Annual Hoboken Irish Party Recap
Parade Chairwoman Cunning pushes back at critics
Our Lady of Grace School Hall was packed last night for the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee’s annual Irish Party. The event raised money needed to pay the marching bands. Founder and Chairwoman Helen Cunning noted the parade has been a Hoboken tradition for nearly a quarter century, honoring Irish Hobokenites from all walks of life. Cunning declared, “For two hours each year we proudly march down Washington Street, and we offer no apologies for that.” Cunning is a former City Councilwoman elected with reform Mayor Tom Vezzetti in the ‘80s.
Her comments were the first public push-back from the parade committee to current council members aligned with Mayor Dawn Zimmer who have repeatedly threatened to cancel the parade.
Newcomers and Old Hoboken alike honored
This year’s Grand Marshall is Bernadette Cunning Pehrson. Hudson County Director of Health and Human Services Carol Ann Wilson is Irishwoman of the Year. Irishman of the Year John Crowe is also the Superintendent of the Woodbridge School District, Italian-American City Clerk Jimmy Farina is the Honorary Irishman of the Year. He opened his speech declaring, “It’s great to be back in Hoboken!” Farina also said, “I think they gave me this honor because they need someone to blame if something goes wrong!” Community Service Awards were given to Patricia Scribner of Patricia’s Yarns and artist Tim Daly, who paints in his Neumann Leather building studio.
Also new this year are the Irish Policeman and Firefighter of the year awards. Detective Nicky Burke and Battalion Chief Brian Greene were given the inaugural honors.
Mayor Zimmer snubs Irish Hobokenites
Zimmer is the first Mayor in recent memory to not make an appearance at the Irish Party. Councilman Peter Cunningham was the only member of the Zimmer majority who showed up. Council members Beth Mason, Nino Giacchi and Terry Castellano attended along with a few hundred Irish (and not so Irish) Hobokenites. People close to the parade committee are annoyed at unelected councilman Michael Lenz’s unsubstantiated claim that the 2-hour event costs Hoboken taxpayers over $100,000. Both Lenz and Zimmer’s Zoning Board Chair Tony Soares are leading the charge to cancel the parade, playing out one of their many political vendettas.
Police Chief Falco attends, works with Parade Committee
Those hoping for a strong dose of law and order to keep the peace after the parade were glad to see Police Chief Anthony P. Falco, Sr. on hand last night. Former Chief Carmen LaBruno – on whose watch some of the worst parade day stories unfolded – was not seen much out of Police Headquarters.
The big day is on the way! Up next for the Parade Committee is the annual Irish Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church at 5pm on Saturday, February 27th, followed by the March 6th parade.