I would like to urge West New York’s elected officials to name the intersection of 51st St. and Palisade Ave. “Imperatore Square,” in honor of Arthur Imperatore, Sr. That is the corner where the legendary nonagenarian businessman grew up in a large family of humble, hard-working Italian-Americans.
Arthur, better known nowadays as the NJ-NY Waterway ferry boats founding CEO, is widely recognized, aside from as an innovative entrepreneur in the transportation industry, also as a generous philanthropist.
I first met him in the mid-1980s as I was joining the board of directors of the Palisades Hospital, of which Arthur still is a proud benefactor. And, indeed, he has created thousands of jobs for the benefit of residents of our area in his lengthy successful business career.
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago his ferry enterprise made front-page news when its crew saved a helicopter pilot that had crashed by a Waterway’s dock on the Manhattan side. This story revived the memory of the January/2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” when a commercial airplane made an emergency landing on the river and the occupants were rescued by Imperatore’s boats.
As part of WNY’s 120th anniversary celebration a few weeks ago, the WNY Public Library (which board I once chaired) published a pamphlet listing prominent West New Yorkers, and Imperatore’s name is deservingly conspicuous there. He is, moreover, the recipient of many other state and national honors; yet, the said street corner’s christening remains on the “to do” list.
Now that the municipal elections are behind us, it is hoped that the WNY “New Beginning” renewed five-member council team will affirmatively vote on this cost-less idea that will positively enhance our little municipality’s image. Considering the rather negative nature of the stories that at times emanate from Hudson County and this otherwise great Garden State of ours, it will be a “win-win” to recognize success-story, WNY native Arthur Imperatore.
Prof. Roland Alum, Jr.
(The author, a former college professor and ex-federal and state
government official, is marking this summer his first 51 years of residence in WNY, on whose Housing Authority board he also served as the governor’s representative.)