2007 Sponsors

03 Jun 2008, Posted by admin in Films in VVP, Sponsors

We would like to thank all of our sponsors whose generous contributions made the 3rd Season of Films in Van Vorst Possible.

Bar Majestic

City Of Jersey City

Del Forno Real Estate

Duck Duck Goose

Marco & Pepe

The Merchant

The Van Vorst Park Association

February 2008 VVPA Meeting Minutes

19 Feb 2008, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA Minutes for February 19, 2008

Police report

No police report this month due to reporting officer’s attendance at Mayor Healy’s State of the City address occurring at the same time.

Jade Celatano, representative, Neighborhood Improvement Division (NID)

This organization addresses neighborhood problems; it is the office of the mayor’s liaison. Problems such as noise, garbage and poorly-placed dog piles can be addressed through this organization.

Questions from attendees:

1. What is the city’s position on litter? For example, is anything being done, or could be done, to reduce the litter blowing around the streets? Could more trashcans be added to the streets to help prevent litter?

The city provides street cleaning. Trashcans have had to be removed due to vandalizing, theft, etc. The organization advocates neighbor involvement to help curb the problem.

Suggestion from members: Contact schools to educate students about litter; have a city-sponsored poster contest to develop excitement among youngsters regarding litter prevention; install London-style trashcans where medal rims with clear plastic bags suspended from them are affixed to telephone poles, etc.

Comment from member: Situation is particularly bad at Palisade Avenue. Neighbors must be responsible for keeping things neat and clean too.

2. Are there new garbage collection laws?

The summer of 2007 marked changes in trash collection. Collection varies by neighborhood. City-wide, trash shouldn’t be put curbside prior to 7pm. For more details, contact the Incinerator Authority.

Mariah Silva, secretary VVPA, old business report

Last month’s meeting featured the following speakers: Cpt. McDonough of the East

District, Margaret O’Gorman of the NJ Wildlife Conservancy Project, Peter Brennan Councilman at Large for the JC City Council and Alice Deupree the architect for a new residence at corner of Wayne and Barrow. For more information, see January, 2008 VVPA minutes.

Jeffrey Furin, Treasurer’s report

The VVPA balance as of 1/8/08 is roughly $4,337. The VVPA just received 501(c)(3) status marking it officially a non-profit organization.

New members

The VVPA welcomes two new members.

Ron Russell, architect for 141 Bright Street (new bar/restaurant)

Mr. Russell was joined by Charles Harrington, attorney and Tom Parisi, property owner. They are proposing restoring the existing 2-story building located at the corner of Bright and Monmouth Streets, tearing down and rebuilding to the same height the adjoining 1story building on Monmouth and erecting a new 3-story building in the currently vacant lot between the existing building and the school (years back, there had been a 4-story residence in this place). Commercial space for a restaurant would span the ground floor of all 3 structures, the 2nd story of the corner building would be reserved for restaurant dining, the 3-story structure would house a private dining room for the restaurant. The remaining space in the 3-story structure would house a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom residence with a large living/dining area. A high parapet would be installed on the roof to cover mechanical equipment blocking sight and sound to the street level. Cornices, brickwork and windows would be restored. Signage for the restaurant would be located on the Monmouth Street cornice. A covered entrance would also be built out on the Monmouth St. side eliminating the current corner entrance.

Questions from attendees:

1. What about parking?

Inspired by the Lighthorse Tavern in Paulus Hook; intended to be a neighborhood place therefore not much parking is required. There will be no parking provided; simply street parking.

2. What is the current building status? At what point in construction process? The building is currently vacant. Right now getting community feedback on plans. Seeking historical and variance approval then make construction plans.

Pending receiving approval, want to start construction immediately.

3. What are the variances you’re seeking?

Expansion of non-conforming; lot and building coverage.

4. Will there be outdoor seating?

Yes, along Monmouth from entrance to stairs of residence and along Bright to end of property. Also intend on doing some planting and general beautifying.

5. Would you consider putting equipment on roof up higher?

Can’t do this on building #1 as it’s in the JC Downtown Historic district, can’t do it on building #3 because the roof is too high to get things there, on building #2 there will be a 4 foot parapet with diffusers on either side to stop sound.

6. What kind of equipment? HVAC, exhaust equipment.

7. Where is trash and delivery?

There is a basement hatch on Bright Street, a basement exit on Monmouth Street and a crawlspace in basement of building #3.

8. Will deliveries take away from street parking? There will be no public spaces taken.

9. Are you keeping the windows? Replacing current tinted windows with clear.

10. What is the name of the establishment? The Brightside or Tommy’s Brightside 11. Will there be a roof deck?

Not for commercial use; just for residents of building #3.

12. What is the total seating?

This will be based on building code. There are 2000 square feet on the ground level and 500 square feet on 2nd floor. Hopefully, there will be at least 100 seats.

Any additional questions or comments can be sent to the VVPA email ( who will then forward them on to the architect. Plans can be found on the VVPA website.

Discussion: Jersey Ave. extension proposal, led by Tony Sandkamp, pres. VVPA Recent study by Jersey City (can be found on VVPA website) to relieve downtown JC traffic congestion. One solution is to extend Jersey Avenue to link up with Audrey Zapp Drive in Liberty State Park adding a four-lane vehicular bridge in the process. There has been much opposition from downtown organizations. The VVPA has been asked to take a formal position.

One resident of Jersey Ave.: As the traffic is now, can’t imagine more traffic flowing directly into this part of town. It’s already bumper-to-bumper.

This would alleviate heavy traffic in Bergen-Lafayette section coming off exit 14B of the Turnpike.

There are obvious neighborhood concerns: traffic would cross traffic from a major hospital (and its emergency vehicles) and a large school (putting school children’s safety at risk).

(Discussion was not fully concluded, although a vote was taken. Tony intended to reflect in a letter that more information was needed for the VVPA to take a stronger stand, but after the group discussion, the vote was: 2 in support of the proposal, 7 against, 3 abstaining.)

Announcements from members

The Grace Seniors (at Grace Van Vorst Episcopal Church, 2nd & Erie Streets) has exercise classes everyday from 10am to 2pm. Come for aerobics, weights, yoga and belly dancing.

Volunteer Saturday mornings at breakfasts for the needy.

Line Dancing at Grace Van Vorst – beginning Friday, February 1 from 6-8pm, $7/adult, kids under 16 free; contact Joyce Davison: 201-659-2211/201-451-5107,; ALL WELCOME The church always welcomes donations.

January 2008 VVPA Meeting Minutes

15 Jan 2008, Posted by admin in Minutes

VVPA Minutes for January 15, 2008

Treasurer’s report No report this month.

Police report

Accompanied by patrol sergeant Tim O’Brien, East District Captain Brian McDonagh reported:

1. creation of new JCPD newsletter called “Jersey City Watch” which is distributed at community meetings and can be found online at

2. success of JCPD Christmas party with about 1500 children in attendance and 2000 toys distributed [Laura Fraschilla added thanks to Pershing for their generous contribution via the VVPA]

3. drop in citywide crime in 2007 by 15 to 20%

4. drop in East District car theft from 272 in ’06 to 199 in ’07

5. two arrests from rash of violent muggings in June, 2007; 16-year-old actor will be tried as adult

6. downtown “tight unit” has been set up; 1-2 officers patrol on bike or scooter

7. East District Community ComStat meeting occurs on 4th Tuesday each month, 7:00 pm at Public School 4 on Grand Street at Varick; Police Chief Comey and the detective commander discuss cases pending and closed and invite the public to work together to mitigate and eliminate problems; all are encouraged to attend

Questions from attendees:

1. Explain the mugging at Carry Drug on Jersey & Bright Streets. Man carrying briefcase of money was held at knife point and mugged; believed to be cased out and not a random act.

2. What is the update with security cameras throughout the city? JC has the largest CCTV system in the state. There are 90 cameras linked into Central Avenue headquarters. Most cameras are along the waterfront; these are from a grant from the federal government through Homeland Security. More cameras are proposed for Jersey and Newark Avenues and Grove and Grand Streets.

3. Have the police gotten new radios recently?

Yes, state of the art. A new Communications Center is being built to house and link communication of all emergency services.

4. What is the JCPD non-emergency number?

201-547-5477; also there is an updated email address: Either of these is used to communicate non-urgent safety concerns.

Margaret O’Gorman, executive director, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ The ten-year-old foundation supports rare and imperiled wildlife in New Jersey. There are over 300 species of birds and over 70 species of reptiles in NJ; over 1000 species of wildlife.

NJ is unique for the following reasons:

1. at a bio/geographical crossroads – southern-most state some northern species can survive in; northern-most for some southern species

2. huge diversity of habitat – coastal, pinelands, highlands, beaches, forests, cities, farmlands, wetlands

3. on the Northeast Flyway for migratory birds – more birds pass by Cape May Point than any other point in the USA

The peregrine falcon is an endangered species of NJ. This bird is a raptor that mates for life. The most notable identifying physical characteristics are its “sideburns” and its long wings. It survives in all environments except rainforests. In cities, the birds feed on pigeons. In the 1950s, there were no peregrine falcons whatsoever east of the Mississippi. Through conservation efforts, the number of pairs in NJ currently is 18.

The foundation has installed a nesting box for a pair of peregrine falcons at 101 Hudson Street, Jersey City. This location is closely monitored by two cameras. They constantly capture the birds and the nest from the laying of eggs (usually in March) through fledging, 8 weeks after birth when the newborn birds leave the nest. The public is invited to tune in through the foundation’s website: Support for the foundation in appreciated: PO Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625. Margaret welcomes contact through her email: or phone: 609-292-1276.

A few words from VVPA President Tony Sandkamp

Thank you to Dan Webber, VVPA First VP for his efforts in organizing the January senior outreach night featuring food and entertainment. Thanks, also, to the Ressurection Parish for donating the school hall for the event.

Thank you to Pershing for their contributions to the JCPD toy drive and to Laura Fraschilla for her efforts in organizing that contribution.

Peter Brennan, Jersey City Municipal Councilman at Large

Brief introduction and thank you to Captain McDonagh for hard work and to Chief Comey for lowering crime numbers in the South District. July saw 22 new recruits graduate from the Police Academy. July, 2008 should have over 50 grads. Chief Comey would like to graduate over 100 recruits in upcoming years to re-supply the force after many anticipated retirements.

Questions from attendees:

1. What are JC’s biggest challenges?

Crime (JCPD is doing great job, but crime is not ever going away entirely; new JCPD group formed specifically to combat gang activity) and

managing the exploding development (the West Side is being heavily re- developed).

2. What is JC doing to contend with the increasing street congestions as well as increased ridership on the PATH?

Mayor and county executive just met with dept. of transportation to increase bus service in JC. However, regular bus ridership is down due to jitney buses which are generally considered to be problematic due to difficulty in regulating. JCPD does what they can to manage the menacing traffic behaviors by the jitneys (stopping randomly, not pulling to the curb). The Light Rail service is also heavily used with daily passengers up to 40,000.

[from Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop: the PATH is expanding service to 10 cars over next couple of years.]

3. Do you have any updates about the Power House?

JC officials want the Port Authority to move the transformers.

4. What about the Toll Brothers project?

The proposed building may go up to 40 stories. There is a planning board hearing regarding this tomorrow evening.

5. {One member of the VVPA calls on Councilman Brennan to be instrumental in requiring a good design of both the building and surrounding grounds from Toll Brothers. Asks him and fellow city officials to use good forethought and call in official and community organizations for their input in design. Member cited example of construction of PS4, a school between Grand and Bright Streets at

Monmouth Street. Located across the street from a major hospital and a shopping center, it’s no wonder emergency vehicles have trouble getting through traffic. This was not a well-thought-out plan. Please don’t make similar mistakes through oversights in planning the Power House Arts District neighborhood.

[Councilman Fulop adds that Toll Brothers has invited input from the


6. What is your position on the Sixth Street Embankment? This is a battle that’s been dragging on for years and it’s always in and out of litigation. Councilman Brennan grew up 2 blocks from the embankment and it was always an eyesore. Doesn’t want the Light Rail going in but there are many questions surrounding what conversion to a park would cost the city. The acquisition of land alone is at least $3 million but could be as high as $10-20 million. Then the construction of a park could be another $10-20 million. JC has no money earmarked for this project as it has for Van Vorst Park in the past and Hamilton Park currently. The city could get tax revenue from a developer. However, Councilman Brennan has no official position on this.

7. How is the city’s budget?

In the next couple of weeks the budget will be released. JC is inheriting $45-50 million of debt from previous mayors.

Councilman Brennan welcomes communication from the community through his office (P: 201-547-5204, F: 201-547-4678, email:

Alice Deupree, architect for 307 Barrow Street, LLC

Ms. Deupree was joined by Charles Harrington, attorney and Joe Gianforte both from the developing company for a proposed 12 unit residential structure with parking at the corner of Wayne and Barrow Streets. This lot is the downtown JC historic district and is oversized at 75 x 100 feet. Developers are seeking variances for the following areas:

1. multi-family dwelling (construction of this building will not, however, increase population density)

2. height of building to match surrounding structures (intended to look like continuous townhouse from street)

3. lot coverage (86%)

4. rear yard

The primary fa├žade will be on Wayne Street with entrance for the parking on Barrow St. It will have four 2-bedroom units over 3 floors; units will have communal terraces at the back.

There have been on soil tests as of yet. Developer intends to do screw pilings to minimize inconvenience to neighbors. Will take at least one year to build.

Announcements from members

Line Dancing at Grace Van Vorst – beginning Friday, February 1 from 6-8pm, $7/adult, kids under 16 free; contact Joyce Davison: 201-659-2211/201-451-5107,; ALL WELCOME


(click on link above for a fun short scene from tonite’s movie!)

Tonight’s film “Tootsie” was directed by Sidney Pollack. In 1983 it was nominated for 9 Academy Awards. In 1998 the AFI included it in it’s list of the 100 best films ever made. Come and see why it’s on the fast track to becoming a classic. If you’re going to sweat, you might as well sweat under the stars, laughing and watching a great movie!

Remember–bring a friend & bring a chair–movie starts at sun down (around 8-8:30).


DREAMGIRLS directed by Bill Condon

Tonite’s film is a musical masterpiece….crowds gave it standing ovations in movie theaters….Come hear music fill Van Vorst Park. We start around 8:15, when darkness falls!!! Bring a chair, bring your dinner, bring a friend and ENJOY!!

September 2007 Newsletter

10 Jul 2007, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

Barrow Mansion

83 Wayne Street, Jersey City



We meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Everyone is welcome!

September Meeting Agenda

Tuesday September 18th, 2007, 7:30pm

Barrow Mansion

Police Report

Representatives of the East District will give their monthly report

Elizabeth Lorenzo

The Government and Community Relations representative from the Liberty Science Center will give us an overview of the all new Liberty Science Center. It’s taken 10 years of planning and nearly two years of expansion and renewal to bring you the reinvented Liberty Science Center. Learn about new exhibits, the new fall schedule, and more.

Steve Fulop

Our Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop will update us on Restaurant Row Redevelopment

Entertainment & Noise Ordinance and other initiatives


Sat. September 22 — Caven Point Bird Walk at Liberty State Park Come explore Caven Point beach and the diversity of birds and other wildlife species on a guided tour. Meet at Liberty State Park Interpretive Center on Freedom Way. For more information: 201-915-3409, Free, pre-registration required. 9AM -11AM.

Fri. October 5 – 2007 Jersey City Artists Studio Tour Kick-off Celebration Canco Lofts, 50 Dey Street, For more information visit 6PM – 10PM

Sat. & Sun. October 6 & & – 2007 Jersey City Artists Studio Featuring hundreds of artists, studios, galleries, performances and exhibitions. Free Tour Guides available at tents at Grove and Journal Square PATH Stations. For more information visit 12PM – 6PM

Sat. October 18 — Embankment Preservation Coalition Celebration The Coalition invites its members, supporters, and the general public to join in a Celebration. An August ruling by the STB gives city, county, and state governments a second chance to acquire the Embankment on reasonable terms. This win is an inspiring example of citizen collaboration. The event will include children’s activities, music, refreshments, and an Embankment tour highlighting gardens that back up to the Embankment. Resurrection School Gymnasium (Holy Rosary Church Complex), 189 Brunswick St at Sixth St. 12PM – 4PM,

Van Vorst Park Association Newsletter September 2007

October 2007 Newsletter

10 Jul 2007, Posted by admin in News You Can Use

Barrow Mansion

83 Wayne Street, Jersey City



We meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Everyone is welcome!

October Meeting Agenda

Tuesday October 16th, 2007, 7:30pm

Barrow Mansion

Police Report

Representatives of the East District will give their monthly report

Steve Sanders, Diane Kaese and Kevin Kilbane

Members of the Downtown Construction Committee will present the DPA rules and the construction committee guidelines for coordination of construction projects in Downtown Jersey City. There have been numerous incidences of dangerous construction conditions affecting our neighborhood recently including fires, falling debris, traffic management and other concerns. Learn more about this committee’s current and future efforts.

Pattie Giordan or Colin Egan

Friends of the Loews Theater will give us an update on the theaters’ current and planned renovations, events and happenings.

Van Vorst Park Association Board of Directors Elections


Sat. October 20 — Make it Spoooky! Family Project Day at Jersey City Museum –Enjoy a family afternoon celebrating the season of creepiness! Jersey City Museum opens its doors for a Halloween inspired bash with all the fun you would expect. Make creepy costume crafts in the classrooms and use them in a dance workshop for families in the atrium. Take a scary tour of our exhibitions. Fun for the whole family! FREE

Sun. Oct 21 – “Bark in the Park” — The Liberty Humane Society’s 4th annual Dog Walk and Fair! “Bark in the Park” will be lots of fun for pets and people too! Please join us for an afternoon of fun and games whilst raising money and awareness for the Liberty Humane Society. Liberty State Park 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Fri. & Sat. October 26th – 27th Spend Halloween with Boris Karloff and the Loews Theater — Friday Double Feature : “The Black Cat” at 7:45 PM followed by “The Old Dark House” at 9:10 PM – This is the first known screening of the “Old Dark House” in New Jersey since the film’s premiere 75 years ago. Admission for BOTH films is $9 for adults, $6 for seniors, children under 12, and students with ID. Saturday “The Mummy” at 3:30PM; “Frankenstein” at 7PM; “The Bride of Frankenstein at 8:45PM. Each screening is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors & children 12 years old and younger. Combo discounts are available for multiple screenings.

Van Vorst Park Association Newsletter October 2007