A year of celebration City's 150th anniversary culminates with waterfront fireworks display
by :Angelo M. Valente, Co-Chair of the City of Hoboken Sesquicentennial Committee
Oct 22, 2005 | 795 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I recently asked my seven-year-old what she enjoyed most about Hoboken's 150th birthday celebration, like most children her age, she remembered the parade down Washington Street and asked about next year's celebration. While Hoboken has much to celebrate every year, I explained to her that during special occasions, such as a community's 150th birthday, this was an opportunity to showcase the history of our community, reflect on our past, and look to our future.

As the 150th celebration comes to a close, like all good birthday parties, we will all leave with a "goody bag" of memories of a year that celebrated Hoboken's history, culture and music, but most importantly, its great citizens.

Lots of events and fun

Perhaps it was a visit to one of Hoboken's beautiful houses of worship, a favorite painting you purchased at the 150th art exhibit, a photograph you took at the anniversary gala that you will cherish for years, or a march down Washington Street dressed as an Oreo cookie.

You may remember trying to keep your spaghetti dry during the spaghetti block party, or adding your creativity to the Sesquicentennial mural.

Perhaps you will reflect from time to time on the sacrifices of Hoboken's veterans, past and present, and especially the hundreds of thousands of men and women who passed through Hoboken when it was World War I's official port of embarkation.

Maybe you signed the world's largest birthday card or wrote a letter for the time capsule.

Hoboken's special yearlong celebration was appropriate for such a special city - the birthplace of baseball, hundreds of inventions, and of course our own favorite son, Frank Sinatra. Our town once again showed our neighbors and the world just how significant Hoboken is in so many varied and diverse fields.

Many to thank

The Sesquicentennial Celebration could not have been so successful without the unwavering support and leadership of Mayor David Roberts, who, from its inception, made a personal commitment to make this celebration the largest Hoboken has ever seen.

Many thanks also go out to Sen. Bernard F. Kenny Jr., Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons, our Hoboken City Council, directors and officials, representatives from the Hoboken Board of Education and private schools, our police and fire departments, and public safety and other city employees, all of whom were always ready, willing and able to help.

A special thanks to the corporate sponsors and our local businesses who provided the financial support to bring so many events to our citizens throughout the year; and to the Hudson Reporter for the Anniversary Journal that has already become a collector's item.

Our thanks go to the Hoboken Historical Museum, City Historian Leonard Luizzi, and local residents like Margaret O'Brien, who continue to keep Hoboken's history alive. To all of the members of the Hoboken Sesquicentennial Committee, your volunteerism and community spirit was contagious. Finally, to Geri Fallo, Co-Chair of the Sesquicentennial Committee, the staff at the Hoboken Cultural Affairs Department, and to Suzanne Hetman, Committee Coordinator, your energy and dedication was irreplaceable.

A bright future

While this chapter in Hoboken's history will close, I am confident that as a community we will continue to break new ground, invent new technology, fill galleries with beautiful creations, and most importantly, continue to be a community that cares. We will continue to be a community that cherishes its ethnic and cultural diversities and empowers our young people to reach their dreams.

On Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m., a grand fireworks display and closing ceremony will be held at Sinatra Park to recognize the hundreds of volunteers and corporate sponsors who made each and every event possible. Please join us for this special celebration.

All of the past columns from this year-long series are available online by visiting www.hobokenreporter.com, scrolling down the left-hand side of the page, and clicking on "150th Anniversary." The column will continue to appear in the Hoboken Reporter each week through the end of the year.
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