Hoboken celebrates Historic Preservation Month

Historic Preservation Commission revives 'This Place Matters' campaign

Mayor Ravi Bhalla recognizing Muller Insurance as a part of “This Place Matters” campaign in 2019.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla recognizing Muller Insurance as a part of “This Place Matters” campaign in 2019.

The Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission will celebrate May as Historic Preservation Month with three initiatives, including resuming the popular “This Place Matters” campaign.

The campaign celebrates businesses that have existed in Hoboken for more than 30 years.

Launched in 2019, it was put on hold during the spring of 2020.

It will once again highlight homegrown businesses on social media and with storefront signs.

During its inaugural campaign, the commission honored establishments created before 1979 like Albini Pharmacy (1880) at 401 Adams St, The Elysian Café (1895) at 1001 Washington St, and the Brass Rail (1900) at 135 Washington St.

This year’s campaign will include businesses that opened before 1989.

To further celebrate Historic Perseveration Month, the HPC has been compiling its own oral history project led by HPC Commissioner Thaler Pekar.

Pekar, a media professional, interviewed past officials, mayors, residents, and community activists who were instrumental in the birth of Hoboken’s preservation movement.

Later this month, the commission will publish the HPC Oral History.

The HPC will also honor the winners of the 2020 Design Awards.

‘Good work becomes contagious’

In January, the HPC voted on finalists for the Design Awards to be presented to 11 construction projects that were completed in 2020.

The categories include Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, Reconstruction, and Additions or New Construction in and outside of Hoboken’s Historic Districts. The winners are Verizza Port La Pizza at 152 Newark St., The Raphael at 901 Bloomfield St., The Shade Store at 644 Washington St., Sirenetta Seafood & Raw Bar at 1039 Washington St., Artichoke Basille’s Pizza at 96 Hudson St., The Little Local at 519 Adams St., Mojo Coffee Company at 230 Willow St., The Hive Market at 1000 Park Ave., St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church SMT Center at 798 Hudson St., Lululemon at 313 Washington St., and Margherita’s at 740 Washington St.

“We’re really seeing the fruits of our labors,” said HPC Chairman Steve Zane. “Projects are incorporating our Design Guidelines and producing historically appropriate construction all over town. That’s why we wanted to recognize projects that didn’t even come under our jurisdiction. Good work becomes contagious.”

The HPC is responsible for reviewing applications for development in the city’s historic districts that include demolition or substantial deconstruction of an existing residential building when the application does not require approval by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment.

In 2018 the city council appropriated funds for the City of Hoboken Design Guidelines that were completed in 2020.

The Hoboken City Council unanimously adopted the Historic Preservation Commission’s (HPC) comprehensive Design Guidelines during its June 17, 2020, meeting.

These guidelines cover exterior construction activities within the city’s three designated historic districts and act as a valuable resource for residents and business owners undertaking construction projects within the city.

Prior to council adoption, the guidelines for historic preservation were produced in 1989-1990 and needed to be updated to reflect current methods, standards, and guidance.

The new guidelines received a NJ State Historic Preservation Awards this past February. A citywide architectural survey conducted by the NJ State Historic Preservation Office in 2019 also received a SHPO award.

In late 2019 and early 2020, the city council passed two ordinances, expanding Hoboken’s Historic Districts along Hudson Street and Court Street, one of the city’s oldest streets, and adding many individually designated historic sites around town.

To learn more about the HPC go to https://www.hobokennj.gov/municipal-boards/historic-preservation-commission.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.