23 May 2013, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

The Liberty State Park Footbridge, which will be known officially later this summer as the Ethel Pesin Liberty Footbridge, was opened today with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Back in January, a coalition of concerned neighbors from various neighborhood associations got together with City Engineer, Jeff Reeves to discuss how best to expedite the planning and construction of this important corridor connecting Downtown JC to Liberty State Park and the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood.  The intital group consisted of Stephanie Daniels of the Historic Paulus Hook Association, Tony Sandkamp of the VVPA, Marc Wesson of Friends of Van Vorst Park, Sam Pesin of Friends of Liberty State Park, Daniel Weiss of Friends of Liberty State Park, David Korn, a local architect and Dave Slurz, a local contractor. 17 associations and groups from across the city sent a letter to our City Council and Mayor Healy asking that they support and expedite the rebuilding of the footbridge by Memorial Day.  Council approved, and so long as the footbridge was in the same location as the original one that was destroyed during Sandy, FEMA would pay 75 percent of the total cost.  Designs were discussed and the quickest solution was a prefabricated steel bridge with 100ft deep pilings and concrete abutments.

So with the persistence and determination of those mentioned above and the cooperation of City Council, Mayor Healy, Rosemary McFadden the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Jeff Reeves, Asst. City Engineer, Rodney Hadley from Public Works and the hard work of the laborers at the job site we can all enjoy walking, running, or biking over to Liberty State Park and visiting our fellow Ward F neighbors!!  Thanks to all who made this happen!!


We are so excited to share with you that the Liberty State Park footbridge
at Jersey Avenue will be opening tomorrow!!!

The City will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Jersey Ave side tomorrow, Friday May 24th, at 11am.  All are invited!

A huge thanks to Tony Sandkamp of the VVPA, Marc Wesson of Friends of Van Vorst Park, the City of Jersey City and other community leaders who have been a part of the planning process and helped facilitate this bridge’s reopening in time for summer!!

In a few weeks, there will be a  formal dedication ceremony, as the bridge will be named in honor of the late Ethel Pesin.  It will be called the Ethel Pesin Liberty Bridge.

Have a safe and fun memorial day and remember to vote on June 4th for the Primaries and for the City Council runoff elections on June 11th.

May 2013 VVPA Newsletter

13 May 2013, Posted by admin in Meeting Agendas, News You Can Use
  • Meeting Agenda:

In October representatives from Silverman-Building Neighborhoods presented plans for their newest addition in downtown, the Majestic II on the corner of Grove and Montgomery.  They will join us once again to present a a progress update and new renderings for the project.


This past Tuesday we voted in a new mayor–But as most of you know there will be runoffs for many council seats including Ward F which includes a portion of VVP and the At Large Candidates.
Last meeting we met a few of the Ward F candidates but didn’t have time to “informally” meet many of the At Large candidates.  The calls are out and we will see who will be able to come to our meeting to introduce themselves..SINCE THIS IS LAST MINUTE we will send out an updated list of who will be joining us on Tuesday morning. So please check your emails and let your neighbors know–
(Rolando Lavarro & Joyce Watterman confirmed so far!!)


Steve has been our Ward E Councilman since 2005 and if there was an award for most appearances at a VVPA meeting he would receive it!  Whenever an issue presented itself that our neighbors needed answers, he stopped by and offered his insight and help.  We congratulate Steve on all his hard work that he has done for us and wish him all the best as our new Mayor.  Our door is always open whenever he wants to stop by….


As we say goodbye to Mayor Healy, we would like to thank him for his service to our city and for all his hard work over the past 12 years.  We will never forget him serenading us at quite a few MeetBalls.  We hope he will find time to visit us and we wish him the best of luck in whatever his future holds.


Come celebrate another year of policy and community accomplishments with Bike JC at the 4th annual Jersey City Ward Tour, a sixteen-mile group bike ride through all six wards of Jersey City on June 2nd. The Tour starts and finishes at Exchange Place, leaving at 11 am. Registration is required and is free online at with a suggested donation of $5.
The festival at Tour’s End features great goods including food and beer (White Star Bar); live music (Rock-it Docket); nonprofit showcase; gold sprint races; photo booth and a bike rack design competition. Riders and non-riders alike are invited to Exchange Place from 1-5 pm on June 2nd.
Bike JC is a citizen-based advocacy organization that aims to make Jersey City streets welcoming for bicyclists, by promoting bike-friendly policies, including bike lanes; bicycle education; and traffic law enforcement. Riders must be 10 and up to participate and must wear helmets.
Join Nimbus Dance Works for its annual Jersey City Spring Season at the Barrow Mansion in Downtown Jersey City from May 30th-June 1st.  These intimate performances feature historic dance works, an international collaboration, and popular favorites from the company’s repertory.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Nimbus Dance Works in such an intimate performance! Use this link to purchase tickets!!

Our Farmers Market is up and running in VVP on Saturdays–be sure to check out our vendors and show your support so they keep coming back with the goodies.

Films in Van Vorst is scheduled to start on June 12th…we are still looking for sponsors as one of our main donors was not able to come through for us…
We offer advertising on our web page and our posters along with a generous plug on our film nights.  It’s a great way to give back to the community and for a reasonable price too!! We need help finding donors to keep free films in our park this summer!! Feel free to contact us if you’d like to donate or know of a local business who might be interested —

We are currently working on a new VVPA website courtesy of one of our generous and super talented neighbors–it’s going to be really great…will let you all know when it’s up and running–SO EXCITED!!!

VVPA Updates and Debates

01 May 2013, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

UPDATE:Bright Street Redevelopment Plan

Last week, the City Council tabled their vote on the amendments to the Bright Street Redevelopment Plan.  Thanks to all who came and got involved.  The Board and concerned neighbors are now arranging a meeting with City Planning to discuss the issues that we had with the project. We will keep you posted on the progress.


This Thursday, May 2nd – Last debate sponsored by the Downtown
Coalition of Neighborhood Associations and CivicJC of all certified mayoral candidates.
Starts at 7pm at School 4 -107 Bright St in DT. Journalist panel will consist of Derricke Dennis from CBS2 News, Terrence McDonald from Jersey Journal and E. Assata Wright from Jersey City Reporter.


We are looking to revamp our website and as creative and capable as our Board members are–we’d love to see if there is a professional in our neighborhood that might be able to spare some time and energy and help out our non-profit!  Email us at if you are interested!  Thanks!!

Our next scheduled meeting of the VVPA is Tuesday May 21st 7:30pm Barrow Mansion–agenda coming soon–Be well!

Updates and Debates!

01 May 2013, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

Thanks to all the candidates who joined us last night for our informal meet and greet.   We talked, we laughed, we learned, we ate and we drank!! Thanks to Ward E candidates Fletcher Gensamer, Dan Levin, Candice Osbourne, At-large Candidate Rolando Lavarro,  Ward F candidates Diane Coleman &  Chantel Snow and Mayoral candidate Steve Fulop for a great night.

If you were unable to make it to our meeting…. join the DCNA tomorrow night Thursday April 18th for a council debate right here in our Van Vorst Neighborhood.  There’s also a mayoral debate on May 2nd as well…so get out, learn about our candidates, be informed and then VOTE!!!


Ø  WARD E DEBATE – April 18, 2013 7:00pm MS4 107 Bright Street

Ø  WARD F DEBATE – April 18, 2013 8:00pm MS4 107 Bright Street

Ø  MAYORAL DEBATE – May 2, 2013 7:00pm MS4 107 Bright Street

April 12, 2013 (Jersey City, NJ) Non-profit community organization
CivicJC and the Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (DCNA)
will present three debates ahead of the May 14 Jersey City elections.
All candidates for Mayor and Council in Wards E and F have accepted
invitations to debate.   Questions will focus on issues concerning
downtown Jersey City residents as well as citywide issues.  All
residents are welcomed to attend.

Ward E and F Council debates will be moderated by Dr. Jonathan
Wharton, a Political Science professor at Stevens Institute of
Technology in Hoboken, NJ.  He is also president of the DCNA and
Historic Paulus Hook Association.

Mayoral debate will be moderated by a panel of reporters from local
news organizations asking questions along with members of the

About the organizations: CivicJC is a non-partisan community-based
initiative designed to promote a comprehensive and positive vision for
the future of Jersey City as a world class city. CivicJC provides
information and policy initiatives designed to make Jersey City an
exceptional place to live, work and visit. CivicJC concentrates on
efforts that will improve the transparency of decision-making of
Jersey City government.  The Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood
Associations (DCNA) is a non-partisan collection of neighborhood
associations united to work on common goals and issues affecting the
downtown Jersey City area, The DCNA includes the Harsimus Cove
Association, Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association, Van Vorst Park
Association and Historic Paulus Hook Association.

Just a quick FYI

It was brought to our attention the day of the Planning Board meeting last week that amendments are being proposed to the Bright Street Redevelopment Plan within the Van Vorst Park District.

The lots in question sit between Barrow & Grove in what used to be the old school parking lot and most recently had trailers on it that were being used by PS#3. The proposed building will be mixed use with 41 units (condos) above the first floor office space. A formal presentation has not been given, so the project specifics aren’t fully known. Some of the changes to the original plan are:

Adding mixed-use Professional Offices (including medical) on the ground floor to lots over 10,000 sf. 5 foot rear yard setback (usually 30 ft) steps back 20′ at 2nd floor 5 stories / 60′ building coverage 90% ( usually  75%) lot coverage 90% (usually 80%) Density 180 units per acre ( usually 110 units per acre) No parking provisions

There has been no other building like this in our historic Van Vorst Park Neighborhood.  The Van Vorst Park Association was not notified in time before the Planning Board meeting to adequately review the plans or changes and voice our opinion before it was voted on.  Board members are concerned with lack of parking in an already highly congested parking area, full lot coverage allowing no land for rain/water absorption/run off, no specific type of professional office space to be used, no rear yard setback (could be an issue for York Street neighbors).

An amendment  will be introduced at today’s city council meeting, April 10th, and is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday April 24th.  At the city council meeting on the 24th there will be an opportunity for public comment.  A site plan application is not scheduled to be filed until May at the very earliest.  Historic Commission and Planning Board hearings for the site plan are not yet scheduled.  The Redevelopment Agency and the designated developer have agreed to attend a VVPA meeting prior to any further board hearings. Architectural rendering of the redevelopment  is below.

We felt it was our responsibility to inform our neighbors of this newest development. If you have any thoughts or concerns feel free to email them to  And as always you are free to come to the city council meetings and speak on your own behalf.

Next VVPA meeting is next Tuesday April 16th–we are in the process of lining up Ward E & F and mayoral candidates for an informal meet and greet.  Stayed tuned–newsletter will be out this weekend with all the information.


Bright Street Redevelopment Update

22 Apr 2013, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

Bright Street Redevelopment Plan

We received numerous emails and calls regarding our last memo on the Redevelopment plan so members of the VVPA Board attended the City council meeting on April 10th to hear the first reading of the ordinance regarding the amendments to the Bright Street Redevelopment Plan.  Steve Fulop, our Ward E council representative, asked after seeing us in attendance, that we write to members of the council before their next council meeting about our concerns with the plan.  We are including a letter we drafted and sent below. Please take a moment and read the letter as it outlines the critically important changes to our Historic Van Vorst Park District that are proposed in the amendments to the Redevelopment plan.

If you are concerned or interested and want to have your voice heard, you are welcome to speak at the meeting this Wednesday April 24th 6pm at Council Chambers, City Hall. To do so, you must submit your name to the office of the city clerk to be included on the list.  The city clerk’s phone number is 201.547.5150.

If you have any further questions or concerns email us before Wednesday at


  • Meeting Agenda:
  • Informal Meet and Greet Your Candidates

Here we go!!

The VVPA enjoys these informal gatherings of our candidates..each guest gets a few minutes to speak and a few minutes to answer questions from our members.
All the mayoral candidates that could be reached were extended invitations and since the Van Vorst Park district is now in both Ward E & Ward F we are welcoming council candidates from both Wards.

Joining us on Tuesday:

For Council:
Fletcher Gensamer- Ward E
Dan Levin- Ward E
Candice Osborne-Ward E
Diane Coleman-Ward F
Chantel Snow-Ward F

For Mayor:
Steve Fulop

Egg Hunt in VVP
Thanks to Marc Wesson and the Friends of Van Vorst Park for a festive day of egg hunting, face painting, coffee and snacks!!  The VVPA Board Members and friends were there to help with the set up and stayed around to watch the little bunnies hopping to find their treasures.  The golden eggs were found but even without the golden egg–kids and adults had a great time!!

Bright Street Redevelopment Plan-

VVPA Board members attended the City Council meeting on Wednesday to hear the first reading of the ordinance adopting amendments to the Bright Street Redevelopment Plan.  Steve Fulop mentioned there might be issues with the amendments to the plan and asked that we send the council members, via email, our concerns.  The Board members will draft a letter and send it out next week. Thoughts, comments and questions can be sent to  Deadline Wednesday April 17th.

What’s going on:

Van Vorst Park Farmers Market! 
Thats right–summer must be right around the corner because the Farmers Market officially starts up again on April 20th!

Creative Grove is Back!!
Creative Grove on Grove Plaza is back in business !! Check out the festivities Fridays from 3-9pm!! We missed you UTA!!

Groove on Grove
Let’s get the summer started!! Groove on Grove is back and lining up great musical talent for the whole summer.  Their kickoff is May 1st with a Cinco De Mayo celebration–check out for all the information.

Cinco De Mayo
Ok so it’s actually Tres de Mayo but not to be missed is the annual “Cinco de Mayo Parade and All Night Fiesta” at 279 Grove Street 4-11:55pm.  Join SILVERMAN, the Merchant, Razza, and NJ Beer Co. in an all night celebration!
Pet Owner’s Day
Bring your Puppy or your Fluffy to City Hall Plaza on Sunday April 21st from 10-4 for the annual Pet Owner’s Day–

  • Meeting Agenda:
  • City Officials to discuss Future Flood Preparations

Last month, reps from FEMA told us to ask more questions of our city officials regarding infrastructure flooding issues and building code requirements as we repair and go forward. We reached out to the Mayors Office and at our request:
Jeff Wenger-Senior planner with City Planning, Doug Greenfield the supervising planner with the mayor’s office and Ray Meyer, a construction code official will discuss the initiatives the city is taking to address/mitigate flood concerns and to discuss what the city has done, what the plan is going forward and hopefully present us with their biannual report that the city supposedly files to FEMA.

  • Cake Lush

Greggy Soriano, the “Faboo” Cake designer extraordinaire from TLC’s The Cake Boss:The Next Great Baker will join us and present his plans to open a Bakery/Cafe at 437 Jersey Ave.  He will field questions and bring us a few samples of his delicious work.

NEXT MONTH: Meet and Greet the Candidates-
Mayors, Councilmen & women- Ward E, Ward F, At Large-Oh My!!
Who’s coming? Stay tuned!!

What’s going on

John Neu who last meeting presented his plans for a new development in Liberty Harbor North unexpectedly passed away on February 27th.  We are happy we were able to meet him and that he was able to share his plans with our neighborhood before passing on.  We send our condolences to his family and friends. You can read about his life and his accomplishments at:

Silverman Building Neighborhoods who presented in the Fall his plans for the New Majestic II has sent us an update.


Creative Grove is Back!!
Creative Grove on Grove Plaza will be back in business starting March 22nd!! Check out the festivities from 3-9pm!! We missed you UTA!!

Thirty Acres:
Kevin Pemoulie chef and owner of Thirty Acres is up for Food & Wines Best New chef!! You can vote for him online at:
Something new is coming to the historic Loew’s Jersey Theatre on March 22, 23 & 24 – STAGEfest 2013, a three-day festival of live drama, musicals, revues & dance by artists from throughout the region.  In addition to the performances, sponsor Leading Lady Costumes will be presenting a rare exhibit of historic costumes from stage and screen throughout the building.  Eighteen different productions, in theater, music and dance, will be performed multiple times over three days. Five locations in the building will be used in addition to the main stage. Light food and drink will also be provided by various vendors in the grand lobby.

Our very own JC Art House Productions will be presenting Women with a Pocketbook- a musical comedy!!  Check out:  for all the festival info.

February 2013 VVPA Meeting Minutes

24 Feb 2013, Posted by admin in Minutes

Our next meeting will be March 19th–hope to see you there!!All are welcome; snacks served!Email us with questions or ideas for upcoming meetings at

Meeting Minutes:

Representatives from FEMA came…   Seymour Smith of FEMA Region II presented and explained the Advisory Flood Maps developed by FEMA from data collected over the past couple of years not including Superstorm Sandy however.  These study maps are advisory only and have no regulatory or insurance implications. They shall be used to update the information on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) which are due out sometime in August when it will undergo a 12-18 month comment period before going into effect. The FIRM maps show each community’s flood hazards and is required for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The FIRM is used to determine who must buy flood insurance.     FEMA Region 2 website:   Link to  FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation Map   Bob Durrin, of FEMA Region 9, a  NFIP ( National Flood Insurance Program) Specialist also addressed our communities questions as to flooding issues that effect the Historic District and how the new rate maps will affect our insurance. He said these flood maps are informative but not regulatory. The new maps out in August will be the ones that will indicate whether or not you will be required to have flood insurance.  He was unsure if there are historic structures in the new flood maps how they would be impacted. Questions were asked regarding storm sewer flooding and he said  the City of Jersey city would need to apply for a 406 grant that would mitigate fixing the storm sewers.   He also spoke about a possible funding option called Increased Cost of Compliance, available to policy owners in high risk areas whose repairs would cost 50% or more of the pre-damaged market value. These funds can be used to reduce future flood damage, “FRED”   to Floodproof, Relocate, Elevate, or Demolish.   A link to the program is here:   FEMA website – flood insurance manual


Also at our meeting…

Developer John Neu presented his proposed project with his Business Partner and Architects. The project is located within the Liberty Harbor Redevelopment Plan. He will be going back to City Planning requesting amendments to the original zoning that will increase the proposed unit count from 677+/- to about a 1,000 units. A increase of 328 +/- units. These will all be rental units, mostly (1) bedroom. He will also be requesting increases to the allowable building height that range from 38 to 42 stories. There will be 3 phases of construction. The first phase of their plan would include a 40,000 square foot. supermarket, a 30,000 square foot community space (possibly a YMCA) and a high rise residential unit. The architects plan to make it a LEED certified building and they will come back for community input regarding aesthetics.
The developer Scott Seale for 100 Wayne Street presented his project with his Architect and Planner. The project was proposing 7 units for a new building on a currently empty lot. There was discussion about the project, but generally people seemed to like the proposed building elevation and aesthetic, but there were serious concerns over all the variances the project had associated with it, specifically the density. (4) units are allowed by zoning and the project proposed 7, plus renovation to the adjacent building that currently has 11 units. When asked if he had spoken to the Planning office about the project Scott replied that he had and the office was not in favor of the application as it is currently.  He is scheduled next to present before the Historic Preservation Commission.