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Controversy is raging among Hoboken residents who have no town pool and want to use the state-funded facility a mile away (updated).|Updated Tue, Jun 20, 2023 at 6:35 pm ETHOBOKEN, NJ — Will Weehawken offer day passes to all New Jersey residents for their new pool complex on the waterfront? The state Department of Environmental protection said this week that they need to provide the option.After Hoboken residents ...
|Updated Tue, Jun 20, 2023 at 6:35 pm ET
HOBOKEN, NJ — Will Weehawken offer day passes to all New Jersey residents for their new pool complex on the waterfront? The state Department of Environmental protection said this week that they need to provide the option.
After Hoboken residents fought for months last summer to have access to the new, partly-state funded Weehawken complex a mile away from their town, they and others in New Jersey were finally allowed in at the end of last summer, as well as this June.
But beginning June 23, season passes are required for entry to the Weehawken pool complex starting at $200 for the summer — and that's still running afoul of New Jersey rules, the state said this week.
Dozens of Hoboken residents have taken to social media in recent months to ask about access to the sparkling new Weehawken complex, as officials in Hoboken — located a mile from the pool on the waterfront — have promised for decades to build a public pool for residents, without delivering.
And even Weehawken residents said they were frustrated with the lack of information, with some starting a petition.
The city of Hoboken is the only municipality contiguous to Weehawken that lacks a public pool for its residents.
Over Memorial Day, 308 of the 906 people who used the new pool that day were Hoboken residents, Mayor Richard Turner recently told NJ.com.
During the summer of 2022, Hoboken residents kept asking for access to the complex, and were finally granted permission to visit the pool in mornings in August.
Weehawken Town Administrator Gio Ahmad told Patch last month that for summer 2023, the pool would be open to all New Jersey residents for free through June 23. But the town's subsequent announcement of a season pass-only system received criticism from some Hoboken residents as well as some in Weehawken.
Weehawken residents can use the pool for the season starting at $100 per adult, and kids under 18 are free. For Hoboken residents, the fee is $200 per adult. The fees are consistent with DEP rules about fees for residents and out-of-towners.
Weehawken's Recreation Department also offers swim lessons for children in their town in order to promote water safety, via a low-cost camp in partnership with the North Jersey YMCA.
The town also has contracted with the Weehawken Swim Association (Weehawkenswim.org) to offer lessons for residents of the town and contiguous towns at the pool.
Patch has reached out to Hoboken City Hall over the last six weeks to see if local officials have advocated for more pool access this year.
On Tuesday, city spokesperson Marilyn Baer said, "The administration has reached out to Weehawken to ensure residents have access to the pool and will continue to advocate on behalf of residents. The City continues to partner with Stevens Institute if Technology to ensure residents can access their pool year-round through several membership options."
Residents in Hoboken have long expressed frustrations, through several Hoboken mayoral administrations, with repeated promises and failures to build a pool or provide pool access. The city has floated future development plans that may include a pool in 2020, 2021, and again just last month.
The city's Recreation Division was given access to the Hoboken High School pool by the public school district last year — for all families, not just in the public schools — and the city offered it to residents with limited hours.
'Today I Was Turned Away'
Some area residents have suggested that it's dangerous for a town to not promote water safety to families in an affordable way.
"Today I was turned away from entering a public pool in Weehawken New Jersey," wrote a Facebook user on Sunday. (The Weehawken pool has had long lines on recent weekends.) "Although it's understandable to keep some restrictions on who uses this public facility, it got me to realize how few of these public pools exist ... failure to swim causes numerous casualties especially in young children. Public investments in pools may be more useful than building another mall or wholefoods."
A local mom has begun a petition for Hoboken to find ways to have affordable swim lessons for local kids and plan a pool as a stand-alone project, rather than part of a large development. She has garnered more than 600 signatures so far.
She wrote, "As two educators from NJ noted in a NJ.com op-ed recently, urban areas need their own community pools and low-cost swimming lessons to save lives. Weehawken now has a fantastic pool complex and offers low-cost lessons."
City Council candidate Ian Rintel has suggested a Hoboken shuttle to take residents to free Hudson County pools further away, such as the pools in Union City, which are open to all county residents. He said recently that he has not heard from any officials yet in response to his proposal.
"The rates for the Weehawken pool and the fact that there is no daily option exclude those of less means, those who do not live near the pool, and those who are only interested in occasional pool use," he said, about the latest developments.
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Last year, Weehawken didn't offer its Green Acres-funded pool to other towns until August. Where can Hoboken swimmers go in summer 2023?Patch Staff|Updated Thu, May 25, 2023 at 10:30 pm ETHOBOKEN, NJ — As the city of Hoboken continues discussing ideas for a pool some time in the future — and as temps get hotter — a question remains: What's it doing now?[UPDATE: ...
|Updated Thu, May 25, 2023 at 10:30 pm ET
HOBOKEN, NJ — As the city of Hoboken continues discussing ideas for a pool some time in the future — and as temps get hotter — a question remains: What's it doing now?
A Hoboken mom has started a petition, which has garnered more than 400 signatures, asking the city to move forward with a pool project now, rather than waiting several years for a major development complex to include it.
Weehawken has not yet revealed which hours it will open its new pool complex to its own residents for summer 2023 — nor the hours for towns including Hoboken. But Weehawken is required to allow all New Jersey residents to use their new complex because it was built with state Green Acres funding.
A controversy erupted last year after a Hoboken dad began asking when the pool would open to residents of other towns. The state demanded that Weehawken open it to others, but the town delayed doing so until August.
As for this year, "My kids still ask me when we are going to the Weehawken pool," said father Andrew Strobel last week. "I haven't heard anything further about access. Would be good to get ahead of it as summer is fast approaching. NJDEP has rules governing reasonable access but enforcement is slow."
Of all the towns close to Weehawken's new waterfront pool complex, only Hoboken lacks its own pool.
Patch reached out to Weehawken Town Administrator Gio Ahmad this week regarding summer 2023, and will update this story when he responds. (Here is 2022 pool information.)
So what else will Hoboken offer this summer?
Hoboken residents have been promised a pool for more than two decades. One local mom of small children started a petition saying she was tired of the city counting on a massive development to include a pool.
Samantha, who asked that her name not be used, suggested that the city start work on a pool as a standalone project, and also offer low-cost swim lessons as many nearby towns have done to keep children safe.
Samantha said, "It's my feeling that 800 Monroe should be significantly off the ground, both for the environmental cap and for ease of construction. They are already saying it's going to be so expensive to set it on a certain foundation. My thought is, if this pool were floor two of a high rise, just without a roof atop it, would this really be so costly and problematic to construct? ... This is is why I say, build it a few stories up, but I am not an engineer."
She said it would be wise to at least get started on a standalone pool.
"People definitely want lessons," she noted. "We also need more than one pool. But start somewhere. An indoor option would be great, perhaps built underneath so lessons could take place year round."
Samantha's petition had gathered 407 signatures as of Thursday.
The petition notes that last year, two New Jersey-based planning experts said that it's important for cities to have a pool so that children in urban areas can learn water safety without spending a lot of money.
In their piece in NJ.com, Rutgers Associate Professor Khadijah Costley White and urban planner Devyani Guha wrote that a municipal pool is a way for "children to learn a life-saving skill and for children of all races and ethnicities to have fun together."
They cited the 2020 drowning death of a Maplewood high school senior who had no pool to learn in, as the pool that normally offered lessons had been shut down.
For the coming summer, Maplewood is offering lessons at $50 per child. Weehawken has had similar rates.
So far, Hoboken has announced two 2023 summer recreation programs starting in June/July for kids, but hasn't listed information about pool hours or swim programs.
Bhalla noted the need for a pool six years ago in his recreation plan when he ran for mayor, and floated other ideas for using local space:
A new recreation plan will also include exploring more community space in the acre of land adjacent to our new Northwest Park land, as well as a potential partnership with the former YMCA at 13th and Washington Streets to rehabilitate that facility. Together, new multi-service space would allow for amenities such as additional gym space, a multi-sport indoor turf field, a renovated senior center, and two popular amenities that I am strongly in favor of — a community pool and indoor ice skating rink. Additional ideas I've heard proposed by residents that I'd like to explore include a new teen center, an additional Hoboken Library branch, dance studio, renovated meeting space, and utilization of the roofs of new City facilities to include cost-effective activities. With more recreational space, it is my vision that Hoboken can finally host its own summer camp for kids. As someone with two young children, I know how important having an affordable and local option for children during the summer months is for parents. Like you, I'm eager for residents of all ages to enjoy access to more multi-user recreational space while we continue on the fiscally responsible path we've taken over the past eight years.
Other Pools Available In Summer
Both Union City and Jersey City offer pools that Hoboken residents can use, although Jersey City's pools require a fee.
Union City's pools are free and offer a wide range of delights for children.
There's a kiddie pool/music park for toddlers on Park Avenue, near the Weehawken border. The town also has a creative mini-pool complex with small waterslides on 33rd Street, and an Olympic-sized pool (with splash pad for kids) up the 14th Street Viaduct on the Palisade cliffs. See Union City's offerings here. Still, those options aren't as walkable as pools in Hoboken and Weehawken.
"Advocacy for Hobokenites to gain access to Weehawken's facility, while much appreciated, pulls focus from addressing our core need for a pool," Samantha said. "Efforts to facilitate the use of our local university and public high school pools are helpful, but they can't compare with a free, outdoor, low-cost option for use by all residents — one that would also allow for low-cost/free Recreation Department lessons to teach crucial water safety. Further, the school district has many other pressing priorities."
Hoboken reached out to City Hall on Wednesday and will update this story when more information is received.
What would you like to see in terms of pool access and public swim and summer options for Hoboken residents? Comment below or here.
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An upscale culinary experience dubbed Blu on the Hudson is set to launch in Weehawken along the Hudson River waterfront. The restaurant has been years in the making and will finally be serving its first customers.Jersey Digs reported on Blu Ale House’s impending Weehawken project way back in 2019. The move was ...
An upscale culinary experience dubbed Blu on the Hudson is set to launch in Weehawken along the Hudson River waterfront. The restaurant has been years in the making and will finally be serving its first customers.
Jersey Digs reported on Blu Ale House’s impending Weehawken project way back in 2019. The move was confirmed via construction permits just months later and four years and a global pandemic later, the group is set to launch Blu on the Hudson on April 3.
The suburban chain, which runs restaurants out of Woodbridge, Riverdale, and West Nyack, is shooting for the stars with their Weehawken venture. Offering stunning views of the Hudson River at 1200 Harbor Boulevard, the space looks to put seafood forward accented by a top-flight steak program, homemade pasta, and a sushi lounge.
The 30,000 square foot concept was created by Blu Hospitality Group and the sprawling interior boasts a cozy lounge with a large fireplace that segues into a spacious dining room. Centering the room is a rectangular white bar with an array of dining alcoves sporting green tropical-inspired walls.
The menu at Blu on the Hudson is served up by Executive Chef Juan Carlos Ortega, who formerly ran the kitchens at New York City venues Blue Water Grill and Catch Steak. A variety of influences from the Mediterranean and beyond are included on the menu, which includes land and sea highlights like chicken served piccata style with baby spinach or a whole Branzino for two.
Blu on the Hudson’s steak program highlights Midwest Prime Steaks and Wagyu cuts that include a 16-ounce Delmonico and a 40oz Wagyu Tomahawk or 32oz Prime Porterhouse. The menu also includes homemade pasta dishes like Gemelli with a braised veal shank or hand-rolled gnocchi in a spicy vodka sauce with local ricotta.
Separated from the main space by sliding glass doors is Blu Sushi Bar, which serves sushi as well as izakaya-inspired cuisine. The concept is meant to be more casual and is marked by red wallpaper depicting cherry blossoms, natural wood tables, and an elegant marble sushi bar.
The beverage program at Blu on the Hudson comes courtesy Jeremy Le Blanche, who has vast experience in London venues like The Gibson and German Gymnasium. A robust selection of wines by the glass that are displayed in the restaurant’s wine wall round out the experience.
Blu on the Hudson will also be launching a rooftop event space down the line and reservations are currently being taken through their website. They can be followed on Instagram at the handle @bluonthehudson.
Openings:Blu on the Hudson, WeehawkenDinner at the new Blu on the Hudson includes a view of the New York City skyline. The seafood-forward menu boasts chilled Maine lobster, haute caviar and tuna crudo, as well as steak and homemade pastas. Off the dining room, try out Blu Sushi Bar, serving a variety of classic rolls in addition to specialties like the Dancing Dragon (barbecue eel, tempura shrimp, cucumber and ...
Dinner at the new Blu on the Hudson includes a view of the New York City skyline. The seafood-forward menu boasts chilled Maine lobster, haute caviar and tuna crudo, as well as steak and homemade pastas. Off the dining room, try out Blu Sushi Bar, serving a variety of classic rolls in addition to specialties like the Dancing Dragon (barbecue eel, tempura shrimp, cucumber and red tobiko). A rooftop space for events is slated to open soon. 1200 Harbor Boulevard, Weehawken; 201-636-1200
A brand-new Peruvian restaurant has opened up inside the American Dream Mall. The menu features popular Peruvian dishes like tallarines limeño, arroz con chancho and tacu beef saltado. Appetizers and sides include chicharron sliders, cheese-stuffed yuca fritters and fried plantains. Finish your meal with one of the many desserts, such as tres leches or picarones. (Want more Peruvian food? Head to Paterson.) 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford; 551-777-8020
One of our favorite NJ restaurant towns, Morristown recently welcomed a new pizzeria. Enzo, a family-owned eatery that opened its first location in Montclair, has to-go pizza up front and a sit-down restaurant in the back. The menu includes sandwiches, wraps and salads. Open for lunch and dinner, Enzo also offers a variety of pizzas, such as the chicken Romano, pasta vodka and Enzo Special, made with mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, peppers and onions. 5 Elm Street, Morristown; 973-993-6363
BOSTON (AP) — A New Jersey lawyer already charged in connection with a series of sexual assaults in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood about 15 years ago pleaded not guilty on Thursday to new charges stemming from sexual assaults in another area of the city that occurred at roughly the same time.Matthew Nilo, 35, of Weehawken, was released on $50,000 bail at his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court after entering pleas to a total of seven new charges, including rape, aggravated rape and assault to rape....
BOSTON (AP) — A New Jersey lawyer already charged in connection with a series of sexual assaults in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood about 15 years ago pleaded not guilty on Thursday to new charges stemming from sexual assaults in another area of the city that occurred at roughly the same time.
Matthew Nilo, 35, of Weehawken, was released on $50,000 bail at his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court after entering pleas to a total of seven new charges, including rape, aggravated rape and assault to rape.
The new charges stem from five attacks on four women — one woman was attacked twice — in Boston's North End between January 2007 and July 2008, prosecutors said. Nilo lived in the neighborhood at the time, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said, and the attacks followed a similar pattern to the Charlestown cases.
Nilo was previously freed on $500,000 bail after pleading not guilty in June in connection with the Charlestown attacks. He worked for a New-York-based cybersecurity company, was hired in January after passing a background check, and was suspended following his arrest.
Advances in DNA testing and genealogical testing led to identifying Nilo, who now lives in Weehawken, as a suspect, Hayden said.
"Nothing can eliminate the terror experienced by these survivors," Hayden said after the arraignment. "But at least now they have the knowledge that Mr. Nilo must answer to the horrible charges he's alleged to have committed. We hope this provides some solace to survivors of these attacks."
Nilo's attorney, Joseph Cataldo, said his client denies the charges and the district attorney's office was "piling on."
"I think they're trying to solve some unresolved cases, and I'm afraid that the government might be piling on, just trying to claim that Mr. Nilo committed these crimes," Cataldo said outside the courtroom.
Nilo was tied to the Charlestown cases through DNA taken from a drinking glass he had used at a corporate event this year, and Cataldo has questioned the constitutionality of the way that evidence was collected without a warrant.
Hayden thinks it will stand up in court.
"We're confident in the legality of the evidence we have recovered," Hayden said.
Nilo is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 14.