FBW says Prime Cycle’s new location violates state guidelines for Hoboken waterfront

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The Fund for a Better Waterfront says Prime Cycle’s new location at Pier A Park violates state guidelines for the Hoboken waterfront since it impedes the walkway.

Photo courtesy of the Fund for a Better Waterfront.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“We understand the city’s commitment to assist local businesses that have been negatively impacted by the current pandemic. This location, however, is unacceptable and disregards state regulations,” FBW Executive Director Ron Hine told HCV.

On April 13th, the City of Hoboken permitted Prime Cycle to close off the pavilion for its outdoor classes after trying to have them share space with the Hoboken Little League at the Maria Pepe Batting Cages was negatively received by players, coaches, and parents alike.

“Prime Cycle has installed a privacy fence around the gazebo, which protects our equipment, ensures the privacy of our riders, enables us to ride rain or shine, and still allows you to see the gorgeous NYC views!,” their website says.

Hine also stated that the NJ DEP waterfront permit obtained by Hoboken back in 1996 says that the city has to provide easement to the state for the walkway. An OPRA request from FBW did not produce a waterfront permit or easement agreement, Hine said.

Furthermore, he said he has filed a formal complaint with the NJ DEP and they are looking into the situation.

According to city spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri, said that this arrangement was possible due to an executive order signed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla last year that allows fitness clubs to apply for permits to host outdoor workouts.

He also indicated that the situation is temporary until indoor capacity limits are lifted by the state.

” … Thanks to the Executive Order signed by Mayor Bhalla last year, over 30 fitness clubs and studios, including Prime Cycle have utilized city parks and fields, to lend a helping hand to business owners due to continued capacity limits indoors. Many of these gym owners have credited this option for saving their business from bankruptcy, including Prime Cycle.”

“Prime Cycle’s use of the gazebo at Pier A is temporary until capacity limits are lifted, and Mayor Bhalla and the city are glad to provide this outdoor space to a business that has faced substantial hardships due to the pandemic.”

He did not comment on why an OPRA request seeking permits, agreements, and communications between the city and Prime Cycle would not yield any results.

Prime Cycle Co-Owner Julie Insogna-Jarrett said in an email that she is thankful that Bhalla and other city officials helped them find an outdoor space that can house their bikes, noting that the move likely kept them from going out of business.

“As you can imagine, finding a place that can house our bikes is not easy. The move to the gazebo was definitely challenging and costly (fully paid by Prime) but I’m grateful we have the opportunity to keep our small business going. Without these outdoors classes we would likely need to close out business permanently.”

NJ DEP did not return an email seeking comment on Friday.

 

Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Prime Cycle Co-Owner Julie Insogna-Jarrett.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m of two minds about this but I think FBW is in the right here On the one hand, the gazebo was an underutilized public space that mostly served as an attraction for the homeless, and this activates it so it is now used/enjoyed by more people. Plus helping small business survive the pandemic is a worthy goal.

    On the other hand, this is problematic in a litany of ways. Besides the issues raised by FBW, if green acres money was used for this park then there are potential issues with that as well.

    Also, this raises at a minimum, appearance of impropriety issues. I’m sure many Hoboken businesses would like to have exclusive 24/7 use of that extraordinarily valuable space to use in their businesses. How was Prime Cycle chosen to be the recipient of this valuable Government largess? Public contracts are required to be bid out precisely to make sure that fair value is paid (though given the pandemic underpricing can be justified) and to ensure that there is no favoratism involved, real or perceived.

  2. The Green Acres Program of the State of New Jersey will be interested to learn more about what is going with a Public Asset at Pier A. There seems to be a pattern here. The City gave up a portion of its Public Asset to a restaurant at Sinatra Park without public approval in a slight of hand process. Both instances should be looked at closely to preserve honesty and integrity lacking thus far in the private use of Hoboken’s public facilities. No more special favors please. Let’s stop this nonsense and hold those involved accountable for violating the public trust.

    • I don’t know what process was followed re the pier A gazebo arrangement with prime cycle, or what process was followed when a restaurant was first allowed to open in Frank Sinatra Park (that was back when Russo or Roberts was Mayor I believe). But the current restaurant was selected by Mayor Zimmer and the City Council through an open public bidding process. So no “pattern” there.

      A lot of process “corners” have been cut locally as well as at the State and Federal level as a result of the Covid crisis in general and the desire the help businesses survive in particular.

      If we don’t return to the normal processes after the Covid crisis has passed, that will raise legitimate questions. But calling a Covid based decision a “pattern” is disingenuous at best.

        • I notice a lot of people almost religiously pounce on LL’s posts. I notice they frequently have nothing intelligent to say – like you. They just post conspiracies and insults. This tells me that LL is probably substantially correct since even people who obviously hate her can’t find fault with her arguments. So your post is helpful in its complete lack of content or value. It validates LL.

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