The derelict property on the southeast corner of First and Jackson Streets will reportedly be knocked down, following an inspection of the property.
The building at 609 1st Street—a.k.a. Nardine’s, a.k.a. Pascale’s, a.k.a. Casella’s—has an interesting history to it…
In 1989, Martin “Mots” Casella was convicted of conspiring with Louis Anthony “Bobby” Manna and Richard “Bocci” DeSciscio to murder mafia boss John Gotti and his brother Gene. At the time, Bobby Manna was said to be the third-ranking member of the Genovese crime family, with the Gotti Brothers tied to the rival Gambino family. The plan was seemingly hatched at Casella’s restaurant, and allegedly involved a number of other Casella’s employees.
According to MafiaNJ.com, FBI Special Agent Robert Lenehan described Casella’s as “a safe haven, a secure stronghold where (Manna) could meet his criminal associates and direct his criminal operations on behalf of the Genovese family.”
After the FBI managed to plant a bug in the restaurant, 71-year old Mots Casella was sentenced to 80 years in prison. He died in 1992.
According to Lenehan, the restaurant was a “secure, virtually impregnable stronghold …. Nothing happened in Casella’s Restaurant without Marty’s knowledge; there were lookouts on the street and watchful eyes at the bar. Even certain bathrooms were off limits to patrons because they were used as secure meeting rooms for Bobby, Marty and their close associates. For years, Casella’s control and influence in the blocks surrounding Casella’s led FBI agents to conclude that the restaurant was virtually immune to electronic surveillance, our most valued investigative and prosecutive technique.”
In an interesting Hoboken footnote, the municipal liquor authority continued to renew Casella’s bar license—even after Mots was sent away. Eventually his wife changed the name to Pascale’s, to avoid “scrutiny.”
The building was eventually sold and ran as Nardine’s, but code violations soon kept it dark. Following a fire in 2012 which displaced tenants in the apartments above the restaurant, the City of Hoboken found a renewed interest in the property—seeking to demolish it for a park.
“Over the years the property located at 609 1st Street has become an eyesore and a hazard to our community,” said Hoboken 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos. “In January 2019 the City Council approved a contract to engineering firm Remington & Vernick to conduct an inspection of the property… After inspecting the property, R&V deemed it to be unsafe and in danger of collapse in some portions.”
Ramos adds, “Hoboken will be sending out a Request for Proposals to demolish the property and the demolition costs have already been appropriated in our 2019 budget. We are hoping to recoup the demolition costs but in any event, this building will be coming down.”
No word on how deep they’re going to dig on that property—who knows what they’ll find…
(H/T: Christine von Royce)