Slow down for history, Hudson County.
Look closely at what you are about to do to Casino-in-the-Park, a pivotal monument to memory that stands, as it has since 1929, in the picturesque center of Jersey City’s Lincoln Park.
Think about the harm that will befall our legacy of landmarks — irreparable, unconscionable harm — if the clock set in motion by the Board of Chosen Freeholders to demolish the now-closed building is not immediately stopped.
Before deeming the Casino dated and defunct — before dooming it to destruction — give the former amateur sports-team lodge, early-television theater, WWII military canteen, fine-dining restaurant, band concert venue, catering hall and political watering hole the appreciation, respect and due process it deserves.
Take the time necessary to look deeply into publicly accessible archives to discover that this modest American Arts & Crafts-era structure, with its storybook gabled roof and sandstone walls, landscaped walks and lavish lobby, is of the highest architectural, historical and cultural value.
SEGMENTATIONS OF TIME
At first glance, Casino-in-the-Park does not seem like a site of great significance. The original building is partially hidden behind infelicitous additions erected over the last few decades to accommodate new mirrored foyers, carpeted parlors, marble-tiled restrooms, vast kitchen-staff spaces, chandeliered dining areas, parqueted dance floors, collapsible stages and extended bars.
But the glow of the exterior grounds — steeping hillocks, sunken steps, curving lakes, windy ballfields, mowed grass beds and handsaw-trimmed canopies and groves of great old-growth trees—does, however, start to slowly suggest something else might be pulsing under segmentations of time.
These visual enigmas linger in the mind and become — at the very moment records kept in local libraries are flipped opened — the portal leading to the Casino’s flash-carding secrets:
● Nov. 14, 1928. The Hudson County Park Tennis Association meets at Hotel Plaza on Sip Avenue, overlooking Journal Square. Adolph Walter, an appointed county park commissioner and the revered guest of honor, uses the event to officially announce “plans for the erection of a new clubhouse at West Side County Park (now Lincoln Park) … for the use of tennis players and others using the facilities of the park.” Architectural drawings of the proposed lodge building are displayed in the Hotel Plaza’s main ballroom.
● Jan. 11, 1929. The Jersey Journal announces that a new “television plant” is planned by the Jenkins Television Corporation in Jersey City at 346-370 Claremont Ave. in 30,000 square feet of industrial space in the former Continental Candy Company. (The warehouse building, which fronts on West Side Avenue, is currently occupied by the Jersey City Board of Education and is flanked by a major Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station.) James W. Garside, president of the company, states that “we shall have our general offices and factory, as well as our engineering laboratories, at this address. … We shall have a television broadcasting station for the New York metropolitan area installed in the annex on the roof of the building, with ideal conditions for satisfactory signal propagation, as soon as license is granted by the Federal Radio Commission.”
● March 8, 1929. The eye-catching headline “Television Now At Stage Equal To Radio’s Status in 1921; Sets Soon to Be Offered to Public Will Be Capable of Receiving Only Simple Black and White Shadowgraphs — Many Difficulties Still to Be Overcome” in The Jersey Journal confirms that the Jenkins Television Corporation is breaking ground quickly in Jersey City with television broadcast experiments, theatrical productions, and television box-set manufacturing. The newspaper foresees the demise of radio and even moving pictures due to this revolutionary invention that allows you to sit “in your comfortable armchair” and reach out to an “instrument similar in appearance to your radio set.” The article continues, dramatically: “You press a button, and on a screen before you there is a vivid picture of two brightly uniformed teams lining up for the first scrimmage of the game. … You turn a dial. A familiar voice is speaking. On the screen is the animated likeness of the country’s President. You see his every gesture, every facial expression, as he delivers a message over the air to the nation. … Another turn of the dial and you are visually at the scene of an important banquet. Still another turn puts you in the front row of a musical comedy. … These are the developments that hundreds of radio lovers are waiting for and which many expect within a short time.” Jenkins is already manufacturing home kits for $2.50 for enthusiasts who want to build their own complex television sets — but the firm’s dream is to turn these crude, clunky kits into a simple console that requires no assembly, just merely “turning a dial.”
● May 8, 1929. The Jersey Journal publishes the first architectural rendering of the “new recreation center for West Side County Park,” drawn by Hudson County Park Commission landscape architect Frederick C. Hoth, the official architect of record for the structure and chief engineer and general superintendent of the park commission. An accompanying caption describes the lodge as being erected “near the tennis courts,” demonstrating the role of the wildly popular sport of tennis in the lodge’s original conception, design and utilization. However, the caption also stresses that baseball players using the “baseball field nearby” will also benefit from the new space’s conveniences, including locker rooms and shower facilities. A third type of patron will also find the lodge accommodating: casual park users looking for a place “to rest from the turmoil of city life.” In fact, “easy chairs” will be provided to users on the veranda porch and across a surrounding “slate-paved terrace” so that they “can sit and enjoy a full view of the entire park. From here the lake may be seen directly in front with the baseball field immediately behind it, while the green shrubbery of the park will hold the distance.” Looking ahead to full usage, the caption also mentions ice skaters having a warm refuge to go to when they “come off the lake.” Even more, people using the park bandstand and drivers coming off the nearby Lincoln Highway will be able to stop by the new lodge and find a relaxing environment equipped with the finest amenities such as spacious lavatories, dressing rooms, showers and party rooms. The caption describes the forthcoming building as having walls of “golden brown stone” with a “long veranda of the colonial mansion.” The most prominent feature will be a “large recreation room, 50 x 41 feet, where seats for those who wish to rest and a lunch counter for those who want refreshments will be placed.” This space will contain “a large natural stone fireplace” and a white oak flooring system “with a wide border of tile” and a main two-sided staircase leading up to additional meeting rooms, entertainment spaces, performance platforms and observation galleries, all of which may be utilized for events and ceremonies by the “many fraternal and social organizations in the city as well as the many school societies.” The walls will be wainscoted with colorful tile as well, adding to the site’s American Arts & Crafts Movement aesthetic and visual aura.
● Feb. 27, 1930. The Jersey Journal publishes the first photographic images and textual details of the newly erected “park house” inside Lincoln Park. The images show rubble-stone walls appearing to rise out of the site; pitched gabled roof lines covered in fixed slate tile; heavy stone sills over low windows; a step-less, white-painted timber veranda with a row of six columns running the entire width of the building, from wall to wall, and topped with a traceried balustrade; a central chimney beveled at the base with thick masonry. The park house, the newspaper describes, is “a stone building of solid construction on the brow of the hill that overlooks the stretch of the recently enlarged and beautiful lake.” For the interior, the article brags about the main ground-floor room, a “large salon covering the entire front half and full height of the structure.” The room, with its mammoth fireplace, contains green Holland fabric-tile wainscoting, rough plaster walls, rough-hewn beams, conically-topped lightoliers, flooring centered by hardwood and outlined by English tiles “suitable for dancing,” and a main double staircase connecting to a wide balcony platform and a large room with folding partition doors. The ground floor contains doors leading to marble-ensconced locker and shower rooms for people utilizing the park’s many sports facilities, including tennis courts, running tracks, archery commons, and baseball fields. The kitchen, fully equipped, is accessed via the ground floor and will be solely used by a “concessionaire who will take care of the restaurant and refreshment service that is to be conducted there.”
● March 22, 1930. A private soft-opening dance and reception is held at the new Lincoln Lodge by the Hudson County Park Tennis Association. The event’s primary purpose, according to The Jersey Journal, is to give the association’s members the “first opportunity to inspect the fine lodge that has been erected at Lincoln Park by the Hudson County Park Commission at the suggestion of and under the direction of Commissioner Adolph Walter, Jersey City member of the commission.” Walter welcomes the tennis players and receives congratulations “on the success with which his project has met.” Trophies for the 1929 tennis season are handed out. Jacob Piercy, newly designated proprietor of the lodge’s concession, is in attendance.
● April 5, 1930. Wendell McMahill, an executive with the Jenkins Television Corp. and the managing director of the company’s new affiliate, “Radio Television Theatre,” announces in a press release statement to The Jersey Journal that “The World’s First Radio Television Theatre will inaugurate its first performance of direct radio television broadcasting from its studios and theater in Lincoln Park Lodge, Monday at 7 o’clock, continuing throughout the week to the 12th with regular three-hour performances.” Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague will be a special guest and “open the television broadcast with an escort of the Jersey City Police Band.” The Jersey City Chamber of Commerce, a major sponsor of the event, reveals that a new slogan has officially been adopted: “Jersey City is the Home of Radio Television.” McMahill’s release reveals that city officials and local dignitaries and residents will be featured in the broadcasts, as will “stars of the present Broadway talking picture and entertainment field.” The list of guests will include: “Mayor Frank Hague, Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, Senator Pat Harrison, General William C. Heppenheimer, General John J. Pershing, Edwin B. Lord, executive vice president of the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce; Henry Kohl, John Ringling, George M. Cohan, Earl Carroll, Babe Ruth, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., James W. Garside, D. E. Replogle, Dr. Lee DeForest, Florenz Ziegfield’s ‘Simple Simon’ in part, including Ruth Eating and Ed Wynn; Commissioner Adolph Walter, president of the Hudson County Park Commission; C. Betram Plante, Judge K. M. Landis, Bob Shaky and Jersey City baseball stars; special production of ‘Journey’s End’ motion picture; Lily Damita and Jack Donohue of the current Broadway ‘Sons o’ Guns’ success; the Jersey City Police Band under the direction of Lieut. English; General W. W. Atterbury, Philip LeBouteilier, Elsie Mae Gordon; special arrangement of Earl Carroll’s ‘Sketch Book’; the Capitol Rockaway Singing Orchestra. There will be an elaborate production,” the release continues, “by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under the direction of the well-known former Hollywood director, G. S. Dumond.” Other scheduled guests, according to the release, include “Congresswoman Mary Norton, ex-Governor (A. Harry) Moore, Dr. H. L. Everett, Sen. Alexander Simpson … the Television Light Opera Company, the Radio Chautauqua, the presentation of the Public Service Corp. of New Jersey, the Mueller Macaroni Music Makers, the Fox Film hour, the Warner Bros. hour, the R.K.O. period, a boxing bout between two prominent men in fistania, the Cadillac V-Sixteeners, a presentation of the General Motors under [the] direction of Fred Hill of the Jersey City Cadillac Company.” The same Jersey Journal article describes the complex and challenging preparatory work that went into the Lincoln Lodge studio: “Upwards of 200 men are hurrying on the finishing touches to the Radio Television Theatre in West Side Park (Lincoln Park), including the engineers and workmen who are finishing up the beautification of the building and surroundings. The Public Service Corp. started this morning completing the heavy load for 50,000 Watts of electricity for illuminating purposes, lighting up the (t)elevision beacon light which can be seen for 20 miles distant, flashing from the top of the Radio Television Theatre. Lights 10 inches apart are being installed on the roof, corners, and all angles of the (Radio) Television Theatre(,) which illuminates its outline in electricity. … Lights also illuminate the metallic sign in the front which reads ‘The World’s First Radio Television Theatre.’”
● April 7, 1930. As Lincoln Lodge, the “world’s first television theatre” launches the long-awaited radio-television broadcasts, Mayor Frank Hague’s wife will be watching from home at 2600 Hudson Blvd. on her specially installed television set. Hague, in fact, will open the event at 2 p.m. with a prepared speech, followed at 7:00 p.m. by scheduled guests, personalities, and people from the entertainment industry. Wendell MacMahill, the theater’s managing director, claims that the day’s broadcasts will be “the newest and greatest wonder of science”; the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce, a major sponsor, is hoping they will put “Jersey City on the map.” Last-minute additions will be featured, including the participation of local outside stations who will be “joining the television broadcast” via microphones and other network-connecting technologies. The epoch-defining event finally arrives: The Jenkins Television Corp. broadcasts, for the first time in history, commercial televised pictures from the newly finished Lincoln Lodge. After the first broadcast, The Jersey Journal writes: “Television, flashing animated scenes through space, was accomplished somewhat crudely, but for the first time on a public basis, last night at the Hudson County Park House in Lincoln Park. … The stage was a plain white background before which two persons could barely stand without obstructing view. The television broadcaster was placed so close to those being projected pictorially through space as to entirely cut off the view of them by people in the broadcasting room, and seven huge Klieg lights cast a brilliant glare throughout the room and threw heat to bathe the announcer in perspiration.” As the talent spoke and moved before the microphones, up to 30 television sets across the local area flickered with silhouettes emanating from Lincoln Lodge; some sets, however, remained blank, demonstrating that the technology, though groundbreaking, had still to be perfected. Amazingly, the first personality to come to life — even if only as ethereal moving-speaking shadows — was Mayor Frank Hague, a person notoriously uncomfortable with the camera. “His figure,” wrote the newspaper, “was flashed from apparatus in the park building … and his voice as he spoke of the advantages of Jersey City.”
● April 9, 1930. Famous polar explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins appears on a Jenkins television broadcast from Lincoln Lodge. The broadcast also features a Long Island Railroad orchestra and an all-girl Muller Macaroni Company chorus.
● June 16, 1930 . The Jersey Journal runs an article with a panoramic photographic view of the Abraham Lincoln monument dedication held at Hudson Boulevard and Belmont Avenue. After a four-year public campaign, with the Lincoln Association of Jersey City at the forefront, the monument, designed by James Earle Fraser, stands as the metaphorical eastern door to the transcontinental Lincoln Highway and is only a few yards away from the Lincoln Lodge via a vehicular parkway. Both sites are triumphs of the Hudson County Park Commission.
● Feb. 27, 1934. A full page in The Jersey Journal is allocated to the news that a whole new section of Lincoln Park will be developed west of the original 1904-1906 portion, which includes Lincoln Lodge. The new section will reach the Hackensack River, increase the acreage of Lincoln Park by nearly 160 acres, and be landscaped by Frederick C. Hoth, the architect of record for Lincoln Lodge.
● Jan. 4, 1938. An article in The Jersey Journal is headlined “Lincoln Park to Get Lake, Bird Sanctuaries” and describes landscape architect Frederic C. Hoth presenting the commissioners with sketched plans of his progressive conception of “two artificial lakes with an island in each(,) which will be a bird sanctuary, [and] a baseball ground containing 15 diamonds; a large recreational field; 30 tennis courts (and) two miles of bridle path, an automobile drive circling the new section, and five miles of pedestrian walks. Room will also be set aside for an archery range and a half mile promenade along the river front.” The final touches of the “entirely separate unit” of the park (due to the new Route 1 highway) are to include an “artificial hill to give variety to the topography,” parking lots, a playground, and a “horse paddock.”
● Aug. 2, 1938. The Jersey City Museum Association’s “Summer Museum” is opened to the public at Lincoln Lodge; hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The Jersey Journal lists the association’s unique exhibitions, including a “colonial fireplace” by the Historical Association of Hudson County.” Benjamin Colford is mentioned as “caretaker of Lincoln Lodge.”
● Oct. 7-8, 1939. A “Festival of Nations” is held for two days at the Lincoln Lodge by the International Institute of Jersey City, with Gov. A. Harry Moore as honorary chairman.
● June 8, 1941. The Back Yard Gardeners of Jersey City holds its fourth annual public Spring Flower Show at Lincoln Lodge, with the Junior Backyard Gardeners as special hosts and Benjamin Colford, lodge manager, as assistant. Over 50 entry exhibits are featured, including home-grown flower arrangements, novelty flower pots and exotic flowers and vegetables. Mrs. Lloyd Barrick placed African violets, ferns and forget-me-nots in a birch log, which was then placed inside the lodge’s fireplace.
● July 12, 1941. The Red Cross and Jersey City Museum give a wartime first-aid demonstration at Lincoln Lodge as part of a current health exhibition being held there, featuring displays by the Hudson County Tuberculosis League, the Jersey City Cancer Control League and the U.S. Public Health Service.
● Feb. 4, 1942. The Jersey Journal publishes an article detailing the role of the Social Service Unit of the Jersey City Defense Council, which is seeking local volunteers for “defense work.” The newspaper itself, the article points out, has donated space in its Journal Square headquarters for an information office — “Room 300” — staffed from morning to evening with members of the council’s special “Volunteer Placement” committee to help attract volunteers and respond to inquiries. In addition, the article mentions that “Lincoln Lodge has been loaned to the Defense Council by the Hudson County Park Commission.” Soldiers and sailors waiting for deployment are stationed at “The Hut” at the lodge, where they receive accommodations and entertainment and are assisted by members from the nearby parish of St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church.
● Aug. 8, 1942. An editorial in The Jersey Journal praises local volunteers helping and extending hospitality toward servicemen during wartime, including the Jersey City Defense Council, the Knights of Columbus, St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church, and police officer Peter Lynch, who with his brother Charles “lives to help make Lincoln Lodge a happy spot for service men when off duty.”
● Oct. 13, 1950. “Casino in Park Opens with Accent on Class,” reads the prominently placed front-page headline in The Jersey Journal. “The night that Jersey City has been waiting for was enjoyed — thoroughly — by a horde of Gothamites…It was the long-awaited premiere of the Casino in the Park, the hot political ‘pomme de terre’ (potato, that is), whose doors were thrust open in Lincoln Park by Ray Dillman, once a Jersey boy, who gained fame as ‘mine host’ at Manhattan’s swank El Morocco.” After a year of battles with local residents, politicians and church leaders, Dillman finally opens his elegant restaurant and dance and entertainment facility, launching what will be the next chapter in the 20-year-old Lincoln Lodge. With Dillman and his business associates and investors in control, the site, now known officially as “Casino-in-the-Park,” will become even more enmeshed with the community and offer itself as a “swanky” place where good times can be had, decent food enjoyed and memories made. On the opening night of Oct. 12, 1950, 280 patrons had swarmed a main dining room capable of seating 165 diners and a “balcony dining space that overlooks the dining room and dance floor. … The decor of the dining quarters in the fieldstone lodge (include) chandeliers of the Czechoslovakian antique origin … 25 tables are set about the room on thick-piled, green, wall-to-wall carpeting … chairs themselves are gilt-shaded and the walls of the room are jade stucco … Poppy red satin drapes adorned the windows. … The men’s bar, downstairs … is styled in a strongly masculine architectural theme, with modern slants predominating.” The article concludes with a who’s-who of city and county officials in attendance into the late hours of the night; photographs of them show laughing crowds sitting around tables, balloons and festoons flying over their heads.
● Nov. 17, 1956. The Viennese Ball of the Jersey City Philharmonic Society is held at Casino-in-the-Park, where “waltzes of Old Vienna” are played before a crowd of society members of past and present.
● Jan. 3, 1957. An honor luncheon is to be given for Dr. Carrie R. Lossi at Casino-in-the-Park. Dr. Lossi will be given a medal and certificate from the Italian government in recognition of her 25 years of civic leadership, service to education, understanding and appreciation of Italian culture and history, and contributions to “good will between” the United States and Italy. The medal, called the “Star of Solidarity,” will be the first given to a New Jersey resident.
● Jan. 22, 1963. “Secret’s Out: Sinatra to Fete Mom, Dad” is published on the front page of The Jersey Journal, revealing the Hoboken-born singer and actor Frank Sinatra’s plans to rent the Casino on Feb. 9 for his parents’ upcoming golden wedding anniversary. The breaking news annoys Natalie (“Dolly”) Sinatra, mother of Frank, who states to a Journal reporter that the event is “to be a private affair. I wish you would tell me how you found out about it. Why don’t you print the story about the Mass (to be held at St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church in Union City) and forget the Casino part until it is over?” The newspaper reports that Sinatra will attend the event with his “Rat Pack crowd,” including Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The wedding vow renewal ceremony at St. Augustine’s will be officiated by Sinatra family friend the Rt. Rev. John A. Weisbrod of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Newark.
● Jan. 23, 1963. A follow-up to the Jan. 22 article is headlined with “Sinatra’s Soiree Still On at Casino.” Despite rumors of cancellation, Bernard Sweeney, the casino’s newest proprietor, says that it “is silly to say it is going to be cancelled. There has been no change of plans.” The article also publicly reveals that aside from Sinatra throwing a party at the Casino for his beloved parents, he has also just purchased a $50,000 house on Abbott Boulevard in Fort Lee for them.
● Feb. 11, 1963 – The Jersey Journal headline reads “Sinatras Make Golden Anniversary a 24-Karat Celebration,” followed by the sub-title “Sinatra Sits Silently While Parents Waltz.” For four hours Sinatra watches quietly from a table with his daughter, Nancy, and Tommy Sands, her husband. “Sinatra sat down at the head table on the main floor of the Casino,” the newspaper wrote. “He fidgeted, talked to his daughter, and looked any minute as though he was going to get up and walk out. … Crowds of onlookers braved the cold and greeted the more-often-seen Hudson political figures such as John V. Kenny, Mayor, and Mrs. John J. Grogan, of Hoboken, where Frankie was born.” The article captures the actions of the popular singer, from the filet mignon dinner he consumes to his lack of singing any of his popular standards. He does not dance with his mother, Dolly; he fails to cross himself when Grace is said; none of his Rat Pack friends show; only aides and security shadow him. “When he decided to leave,” the newspaper continues, “Sinatra did so suddenly, slipping out with Nancy, Sands, and his business aide through a side door to the waiting limousine which returned the group to New York.”
● March 8, 1967. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announces that the 1967 “Irishman of the Year” will be Hudson County Democratic leader and former mayor John V. Kenny. The committee will honor Kenny at its fifth annual banquet at Casino-in-the-Park on March 17 “in recognition of his half century of service to the people of Jersey City and Hudson County.”
● April 16, 1969. A testimonial dinner is held at Casino-in-the-Park for Sister Ambrosina, the beloved former administrator of St. Francis Hospital. She has recently been designated eastern-area director of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor.
● Sept. 18, 1970. The Hudson County Bar Association holds its fourth annual state bar dinner at Casino-in-the-Park; President Daniel L. Golden is honoree.
● Dec. 2, 1970. A testimonial banquet is held at Casino-in-the-Park for retired James J. Ferris High School baseball director Joe McGuire; the committee includes Tom Graziano, Carmen Pierro, Al Melleno and Italian Village vanguard Anthony Nicodemo.
● Oct. 26, 1970. Retired Hudson County Democratic boss John V. Kenny speaks at a huge political rally at Casino-in-the-Park, where he blasts the federal probe of his past dealings by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declaring famously, “They’ll have to frame me.”
● Jan. 25, 1971. The Jersey Journal publishes an article about the International Institute of Jersey City’s upcoming installation of Annamarie Paterno as president of the organization, to be held at Casino-in-the-Park. Ms. Paterno was the first woman president of the Hudson County Bar Association and, according to the newspaper, “was believed to have been the first woman president of any New Jersey county bar association.”
● Feb. 16, 1971. The Jersey Journal reports on the 11th annual awards dinner of the Jersey City Little Guys Association recently held at Casino-in-the-park. The association is the sponsor of the Pop Warner Jet and Peewee Jet football teams.
● May 6, 1971. A Vietnam veterans’ luncheon and job fair is held at Casino-in-the-Park and is sponsored by the Hudson County Coordinated Area Manpower Planning System with support from E. Edward Davis, supervisor of the Veterans’ Program of the State Department of Education. The purpose of the event, according to the newspaper, is to “orient manpower staffers and business representatives to the plight of the Vietnam veteran in finding jobs, what training programs are available, and the counseling, civil rights, college benefits and education programs now open to veterans in the state.”
● May 10, 1971. The “Youth On March” caption title for a Jersey Journal photograph captures the spirit of 850 Hudson County residents, including hundreds of local high school and university students, marching through the streets of Hudson County to protest world hunger. The protesters file past Casino-in-the-Park, and the scene is captured by a newspaper photographer. Some 600 similar marches are held throughout the country.
● May 25, 1971. Jersey City Realtors sponsors a ceremonial lunch at Casino-in-the-Park in recognition of local “drug-abuse” essay-contest winners from private and public schools, including Donald After, Susan Bret, Dianne Ziegler, Elizabeth Meyers, Gale Mikula, Bernard Yee, Alvin Plesniarski and Adeline Calabro.
● June 11, 1971. As reported in detail by The Jersey Journal, the conspiracy trial of prominent Hudson County political leaders is ongoing, with Mayor Thomas J. Whelan and legendary county boss John V. Kenny at the forefront. Kenny, suffering from an enlarged prostate, a heart murmur, clogged arteries and a hernia, finds guarded refuge at Casino-in-the-Park after trial sessions.
● Oct. 19, 1971. The University Club of Hudson County holds its annual dinner at Casino-in-the-Park. Jersey City Mayor Charles Krieger, speaker, denounces mayoral candidates as incompetent and disqualified for the position.
● Jan. 21, 1975. Our Lady of Mercy Home-School Association has a fundraising cocktail party at Casino-in-the-Park.
● March 11, 1975. The Jersey Journal publishes a photograph of recent “festivities” held at Casino-in-the-Park related to the upcoming Jersey City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The event was attended by Mayor Paul Jordan, who crowned Peggyann Dolan as “Miss Colleen of 1975.”
● May 30, 1975. The Jersey Journal publishes a photograph of the testimonial dinner held recently at Casino-in-the-Park in honor of Freeholder Anne O’Malley.
● June 11, 1975. A cocktail buffet reception is held at Casino-in-the-Park to honor Siggi B. Wilzig, chairman of the board and president of the Trust Company of New Jersey. Radio personality Barry Farber is in attendance. Wilzig will be feted on June 29 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at the National Israel Bond Tribute Dinner.
● July 24, 1975. A luncheon is held at Casino-in-the-Park to honor Korean dignitaries under the auspices of the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce. The visitors are Korean National Assembly members Park Sam Chul and Oh Jun Suck and are welcomed by local Korean businessman Sang J. Kim; Joseph T. Grossi, director of Area Development for the City of Jersey City; Jersey City Mayor Paul Jordan; Jersey City Council president Dominick Pugliese; and Gov. Brendan Byrne.
● Sept. 17, 1975. The Hudson County chapter of the March of Dimes has its annual awards luncheon at Casino-in-the-Park; Angelo Catalano is Master of Ceremonies.
● Oct. 14, 1975. A holiday luncheon and fashion show is held at Casino-in-the-Park by the Hudson County chapter of the National Secretaries Association; Dorothy Meyer is vice president and chairwoman.
● Oct. 19, 1975. Hollywood actress and civil rights advocate Ruby Dee appears at Casino-in-the-Park to receive recognition from the Com-Bin-Nations at their annual Black Women’s Day Award Banquet. Com-Bin-Nations president, Izetter McDuffy, states that the annual banquet is “a day that the Com-Bin-Nations set aside to honor black women for their outstanding work in their churches, clubs or communities.”
● Nov. 12, 1975. A testimonial fete is held at Casino-in-the-Park for esteemed Superior Court Judge Robert F. McAlevy Jr. and Hudson County District Court Judge Mortimer Neuman. Special recognition is given to Judge Neuman’s role in the famous $15 million suit in the 1950s against former Mayor Frank Hague for back collections of 3% of annual city employee salaries.
● Feb. 10, 1976. A luncheon meeting for the local Real Estate Board is held at Casino-in-the-Park. J. Owen Grundy, city historian and secretary of the Jersey City Historic Districts Commission, is the special guest speaker at the invitation of program chairman Alan Bardack.
● March 6, 1976. Hollywood actor, writer, film director and civil rights advocate Ossie Davis appears at Casino-in-the-Park as special guest speaker for the Continental Civic Association’s 12th annual banquet.
● July 15, 1976. World-famous heavyweight boxer Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner appears at Casino-in-the-Park as a guest speaker of the St. Mary’s Baseball Awards Dinner.
● Oct. 26, 1976. An estimated 500 people swarm a rally at a “candidates’ night” function at Casino-in-the-Park. Sponsored by the West Side Ward Democratic Organization, the massive event was attended by Mayor Paul T. Jordan and County Chairman Bernard M. Hartnett, who “urged the workers to get out a large vote for the ticket.”
● May 10, 1977. Mayor-elect Thomas F.X. Smith calls for “love and togetherness” at a political rally at Casino-in-the-Park.
● Nov. 2, 2005. Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, stomps at Casino-in-the-Park for gubernatorial candidate Jon Corzine. He is flanked by local political heavyweights including Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, then-West New York mayor (and now U.S. House of Representative for New Jersey’s Eighth Congressional District) Albio Sires, and then-Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
GIVE IT BACK
Events such as these continued by the thousands well into the late-2010s, making the Casino the penultimate who’s-who-in-Hudson County landmark to touch its citizens directly, intimately, be it for a wedding, anniversary, fete, graduation or rally.
Hudson County must find the courage and insight to not give up so quickly on the 90-year-old Casino-in-the-Park, as happens far too often with our built patrimony in this developer-driven day and age.
In truth, tearing down Casino-in-the-Park would be like bulldozing the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital. These two sites, though disparate in size, style and use, are equal intrinsically. Both are worthy of civic consideration, compassion and preservation.
Instead of taking down the Casino, restore it. Find the will.
Instead of giving it away, give it back to park users. It would be the gift of a generation.
John Gomez is the founder of the non-profit Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy and is author of “Legendary Locals of Jersey City.” Currently a commissioner on the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission, he holds a Master of Science in historic preservation from Columbia University and teaches urban architecture at St. Peter’s University. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JerseyCityBook.
- Ronaldo celebrates landmark goal but Juve's perfect run broken
- Hegemony with Chinese characteristics - News VietNamNet
- Firm evidence proves Vietnam’s sovereignty over archipelagoes
- BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 17/10
- Bản in : Firm evidence proves Vietnam’s sovereignty over archipelagoes
- Real estate dented by surging delays
- A Harasser Crying “Stop Harassing!”
- BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/11
- EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 20-30 (daily updated)
- Time running out for city’s Old Quarter - Heritage - My HaNoi
- Time running out for city’s Old Quarter
- BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/6
Hold that wrecking ball! Historian issues plea to save N.J. landmark have 5442 words, post on www.nj.com at April 29, 2019. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.