches, using only the finest ingredients in everything served. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Off premise catering is available.

Buon Appetito 906-908 Broadway

(201) 436-0043 buonappetitoitalian.com This is one of those quality places that don’t intimidate you. The restaurant and bar provide a comfortable, pleasant atmosphere that makes you feel at home. The flavor, quality, and quantity of the food are exceptional, but prices so reasonable that it is an affordable evening as well.

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D in in g L i s t in g s The menu is surprisingly diverse with ample dinner specials, a wide selection of meat, chicken, and veal dishes, and of course, delicious pasta entrees. High-quality, fresh fish is one of the restaurant’s specialties. Buon Appetito is open for lunch and dinner and available for private parties.

The DaVinci Room at Mona Lisa 165 Broadway

(201) 535-5050 thedavinciroom.com The DaVinci Room by Mona Lisa offers boutique-style catering with our intimate luxury events. Our attentive staff offers a wide array of options in a beautifully appointed

space. We have packages that fit every style and budget, with availability for daytime and evening events, seven days a week. Call our banquet director today for one-of-akind service.

KP Sarelli’s 241 Broadway

(201) 858-4065 sarellisrestaurant.com Since its opening in 2007, KP Sarelli’s has been serving delicious Northern Italian cuisine in its cozy and charming downtown restaurant. Priding itself on the finest and freshest ingredients, KP Sarelli’s offers a wide variety of fish,

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s g n i t s i L g D in in chicken, veal, and pasta dishes. Specialties include Seafood Risotto, Tortelloni Quattro Formaggi and Pollo Scarpariello. It’s a perfect choice for a romantic fireside dinner for two or to share a meal with your family and friends. KP Sarelli’s is open seven days a week and is available for private parties.

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.

Komegashi too 99 Town Square Place Newport Financial Center

Komegashi

(201) 533-8888

103 Montgomery Street

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.

(201) 433-4567 komegashi.com Located in Jersey City’s financial district, Komegashi offers fresh, well-presented sushi along with traditional Japanese

La Guardiola Gourmet Pizza and Bistro 819 Broadway

(201) 823-3389 laguardiolabistro.com With a full menu of unique and classic dishes, La Guardiola is not your typical pizzeria. Whether you take out or dine in, this cozy eatery will not disappoint. It offers a wide variety of specialty salads, unique gourmet pizzas, homemade soups, focaccia, and pressed Panini sandwiches, along with traditional pizza and Italian specialties. The portions are hearty, but save room for dessert. LaGuardiola offers a full catering menu for your special event or party. Open six days a week for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday.

Leo’s Grandevous 200 Grand St.

(201) 659-9467 leosgrandevous.com Since 1939, this Hoboken landmark has been tantalizing guests with old school Italian standards and contemporary specials. A variety of pasta, fresh fish, veal, and chicken dishes keeps the emphasis on great taste and homey charm. You haven’t been to Hoboken until you have eaten at Leo’s!!

50 • Bayonne - Life on the Peninsula ~ Summer 2016


D in in g L i s t in g s Mona Lisa Pizzeria Ristorante

Rustique Pizza

165 Broadway

611 Jersey Avenue

(201) 858-1812

(201) 222-6886

bayonnemonalisa.com One of the best pizzerias you’ll find in Bayonne, Mona Lisa has been serving the Bayonne community for over 10 years. Famous for their specialty pizza, you must try the customers favorite, Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Whether you are in the mood for pizza, a classic Italian dinner or a quick bite, look no further. Mona Lisa serves up burgers, wraps soups, salads, seafood and more, including gluten free options. Open seven days a week for dine in, take out or free delivery.

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 inhouse, ensuring satisfaction each time you dine with us.

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