HOBOKEN BRIEFS

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Hoboken Middle School student Naomi Cooke won the grand prize in the second annual PATH summer poster contest. Pictured are PATH Director/General Manager Clarelle DeGraffe and Naomi Cooke. (See brief)
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Last weekend, local and county officials cut the ribbon and the newly remodeled Madison Street Park. (see brief)
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Hoboken Middle School student Naomi Cooke won the grand prize in the second annual PATH summer poster contest. Pictured are PATH Director/General Manager Clarelle DeGraffe and Naomi Cooke. (See brief)
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Last weekend, local and county officials cut the ribbon and the newly remodeled Madison Street Park. (see brief)

New Jersey Supreme Court grants review of Hoboken Monarch appeal denial

According to a Hoboken press release, the New Jersey Supreme Court has granted Hoboken’s petition asking the court to review the denial by the New Jersey Appellate Division of Hoboken’s appeal of the decision regarding the “Monarch Project.”

In a Jan. 7 decision by the New Jersey Appellate Court, the court ruled that the city did not have the authority to enforce its 2013 zoning ordinances which prohibit construction on waterfront piers, except for low-rise recreational buildings.

The decision cleared the way for two 11- story towers to be built on Hoboken’s northern waterfront as part of the Monarch development project.

This recent petition, granted by the New Jersey Supreme Court, is rarely given and is a positive development for Hoboken.

“This is excellent news for Hoboken and our waterfront,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “From the very beginning of my administration, we’ve held firm to the belief that any large-scale residential development on the waterfront would pose a risk to the public safety of our residents and first responders. I’m thankful that the Supreme Court will allow us to make this argument, so we can protect our waterfront and preserve it for public, open space. Given this recent ruling, my administration will continue to explore any and all options to ensure the Monarch development does not get built and jeopardize public safety and our waterfront. Thank you to all of the members of the public who have spoken out and signed a petition in favor of preserving the Monarch property for a public park.”

According to the release, Mayor Bhalla and the city have pursued settlement negotiations over the past several months with Shipyard Associates, the property owners of the “Monarch Project” land, to resolve the litigation between the city and Shipyard Associates.

Bhalla and the city attorneys briefed the city council on the status of settlement discussions with Shipyard Associates, as well as the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s determination, during a closed session of the city council meeting on Wednesday, June 5.

NY Waterway files suit against Hoboken

New York Waterway filed a suit on Friday, June, 7 in Hudson County Superior Court requesting the judge to order Hoboken to allow it to use and prepare the Union Dry Dock site as it’s new ferry homeport for maintenance and refueling.

“NY Waterway must be allowed to repair and maintain our ferries at Union Dry Dock so that we can continue to provide safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly service to more than 30,000 New Jersey commuters each day, and be ready to respond quickly in an emergency,” said NY Waterway President and Founder Arthur Imperatore in a press release.  “We own this property and have been paying taxes on it for 18 months.  We have the necessary state and federal permits, and the site has the proper zoning. Yet Hoboken politicians are preventing us from doing our job.  We respectfully ask the court to rectify this injustice.”

NY Waterway’s complaint asks the court to rule that the company be permitted to remove and replace up to 102 fender piles in the Hudson River; that it be permitted to dock two barges at the site, and that it be permitted to use the land for maritime industrial purposes.

The suit argues that NY Waterway was granted all necessary permits to use the former Union Dry Dock site, which it purchased in 2017, for maritime industrial purposes in December 2018 by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers and in May 2018 by the New Jersey Department of environmental protection.

In February Hoboken issued a stop work order on NY Waterway’s operations at the site, saying the ferry company did not have the proper permits from the city to continue preparing the site.

The city wants to turn the site into a public open space and has been fighting to obtain the property from NY Waterway since its purchase, negotiating with Gov. Phil Murphey’s office and the private ferry company.

The suit argues that since the federal and state government authorized and issued permits for “water based activities”  that “Therefore, the City of Hoboken’s efforts to subject these waterborne activities to local permits and approvals is preempted by federal and state law.”

Hoboken spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri told NJ.com, “Mayor Bhalla and the city will use any and all legally appropriate means to ensure compliance with our regulations, to protect the health and safety of residents, and to defend the city against meritless litigation.”

Former Hoboken tax collector pleads guilty to tax evasion

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, a Hoboken-based accountant admitted he failed to pay more than $914,000 in taxes on income generated from his accounting firm and various rental properties he owned in Hudson County.

On Wednesday, June 5, Louis Picardo, 64, of Hoboken,  pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler to one count of an information charging him with federal income tax evasion.

According to the release, Picardo served as the tax collector in Hoboken between 1973 and 2008 and was a partner in Cannarozzi & Picardo LLC, a Hoboken-based accounting firm.

Picardo also was a member of multiple entities (the “Picardo Entities”) that managed both commercial and residential properties in Hudson County.

Picardo failed to report $3,725,853 in taxable income that he collected from Cannarozzi & Picardo and the Picardo Entities on federal income tax returns he filed with the IRS  between 2012 to 2015, resulting in a tax loss to the United States of $914,908.

The tax evasion charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25.

Hoboken residents get summer access to university tennis courts

Hoboken residents above the age of 18 will get access to Stevens Institute of Technology tennis courts until Aug. 18.

The courts, on the northern end of the campus, can be accessed between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

All interested residents will need to sign up at the Stevens Athletic Center for a visitor ID that will grant access to the courts for the designated times.

For more information contact Stevens Athletics Events Manager Keith Kinsella at kkinsell@stevens.edu or at 201-216-8740.

Madison Street Park officially reopened

Mayor Ravi Bhalla, city and county officials, and residents celebrated the grand opening of the Madison Street Park last weekend.

The park was officially opened to the public following a ceremonial ribbon cutting with more than 100 members of the community, according to a city press release.

The park includes playground equipment for both younger and older children, a new water spray feature, new safety surface, swings, bathroom, shade structures, benches, and more.

The features of the park were based largely on input from the community through surveys and public meetings in 2018.

“I am thrilled to have joined so many residents to cut the ribbon on our new Madison Street Park,” said Bhalla. “This state-of-the-art park with brand new equipment reflects a collaborative approach to improving our existing park space, while making it safer and more enjoyable for our children. Thanks to everyone who came out to cut the ribbon on Hoboken’s newest park!”

Hudson County provided $500,000 in funds to assist with the construction of Madison Street Park, through the county’s Open Space Trust Fund.

“We’re proud to be a partner in the effort to expand and enhance open space in Hoboken,” said County Executive Tom DeGise. “I look forward to working with Mayor Bhalla, Council President Giattino, and the city council to continue to improve quality of life in Hoboken as we’ve done here together with Madison Street Park.”

“The 3rd Ward now has this amazing and safe water park for all of our children to enjoy,” said 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo. “It’s amazing to see how it has transformed over the years since I played here as a kid.  Now I get to enjoy it with my four children.  It was a pleasure working with our mayor and his administration, the county executive and his team, and most especially the parents who helped to shape this park into what it is today so we can all enjoy it!”

The park is open to the public from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Hoboken public school kids win PATH summer poster contest

PATH partnered with the Hoboken Board of Education to unveil the winners of the second annual Hoboken Summer Poster Contest.

Under the guidance of their art teachers, participating students created summer-themed posters.

About 100 posters were submitted to a panel of PATH and other Port Authority judges. Winners were chosen in three categories: Grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.

The grand prize-winning poster – which will be displayed in PATH stations and on rail cars throughout the summer – was drawn by seventh-grader Naomi Cooke of Hoboken Middle School.

The winner in the 3-5 category is fifth-grader Icez Cruz of Connors Elementary School, and second-grader Emma Henderson of Wallace Elementary School was selected as winner from the grade K-2 group.

The winning entries will be displayed in the PATH stations and are posted online.

Each winner received four tickets to the One World Observatory, an American Express Gift Card, and complimentary round-trip PATH SmartLink cards to get them and their families to and from the observatory.

Prior to the unveiling of the winning poster, the event featured performances by the Hoboken Middle School All Star Choral Ensemble at the main entrance of the NJ Transit Hoboken Station, followed by remarks by PATH Director/General Manager Clarelle DeGraffe, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and Principal Charles Bartlett from Hoboken Public Schools.

Literature discussion at Symposia Bookstore announced

On Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. Symposia Bookstore will host a discussion by John Bredin on the best ways of talking about literature.

Bredin—who hosts the nonprofit TV show and podcast “Public Voice Salon”—will offer this workshop for a small, suggested donation of ten dollars although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Space is limited. RSVP to johnbredintv@gmail.com.

Symposia Bookstore is at 510 Washington St.