3/10/2010 Update:

Hoboken World War II Memorial now skateboard-proof

Not sure how many of you have noticed the Hoboken WWII Memorial stone which has all the veterans names who’ve sacrificed their lives for the country – now has a complex and ornate metal rail surrounding it. This is to prevent those pesky skateboarders from using this sacred memorial as a “bitchin’” ramp to perform their stunts.

I can’t remember who bore the cost of this and when… anyone?

See FOUR YEARS worth of WWII Memorial updates after the jump!

11/8/2008 Update:

Hoboken411 reader Skateparkmom sent a pic in showing what today’s rain-soaked 2.5 hour WWII Memorial was like. While another reader had chimed in “couldn’t they have picked a rain date?”

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11/7/2008 Update:

Finally…

Two years late and over-budget

Mayor Roberts will be cutting the ribbon for the much-delayed World War II Memorial tomorrow, Saturday, November 8th.
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9/1/2008 Update:

Anyone else think this WWII Memorial situation is getting ridiculous?

With Labor Day upon us it means yet another holiday weekend has gone by with an incomplete Hoboken World War II Memorial. It was time to check on the progress (or lack thereof) of this project. The last update was posted on Valentines Day after the base was put in. The talk at the time was the city was aiming for a Memorial Day dedication. A few weeks before we checked on the progress, and other than the laying of some pavers, not much new had been done.

Memorial Day came and went, and so did Flag Day and Independence Day. Other than some temporary flags placed inside the still fenced-in memorial, little had been done since the last time I was there. What gives?

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Who is holding up the works?

The veterans of Hoboken have always seen this as a memorial to those who have served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps Mayor David Roberts and Architect Dean Marchetto see it as a memorial to their own status and influence. People close to the veterans have said that working with Marchetto has been difficult at times, as his vision for the memorial has faced oppositions from groups who claimed (successfully) that his original design was “not appropriate” for the waterfront walkway, and his actions and decisions have at times caused delays in construction. Then there is the Mayor, who seems to be stockpiling ribbon-cutting opportunities for the next election.

On a Political Timetable?

dean-marchetto-headshot.jpgSome estimate that 1500 WWII veterans die each week. That’s a statistic to think about when taking a closer look at how this project (like so many others) has been mismanaged by Dave Roberts. Instead of bidding out the design work, Roberts just gave the commission to campaign contributor Marchetto. In June of 2004 Roberts and Marchetto held a press conference to unveil their original design for the memorial, which Roberts said would cost “as much as $600,000.00,” a price tag that would later more than double as Marchetto refined his design in the face of community opposition. Little was heard about the project until Roberts and Marchetto had another press conference to again “unveil” the memorial design in April of 2005. There wasn’t much new to tell, but it did give Roberts more headlines in the paper just a few weeks before the Mayoral Election. Predictable.

Target date: Veterans’ Day 2006

At a City Council meeting back in February 2006 Marchetto said he hoped to break ground by Memorial Day of that year with a dedication by Veterans Day in November 2006. At the time the council was dominated by Roberts loyalists, who gave Marchetto over $59,000 for services some people believed he was donating. After all, there was no design contest or Request For Proposals for the project. Roberts just gave it to his pal. As projected costs began to rise to $1.2 million (see 9/6/2006 Council Recap) and then $1.4 million under Roberts and Marchetto, the Veterans stepped in and supported a council call for sanity (see 10/18/2006 Council Recap) and downsizing of what was originally supposed to be a $600,000 memorial.

So what’s next?

Veterans Days in 2006 and 2007 have come and gone with no dedication. So have Memorial Days, Flag Days, and Independence days of 2007 and 2008. Though there is some talk a dedication may be possible on Veterans Day 2008, others say it’s just another ruse and that Roberts will delay until sometime next spring when a ribbon cutting will have maximum political impact before the Mayoral election.

Our veterans deserve better. Just something to think about as you enjoy your Labor Day BBQ.

2/14/2008:

I took a few pictures over a month ago. Nothing has changed (as far as I’ve seen…)

Here’s mini-mini-gallery of what it looks like:

Some other updates below…

11/07/2007:

Here’s a letter that Hoboken resident Liz Markevitch would like you to read, especially since Veteran’s Day is right around the corner (11/11/2007):

Hell, Heaven or Hoboken

hoboken-wwii-memorial-res-sm.jpgI have had the pleasure of knowing some of our World War II veterans in Hoboken. It has been fascinating to hear their stories. I had talked about taping their stories but Rachel Grygiel and her Hoboken High School Students did it. They contacted Tom Kennedy, Commander of the American Legion Post 107. They brought the Veterans into their class to tell them about World War II. Later they interviewed and made a wonderful production that is available on the public access channel.

I talked about sending supplies to our Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq but JoAnn Peluso, Tom Kennedy and her team of 14 did it. I want to thank the people that have gone out of their way to make sure we remember and thank our all our Veterans (Korea, Vietnam and those that served during peacetime) and our Soldiers today.

During WWII 50 million people died. In Hoboken over 150 soldiers died, 3 times as many as in NYC.

On November 11, which is the traditional date for Veterans Day The American Legion Hoboken Post 107 will hold a Ceremony at 11 am on Pier A. Please come and honor them. If you know some Veterans who have moved away, call them and let them know.

The Veterans have been working to build a World War II Memorial and it is finally underway. If you can, please support this. We have seen so many wonderful Veterans pass away since the project began – Jerry Smith, Bill Perry, Frank Janse and 15 other heroes as well. We are losing 1200 WWII veterans a day. It is important to them as well as to ourselves that we honor our fallen.

If you don’t understand why we should remember and honor these men and women, I suggest you read about the period before, during and after World War II .

  • To find out more about the Adopt a Hoboken Soldier program, contact the American Legion Post 107 at 308 Second St. or contact Joanne Peluso at (201) 618-3344. Items can be dropped off at City Hall.
  • To Donate to the World War II Memorial call Roy Huelbig 201-659-6382 or send donations to the American Legion Post 107

“Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.”
- George Santayana

Thank you,
Elizabeth Markevitch

10/12/2007 Update:

A picture of the quick progress they’re making at the Hoboken WWII memorial.

In regards to my recent casual reference to “green space”, that was not meant to offend anyone. I value our troops past and present, and it was just a way to tie our local issues together in a light-hearted way. Similar how we say “not another nail salon / dry cleaner” every time a new business is coming.

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9/29/2007 Update:

The WWII memorial area is fenced off, and construction has begun. Less green space for us!

Thanks Jason again for the photos.

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9/4/2007 Update:

Permits may hold up World War II memorial

A new turf battle – this time between state and local officials over who should issue construction permits – threatens to yet again delay the World War II memorial planned for Frank Sinatra Park.

Construction Code official Al Arezzo has refused to issue construction permits, saying the site is exempt from local enforcement because the city has joint ownership of the South Waterfront Redevelopment area with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The memorial is expected to be built next to the walkway at the end of Fourth Street, near the Sinatra Park Cafe (411 note: Actually, the Crepe Grill).

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“All the buildings along the waterfront along Piers A, B and C have been built without permits from this office,” Arezzo said. “They have all been issued out of state offices.”

But a Port Authority spokesman, Marc LaVorgna, said the bi-state agency is waiting to see construction drawings to determine the exact location of new memorial and then determine who has jurisdiction.

Architect Dean Marchetto and city officials said that documents have been forwarded to the Port Authority showing that the state has jurisdiction, and that they expect permits to be issued very soon.

John Carey, a spokesman for the Hoboken World War II Memorial Committee, said that the area was selected with the belief that it was city-owned land.

“It will be very discouraging if there is another delay,” Carey said recently. “One of the reasons we went with this site is that we did not want any more problems.”

He said that Post 107 of the American Legion now has 35 survivors of World War II, having lost 18 veterans since planning for the project began nearly four years ago.

Purple Heart recipient Salvatore Cemelli, who was wounded twice and lost 32 members of his platoon while serving in Germany and France between 1943 and 1945, said he fears he won’t be around to see the memorial built.

“I am 85 years old, and I don’t believe I am going to live to see this thing built. It’s getting ridiculous,” Cemelli said. “There is a change every few months.”

In 2005, the committee had to choose a new site for the memorial after the state Department of Environmental Protection determined – under pressure from the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy – that its original location opposite Third Street obstructed the Hudson River waterfront walkway.

Then, balking at the mounting cost of the project, the City Council nixed a $750,000 contract last October to pay for construction of the base, forcing the architect to scale back the memorial to one-third its original planned size.

The new design features 21 rifles with bayonets and a helmet hanging on each as the symbol of the unknown soldier.

11/10/2006:
This Saturday, November 11th, 2006 at 10:30am, the Hoboken American Legion Post 107 is holding a Veteran’s Day ceremony at Frank Sinatra Park to break ground on the hotly-contested World War II Memorial.

Despite the political rhetoric and public dismay that surrounded this memorial, it’s still going forward nonetheless.

Wanted to fix a little 4am oversight again. It’s no longer going where it was originally planned, but on the triangle plot north of 333 River street.
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Here was the original rendering…

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Hoboken NJ

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