Roberts said Tuesday that he hopes the year long festivities can bring together all Hobokenites to commemorate the city's noteworthy past. "Hoboken is a community with a rich social fabric that is steeped in history and tradition and I am honored to be [Hoboken's] mayor as we celebrate the city's 150th birthday," said Roberts.
Although the city's history dates back to the journey of Henry Hudson's "Half Moon" in 1609, Hoboken was not officially incorporated as a city until March 28, 1855 under the leadership of Mayor Cornelius Clickener. Grand celebrations, with huge parades and well-attended parties marked the community's 50th and 100th anniversary celebrations, said Roberts.
Steeped in History
Many notable events and innovations have marked Hoboken's long and distinguished history, said Roberts. In the mid-1800s Hoboken played host to the first organized game of baseball. The New York Nine defeated the Knickerbockers, 23 to 1 in four innings at Hoboken's Elysian Fields.
As the city approached the turn of the century, the town became an industrial hub of shipping and transportation and as a gateway for immigrants who enriched the city's ethic vitality. In its industrial heyday, giants from Bethlehem Steel to Hostess Cakes set up shop in the city. The primary industry during Hoboken's days as an industrial capital was shipbuilding, but at various times the city was home to industries that created a variety of other products that have since become household names. These included Maxwell House and Lipton Tea, as well as snacks and household products that were invented or first produced here like the Tootsie Roll, the slide ruler, the zipper and the ice cream cone.
Hoboken's favorite son Frank Sinatra was born December 12th, 1915, at 415 Monroe St. The son of Italian immigrants he started as a singing waiter but by his 20s was performing with his hero Bing Crosby.
By the 1980s, a growing group of artists, followed by young professionals, began to discover Hoboken. In this inexpensive alternative to Manhattan, craftsmen could find a cold-water flat for less than $100 a month. Developers began taking an interest, and the city has become the poster child of urban revitalization.
The waterfront has also seen a renaissance when it comes to open space on the river. Pier A, Sinatra Park, and the Hoboken Train Terminal have been revamped and re-imagined. Where longshoremen once labored, bankers, computer programmers and lawyers now play Frisbee with their families.
Many events planned
The city's Cultural Affairs Coordinator Geri Fallo outlined several of the events that are planned for 2005's sesquicentennial. They will include:
The Anniversary Parade to be held in spring 2005 will feature community and civic organizations from throughout the region.
The Anniversary Gala Dinner to be held in April of 2005 will feature the foods of Hoboken.
A Vintage Baseball Tournament will be held in June 17, 18 and 19 of 2005 to mark Hoboken's legacy as the birthplace of baseball.
A giant community spaghetti dinner will be held in the summer of 2005, which will recreate the meal of 1955, which many long-time residents still remember.
The Hoboken Historical Museum will hold a special year-round exhibit highlighting the city's rich history.
Other events will include old postcard displays at City Hall, a city-wide art exhibit, essay contests at local schools, historic church tours, theatrical productions and an attempt to create the world's biggest birthday card.
City officials and the Sesquicentennial Celebration Commission are still soliciting involvement from residents or local community groups that might want to host an event or volunteer.
"If you love Hoboken," said Fallo, "come join us."
She added that they already have more than 70 volunteers signed up and city official hope to double that number by June. Fallo also said that the commission is still searching for the city's oldest living resident and the family with the longest history still residing in Hoboken. For more information, call the Office of Cultural Affairs at (201) 420-2207.