The Brownstone in Paterson, whom the city has used in previous years for the event, catered. They served four types of pasta, along with meatballs, sausage, eggplant parmigiana, salad, and bread.
“The spaghetti and meatballs are great,” said lifelong resident Renee Johnson. “I’m a salad addict but I save up for the spaghetti and build up to it.”
According to Migdalia Milano, assistant to Cultural Affairs Administrator Geri Fallo, any leftover food is brought to the Hoboken Shelter.
As residents dug in, Zack Alexander, the winner of the 2016 Sinatra Idol contest who also performed last year, performed several Frank Sinatra tunes.
Tom Foley and Cosmo Sancilio, who work for the Department of Health and Human Services, provided the dessert -- homemade cannolis.
Sancilio owned a bakery 15 years ago called Cosmo’s on Ninth and Washington streets and Foley said they started baking a few days before the party to be ready in time.
Proceeds from drink sales, including water, beer, and wine, benefited the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
This year the city allowed attendees to purchase tickets online. Norma, a resident since 2007, said she was glad. “In the past I kept missing it and it was harder to get tickets because you actually had to go to City Hall to get them,” she said.
According to Fallo, the event was reborn in 2005, for the 150th anniversary of Hoboken’s founding. During the planning for the sesquicentennial celebration, someone mentioned that the city had thrown a pasta dinner on Washington Street for the city’s 100th anniversary in 1955.
“This atmosphere is beautiful. It’s like being in Italy, but not,” said 16 year old Daniela Markovinovic of Brooklyn, who came with her family.
Fallo said the event brings the community together, family style.
“This is my second year coming, and I look forward to it all year long,” said resident Sheila Brennan. ”It really is a community event and it brings together a cross section of Hoboken, new young residents, seniors, the wealthy and successful, and those who may not be.”
Resident Patty Cunning said this event is truly focused on the community, compared to some of the city’s larger public events.
“This really gives you the opportunity to reconnect and get to know new neighbors or old friends,” said Cunning. “Some of the city’s other events, like the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, people come to from out of town. and just because of the crowds and the size of it, it’s not as community oriented as this. This is really mostly Hoboken residents who come.”
Marilyn Baer can be reached at email@example.com.