Mayor Steven Fulop has sent out the following communication to invite residents to his State of the City address. We are sharing it with you:

“I am pleased to invite you to join me for my second State of the City Address, which will take place on Tuesday, February 24th at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, New Jersey. The State of the City Address allows me share with you the goals we have for the coming year as well as a review of 2014. I truly hope to see you there.”

December 2014 VVPA Meeting Minutes (Revised)

19 Feb 2015, Posted by Yolanda Foley in Minutes

Meeting Minutes – December 16th, 2014

  • Call to Order / introduction of board
  • Old Business
    • Review of Putting on the Ritz Soiree
  • New Business
    • The Lincoln Park West Golf Course – Norman Guerra, Chief Executive Officer , Hudson County Improvement Authority
      • Norman Guerra, Michel Cohen, Dale Wesselmen
        • Autonomous agency partners with towns in Hudson County: Re-development work, solar projects, recreation
        • Landfill/wetlands restorations project and capping of landfill
        • Vision: 9 hole golf course
        • Created public walkway and restoration of marine life in the area
        • Eventually (next phase 3-4 years) will get a permanent club house and mini golf
        • Will be open 7 Days a week, will offer tours starting in April, 2015
        • Irrigation system in place, no need to use potable water
        • Target opening date: May, 2015
        • Public Transportation: Busses at corner of Duncan Ave.
        • First public golf course – projected fees of $21 (without cart); will offer in-county and out-of county rates
        • Company called Kemper will maintain/operate course
        • Cost to build? Some of costs financed by DEP for wetlands restoration. In total, approx. $25M
    • 265 York Street – Phillip Gesue will present a design for a new townhouse at 265 York Street with a 4′ height variance
      • Phillip Gesue and Jeff Jordan, Misa Odanaka
      • 12 unit condominium currently with large gravel parking lot
      • Will add a 4 story building, 4 units + site improvement to address drainage and parking issues on site
      • Vision: showpiece for neighborhood with a lot of landscape architecture
      • Plan: reduce parking lot area (~15 parking spots) to allow for landscape architecture to buffer between buildings. Plan is that condominium owners will be allotted a space, except the owner
      • Will additional landscape in front of building will have to be a franchise? Probably, as the existing landscape is franchised
      • Flooding concerns will be addressed as per FEMA. Outside of historic district, can raise to allowable limit plus FEMA elevation. Inside historic district, not clear cut, but overall building height is currently taken from street level. FEMA flood zone is 30”, have to be 1’ above it. Need to figure out how to address windows to complement surroundings – presenters gave 2 options
      • Balance: respect tradition and history, yet be true to yourself and where the profession is going
      • Community concerns: factory looking – do something with the windows to address it? Where is the design at the top of the building (cornice) – building is lacking without it. One comment is that it’s not historic, and yet it’s not modern……it’s too much in the middle and it “doesn’t’ work”. Another comment: put a requirement for mandated uniform window treatments.Brick color is jarring – consider going back to grey option.
      • What specific elements make it fit with the neighborhood? Being brick, proportions of windows, rhythm of windows, overall mass of buildings, and proportions of openings. Building should be “of its time”, and as an architect you need to build something that will “stand the test of time”
      • Going for height variance due to flood issue.
    • Eric Flemming – Lacrosse Program March – June, K-8. No experience or equipment required. FREE CLINICS!
    • Potluck Dinner Celebration!

February 2015 VVPA Newsletter

17 Feb 2015, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Brrr!  Baby, it’s cold outside!  Brave the cold and join us on February 17th for our monthly VVPA Neighborhood Association meeting 7:30 pm at the Barrow Mansion 83 Wayne Street.  Whether you are new to the neighborhood or long-time resident, this is YOUR COMMUNITY.  Find out what’s going on, how it impacts your quality of life and meet your neighbors!  We look forward to seeing you there!

Guest Speakers:
Councilwoman Joyce Watterman:
Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman will be coming to our meeting to discuss issues affecting our community.  Councilwoman Watterman was born, raised, and educated in Jersey City. After graduating from William L. Dickinson High School, she worked for 13 years at the Former Medical Center Clinic. A proud wife of over 35 years, Joyce is the mother of three, and a loving grandmother.
After graduating Somerset Christian College with a Degree in Organizational Leadership and Biblical Studies, she founded The H.O.P.E Summer Program for children, the purpose of which is to establish safe and caring environments which promote individual and social growth. Joyce has served as a volunteer at Rahway State Prison for over 20 years and Clinton State Prison for eight years, as well.

Jeff Zak – Liberty Harbor:
After gathering your input on the Liberty Harbor project, Jeff will be returning to present to us the revised plans for 333 Grand Street.

274 Barrow Street:
Will be presenting preliminary design plans for an addition to the garage behind the building along Montgomery St.

Officer Reports:
President – Oona Moore
Treasurer & Construction Liaison – Tom Ogorzalek
At-Large Board Members – Ben Bernouy and Jon Ross

Standing Committee Reports:
Events/Cultural Affairs – Marlene Sandkamp and Eric Carter
Bright & Varick – Ceci de Leon

Other issues for the good of our community
Jersey City Winter Storm Information Page – Stay informed! –



2/25, 6pm – 9pm: CITY COUNCIL MEETING

January 2015 VVPA Newsletter

19 Jan 2015, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Happy New Year!  We look forward to your attendance!  Whether you are new to the neighborhood or long-time resident, this is YOUR COMMUNITY. Stop by, and have a glass of wine on us. Find out what’s going on, how it impacts your quality of life and meet your neighbors!

Officer Reports:

President – Oona Moore
Treasurer & Construction Liaison – Tom Ogorzalek

Standing Committee Reports:
Events/Cultural Affairs – Marlene Sandkamp
Bright & Varick – Ceci de Leon

Old Business/New Business

Guest Speakers:

Bill Matsukoudis & Fanciullo LLC & Studio V Architecture presenting on Metro Towers:
Requesting revision of an existing approved redevelopment plan for the coop that was originally called Gregory Park and is now Metro Towers.  The residential towers approved by the existing plan would be similar to the existing towers and would be aligned along Christopher Columbus.  Jay Valgora, architect from Studio V, described their goal is to essentially reintegrate the new development back into downtown, and to include green roofs.

Rita McKenna, attorney & Derk Garlick, Architect for 518 Jersey Avenue: 
The project is the Laundromat located at 518 Jersey Avenue.  They have filed an application with the HPC and will file one with the Zoning Board shortly.

Elena from Pasta Dal Cuore:
“Pasta Dal Cuore began as a dream born in Colorno, a small town outside of Parma, Italy in 2010 while attending culinary school at ALMA. After traveling extensively through Italy, researching the best restaurants known for their fresh pasta, I returned home to Jersey City with the goal of owning my own pasta shop. It is our mission to make fresh pasta with all-natural quality ingredients. In the near future we are planning on adding cheeses, butters and home-made sauces to accompany our fresh pastas.”

Other issues for the good of our community


Sam Pesin, President of Friends of Liberty State Park requests that you take a minute to familiarize yourself with this issue and take action:
Please call Governor to keep Liberty State Park (LSP) under full control of Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) with public participation. Please call 609-292-6000 and urge Governor to Conditionally Veto “Assembly Bill 3969 – the Hackensack Meadowlands Agency Consolidation Act until the LSP amendment is removed as it put LSP under Planning Control of this autonomous Commission!


1/24, 8pm:  SNOW BALL

1/25 Van Vorster Liz Morrill’s North River Sing Chorus performs @ St. Matthews Church next door to the Barrow Mansion!  3pm— Wine & Cheese & Song–$10 Suggested donation–


Bright & Varick Update 1.12.15

14 Jan 2015, Posted by Oona Moore in News You Can Use

We wanted to reach out and update you about a significant development in your neighborhood.   It is about the proposed micro-unit project located on the corner of Bright St. and Varick St. in the Van Vorst Park neighborhood.  Although this is about one specific project, the procedural precedent, if allowed to proceed, can impact many other development projects in Jersey City and we hope you will consider contributing to our efforts in any way you can.

Bright & Varick Microunit Status:
The VVPA has been actively involved with this project since it first came to our attention in July of 2013.  With your help and  a lot of hard work, we were successful in having the City agree with our position. The City instructed the developer to proceed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for clarification on the proposed density.  Instead of following the City’s directive and process, the developer immediately chose to sue the City to avoid public presentation to the board. This was an obvious and calculated effort to circumvent the possibility of public comment.  And contrary to the allegations made by the developer,neither the City or the VVPA ever blocked the Planning Board from holding a hearing.  The VVPA would have welcomed any opportunity to comment on this project in an official public forum.

However, the Superior Court Judge granted an automatic approval of the project based only on the developer’s interpretation of the procedural deadlines not the facts or merits of the case and disregarded the City’s directives.

There is strong legal ground and precedent to overturn the automatic approval in this situation.We are going to continue to fight to keep the public voice relevant in the development in Jersey City. To assist us, we have secured the services of local attorney, Cynthia Hadjiyannis, Esq. and Renee Steinhagen, Esq. of NJ Appleseed, a Public Interest Law Center and have filed an Appeal for the automatic approval.

So our fight to allow the public a voice on this development continues. We cannot let developers and Redevelopment Plans continually change and manipulate the existing zoning laws in order to bypass public input.

We have updated our blogspotwith our reasons to fight this unprecedented development in our historic neighborhood. We have also updated it with our recent correspondences with the developer.  Take a minute and check out

We still need donations as well and can really use your help.  Donations are tax-deductible and can be done with a click of the keyboard on our website at

Stay in touch.  Keep checking our emails for updates. There will be a meeting soon where you will have a chance to speak with our lawyers and find out all the details of the case. In the meantime, please feel free to email us at with any questions or concerns.  AND…one last favor….

Continue to check out our website at for all the latest meeting agendas and events. We continue to meet the third Tuesday of every month with a variety of speakers and presentations.

December 2014 VVPA Newsletter

15 Dec 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Meeting Agenda: 

The Lincoln Park West Golf Course –
Norman Guerra, Chief Executive Officer , Hudson County Improvement Authority  

265 York Street –
Phillip Gesue will present a design for a new townhouse at 265 York Street with a 4′ height variance

Community is invited to bring a main/side or dessert to share.  VVPA to provide tableware and beverages.  Happy Holidays!

November 2014 VVPA Newsletter

16 Nov 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Meeting Agenda:

Jorge Mastropietro

227 Montgomery is an existing 3 story dwelling that was abandoned mid renovation.  JMA would like to revitalize this property and make it a beneficial addition to the neighborhood.  The project will entail a full face-lift of the aging historic facade including a new door, paint, railings, and windows. Along with this will be expansion of the square footage to create three new living spaces with 2 bed/2 bath and a modern, open floor plan.

Derk Garlick, Architect & Ashraf Elshazly owner 294 Grove &
11 Wayne Street

Rita McKenna, attorney and her clients, Derk Garlick & Ashraf Elshazly will present plans under consideration for two properties in our neighborhood

294 Grove Street:  Owners of the Mosque would like to remove the lion statues from the front facade of their building
11 Wayne Street: Asking for variances in lot depth, rear yard set back and building coverage.  The proposed renovation of the living space includes adding a 2-story addition above a pre-existing 2-story rear addition to increase the habitable living space.  The interior will be extensively rehabilitated and converted to one 2-story 2 bedroom duplex and two larger 1 bedroom units for a total of three residential units.  The footprint of the existing building will not be increased and the number of units will be decreased from 4 to 3.

CENTRADE 260 Newark Ave
Owners will give a brief introduction to their Financial Services and Wealth Management office here in JC!

We will give a brief update on Microunit project slated for the corner of Bright & Varick.  Recent judge’s determination, current status of the project and treasurer’s update for attorney’s fees.

Voting will take place for new board members. The election slate is as follows:
Oona Jackson Moore – President
Sheridan Bell – First Vice President
Jeff Agnew – Second Vice President
Yolanda Foley – Secretary
Tom Ogorzalek – Treasurer
John Ross – At Large
Benjamin Bernouy – At Large

Ordinance allowing front yard parking
Read ordinance here


Saturday December 12th 8-Midnight @ Barrow Mansion
Van Vorst Park Association’s


Brothers, won’t you spare a dime? We promise you a swell time!! Charleston with us as we raise $$ for our Van Vorst Boogie nights in the Park next summer. If you thought Disco was fun..wait till you see what we have in store for 2015. We will be raising money as we are raising the roof, 20’s style. A spectacular night all for $25!!   Here’s what’s in store at our speakeasy soiree…
Listen to the smooth jazz music of Vespertine as you sip a champagne cocktail, then roll up your stockings and start swinging to the dance music of DJ Dancing Tony. Nibble on some light fare while you belly up to our bar for some bootlegged beer & wine at a fair price. Get your Gatsby on and you may take home best dressed man or woman….This party will be the bee’s knees in Van Vorst!!

You can purchase your tickets in advance at Eventbrite: here

Sunday November 23rd 1-4pm
HPHA’s Fall Feast @ St Peters Prep
Food & Music and a dessert bake off!
Go to: to buy tickets & for more information

December 13 & 14th, 20th & 21st
10-5pm @ Tommy Two Scoops 177 York Street
An afternoon of holiday fun for the whole family…dancing, treats, ornament & card making and a chance to meet and get your photo taken with Santa!!
Percentage of proceeds supporting KFM: Making a Difference. You may even think Santa and one of his elves on the 21st looks familiar….

DCNA Holiday Party!  Upcoming in the Hamilton Park Neighborhood!  Check your emails in the next 2 weeks for all the details!!

November 22nd 10am Liberty State Park
Fun for the whole family! Sponsored by NJ Parks & Forest
Come on out to Liberty State Park and join us for a leisurely stroll as you look for and identify the birds that visit for the fall. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars if you have them, we have a limited number that can be borrowed. We will meet at the Park Office on Morris Pesin Drive. This program is suitable for children ages 5 and older with a caregiver and adults of all ages. For more information or to register, please call 201-915-3402 x109, or email

FARMERS MARKET STILL IN FULL SWING IN VVP!!!  Get your Thanksgiving veggies on Saturday November 22nd!!

October 2014 VVPA Meeting Minutes

22 Oct 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Minutes

Thank you to all who came out last night.  It was a packed house–

Thanks to Leah Guy from Modern Sage a new wellness, meditation, massage you name it feel good store on Newark Ave.  She kindly brought us a gift bag from her store which we used last night as a door prize.  One lucky gal went home with a bag of goodies!  If you haven’t been to Modern Sage–it’s really a treat for the senses. And Leah knows every product in there…Check it out!  Modern Sage 315 2nd Street.

Dixon Leasing gave us a rundown on their processes and properties in the Van Vorst Park area.  Dixon is an Australian company that bought a number of houses in Hudson County, NY and Brooklyn.  We currently have 22 of their properties in our neighborhood.  They discussed the renovation of a number of those properties and addressed some concerns about the construction and tenants.  Rebbecca Symes  and John Wellendorf are available at anytime if anyone has any issues with their properties.  For a full list of those properties contact us at, Rebecca at or John at John.

We also welcomed a number of school board candidates.  There was plenty of questions raised and some spirited discussions.  The candidates are participating in a forum hosted by Historic Paulus Hook  Association (HPHA) this Thursday October 23rd 7 pm at PS16 96 Sussex Street.  You can check out their FB event page here.In the meantime here are the candidates we met last night.  Get to know them a little better–

The Parents for Excellence Team:  Bertram Okpokwasili, Moncia Kress & Carol Harrison-Aronold.  Betram and Carol are currently Board members and Bertram is a Van Vorster.  Check out

The Children First Team: Gerald Lyons, Gina Verdibello, Lorenzo Richardson.  You can read more about them on their Facebook page:

Joel Torres—Joel is running independent of a ticket. He has his own Facebook page: and website:

Take a few minutes…make an informed vote on November 4th!

Reminder we will be in the park this weekend hanging ribbons on our Breast Cancer Awareness tree.We will also be  ghouling it up on Halloween in the park from 4-8pm handing out candy and hot cider. AND….

SAVE THE DATE!  December 12th–Van Vorst Boogie is back!  In the Barrow Mansion….this one will be a fundraiser for us to continue the free dances in the park next summer.  But wait…it’s going to be a “great” night….food, drinks, live music, DJ Dancing Tony….a very spirited holiday party!

There is still time to get really involved in your community….we are looking for a few good men and women to join our Board of Directors…if you’ve attended at least 3 meetings last year and live in the Van Vorst district you are eligible.  Community service is cool and rewarding…look what it did for Steve Fulop! He was once the president of HPHA!





October 2014 VVPA Newsletter

21 Oct 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Meeting Agenda:

Bertram Okpokwasili

Bertram is a local Van Vorster running for a re-election to the Jersey City School Board.  The elections are next month on Tuesday November 4th.  He will be joined by 2 other candidates that are running on the same ticket, incumbent Carol Harrison-Arnold and Monica Kress.  Get to know more about Bertram, Carol and Monica. There will be time for questions and answers.

Dixon Properties

“Dixon Leasing provides historic 1-to-4 family homes for rent in the Greater New York Area, with a specific focus on Jersey City.  Dixon Leasing’s portfolio includes 20 properties within 4 blocks of Van Vorst Park.  Dixon Leasing’s focus is not only to invest in property, but also to invest in the betterment of local neighborhoods and communities.  Representatives from Dixon Leasing look forward to providing VVPA members with an introduction to our company and an inside look at some of our historic renovations in Van Vorst Park”  Besides representatives joining us on Tuesday they will also have one of their in house architects to discuss their process of renovating homes and will present us with before and after pictures.  There will be time for a Q & A.  Dixon was one of our sponsors this summer for Films in Van Vorst.


We will give a brief update on the current status of the project. There’s more to talk about….come and hear the latest.


The VVPA will holding it’s annual elections soon. If you are interested in becoming a Board Member, email us at  Requirements are that you have attended at least 3 meetings in the past year and live in the Van Vorst Neighborhood. Tuesday we will elect an Elections Officer who will prepare a slate of nominees for us.


Next weekend, the VVPA will be in the parkas part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We are decorating a tree with ribbons that are in honor of our friends and family who are fighting or have fought and lost their brave battles with Breast Cancer.  We invite any and all to stop by and pick up a ribbon….we have candy, pamphlets and breast self exam cards to give away as well compliments of the Jersey City Medical Center/Christie Kerr Woman’s clinic.  We will be there from 11-2.

****There will be a BOE Candidate Forum hosted by Paulus Hook Neighborhood Association this Thursday October 23rd at 7pm at School 16, 96 Sussex Street.  They have invited all 8 candidates to participate.

****Sustainable JC-Andy Velwest who joined us last month has a survey for JC residents, particularly those in neighborhood associations, asking about their priorities and interests in local issues.  Based on its results, Sustainable JC could talk about possible collaboration opportunities. The survey is below…if you have a few minutes it would be very helpful for us and them! Thanks!

Saturday November 8th, 7pm at the Barrow Mansion. It’s the 10th Anniversary Show with a Preview of Artistic Director Sam Pott’s piece that will debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in May of 2015!  Ticket price includes wine/beer reception Hors d’ouveres and desserts. Ticket info here or at


Guess where the VVPA will be? BOOO! You guessed it! In our haunted gazebo in Van Vorst Park from 4-8pm.  We are teaming up again with Friends of Van Vorst Park for a freaky few hours handing out candy for the kids and hot cider for the adults—stop by, say hi–It’ll be a GHOOOULLLL time!!

September 2014 VVPA Newsletter

14 Sep 2014, Posted by Oona Moore in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use

Meeting Agenda:

Candice Osborne

Ward E Councilwoman will join us to discuss the latest items on the council agenda. She will be answering questions from the membership.

Andy Velwest, Sustainable JC

Andy will be discussing SustainableJC and their goal to educate people about sustainable practices and offer concrete projects so they see the relevance and improvement to their daily lives. SustainableJC actively collaborates with neighborhood groups such as the VVPA for both targeted, and city wide campaigns. On Tuesday, he would like to talk about their current campaigns and volunteer needs, but also hear from us what sustainability issues matter most, and how they can help.


We will give a brief update on the current status of the project.


Historic Preservation Commission: Monday September 15th 6pm City Council Chambers
The HPC will be voting on 28 Bright Street. This was the project that was presented to the membership in June. The VVPA is reviewing the plans as they are more detailed than the renderings that were presented to us. You can look through them as well in the planning office at 30 Montgomery, 14th floor.


With heavy hearts we must share the news that Laura Fraschilla our dear friend, neighbor, community activist and former VVPA President and board member passed away on Friday September 12th in her home overlooking her beautiful Van Vorst Park. She was surrounded by friends and family.

Laura never passed up an opportunity to make Jersey City and in particular the Van Vorst Park Neighborhood where she has lived a better and more beautiful place to live. Whether it was with the VVPA or with the Barrow Mansion where she also served as a board president, she gave of her time and talents and always with a smile on her face. Most recently she helped us welcome the Van Vorst Family this spring, and was on our MeetBall Fundraiser committee in May all the time bravely and quietly battling breast cancer.

If you care to pay your respects:

Monday September 15th 5-9pm Viewing at Introcaso-Angelo Funeral Home 143 Brunswick
Tuesday September 16th 11am Funeral Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church 344 Sixth Street

In lieu of flowers and at Laura’s request, donations can be made to the Van Vorst Park Association. As you can imagine, we are honored and humbled by her thoughtfulness and will never forget her–her spirit, her joy, her kindness, her smile.
We miss her so much already.

Rest in peace lovely Laura