As summer begins, the township of North Bergen is preparing to offer its residents a season of fun featuring a slew of events hosted in conjunction with the Recreation Department.
The Hudson Reporter spoke with Parks and Recreation Commissioner Hugo Cabrera about the township’s plans for the summer. Cabrera said that many programs are back in full swing after two years of COVID-19 precautions preventing some of the fun.
Summer Fun program set to be a blast
One such program making a big return in 2022 is Summer Fun, according to Cabrera.
“We’re definitely bringing back the Summer Fun program,” Cabrera said. “We did it in a different way the past couple of years. Due to COVID-19, we were still giving out lunches and things of that nature, but we’re bringing it back in full force, the full deal like we had going on before the pandemic.”
Noting that “the kids really enjoy it,” Cabrera said that it is a five-week program which runs from 8:30 to 3:30 each day of the week it is held.
“We take care of the kids,” he said. “It’s very helpful for the parents. I think we only charge $50 for the program.”
Cabrera said the summer camp program takes place township wide, utilizing a variety of locations.
“We have seven sites and we use some of the schools,” Cabrera said. “We also use the rec center.”
According to Cabrera, the program is a valued one among residents that will bring smiles come its full return.
“It’s really something that people have been really happy about it,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what trips are going to happen this year, but in the past we’ve had trips to the Statue of Liberty. We’ve taken them roller skating and to different places. Then we have these big vans that come and they have a whole bunch of games inside. And they do arts and crafts. It’s a whole bunch of things that we do and we keep the kids entertained. It’s something that’s very enjoyable for everyone.”
Activities at the pool and the new community center and library
Cabrera said the municipal pool is almost back to normal. Due to COVID-19, there were no memberships; instead there were only daily passes. Now, the pool will offer both the daily passes and annual memberships.
“For the last couple of years because of COVID, we weren’t having memberships,” Cabrera said. “We were just doing daily passes. So this year, we did it hybrid where we’re going back to normal to have the memberships for people, but then also we’re going to offer the daily passes. So anybody that knows they’re probably not going to go as much can just do the daily pass. Then they’ll still be able to enjoy the pool. That way everybody gets to enjoy the pool.”
One major thing the township is looking forward to is the grand opening of the still under-construction $19 million community center and library, according to Cabrera.
“The big thing that we are excited about is downtown, we’re going to be opening up the community center and library,” he said. “That’s going to be in August. That’s going to be a recreation center too and we’re very excited about. If we could do it a little bit sooner, we’ll try. But it looks like August is the tentative month. At least we’ll get half the summer out of it.”
Regardless of when it opens, the new facility will serve residents during any season.
“We’re going to have basketball courts and a track above it,” he said. “People will be able to have practices for football and soccer because we’re going to have half of a field on the upstairs roof. So it’s going to be something really nice.”
Schools getting ready for summer
Cabrera also noted that there will be a lot going on soon with schools ahead of the summer recreation and fun activities.
“We’re getting ready for graduation,” Cabrera said. “We’re planning to have full graduations again this year.”
Right now, the district is readying for graduations. The elementary school graduations will maintain some elements of the graduations that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the graduation for North Bergen High School will return fully back to normal.
“The high school is planning to have the regular graduation,” he said. “The parents like how we did the graduations, we had them sitting on the field with the child. Then they all came up to receive the diploma. They enjoyed that, so we’re keeping it for this year for the elementary schools. But the high school we’re going to go all out with a full graduation.”
In addition, Cabrera said that there would also be an enrichment program over the summer for the schools again.
“We’re going to open up a couple of the other schools besides the high school,” he said. “So we’re really trying to get back to normal.”
One part of getting back to normal is promoting vaccinations, according to Cabrera. And with COVID-19 on the rise again, it is as important as ever, in addition to using common sense to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“We give the vaccine shots to anybody that’s eligible,” he said. “With the children, we find that it’s easier for the parents to go to the schools. It makes them feel a little better going to the schools instead of the clinics.”
Full breakdown of activities
The North Bergen Flea Market returned in May and will make more appearances on June 4, July 2, and August 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Farmer’s Market will open on June 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial at 90th Street and Bergenline Avenue and will return again in June on the 30th at the same time in the same location, as well as on July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25.
The pool opens for the season on June 4. The Summer Health and Green Family Festival will take place on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Summer Movie Series starts on June 21 at the uptown library, with other showings: at Policeman’s Park on June 28; at the Recreation Center at 6300 Meadowview Avenue on July 5; at Paterson Plank Road Park on July 12; at the downtown library on July 19; at the 88th Street Park between Durham and Grand Avenues on July 26; at the Nutrition Center at 1441 45th Street on August 9; at the uptown library on August 16; and ending on August 30 at Bruin Stadium in Braddock Park. All movies start at sundown.
Boosters will be given out at various places including: Lawler Tower on June 7 from 10 to 11 a.m.; the Terrace Apartments on June 8 from 10 to 11 a.m.; and Cullum Tower on June 14 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Additional events throughout the summer
Also in June: is LEAD Day at Stan Newman Field at 64th Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the Series on the World Wars: Escape from Behind Enemy Lines on June 13 from 6:30 to 7 p.m. via Zoom; the North Bergen Annual Recreation Dance Recital at North Bergen High School on June 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; the Sacco 5k on June 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park; and a Health Department Jobs Fair on June 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..
Additionally in July, there is the Junior Police Academy on July 11 through July 15 and the Series on the World Wars: The Great Escape of World War II on July 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.
And in August, there is the Night Out Against Crime on August from 5 to 10 p.m. and Series on the World Wars: Eddie Rickenbacker- Flying Ace of World War I on August 8 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.
This is a tentative list provided by the township that is subject to change, as well as events that have not been announced yet. Overall, Cabrera concluded: “It’s going to be a great summer for North Bergen.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.