Sybil’s Cave

Sybil’s Cave: Residents ask “Why?”

Either people have a strong connection with Hoboken411’s aura & spirit – or I have stalkers! I snapped this photo one recent morning – and not one, not two – but THREE separate readers sent in emails mentioning Sybil’s Cave afterward. Spooky!

Including Andrew who summed it up perfectly: “What’s up with that place? It’s locked up all the time and overridden with weeds. Waste of my tax dollars and looks like crap. Another joke in town.”

Then again – it could be the overgrown weeds that have gained extra attention to this “flush it down the drain” waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mother Nature takes Sybil’s Cave back, again!

8/23/2010 Update:

Remember Sybil’s Cave?

After months of excavation and brush clearing, the original historic site was found and brought back to public use (at considerable public expense) under former Mayor David Roberts. Now due to Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s neglect, Mother Nature is taking it back.

Overgrown weeds overtaking a padlocked park

From the looks of Sybil’s Cave Park these days there probably hasn’t been a single human being behind its gates all year. Plans for the Hoboken Historic Museum to utilize the space for educational programs have vanished behind a wall of thistle and inkberries. The park entrance is padlocked with overgrown weeds and saplings everywhere. The entrance to the cave itself is also gated and padlocked. You used to be able to see the cave opening from Sinatra drive. Today there are so many weeds and saplings you’d never know there’s a cave back there.

From the earlier updates after the jump you can see what Sybil’s Cave Park was supposed to look like. Today under Dawn Zimmer it’s an overgrown, underutilized, neglected mess. If she leaves it like this for the remainder of her term, the next Mayor may have to launch another brush-clearing effort to “Find Sybil’s Cave.”

11/3/2008 Update:

Here’s more from the Sybil’s Cave opening a few weeks ago – was futzing around yesterday and decided to make a quick music video – and didn’t focus too much on the “cave love,” but primarily on the fact that Mayor Roberts was heckled a bit at the beginning of his podium time.

Someone was playing the song in their car radio before I made the vid – which seemed to be a perfect soundtrack!

You can see the 18 minute snooze fest video the city put together after the jump.


Roberts heckled at Sybil’s Cave ribbon-cutting from Hoboken411 on Vimeo.

SEE CITY PROMOTIONAL VIDEO and other updates below…


Sybils Cave opening from city of Hoboken from Hoboken411 on Vimeo.

10/21/2008 Ribbon-cutting Update:

Sybil’s Cave Ribbon-Cutting ceremony

The ribbon got cut on this taxpayer-money-sucking project that Dave Roberts and Danny Gans said they would be paying for.

sybils-cave-hoboken-ribbon-cutting-mayor-roberts-october-21-2008.jpg

Once it started getting expensive they started charging the taxpayers. Some of the expenditures were not approved by the City Council, but the city wrote the checks to pay for them anyway. Roberts once again had the Hoboken Museum in the form of Bob Foster running interference for him in the Letters to The Editor section in this weeks paper.

Interestingly, only one council member showed up, Terry LaBruno – since most others have been “cold” to this project.

FYI – The Mayor was HECKLED during his speech… pretty funny. Video later (Have stuff to do now…)

8/7/2008 Update:

Figured I’d update the Sybil’s Cave post with a more recent photo.

A month or so ago, the “Mayor’s PR opportunity project” underwent some furious construction activity, as the contractor finally finished the cave entrance framework.

Hoboken411 bets: We won’t see anything else on this (what I call useless for the most part) “feel good Hoboken prize” until David Roberts feels he needs some “positive press” and all the brainwashed local rag reporters flock like flies on sh*t to hear what he utters (while City Hall gets robbed in broad daylight). Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice – see you in hell!

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5/15/2008 Update:

(If I were a ribbon-cutting calendar, I’d be sweating bullets over the events I’d be booked for over the next 12 months!)

Some progress being made on Sybil’s Cave along Sinatra Drive. The workers were upset I was taking pictures, claiming “You can’t do that!!” I said “Yes I can, have a nice day.”

PHOTO GALLERY (HOLD MOUSE OVER IMAGE TO NAVIGATE – 4 PHOTOS IN THIS SET)

4/10/2008:

Not sure what the deal is (since I didn’t get the memo once again), but Mayor Dave Roberts is apparently over at Sybil’s Cave at the present time (heard on the live Hoboken police and fire scanner). Could it be another ribbon-cutting?

hoboken-mayor-roberts-sybils-cave-april-10-2008.jpg

10/24/2007 Update:

Here are some progress photos of the restoration of the Sybil’s Cave entrance. Hufnagel Landscaping hard at work at their city-issued job.

sybils-cave-hoboken-construction-progress-oct-2007.JPG
sybils-cave-hoboken-construction-progress-oct-2007-3.JPG

10/9/2007 Update:

I’ll tell ya, sometimes I just cannot find the intestinal fortitude to get excited about certain things in Hoboken. Sybil’s Cave is one of them (no offense, history buffs).

Back in the old days, caves were really cool. Like a new place to explore, etc. Been there, done that. We have iPods and plasma TV’s to keep us entertained these days. While it’s considered an “important” part of Hoboken’s “history”, it seems to be more of a political chess piece and ribbon cutting excuse than anything else. Will this count as “open space”? Will you want to bring the kids here on a regular basis? I doubt it.

More importantly, will it ever get completed through the various phases? Or just stop again because they can’t find the money, or it’s determined to be “unsafe” to enter? They’re planning to put some fence around it, and clean up the opening a bit. The next phase (which is pending) will open up the cave and make it a tourist attraction. If the water in there still has “medicinal” effects, then maybe I’ll re-consider. My bet is that if you drink any water that’s currently in there, you’ll likely end up with a mouth full of sores.

Am I wrong to shrug my shoulders at this cave? However, I’d totally change my opinion if they find City records, like cell phone bills, etc.

Here’s a picture of a Hufnagel worker standing around on Monday.

sybils-cave-hoboken-10-08-2007-4.JPG

6/21/2007 Update:

The 24hr a day police presence replaced by mound of dirt and some planks of wood.

sybils-cave-hoboken-dirt-mound-june-18-2007.JPG

sybils-cave-hoboken-stop-work-june-6-2007-6.JPG

6/7/2007 Update:

Excavation had started, then was immediately stopped by Al Arezzo.

sybils-cave-hoboken-stop-work-june-6-2007-5.JPG
sybils-cave-hoboken-stop-work-june-6-2007-2.JPG
sybils-cave-hoboken-stop-work-june-6-2007-3.JPG

2/2/2007:
sybil-cave.jpgHaven’t covered this Hoboken historic landmark yet, and this reader was wondering what’s going on with it! The Mayor started something, but hasn’t done squat with it in a while.

“Litterboken” says:
“Howdy,

Any idea what is up with the mayor’s plan to restore Sybil’s Cave? They haven’t done any work on that area in well over a year, and the area was better looking when it was overgrown. If restoration isn’t possible, wouldn’t it make sense to at least clean it up, put some benches in, and call it “green space”?

From Wikipedia:

Sybil’s Cave is a cave with a water spring, that is now buried at the bottom of the Stevens Institute of Technology hill, near the Castle Point Skate Park. The cave was a major attraction in Hoboken in the 19th century. It has inspired many legends and stories for more than 100 years.

The cave opened in 1832, was shut in the 1880s due to Health Department concerns about its water, and was filled with dirt and concrete during the 1930s. The current mayor of Hoboken, David Roberts, has plans to excavate the site and recreate the archway that once stood in front of the cave. A historic marker explaining the cave’s history is also planned.

Edgar Allan Poe used a real event that occurred in 1841 at Sybil’s Cave as a basis for the detective story “The Mystery of Marie Roget

146 Responses

  1. truth1 says:

    There are two more stages of escavation to go…so that you can stand up in in it…it follows ❓

  2. Litteredboken says:

    [quote comment=”116944″]There are two more stages of escavation to go…so that you can stand up in in it…it follows :?:[/quote]

    So it is not “done”? Then why have the ribbon-cutting? I wish to hell we were voting Roberts out of office this evening.

    I did put a call in to City Hall this early-afternoon. They must have been on lunch break. I left a message for constituent services. Hope they call back.

  3. 8thStGuy says:

    Can’t we shove Robert’s fat ass in there and seal it up for good??

  4. panicmule says:

    What is the importance of this place again?

    A cruel joke on the taxpayers.

  5. truth1 says:

    Re:122 – Bob Foster of the Museum mentioned this at the event.
    The Museum will be overseeing this phase. Regarding, the leadership of this city in general: As the people have spoken on the economy by electing a new president, we in Hoboken have to change the current leadership and make plans to vote for tax change in the upcoming May 09 election for Mayor and council at large. By the way, there is a council meeting tonight, 11-05-08 at 7PM. A good way to start to make your opinions known 💡

  6. Reformerus_Gianticus says:

    Emporer Nero has yet another monument.

  7. Litteredboken says:

    [quote comment=”117031″]Re:122 – Bob Foster of the Museum mentioned this at the event.
    The Museum will be overseeing this phase. Regarding, the leadership of this city in general: As the people have spoken on the economy by electing a new president, we in Hoboken have to change the current leadership and make plans to vote for tax change in the upcoming May 09 election for Mayor and council at large. By the way, there is a council meeting tonight, 11-05-08 at 7PM. A good way to start to make your opinions known :idea:[/quote]

    The fact that the museum is overseeing this phase seems to be unknown to the mayor’s office. I called today. The spokesperson said that apparently the cliff rocks are falling and they need to shore this up.

    I suggested they put a sign up telling taxpayers what is going on, because the lack of information upsets the citizens. She suggested, with attitude, that maybe someone IS going to put a sign up. I replied doubtfully, “Really…”

    It wasn’t a fruitful conversation because she clearly wasn’t interested a pursuing a real answer for me. I think I’ll send a letter.

    Does anyone know how much this ended up costing the taxpayers?

  8. Litteredboken says:

    Sometimes this city surprises me and is actually responsive when I call. After the unsatisfying conversation from the other day, a guy called Paul called me back today.

    He told me that the keys to the gate were held by the Historical Museum because they offer tours of the cave. And that the Museum is in process of making a sign for the park informing people of this fact. This way, taxpayers aren’t going to shoulder that cost. Paul mentioned that these facts would indeed have been known to me had I visited either the Museum website or the City website.

    I informed him I had stopped visiting the City website because I found it wasn’t updated enough and I, and most citizens I knew, used H411 for their info. And I hadn’t even thought to visit the HHM site because I didn’t know of their involvement (until truth1 mentioned it on this site the other day).

    And to be fair, had I actually WATCHED the video H411 put up, I may have learned all this info. But I didn’t take the time…I like to read my info. I have a strong visual, not verbal, memory.

    Now, that the keys to the cave are held by the Museum is great, and I suppose then that they must hold the keys to the surrounding park, and I am still not sure why THIS isn’t open to the public. The cave, sure, it isn’t safe to go in alone. But the park? I’ll call and see what is up with that.

    But the fact that Paul called me back made my Friday start out on a positive day. I have so many complaints about this city that it’s just fabulous when something good happens. Kudos.

  9. hobokendave says:

    it’s TINY patch of land, calling it a park is silly. They should have just put picnic tables or something useful there. Now’s it’s just another Hoboken boondoggle.

  10. escaped68 says:

    Call it what you want,its a hole in the ground Really who cares about sybil. For at least 50 years it was called dead mans cave and it was plugged with cement and nobody cared about it.

  11. emarche says:

    People, people, people…I think we’re all forgetting the true reason why this sacred ground should be maintained and kept under lock-and-key from would-be visitors (who will obviously just vandalize this holy monument): the mystical plaque that features the names of yet another colossal boob of a mayor and his do-nothing city council.

    Let it stand forever as a tribute to ineptitude. Let it endure the passage of years as a salty salute to jackassery of the highest order. Most importantly, let it remain as a warning to future generations: put your trust in the wrong people and all you’ll end up with is a worthless hole in the ground.

  12. Journey says:

    So in 2008 Hoboken411 said, “We won’t see anything else on this (what I call useless for the most part) “feel good Hoboken prize””.

    Now he is concerned that it is not finished. I think most people are glad no money is being put into this pit.

    • Hoboken555 says:

      Great catch, Journey! When I read the first paragraph of this article, I immediately thought that if Zimmer HAD cleaned up the area, 411 would be writing that the Mayor should be spending time on countless other things that “matter”. Everything turns into an anti-Zimmer campaign! And I didn’t vote for her, I just don’t understand how a majority of articles find a way to drag her through the mud….[quote comment=”196455″]So in 2008 Hoboken411 said, “We won’t see anything else on this (what I call useless for the most part) “feel good Hoboken prize””.Now he is concerned that it is not finished. I think most people are glad no money is being put into this pit.[/quote]

    • hoboken411 says:

      @Journey – The park was indeed “finished” under the Roberts administration – and all Zimmer has to do is maintain it (i.e., trim the bush).

      Should other parks created under previous administrations also get abandoned?

      For those that say that this isn’t a “park” – the plaque with Zimmer’s name on it says it IS a park. I never heard her requesting that her name get removed either…

      [quote comment=”196455″]So in 2008 Hoboken411 said, “We won’t see anything else on this (what I call useless for the most part) “feel good Hoboken prize””.
      Now he is concerned that it is not finished. I think most people are glad no money is being put into this pit.
      [/quote]

    • King of Rock says:

      Save the money, it is a cave – fix the soccer field.[quote comment=”196455″]So in 2008 Hoboken411 said, “We won’t see anything else on this (what I call useless for the most part) “feel good Hoboken prize””.Now he is concerned that it is not finished. I think most people are glad no money is being put into this pit.[/quote]

  13. kooky kat says:

    It’s so funny you posted this, because last weekend while out riding my bike, I saw some out of town folks (obviously out of town, otherwise they would have known you can’t get in there) trying the open the gate.

    Yet another waste of space, and a year later…still no soccer field, King of Rock!

    • cyclewag says:

      So after all the years/months of back and forth, all the dollars sent, effort put into, and Sybil’s Cave being constructed and beautiful landscaping planted what do we have to show for it today. A white elephant perhaps. What was the purpose? We know that it was a Mayor Robert’s pet project and a costly one at that.

      The shame is that yes mother nature has grown over and what once was a beautiful sight (and maybe even a good idea) on Sinatra is losing its luster and appeal. Another dam shame is that the public can not gain access and enjoy this mini-park. I thought the general idea was for residents to enjoy the lawn, encourage them to have a picnic while marveling at the city skyline.

      Not sure what to do as there are many other needs for our tax dollars. Perhaps at the very least some regular gardening maintenance so as not to lose what we have.
      [quote comment=”209370″]It’s so funny you posted this, because last weekend while out riding my bike, I saw some out of town folks (obviously out of town, otherwise they would have known you can’t get in there) trying the open the gate.Yet another waste of space, and a year later…still no soccer field, King of Rock![/quote]

  14. HelloRadio says:

    Is that where the Hoboken Batman lives?

  15. QJ201 says:

    Another half-assed project in Hoboken. The “cave” is locked, the fence serves no purpose and was a waste of money. A better use would have been to put down gravel or paving stones with picnic tables. Or at this point, just turn it into a dog run.

    • wiskeytango1 says:

      8th guy,,and qt/how l a bunch of chit– If you had his tokens you ould burn yours so funny..If one searched the north west side of mob burials now where the cardboard condos are ,lots of bones..funny.As well as the shipyard 40years ago..how much did the tax payers pay for the ribbon cutters nonsense.?..We always have mother goose to care for the turd dropping geese..Let us see if the bikers create noise at 1am ,as voted on by the numb council? Chief said he does not have the manpower ..Zelda wants to hire class 2 dreamboats at 12.00 per hour..Not laconia NH..What a shame.[quote comment=”209374″]Another half-assed project in Hoboken. The “cave” is locked, the fence serves no purpose and was a waste of money. A better use would have been to put down gravel or paving stones with picnic tables. Or at this point, just turn it into a dog run.[/quote]

  16. johandsomeison says:

    DOG RUN! DOG RUN! DOG RUN! DOG RUN! DOG RUN! CHANT WITH ME :mrgreen:

  17. Stamper says:

    The issue also has to do with safety and liability. The property that
    the cave and “park” is located on is Stevens’. This is the road with
    the highest speed limit in Hoboken and the “park” is located at a
    dangerous bend with not a lot of sight distance. Unless a crosswalk is
    installed with traffic calming measures, it’s only a matter of time
    before someone gets hit trying to cross the street there to get to the
    “park.”

    • wiskeytango1 says:

      who cares about the cave ? you were not around 60 yrs ago to worry about a chit hole cave that chubby brought to the publics attention. Sinatria never returned to hoboken except with reagan at the st anns feast in the 80’s..except for sneaking into fox hillls at night to visit his god father. Really is this crap an issue in regard to river road aka sinatra drive? The town has become a cluster f**k and in a less than 2 years we will see if the voters are content. with the gustopo tactics that are in place.btw did your property tax decrease as promised??lmaofotf..[quote comment=”209410″]The issue also has to do with safety and liability. The property thatthe cave and “park” is located on is Stevens’. This is the road withthe highest speed limit in Hoboken and the “park” is located at adangerous bend with not a lot of sight distance. Unless a crosswalk isinstalled with traffic calming measures, it’s only a matter of timebefore someone gets hit trying to cross the street there to get to the“park.”[/quote]

  18. Kaiser Sosay says:

    not to mention the rock wall that is falling apart all over the grounds itself,its dangerous,useless and was just another waste of ol davey…if the word comes out that they want to level and change the grounds,ill be there with bells on.Dog run wouldnt be a bad idea at all but one thing that would have to be done is to put up a retaining net similar to the ones on route 280 so a rock slide,a tree or big weed dosent come falling down on anyone or anything

  19. truth1 says:

    City Council’s Quality of Life Sub-Committee should ask for public input as to what should be done to make this site compatible with the status of Hoboken. This should produce action instead of just words. 💡

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