Union City is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. According to the United States 2000 Census the city had a total population of 67,088. All of the city is on land, an area of 1.27 square miles (3.28 km²). It is the most densely populated city in the United States and in the Americas,a[›] with a density of 52,977.8 per square mile. Union City was incorporated as a city by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 1, 1925, with the merger of Union Hill and West Hoboken Township. Two major waves of immigration, first of German-language speakers and then of Spanish-language speakers, greatly influenced the development and character of Union City. Its two nicknames, "Embroidery Capital of the United States" and "Havana on the Hudson", reflect important aspects of that history. Thousands make a pilgrimage to Union City each year to see the nation's longest running passion play and the annual Cuban Day Parade of New Jersey.
|Sign marking Union City's southern border with Jersey City.|
Union City is located at 40Degrees 46'4" 74 Degrees 1'55" (40.767651,-74.031833). Part of the New York metropolitan area, it is one of the municipalities which comprise North Hudson, New Jersey. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.3 km squared), all of it land. Located atop the ridge of the lower Hudson Palisades (just south of the highest point in the county), many of its streets offer glimpses and views of the surrounding municipalities, the New York City skyline, and the New Jersey Meadowlands.
The city is bisected by New Jersey Route 495, a vehicular cut built in conjunction with the Lincoln Tunnel. Soon after its construction, many street names were abandoned in favor of numbering in most of North Hudson starting at 2nd Street, just north of Paterson Plank Road, which runs through the city's only major park and creates its border with Jersey City. 49th Street is the northern boundary with West New York. Apart from a small section between Bergen Turnpike and Weehawken Cemetery, Kennedy Boulevard, a major north-south thoroughfare, creates the western border with North Bergen. A former colonial road and previous border between the merged municipalities takes three names as it diagonlly crosses the city's urban grid: Hackensack Plank Road, 32nd Street, and Bergen Turnipke. Most of the city north of the street, formerly Union Hill, shares its eastern border along Park Avenue with Weehawken. The southern section of the city, formerly West Hoboken, is indeed west of Hoboken, which it overlooks and is connected by the road which creates their shared border, the Wing Viaduct.
Early history and civic boundaries
The area of what is today Union City was originally inhabited by the Munsee-speaking branch of Lenni Lenape Native Americans, who wandered into the vast woodland area encountered by Henry Hudson during the voyages he conducted from 1609-1610 for the Dutch, who later claimed the area (which included the future New York City) and named it New Netherland. The portion of that land that included the future Hudson County was purchased from the Hackensack branch of the Lenni-Lenape in 1658 by New Netherland colony Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, and became part of Pavonia, New Netherland. The boundaries of the purchase are described in the deed preserved in the New York State Archives, as well as the medium of exchange: "80 fathoms of wampum, 20 fathoms of cloth, 12 brass kettles, 6 guns, one double brass kettle, 2 blankets, and one half barrel of strong beer."
The relationship between the early Dutch settlers and the Natives was marked by frequent armed conflict over land claims. As a result, in 1660, Peter Stuyvesant ordered the building of a fortified village called Bergen. It was the first permanent European settlement in New Jersey, located in what is now the Journal Square area of Jersey City near Academy Street.In 1664 the British captured New Netherland from the Dutch, at which point the boundaries of Bergen Township encompassed what is now known as Hudson County. North of this was the unpopulated Bergen Woods, which would later be claimed by settlers, after whom a number of Union City streets today are named, including Sipp Street, Brown Street, Golden Lane, Tournade Street and Kerrigan Avenue, which is named after J. Kerrigan, the owner of Kerrigan Farm, who donated the land for Saint Michael's Monastery.
The area that would one day be Union City, however, remained sparsely populated until the early 19th century. The British granted Bergen a new town charter in 1668. In 1682 they created Bergen County, which they so named to honor their Dutch predecessors. That county comprised all of present day Hudson, Bergen and Passaic Counties. Sparsely inhabited during the 17th and 18th centuries, the southeast section of Bergen County had grown by the early 19th century to the point where it was deemed necessary to designate it a separate county. The New Jersey legislature created Hudson County in 1840, and in 1843, it was divided into two townships: Old Bergen Township (which eventually became Jersey City) and North Bergen Township, which was gradually separated into Hudson County's present day municipalities: Hoboken in 1849, Weehawken and Guttenberg in 1859, and Union Township in 1861. Union Township itself developed into West Hoboken in 1861 and Union Township on March 29, 1864. Union Township, or simply Union, was formed through the merger of a number of villages, such as Dalleytown, Buck’s Corners and Cox’s Corners. The largest of these villages, Union Hill, became the colloquial name for the merged town of Union itself. The northern section of Union Township was later incorporated as West New York in 1898. Union City was incorporated on June 1, 1925 by merging the two towns of West Hoboken and Union Hill. The name of one of the city's schools, Union Hill Middle School, recalls the former town.
Immigration and industry
In the 18th century, Dutch and English merchants first settled the area. Later, German immigrants immigrated from Manhattan. Irish, Polish, Armenians, Syrians, eastern European Jews and Italians followed. In 1851, Germans moved across the Hudson River from New York City in search of affordable land and open space. During the Civil War a military installation, Camp Yates, covered an area now bounded by Bergenline and Palisade Avenues from 22nd to 32nd Street. Germans began to settle what would become Union Hill in 1851, and some descendants of the immigrants of this period live in the city today. Although the area's diversity was represented by the more than nineteen nationalities that made their home in the Dardanelles (a five block area of Central Avenue from 23rd Street to 27th Street, from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, German Americans and Dutch dominated the area. Along with Swiss and Austrian immigrants, they founded the European-style lace making industries for which they were famous. The introduction of Schiffli lace machines in Hudson County made Union City the "embroidery capital of the United States". The trademark of that industry is on the Union City Seal, though foreign competition and austere prevailing fashions led to the decline of embroidery and other industries in the area by the late 1990s.
As immigration to the area progressed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Belgian, Armenian, Greek, Chinese, Jewish and Russian people found a home in the area, though its domination by Germans by the turn of the 20th century was reflected in the fact that the minutes of town meetings were recorded in German. By this time, the area was witnessing a period of urbanization, as an extensive trolley system was developed by the North Hudson County Railway, spurred by both electrification in 1890 and the arrival of Irish and Italian immigrants, which dominated the city until the late 1960s. Successive waves of immigrants from Eastern Europe, the Near East and Latin America contributed to the embroidery industry in subsequent years. "The Cultural Thread"/"El Hilo", an exhibit highlighting this industry, is on display at Union City's Park Performing Arts Center.
The town famous for being the home of the rowdy Hudson Burlesque. Vaudeville and burlesque were theatre staples in Union City, with performers such as Harry Houdini and Fred Astaire making appearances locally. Union City was also for a time the home to the headquarters of sports publisher Joe Weider.
The first Cubans immigrated to Union City from New York City in the 1940s, having been attracted to the city in search of work after hearing of its famed embroidery factories. A majority of these Cubans hailed from small towns or cities, particularly Villa Clara Province in central Cuba. After World War II, veterans relocated to Bergen County, causing a short-lived decline in the population. By the late 1960s when the city was predominantly Italian, it was settled by a large migration of Cuban refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's regime, making Union City for many years the city with the largest Cuban population in the U.S. after Miami, hence its nickname, "Havana on the Hudson." Following the Mariel boatlift in 1980, 10,000 Cubans settled in New Jersey, leading to a second wave of Cubans to Union City, which totaled 15,000 by 1994. The city, as well as neighboring towns such as West New York, has experienced a profound cultural impact as a result of this, as seen in such aspects of local culture as its cuisine, fashion, music, entertainment and cigar-making.
Development in the 21st Century
Since its inception in 2000 the Cuban Day Parade of New Jersey has become a major annual event in North Hudson, beginning in North Bergen and travelling south to its end in Union City. Union City has historically been a family-oriented city predominantly made up of brownstones, two-family homes and locally owned businesses. Beginning approximately in 2003, it underwent a period of development of modestly-sized residences, spurred by similar development in neighboring Hoboken, and the city's attempt to attract developers to what had historically been a town unfriendly to them, according to Mayor Brian P. Stack. Through approval of varied construction projects to address the needs of residents of different incomes, improved rent control laws and community input on such issues, this "Hobokenization" resulted in positive comparisons with the redeveloped Hoboken of the mid-to-late 1990s, with new restaurants, bars and art galleries cited as evidence of renewal. The city recorded $192 million in new construction in 2007, and 600 certificates of occupancy, with 500-700 projected for 2008–2009, compared with previous years, in which 50 certificates was considered a high amount. This development continued for several years, reaching a milestone in 2008 with the completion of Union City's first high-rise condominium tower, The Thread, whose name evokes the city's historical association with the embroidery industry. Other such towers have followed, such as the Altessa and Park City Grand.
|Bergenline Avenue then and now: Facing south toward 32nd Street, circa 1900 (left), and in 2010 (right).|
Originally, Bergenline Avenue was the width of a cowpath, and was not regarded as a business center. Street car tracks were expected to be laid on Palisade Avenue where the Town Hall was located. However, and influential citizen named Henry Kohlmeier, who had just built his residence on Palisade Avenue, did not wish to be disturbed by the noise of the passing cars, and proposed that the tracks be laid on Bergenline Avenue, two blocks to the west, and before those who would have objected to this became aware of this change, the motion was approved.
Today Bergenline Avenue remains the city's main commercial thoroughfare. Currently the longest commercial avenue in the state, boasting over 300 retail stores and restaurants, Bergenline runs through not only the entire length of Union City from north to south, but also through West New York, Guttenberg and North Bergen, making it the main commercial strip for Northern Hudson County. Also known as the "Miracle Mile", Bergenline's largest concentration of retail and chain stores begins at the intersection of 32nd Street and continues north until 92nd Street in North Bergen, and while it is a narrow one-way, southbound street throughout most of Union City, it becomes a four lane, two-way street at 48th Street, just one block south of the town's limit. Bergenline Avenue is also used as the route for local parades, such as the annual Memorial Day Parade. At Union City's southern end, Bergenline is primarily a residential street, with the shopping district concentrated at Summit Avenue and Transfer Station. Although not as busy a shopping area as upper Bergenline, the city implemented a series of improvements in 2009 to improve business there, such as improved sidewalks, landscaping and street lights from Seventh Street to 13th Street.
Union City is one of several cities in Hudson County that contains a state-established "Urban Enterprise Zone", which was implemented in 1983 by the New Jersey Department of Commerce and Economic Development assist businesses and revitalize economically distressed communities in New Jersey. Businesses within the zone apply for a variety of incentives, including a sales tax reduction to customers of 3½% from the mandated 7% statewide sales tax, with no tax on purchases made by merchants related to running their businesses. Revenue generated from the reduced sales tax is maintained in a special fund dedicated for use within the zone for specific economic development and physical improvement projects. There are approximately 180 UEZ-certified businesses in the city, which includes Bergenline Avenue from 49th to 15th Streets, 32nd Street from Bergenline Avenue to Kennedy Boulevard, Summit Avenue from 18th to Fifth Street, and Paterson Plank Road from Fifth to Seventh Streets. In addition to providing an incentive for shoppers and for business owners to invest in the area without raising taxes, up to $30,000 in annual UEZ revenue is also used for area upkeep and safety projects, marketing campaigns, and holiday decorations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Union City's unemployment rate as of September 2009 was 15%, the highest in the state, compared with the lowest, Hoboken, at 6.3%, and a state rate of 9.8%.
|Revelers during the 2010 Cuban Day Parade on Bergenline Avenue.|
According to the United States 2000 Census, Union City was the second most populated municipality in the county after Jersey City, with a population of 67,088. By 2010, it had lost 633 people, or 1% of its population, bringing its population to 66,455.
All of the city is on land, an area 1.27 square miles (3.28 km²). The population density was 52,977.8 inhabitants per square mile (20,395.9/km²) in 2000, extremely high for an American municipality. The population density of Union City was approximately twice as high as New York City as a whole, but less than Manhattan alone. Union City is the most densely populated city in the United States, though neighboring Guttenberg (legally defined as a town) is more densely populated.
The racial makeup of the city was 58.38% White, 3.64% African American, 0.70% Native American, 2.15% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 28.19% from other races, and 6.87% from two or more races. Although Hispanics remain the dominant ethnic group in the city, their percentage of the population has decreased from 82.3% in the 2000 Census to 78.1% as of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey. Non-Hispanic whites made up 17.7% of the city's population; up from 13.3% in the 2000 Census. Blacks made up 5.1% of the city's population; up from 3.3% in the 2000 Census. Though Native Americans comprise less than 1% of the city’s population, they doubled between the 2000 and 2011 Census, and combined with West New York’s Native Americans, comprise 38% of the county’s Native American population.
In the early days of the post-Revolution era, Union City boasted the nation's largest Cuban population, second only to Miami, Florida, leading to the nickname "Havana on the Hudson". Aspects of the enclave are explored in the 2009 publication The Cubans of Union City: Immigrants and Exiles in a New Jersey Community. In the ensuing decades, Cuban residents have spread out to other communities of North Hudson County. West New York, at 19.64%, now has the highest percentage of Cubans in New Jersey, with Union City in second place, with 15.35%. These two municipalities have the highest Cuban population percentage in the United States outside of Florida. Because of the still-high Cuban population, the major New York City television news outlets will invariably journey to Union City to interview citizens when news items involving Cuba or Raúl Castro arise. Moreover, Union City still boasts the largest Hispanic population percentage in New Jersey, at 84.7% by the 2010 Census. It also has a very diversified Hispanic population with Cubans, Dominicans, and the more recent groups, such as South Americans and Central Americans, Haitians, Asian Indians, Koreans and Arabs. As of the 2000 census, 5.94% of Union City's residents identified themselves as being of Ecuadorian ancestry, which was the third highest of any municipality in New Jersey and the seventh highest percentage of Ecuadorian people in any place in the United States with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry. Almost 55.4% of the population is foreign born, 38.3% of which are naturalized citizens. 19.3% speak English at home, whereas 73.7% speak Spanish at home.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.8 males.
As of 2000, Union City's employment breakdown is thus: 27% Manufacturing, 15% Professional, 15% Retail, 8% Transportation, 8% Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, 8% Wholesale Trade, 6% Business and Trade, 5% Construction, 4% Personal Service, 3% Public Administration, 3% Communications, and 1% Entertainment/Recreation. About 17% of the city's employed residents work in New York City.
Of Union City’s 24,931 housing units (up 1,190 from the 2000 Census), 2,117 of them, or 8%, are vacant, twice the vacancy rate of the 2000 Census.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,642, and the median income for a family was $32,246. Males had a median income of $25,598 versus $19,794 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,997. About 18.6% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.3% of those under age 18 and 19.3% of those age 65 or over. The Brookings Institute studies rank Union City among the 92 most economically depressed localities in the United States, with 18.1% of the population and 27.5% of the children falling below the poverty line. In 1997, the New Jersey Municipal Distress Index, which is based on social, economic, fiscal and physical indicators, ranked Union City as the 3rd most distressed community in the state. One of the county's three homeless shelters, Palisades Emergency Residence Corp., is located in Union City.
|Mayor Brian P. Stack also serves as state senator.|
Union City's City Hall is located at 3715 Palisade Avenue. The mayor of Union City also serves as a commissioner on the five-member Board of Commissioners, as per the city's Walsh Act form of government, which has been in place since 1930.
The current mayor of Union City is Brian P. Stack, who became mayor in 2000 after a recall election forced the resignation of then-mayor Raúl "Rudy" Garcia.
Five members comprise the Union City Board of Commissioners and serve in both administrative and legislative capacities. Each commissioner acts as the director of one of the five major departments of the City, administering the daily operations of his or her department. The five commissioners and their departmental assignments are:
* Brian P Stack – Commissioner of Public Safety
* Lucio P. Fernandez Commissioner of Public Affairs
* Tilo E. Rivas – Commissioner of Public Works
* Maryury Martinetti – Commissioner of Revenue and Finance
* Christopher F. Irizarry – Commissioner of Parks and Public Property
Federal, state, and county representation
Union City is in the 13th Congressional district. New Jersey's Thirteenth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).
Union City is also in the 33rd Legislative District, which is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Brian P. Stack (D, Union City) and in the New Jersey General Assembly by Ruben J. Ramos (D, Hoboken) and Caridad Rodriguez (D, West New York).
Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders District 6 is represented by Tilo Rivas. The Hudson County Executive, elected at-large, is Thomas A. DeGise.
Union City is one of five cities in North Hudson served by North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, along with North Bergen, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenberg.
|The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station on Bergenline Avenue at 48th Street.|
Union City is two miles (3 km) from New York City via the Lincoln Tunnel, its main approach road, Route 495 bisecting it. Within a mile to the west are U.S. Route 1/9, Route 3, and the New Jersey Turnpike.
The Bergenline Avenue Station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is located at 49th Street near the city line with West New York and North Bergen.
Bergenline Avenue and the marginal highway of New Jersey Route 495 are major public transportation corridors. New Jersey Transit bus service transportation is available to points in Hudson, Bergen, and Passaic counties and to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Routes which stop in the city are the 111, 121, 123, 124, 125, 127, 129, 154, 156, 159, 144, 190 (and the 108, 160, 161, 163, 167, 191, 192 by passenger request for travel to the Port Authority Bus terminal only), and the 195 (Saturdays only). The George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal is served by the 181. Jersey City can be reached on the 22, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88 and 89 routes. Additional public transportation service is augmented by dollar vans to the Hudson County Courthouse, Newport Mall, 42nd Street in Manhattan, and Paterson, New Jersey, The minibuses, locally known for their Spanish language name guagua, have come subject to greater scrutiny due to alleged safety issues.
Newark Liberty International Airport is located 12.5 miles (20.1 km) away in Newark / Elizabeth. LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, Queens is 12.3 miles (19.8 km) away. John F. Kennedy Airport is also in Queens, New York. The Colombian airline Avianca operates a private bus service from to Union City and Elizabeth for passengers on Avianca flights departing from and arriving to JFK.
Union City Board of Education operates public schools in Union City. The district is one of 31 Abbott Districts statewide.
The city is served by a single high school, Union City High School, which opened September 3, 2009, which was built on the site of the former Roosevelt Stadium. The $178 million school, whose signature feature is an athletic field on its second floor roof, replaced the former Emerson High School and Union Hill High School, which converted to middle schools.
Elementary and high schools in the district include:
* Thomas A. Edison School (PK-8)
* Sara M. Gilmore School (PK-5)
* Hudson School (PK-5)
* Jefferson School (PK-5)
* Roosevelt School (K-8;)
* Veteran's Memorial School (PK-5)
* Washington School (PK-6)
* Robert Waters School (PK-8)
* Woodrow Wilson School (1–8)
* Emerson Middle School
* Union Hill Middle School
* José Martí Freshman Academy (Grade 9)
* Union City High School
* Union City Career Academy (9–12)
Hudson County Community College's $28.1 million North Hudson Higher Education Center is expected to open for the 2011 spring semester. The seven story, 92,250-square-foot (8,570 m2) Center, is located on Kennedy Boulevard adjacent to the Bergenline Avenue Light Rail station. It incorporates green technology, such as photovoltaic electrical systems, rainwater harvesting tanks, daylight and occupancy sensors, low-flow fixtures, and high-efficiency mechanical equipment. The NHHEC will also house offices for the Hudson County Career Development Center and the County Clerk.
* St. Francis Academy
* Union City Daycare Program School
* St. Augustine's School
* Mother Seton Interparochial School
* Miftaahul Uloom Academy
|Hudson Presbyterian Church.|
The former Monastery and Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, once the largest Roman Catholic church in Hudson County, on West Street, is the one landmark on the National Register of Historic Places in Union City, and one of several locations which have been designated by New Jersey Register of Historic Places. It is now known as the Hudson Presbyterian Church. The José Martí Freshman Academy and Union City Public Library on located on the grounds of the complex.
The Park Performing Arts Center was originally built in 1931 by the German congregation the Catholic parish of Holy Family Church (and still owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark) to house their cultural and educational programs Its outstanding feature is the Park Theater which seats 1,400. Incorporated in 1983 the non-profit arts center presents works of local, national, and international artists, as well as permanent and rotating exhibitions.
|José Martí Freshman Academy and Union City Public Library.|
Union City High School and Athletic Complex opened in September 2009 on the site of the former Roosevelt Stadium, demolished in 2005 to make way for it. The sports field is located on the second floor roof of the building, which also houses the Union City Performing Arts Center and a community health center.
Emerson Middle School home to the Bulldogs, was opened in April 1915 as West Hoboken High School, and was home to the Bulldogs. It was renamed Emerson High School for the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, when the two towns merged. Located on New York Avenue at 18th Street, the original building is connected with the gym building, built in the 1980s, by a second story enclosed bridge that runs over New York Avenue. The school became the South campus of Union City High School in September 2008, before converting to a middle school in September 2009, with the opening of the new Union City High School proper. Alumni of the school include DJ and music producer Erick Morillo and former Green Bay Packers center Frank Winters.
|Tribute to Cuban-American salsa singer Celia Cruz, and other Latin stars.|
Carnegie Libraries Union City is home to two libraries funded by donations by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Both are considered historically and architecturally significant by the city. The first was built in 1903 with a $25,000 donation by Carnegie in what was once West Hoboken on 15th Street between Bergenline Avenue and New York Avenue. The second was built in 1905 at the corner of 43rd Street and New York Avenue in what was once Union Hill, and is the main branch. The 15th Street library retains its original stained glass, but was closed in 2004 upon the completion of a new library on the corner of Summit Avenue and 18th Street, housed in the same building as José Martí Middle School. It was converted into the William V. Musto Cultural Center, which opened in June 2011. It houses the Union City Museum of Art, the Union City Police Museum, the Union City Art Gallery & Concert Hall, the Union City Museum of History, and a senior citizen center.
Celia Cruz Park (also known as Celia Cruz Plaza) On June 4, 2004, nearly a year after the death of Cuban-American salsa singer Celia Cruz (who lived in nearby Fort Lee), Union City heralded its annual Cuban Day Parade by dedicating its new Celia Cruz Park at 31st Street and Bergenline Avenue, with Cruz's widower, Pedro Knight, present. The park featured a sidewalk star in Cruz's honor, and an 8' x 10' mural by Union City's Edgardo Davila, a collage of Cruz's career throughout the decades. There are four other similar dedications to Cruz around the world. The Latin American Kiwanis Club refurbished the park in early June 2006, replacing the mural with a backlit photograph of Cruz. Cruz's star has expanded into Union City's "Walk of Fame", as new marble stars are added each spring to honor Latin entertainment and media personalities. People so honored at the park include merengue singer Joseíto Mateo, salsa singer La India, Cuban musician Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Cuban tenor Beny Moré, Tito Puente, Spanish language television news anchor Rafael Pineda, salsa pioneer Johnny Pacheco, singer/bandleader Gilberto Santa Rosa and music promoter Ralph Mercado.
September 11 memorials Four citizens from Union City lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 attacks. On September 11, 2007, the city dedicated Liberty Plaza, at 30th Street between New York Avenue and Palisade Avenue, to commemorate that day. The Plaza, which serves as a transit hub through which commuters pass on their way to and from Manhattan, includes two memorials dedicated to the lives lost during the attacks. In addition, Doric Park, in whose courtyard citizens gathered on September 11, 2001 to view the attacks' aftereffects, was the site of Union City's first 9/11 memorial, until the park was demolished and rebuilt as Firefighters Memorial Park, which opened in August 2009. A memorial to local firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty now stands in that park's entrance. Despite the fact that two other public pools are also offered by the city, including one a few blocks away, the popularity of Firefighters Memorial Park has attracted visitors from Manhattan and Staten Island, leading to overflow problems, and the controversial decision to restrict the park to Union City residents with proper identification, during periods of crowding.
Blue Chapel The Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary (commonly referred to as the Blue Chapel) was constructed between 1912 and 1914, as the first monastery dedicated to the recitation of the Perpetual Rosary in the United States. Although the monastery was well maintained for many decades, after the number of resident nuns and finances dwindled, the chapel deteriorated and was vacated in summer of 2009. Plans were announced later that year to renovate and expand the monastery in order to create housing units and underground parking, but negative public reaction squelched those plans. In 2010, the Chapel was included on Preservation New Jersey's annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list, which is intended to draw attention to historical sites in need of preservation. The site's caretakers have previously indicated that it will likely be abandoned or sold, but the city Board of Commissioners passed a November 3, 2010 resolution designating it as a historic site as part of efforts to protect it.
|Spectators viewing the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks from Doric Park.|
Historical markers Since 2009, Union City has erected historical markers to commemorate the lives of its noteworthy natives. The first marker was dedicated to the memory of boxer Joe Jeanette on April 17, 2009, and placed at the corner of Summit Avenue and 27th Street on April 17, 2009, where Jeanette's former residence and gym once stood. The marker lies two blocks from a street, located between Summit Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard, that was named Jeanette Street in his honor. Present at the dedication ceremony was Jeanette's grandniece, Sabrina Jennette.[ The city's second historical marker was dedicated September 26, 2009 to Peter George Urban, a 10th degree karate grandmaster, writer and teacher who founded an American karate system, American Goju Do. Present at the dedication ceremony was Ubran's daughter, Julia Urban-Kimmerly. The city's third historical marker was dedicated on May 22, 2010 to novelist and screenwriter Pietro di Donato, and placed at Bergenline Avenue and 31st Street, where di Donato once lived, and which was named Pietro di Donato Plaza in his honor. Present at the dedication ceremony was di Donato's son, Richard. The fourth was dedicated to painter William Tylee Ranney on September 18, 2010.
Union City is located within the New York media market, with most of its daily papers available for sale or delivery. Until its closing in 1991 the Hudson Dispatch, a morning daily newspaper that once had a circulation of 39,132, was based in Union City for 117 years. Today it continues as a free bilingual weekly.Local, county, and regional news is covered by the daily Jersey Journal. The Union City Reporter is part of the Hudson Reporter group of local weeklies. Other weeklies, the River View Observer and El Especialito, also cover local news.
Among the films set or shot in the city are Out of the Darkness, Bloodhounds of Broadway, Far from Heaven, and the eponymous 1980 film Union City (released in conjunction with the song "Union City Blue"). The low-budget film directed by former Guttenberg mayor Peter Lavilla, Oak Hill, features local institutions including Union City's Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation homeless shelter and a synagogue in North Bergen.
In the late 2000s, Union City, West New York, Weehawken and North Bergen came to be dubbed collectively as "NoHu", a North Hudson haven for local performing and fine artists, many of whom are immigrants from Latin America and other countries, in part due to lower housing costs compared to those in nearby art havens such as Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan. The Union City/West New York area in particular is a major training ground for actors in the county. In September 2008, Union City held its first annual month-long Art Month, which originated with the September 2006 "Celebrate Art" show at St. John's Episcopal Church. Art Month includes events such as the Union City Arts and Crafts Festival, held the second week of every September. Group shows are also arranged by organizations such as La Ola, a group formed to help unite local artists, and Federación Mercantil, which provides support to artists in the form of bank loan assistance and help avoiding foreclosure, and puts on an annual show of work by Spanish-American painters. Another is the Union City Artists Collective, founded in 2007 by a group of artists and public officials that includes Amado Mora, a sculptor, painter and curator of the Union City Art Gallery at City Hall. Locations in which artists reside or have put on tours or shows include the Yardley Building, a former Yardley of London soap factory on Palisade Avenue that overlooks Hoboken, and the old R.H. Simon Silk Mill on 39th Street, which has been dubbed the "Union Hill Arts Building". The Park Performing Arts Center is also a popular arts venue in the city, as it houses Hudson Theatre Works, a theatre company founded in 2011. It was also the first venue for the Park Players, an acting troupe founded in the early 1980s by local teacher Joseph Conklin, and formerly hosted the NoHu Visions show, and the annual two-day Multi-Arts Festival until 2010, when the latter moved to Union City High School, which houses the Union City Performing Arts Center.
|Artwork at the Union City Multi-Arts Festival.|
The Multi-Arts Festival is an exhibition of artwork, musical performances and workshops held every May since 1981. Students and alumni of the various schools of Union City display their artwork, put on musical performances in the Park Theater, and put on free demonstrations of sculpture, portrait and caricature for attendees. It was created by Agnes Dauerman, a Union Hill High School art teacher, who coordinated the program for 25 years before she retired in 2005. The Union City Museum of Art, the Union City Police Museum, the Union City Art Gallery and Concert Hall and the Union City Museum of History are housed in the William V. Musto Cultural Center, formerly the 15th Street library.
The 2010 independent gothic horror art film, Vampire in Union City, was filmed entirely in Union City, and was directed by entertainer and Union City Commissioner Lucio Fernandez. Produced by MeLu Films, it premiered on September 3, 2010 at the Summit Theater, marking the city's first movie premiere, and the 2010 Celebrate Art Month, which included art exhibits, jazz, dance and opera performances, a film festival, and the public release of Francisco Rivadeneira's book, Los Amos del Planeta, Tomo II.
The first annual Union City International Film Festival began in December 2010, with the short film "X", which was written and directed by Josh Brolin, as the opening film. Later that month Union City unveiled the Union City Plaza of the Arts on Bergenline Avenue between 30th and 31st Streets, as a venue for artists to congregate and showcase their work. The location, which sees copious traffic to and from Midtown Manhattan, was chosen in order to showcase the city in a positive light to commuters, and so that the plaza could represent fine arts alongside the adjacent Pietro Di Donato Plaza and Celia Cruz Plaza, which represent literature and music, respectively.
Information about Union City from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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