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Archived Posts from "'Family'"

97 Year Old Frank Augustine recognized

Here’s a great story about Hoboken, NJ resident Frank Augustine, and his lifetime of achievements, as penned by his son Dennis. Enjoy (it’s a long read).

97 Year old Frank Augustine Recognized for Lifetime Achievements

“—A son’s tribute to his father”

by Dr. Dennis Augustine

Frank Augustine Hoboken NJ Age 11 1928My dad, Frank Augustine, whose name was legally changed from his former Italian name, Frances D’Agostino, was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1917. He has been a New Jersey resident for almost 80 years.

In 1996 he became a life member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Whenever he receives the latest issue of the CCC Journal he calls me to see if I got my copy. In time, I began to recognize how important a role the CCC experience played in his life.

But, first some back history. When my mother Maria passed away on Mother’s Day last year at the age of 88, it was a heart-felt loss. After all, mom was the matriarch of the family—the glue that held us all together.

After 66 years of marriage, dad lived alone and all the attention was focused on his well-being. We hired a live in caregiver named Margaret, a native of Ghana, to cook for him and assist him daily with his other home care needs. She has been a godsend to him and our family.

This makes it possible for him to continue living in the middle unit of a five-flat apartment building in Hoboken that he has owned and inhabited since 1952, which was of primary importance to him and my siblings, who live in neighboring towns.

A story to be told

I began calling him from my home in California every evening to see how he was doing and engage him in conversation. During many of these phone calls I felt an inner prompting to resume recording an oral history of his life I had begun documenting some years ago.

Frank Augustine Hoboken NJ Age 19 1935Dad was the son of coal miner and railroad worker named Michael, and his mom Frances was a homemaker, both of whom my siblings and I never met. Due to his mom’s chronic and debilitating illness, and his dad’s long work hours, his dad was ill equipped to take care of him and his siblings. Hence, they were given up for adoption.

As a result, dad spent his most tender years from the age of six through eighteen at St. Joseph’s Hospital Orphanage and St. Michael’s School for Boys in Scranton and Hoban Heights, Pennsylvania, respectively.

Dad is a survivor, and rarely engages in self-pity of any kind. On the contrary, whenever I asked him about his time at the orphanages, rather than telling some dark tales of woe, he said he was treated well by the Catholic nuns and had no complaints. He also expressed no ill will toward his father for giving him up for adoption. “There is always someone else worse off than me,” he would say regardless of the many challenges he has faced in life.

In 1934, he left the orphanage at St. Michael’s to live with my aunt Mary—his eldest sibling—who had become an R.N., and my uncle Carmine in Union City. A short time later he took his first job as an assistant cook at the historic former Clam Broth House near the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., for ten dollars a week including room and board.

Though dad has excellent recall for his advanced age, I had some difficulty matching up his dates of service in the army and maritime service with the rest of his life history. When I brought this to his attention during a recent visit, he simply got up from his desk and removed his army photo from his office wall.

He then unhooked the backing from the frame and a stack of Honorable Discharge papers magically appeared. With a satisfied look on his face and a twinkle in his eye he said, “I think this is what you’re looking for.” I was both an amused and surprised. “With record keeping like this who needs a computer,” I joked.

Traveling across the country

In September 1935 dad hitchhiked across the country to Texas to join his older brother Joe in the army, serving in the 23rd Infantry and later the 15th Field Artillery at Fort Sam Houston. He served as head cook and personal aide to Army Chaplain, Capt. William Walsh until September 15, 1938 when he was given an Honorable Discharge.

The country was racially divided back then, and he witnessed the hanging and tar and feathering of a young black man in the town square. He was repulsed by the inhumane cruelty of it all, calling it “disgusting,” but felt helpless to intervene, all the while thinking to himself: “These people are crazy.”

In 1939, at the recommendation of Captain Walsh he entered the order of the Maryknoll Fathers as a seminarian in Ossining, N.Y. He became a Catholic brother and was given the name of Brother Pius. Though he enjoyed the camaraderie of the other brothers and tending the animals at the farm that the seminary was located on, he decided that such an austere life was not a life for him. He returned to Hoboken to live with my uncle Anthony and aunt Kitty who lived near the late Frank Sinatra and his family before he became a famous crooner and Hoboken’s favorite son.

Click to continue reading Frank’s story!

Hoboken NJ

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Pulaski Skyway Closure (for real)

It’s time: Pulaski Skyway (northbound) to close for 2 years

Well, the time has finally come. Like it or not, the Pulaski Skyway is set to shut for about two years (northbound). People all over the place are making a great big stink about it.

But really, is it that big of a deal?

Pulaski Skyway Closure April 12 2014

Get over yourself – the Pulaski Skyway Closure not a big deal

You know, things get built. You probably take them for granted each and every day. Then at some point they break (or present a growing public safety threat). What do you do?

You fix it, and deal with the expected “changes” to your life pattern.

What are your other options? Let it collapse and watch people die (maybe even yourself?)

Sure, some might argue that this could have been handled sooner – or before it reached a precarious state – but it’s too late to go back and cry about it. It has to be fixed. So instead of griping and complaining, here are some very easy ways for you to “manage” in such “troubling” times.

6 survival tips for the Pulaski Skyway Closure

If this was your “main” travel route daily – you will have to make adjustments to your life. Plain and simple. 40,000 other cars will be doing it – so what makes you special? Here are some super easy suggestions to make life more bearable (if you look at the bright side.)

  1. Ask for different working hours and days – off peak, etc. If not granted, just come in late every day and blame it on traffic.
  2. Work from home several days per week. Polish up on your negotiating skills if you’re reluctant to ask.
  3. Move. Find a location that better suits your commute.
  4. Get a different job. If you’re a qualified human – you shouldn’t have trouble with that!
  5. Alternate travel routes. The NJ DOT has a few suggestions (Newark Bay Bridge, NJ Turnpike, etc.), but you can also consider using Route 80 if you’re coming from further west to avoid the bottlenecks.
  6. Use the extra “car time” to listen to audio books (A great one is Flash Boys – Wall Street Revolt which is quite relevant today!) Much better than commercial radio.

Pulaski Skyway closure net-net: You’ll live

Luckily for most Hoboken residents, they don’t need to travel northbound during the morning commute – however, this will impact the evening commute for many coming back to town.

And some area businesses are nervous that the closure could impact retail sales here… which is quite possible.

Because dealing with the traffic pattern change to keep your income is a lot more bearable than struggling to come to the parking hell called Hoboken to spend money. So we’ll see who survives and who doesn’t.

Good luck everyone!

Read original Pulaski Skyway Closure stories all the way back from 2007…

Hoboken NJ

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1st & Jackson Street Petition for Park

Zaklama property remains eyesore – city drops ball

Just a friendly update here. Over a year ago, 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti proposed to turn this burnt-out eyesore at 1st & Jackson Streets into a usable park by the city.

Well, Zimmer and her cronies put the kibosh on that (because they wouldn’t get any “credit” for someone else’s good idea).

Where are we today? Same Zaklama burnt-out eyesore remains with ZERO change. Way to go, City Hall!

Zaklama building 1st and Jackson eyesore in Hoboken NJ

[Click to continue reading the rest....]

Hoboken NJ

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Hoboken Playdate

Hoboken PlayDate – 420 Adams Street

Filling the space left behind by the Russo Civic Association at 420 Adams Street is Hoboken PlayDate – another place to outsource the formative years of your child! Perhaps you can call it a “Baby Social Club?”

I remember the buzz-phrases about a decade ago in Hoboken sounded like “all we have are nail salons, dry cleaners and realtors.”

Now that phrase can be updated: “Daycare centers, Coffee Shops, Barbers and (even more) Realtors.

Hoboken PlayDate 420 Adams Street Russo Civic NJ

Description: Hoboken PlayDate
Address: 420 Adams Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: TBD

Hoboken NJ

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Hoboken Fashion Night 2014

Hoboken Fashion Night 2014 at W Hotel

Hoboken Fashion Night 2014Most of you know about the annual Hoboken Italian Festival (down along the waterfront). But did you know that the Society Madonna Dei Martiri (4th & Adams) is a significant philanthropic entity? Each year they have a scholarship fund that has aided many high school seniors (Hoboken and beyond).

In Hoboken since the 1930′s, they’ve managed to survive, even despite some really bad years in the 80′s and 90′s. But according to Society President John Sciancalepore, they’ve experienced a remarkable resurgence in the past 15 years. Now, according to Sciancalepore, the actual festival is “bigger than ever,” and even exceeds the same festival in Italy each year!

But not many people know about their community involvement. The biggest, being the DePinto Family Scholarship Fund. It was originally created to help a Hoboken High School student (of Italian Heritage) attend a quality four year university. And over the past decade – they’ve paid over $80,000 out – and have for the first time, opened up the fund to help any HOBOKEN RESIDENT (of Italian heritage) attend college. Last year, they awarded one student $5,000 towards their first year’s tuition.

However, despite the improved status of the Society, they’re having an increasingly harder time to fund the scholarship. And as a result, they’ve created the new Hoboken Fashion Night – which makes it’s debut next Friday, April 11, 2014 over at the W Hotel.

This fun and “glamorous” fundraiser will not only be a home-grown “grass roots” event, but also help local businesses as they will feature only Hoboken shops (NO chains), as well as other designers grounded here in the Mile Square. In other words, it’s an “All Hoboken” event.

Read more below – and click here to buy tickets.

Hoboken Fashion Night 2014 April 11 2014 W Hotel

What is the Hoboken Fashion Night?

The Hoboken Italian Festival, Boston Scarlette and Dana Marchionne are preparing to bring Italy to Hoboken in an event never seen before in this thriving city! For one night, the City of Hoboken and the W Hotel will be converted into the hot and exciting fashion capital of Milan.

Hoboken Fashion Night is a city wide celebration of Hoboken’s unique fashion and retail community and its wide array of creative genius. The program will consist entirely of Hoboken designers, retailers, artists and models and will show a variety of collections from the newest spring collections including clothing, shoes, handbags and leather goods for both women and men!

A portion of the proceeds and ticket sales from the Hoboken Fashion Show will go to benefit the DePinto Family Scholarship Fund managed and operated by the Depinto Family and the Societa Madonna Dei Martiri, both of Hoboken. This scholarship has awarded over $85,000 to deserving students over the last ten years. This year’s scholarship will benefit any high school student residing in Hoboken of Italian descent attending a four year university.

On April 11th, 2014 come and support everything Hoboken, the way Italians do it best with good food, great wine, close friends and some of the best fashion this side of Milan!

A PRESTO !

Hoboken NJ

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Hoboken City Wide Flea Market

Hoboken City Wide Flea Market Fundraiser for Class of 2014

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 29th from 9am to 3pm.

The Hoboken High School Class of 2014 is holding a city-wide flea market fundraiser in the High School Gym (9th & Clinton).

Over 30 vendors will be on hand selling all types of merchandise. Why not check it out? You never know what kind of great deals you might find!

Hoboken City wide Flea Market Saturday March 29 2014

Hoboken NJ

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