Hoboken-Weehawken bike share held up by FCC review of ‘smart bike’ technology
Hoboken and Weehawken’s joint bike share program must wait until March 2015 while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reviews novel electric components contained within the German-made smart-bike technology utilized by the system, the city of Hoboken announced in a press release. NextBike has over 20,000 “smart bikes” in use in 70 cities across 14 different countries, but will make their debut in the American bike-share market with the Hoboken-Weehawken program.
The project is also slated to be the first bike share in Hudson County, with 230 bikes in Hoboken and 70 in Weehawken. Jersey City had been part of the plan, but backed out this past September in hopes of joining the New York City CitiBike system.
Unlike CitiBikes and their ilk, which must be physically docked into a station, NextBikes rely on built-in “smart locks,” which can be fastened to traditional bike racks. This past Wednesday, the Hoboken City Council approved the placement of temporary bike corrals and bike docking stations in 27 pilot locations around the city in anticipation of the program’s start.
According to The New York Times, NextBikes cost $1,200 each, compared to $5,000 per individual CitiBike. Hoboken and Weehawken will not be devoting public funding to their bike share program.
“We are looking forward to launching one of the first next-generation bike share systems in the country,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This high-tech but considerably lower cost approach is more scalable and flexible than traditional systems and could open the door for an expansion of bike sharing into neighborhoods and communities across the region and country – not just our largest cities.”
Thanks in part to fears about CitiBike’s fiscal solvency, the Lower Hudson bike share has struggled to secure private financing, pushing back a summer 2014 start date. As of October, the cost of the program was slated to be split between NextBike and Bike & Roll, an American bike rental company which will operate the system.
The city of Hoboken expects the NextBike technology to be approved by the FCC by late December.
‘Cake Boss’ Valastro pleads guilty to driving while impaired
“Cake Boss” star Bartolo “Buddy” Valastro pleaded guilty Dec. 1 in Manhattan Criminal Court to a driving while impaired charge resulting from a November traffic stop, according to an Associated Press report. Valastro, who has brought his Hoboken confectioner Carlo’s Bake Shop nationwide notoriety through a TBS reality series and franchises as far as Las Vegas, was pulled over while allegedly driving erratically in Manhattan around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 13, the AP reported.
According to a court complaint cited by the AP, Valastro failed a Breathalyzer test.
Valastro pled to a lower violation than the driving while intoxicated misdemeanor he had been charged with by police, according to the AP. He will be fined $300, required to take a course on drunk driving, and lose his driving privileges in New York State for three months, according to the AP. Valastro’s lawyer and publicist told The New York Times he would also temporarily lose his driving privileges in New Jersey.
Valastro was eager to express his remorse over the incident, telling the Times that “one is too many, and I will never get behind the wheel of a car again if I have a drink, even if I have a sip.” On Twitter, he added, “I thought I was fine to drive, but I wasn’t. I put people in danger. I am very disappointed in myself.”
Valastro’s contrite conduct on Monday was notably different from his alleged behavior on the night of the incident. According to an account of Valastro’s arrest given by prosecutors, he told officers, “You can’t arrest me – I’m the Cake Boss!”
NJ Transit announces plans to fill Long Slip Canal
At its October meeting, the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors announced plans to fill in the Long Slip Canal, the abandoned barge terminal south of the Hoboken rail yards that served as one of the main entry points through which the Hurricane Sandy storm surge hit Hoboken and Jersey City.
NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique Hakim said the transportation agency planned to “fill the Long Slip to an elevation above the FEMA base flood elevation” and use the new space to construct “six new tracks serving three high-level, ADA-accessible boarding platforms.”
In September, the Federal Transit Administration awarded NJ Transit a $146 million grant to fund flood protection measures for the canal.
Preventing future breaches through the Long Slip Canal and Weehawken Cove was one of the central goals of Hoboken’s winning proposal in the recent Rebuild By Design competition.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer has met with NJ Transit representatives in the past to formally request that the Long Slip Canal be hardened or eliminated. She also wrote a letter in support of NJ Transit’s FTA grant request, according to her spokesman Juan Melli.
New Hoboken Finance Director is ex-CFO of Newark
Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced this past Thursday that she has hired Linda Dunn-Landolfi to serve as the director of finance for the city of Hoboken. Dunn-Landolfi has more than 30 years of experience in municipal finance. She was previously responsible for a budget of over $800 million and assets in excess of $1 billion as chief financial officer and director of finance for the City of Newark. Ms. Dunn-Landolfi is a certified municipal finance officer and holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in public finance from Rutgers University. Her resume is available on the city of Hoboken website.
Roll along to the Hudson School for a spirited Sondheim musical
This month, the Hudson School will deliver six performances of Stephen Sondheim’s semi-autobiographical musical “Merrily We Roll Along,” a thrilling and compelling Broadway fable about friendship, compromise and the high price of success.
Sondheim and librettist George Furth expertly blend the excitement and energy of a backstage musical with a poignant and emotional contemporary story about the importance of staying true to one’s ideals. “Merrily” begins in the present and moves backwards, tracing the lives of wealthy, jaded composer Franklin Shepard and his two estranged friends through each milestone of their personal and professional lives.
This production features a cast drawn from the high school, middle school, alumni and faculty of The Hudson School and is directed and designed by Adam Sentoni.
“Merrily We Roll Along” will be presented at The Hudson School Performance Space at 601 Park Ave. on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m., Dec. 13 at 2 p.m., and Dec. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.00/$15.00 for students and seniors. For tickets and reservations, contact Sentoni at email@example.com.
Hoboken welcomes visitors to Christmas tree lighting and holiday banding concert
The city of Hoboken will host its annual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in front of City Hall. Santa Claus will make an appearance. A pre-show beginning at 5 p.m. will feature Elvis the Elf and the CBS 101.1 radio station playing games and holding special giveaways. Local school children and performers will sing favorite Christmas songs.
Then on Dec. 14, the Holiday Banding Concert will take place downstairs in the Edwin J. Chius Grill Room at the Hoboken Elk’s Lodge, located at 1005 Washington St. Popular local musicians like Julio Fernandez, Abbe Rivers, and Jack Skuller will perform their favorite holiday classics. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $8; proceeds to support the Movies Under the Stars series for 2015. Please sign guestbook when you arrive.
For more information, call (201) 420-2207.
Celebrate Chanukah at Temple Beth Am in Bayonne
Come celebrate the fourth night of Chanukah at Temple Beth Am’s Annual Chanukah supper on Friday evening, Dec.19. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m., followed by Shabbat services commencing at 7:30 p.m. Special Chanukah treats will be served following services.
The fees for dinner are $18 for adults; for children aged 4-13, $8; children three and under are free. Reservations are a must for dinner. Call the temple office at (201) 858-2020 by Dec. 16 to reserve your spot. Temple Beth Am is barrier free and located at 111 Avenue B, Bayonne. There is plenty of free parking in the area.
Former Sinatra Idol winner to sing for Frank’s 99th birthday at Hoboken museum
Peter Cafasso, winner of the “First Annual Sinatra Idol Contest,” will perform at the Hoboken Historical Museum on Dec. 12 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. for “Sinatra’s 99th Birthday Celebration.” His performance of Sinatra classics, with recordings of the great bands, is a fundraiser for the museum with tickets at $20. Light refreshments will be served. Free parking is available at the Littleman Parking Garage located at 1301 Hudson St.
Cafasso performed several classic Sinatra songs in 2010 as one of the “Sinatra Tribute Stars” at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for their “Annual Sinatra Birthday Bash.” To prepare for both these performances, Cafasso has studied singing in Hoboken at the BJ Simon Singing Studio.
Little Town New Jersey holds 99th birthday bash for Frank Sinatra
Celebrate Frank Sinatra’s birthday in his hometown on Friday, Dec. 12 at Little Town New Jersey. The restaurant and bar will host the 99th Annual Frank Sinatra Birthday Bash, a musical celebration of the life and artistry of Sinatra featuring music by swing musician Eric DeLauro, a former winner of Hoboken’s Sinatra Idol contest. Partygoers are invited to celebrate the musical legend’s 99th birthday Rat Pack style as they sing-a-long with DeLauro and enjoy themed cocktails and food.
Little Town New Jersey is located at 310 Sinatra Drive. To learn more or to make a reservation, call (201) 716-7070 or visit www.Sinatra-Birthday.com.
The Hoboken Chamber of Commerce 2014 Holiday Decorating Contest is on
Celebrity Designer Susan Swimmer has selected a nautical theme to honor the rich history of Hoboken’s waterfront. This nautical theme will have a traditional holiday spin, using lush greens with bright blue, silver, gold, red and green accents.
Participants will be judged on the following criteria: 1. Interpretation of the nautical theme. 2. Wow Factor and Curiosity Generating Factor. 3. Inclusion of Retailer’s Service.
The chamber has doubled the prizes to be awarded. First place will receive $1,000, second place will receive $500, and third place will receive $200.
Registration closes on Dec. 12 and can be done online at members.hobokenchamber.com/events/details/2014-holiday-decorating-contest-744
Judging takes place between Dec.15 and 18, and winners will be announced on Dec. 19.