John Cafferty and free goodies at citywide party
‘Pupie’ Raia will host 25th anniversary celebration
by Stephen LaMarca
Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 08, 2012 | 5555 views | 11 11 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Frank Raia’s party will take place Thursday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Sinatra Park. All are invited.
view slideshow (2 images)

What kind of person throws a birthday party for himself and invites the entire town for free food and live music?

Local politician and real estate developer Frank “Pupie” Raia – that’s who.

Raia’s tradition of throwing a birthday party along the waterfront turns 25 this year, and Raia is looking forward to this particular event.

The party will take place Thursday, July 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in Sinatra Park (on Sinatra Drive between Fourth and Fifth streets). It will feature free food and plenty of live entertainment.

Every year, Raia gets permission to set up in the waterfront park. The event is well attended by both politicians and members of the general public.

In fact, the event tends to attract both Raia’s political friends and foes, and is known as a place to catch up on political gossip.
“Mothers usually give their kids nicknames, and that name just took.” – Frank ‘Pupie’ Raia
The night will include headline group John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, known for their 1983 hit song “On the Dark Side” from the film “Eddie and the Crusiers.”

For Raia, his party is another chance to celebrate another year of life.

“I guess it’s just special to me,” said Raia, who till turn 61 July 10. “I’m making it strong and I thank God I have another birthday to live.”

Raia, who helped develop several high-profile housing buildings in town, said that before his generation, his mother was the oldest-living Raia at age 61.

“I just wanted to reach my mother’s age,” said Raia. “I’ve been through a lot; I’ve had my hips replaced, and the last five years has been kind of tough.”

Raia, who is widely referred to as “Pupie,” said his mother was the one who initially gave him the name.

“My mother gave it to me,” said Raia, adding that he did not know what the name specifically meant. “Mothers usually give their kids nicknames, and that name just took.”

Still going strong after 25 years

Raia said that the parties initially began in the 1980s after former Hoboken mayor Tom Vezzetti sought to book live bands for the city’s parks. Raia’s party, which he scheduled around his birthday, was his chance to contribute live music to the city every year.

“It’s a day when Hoboken is totally at peace,” added Raia. “It’s a great feeling for me to not only have my family and my friends, but the whole community celebrating my birthday.”

Raia said that the cost of the parties has ranged from $50,000 to $75,000 every year.

“I just want everyone to come and have a good time,” said Raia. “I think it’s the best show in Hoboken, bar none.”

Raia said his parties have been a chance for people to put their differences aside.

“I would just like to see people having a good time instead of having all the fights [and] all the differences [and] everything else,” continued Raia. “[It proves] that people can live in Hoboken and enjoy themselves at peace with everybody else, and I’m glad I could [provide] that.”

Politics and development

Raia has developed the Shop Rite, various affordable housing and market rate buildings, and the Citadel, a former grammar school at Fifth and Adams streets that still has the iconic “boys” and “girls” entrances marked even though the building is now condos.

He briefly served on the City Council for several months in the 1980s. He has run for numerous offices, including unsuccessful campaigns for mayor. He most recently served as Board of Education president.

Raia, who is not a candidate for this year’s Board of Education election, refused to comment on which of the eight candidates he will support this November, although he is rumored to be supporting a ticket against candidates allied with Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

“I’m going to be supporting [a] whole ticket,” said Raia.

Raia campaigned with Mayor Dawn Zimmer during her council election in 2007, but more recently has been allied with Zimmer’s political opponents. He has been allied with various political factions at different times throughout his career. It is likely that members of all groups will attend Thursday’s event.

Raia declined to comment on various political issues.

“I don’t want to mix my birthday in with all this other stuff,” he said. “That’s crazy. I really don’t want to. It’s never been political.”

Stephen LaMarca may be reached at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 11, 2012
I see CommentGrader has finally decided to be honest about his own political agenda.

July 12, 2012

Why did you post your comment twice? It wasn't that good of a comment that the whole world needed to re-read it. Also, I have yet to comment on this story - you're responding to ContentGrader.


July 12, 2012

Thank you for helping keep this thread going.

Not sure Mr. Raia and his old guard friends are too happy.

Also your slipping back into your usual political op hate rants you try to used against Mayor Zimmer under other screen names makes your reason for intense intrest in my mosts very clear.

Again everyone enjoy the party just remember the political agenda behind the man theowing it.

July 12, 2012
Apparently you have CommentGrader and ContentGrader confused.

Commentgrader has only commented on your poor grammar and writing skills.

ContentGrader spoke to your lack of comprehension and indeed may be political.

And I am not the same person as Westy or Westtyy or Westttty.

I bet you went to Raia party despite all your protestations. Hope you didn't forge the man's politics. And can we ask you a question, did the mayor forgot them when she let him shephard her around public housing for her campaign? Or what?
July 11, 2012
I see CommentGrader has finally decide to be honest about his own political agenda.
July 11, 2012
Westy. He said he did not want to mix his Birthday with political stuff not that he is not ever political. He has run for mayor so of course he knows he is political. You need to read better maybe. At least we did not hear any intimidating comments by Dancingrudy this week trying to insult the reporter into writing only good things about Town Hall:I guess it is because he and his wife the mayor were on vacation It is embarrassing that the mayors husband leaves nasty comments on every interenet site beating up on any reporter who does not report only positive things about his wife isn't it a litle bit?

But Nancy Pincus is still on vacation so at least the internet has a lot less pure personal meanness in the last few days Maybe Hoboken can talk about issues now Interesting on how certain screen names are gone this week from her and Stan.
July 11, 2012
This is a political event staged every year under the guise of a birthday party and no ammount of spin will change that fact.

Mr. Raia is running an anti-reform BoE ticket and according to Al Sulivan is in a heated power struggle to be the the Old Guard candidate for mayor.

Again enjoy the party just never forget by who and why it is really being held.

July 12, 2012
GA uses 1 screen name. You use dozens. Doooooosh.
July 13, 2012
Hobokenleaks, How would you know how many screen names she has? Did she tell you? Besides her real name, Grafix Avenger and Clockwork, that is. I think the content grader is on to something with this comment.

While she has been away many screen names have not been seen.A curious coincidence. The number of insults on the web is also down. Now we can talk like men and women.
July 08, 2012
"I don't want to mix my birthday with all this political stuff." he said "That's crazy. I really don't want to. It's never been political."

Really Mr. Raia ?

It should be noted that Al Sulivan reported in his column that Frank Raia has weekly political strategy meetings with Elizabeth Mason, Michele Russo, Michael Russo, Ruben Ramos, Jamie Cryan and other anti-Zimmer political operatives.
July 08, 2012
Enjoy the party.

But never forget the political agenda.

Have to laugh at Frank "Pupie" Raia paying someone to play "On the Dark Side of Town."