103-year-old ex-Secaucus Mayor Paul Amico dies; took town from pig farms to living/shopping mecca

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Paul Amico, former #Secaucus mayor
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Late #Secaucus Mayor Paul Amico, who took the town from pig farms to residences and shopping, has died.
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  1 / 2 
Paul Amico, former #Secaucus mayor
  2 / 2 
Late #Secaucus Mayor Paul Amico, who took the town from pig farms to residences and shopping, has died.

SECAUCUS — Former Secaucus Mayor Paul Amico, 103, has died.
The mayor from 1963 to his political retirement in 1990, he won an unprecedented 14 elections.
He was credited for helping the town make the transition from a place of pig farms and slaughter houses to a shopping and hotel mecca for northern New Jersey.
“He led a wonderful life,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “He was mayor of this town for 30 years. I don’t think anybody will ever fill his shoes; he was an awesome mayor.”
Amico came to Secaucus in 1919 at the age of 6. His parents had moved out of Little Italy in New York City, seeking elbow room. His father worked on the New York railroad. At 13, Amico started to work for Marra Drug Store (which still exists) behind the counter.
Although Amico didn’t finish school, he soon graduated to his own business–a diner on Route 3, which he said taught him the organizing skills he later used as mayor.
Providing service became one of the chief motivations for him over his 28-year mayoral career. To seek better services, he transformed the town from a world of backwater pig farms and trash deposits to one of the most successful business communities in the state.
His initial attraction to politics did not come from a vision for the future, but from genuine anger at the way things were done. Returning from the Army after World War II, Amico found things he detested about local government. The politicians seemed to treat the townspeople with contempt, he thought. While he didn’t run for office until the 1950s, he watched and learned, and then organized a personal political machine capable of beating the politicians at their own game.
Gonnelli said that because of inclement weather on Thursday, the town was waiting to figure out how to honor Amico.
“We’re going to meet [Friday] to see what we’re going to do, but we’ll be doing something,” he said.
Dan Amico of Secaucus, the late mayor’s nephew, said last week, “He was the biggest promoter of the town. Everywhere he went, he talked up the town; he loved the town and the people. He spent his entire adult life thinking about the town and the people in it, and trying to make it better. He lived and breathed Secaucus.” — Al Sullivan and Hannington Dia
For more on this story, pick up this weekend’s Secaucus Reporter newspaper, or come back to hudsonreporter.com and click on Secaucus News.
“He was very proud of the fact that he won 14 elections in a row.” – Dan Amico, nephew