by Jack Silbert
It’s certainly quite a year for Hoboken anniversaries: Sinatra’s 100th birthday, our Public Library’s 125 years in operation, and on Thursday, October 22 at the Elks Club, the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) will celebrate a quarter century of grass-roots activism. The group originally formed to fight the city’s development plan for the south waterfront, including a 33-story office tower on Pier A. Thanks to their volunteer efforts, the 1990 city referendum was defeated. But the crew didn’t stop there; FBW’s tireless work and planning directly led to the waterfront parks and walkway that we enjoy today.
All are invited to attend the “Connect the Waterfront” anniversary party, which will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Advance online tickets are $75, or will be available at the door for $85. Admission includes an open bar and “little Latin dishes” from Zafra Kitchens. Music will be provided by local favorites Emily and the Ideals. (Lead singer Emily Turonis is the daughter of Hoboken’s own Gene D. Plumber, and befitting the child of a plumber, she has great pipes.)
Also at the event, FBW will present its third-annual Riparian Award. (Impress your friends: “Riparian” means “relating to the banks of a river.”) This year’s honorees are developers Daniel Gans and George Vallone of the Hoboken Brownstone Co. Back in 2001, FBW worked behind the scenes with Gans and Vallone, leading to the developers donating land for the creation of Maxwell Place Park. “What they did was truly unique, donating 4 acres of a 14-acre site for a public park,” says FBW co-founder and executive director Ron Hine. “You won’t find any another development along New Jersey’s Hudson River ‘gold coast’ done like this.”
So on October 22, come eat, drink, and dance the night away to celebrate FBW’s past, present, and future. “To be successful, you really have to stick with it over the long haul, and that’s what we’ve done,” Hine says. “We’ve been willing to keep plugging away through thick and thin. Hopefully, we will ultimately reach our goal — we’re not there yet — to complete the concept we proposed in 1990 of a continuous waterfront park.”