Hoboken Councilman DeFusco announces plans to open downtown ‘pocket park’


Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco has announced plans to open a downtown “pocket park” at an address of a downtown neglected property.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

A gated park at the Newark and Garden streets intersection has been underutilized and inaccessible for years, but DeFusco is proposing to activate the space and give it new life by adding food and beverage kiosks.

Under the current zoning plans for the property at 77 Park Avenue, Hoboken is entitled to access the space, but due to the poor conditions of the park, neither building residents or the public at large are utilizing it.

The councilman said in a statement that he has been in touch with Equity Apartments, the Chicago-based owner of the property, to discuss opening a pocket park at that location.

“Over the past two decades we have seen many new development projects come to Hoboken, but the City has continually failed to activate underutilized public spaces for community benefit,” he said.

“Opening a pocket park in the heart of Downtown Hoboken presents us with the unique opportunity to bring food kiosks, live entertainment and a public gathering space to our neighborhood. Through a public/private partnership like this, we can bring much a much-needed multipurpose green space to the First Ward while creating innovative ways for small businesses to expand their operations in Hoboken.”

DeFusco further stated that he has advocated for a redevelopment plan that will bring a European Market to Hoboken Terminal, passed legislation that will open the dilapidated kiosks on Pier A and pushed for a responsible public arts program.

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  1. DeFusco’s claim that the park is underutilized because it’s in poor condition is nonsense. Either the Councilman has never set foot in the park (likely) or he’s lying (equally likely). The park in in excellent condition and is extremely well maintained.

    Few use it because the property owner has intentionally made it appear to be a private not public park by closing it off with a heavy gate that looks locked even though it’s not. There is no signage at all either in the park or outside letting people know it’s public – the only signage is an illegal sandwich board on the sidewalk advertising the building, and some no dogs signage.

    Instead of grandstanding about kiosks, a real 1st Ward Councilperson would be demanding that the gate be kept open and that there be clear signage identifying the park as public. That would “activate” the park instantly. DeFusco has known about the issue of this park deliberately being made to look private since before he was elected in 2015, yet he has done nothing for 4 years and is now grandstanding about kiosks instead of getting the gate opened and signage out up, something he could have and should have gotten done within a month of being sworn in.

    Folks can grab a coffee, bagel or sandwich at any of the many existing Hoboken establishments right by the park and bring it to the park right now – no kiosk necessary. They don’t because they don’t know they can.

    • Thanks for that information, I had no idea. Why can’t Defusco just be normal and help his ward instead of, as you say, always trying to grandstand? He apparently thinks voters can’t plainly see when someone talks a lot and makes lots of proposals but is seemingly never able to actually close a deal and deliver on anything.

      I guess a pocket park is a fair tradeoff for rolling over on the Monarch deal, right? Right? Hello?

    • With no money raised, your gal Migdalia- a total non reformer is set to lose big. Ravi’s whole ticket could lose.
      Phil is his only hope.


      • With no ideas and no ability to discuss or debate the subject at hand the DefuscoBots fall to repeating the same tired mantra and ignore the article they are commenting under.

  2. DeFusco tried to float this idea back on 2016 on his Facebook page and like so many of his “vibrant” ideas was not originally his and failed to materialize because of his total disregard of the underlying facts and legal issues.

    It would be highly doubtful that anyone fact checking Councilman DeFusco’s vague claim of his contacting the owners of 77 Park Avenue would find them willing to give up their legal claim on the property was plausible.

    BTW a Councilperson any Councilperson legally can not and ethically should not be negotiating on behave of the City.

    Most people understand that Michael DeFusco in three months is facing a tough fight that could end in his loss of his Council seat is throwing everything he can against the wall hoping something will stick.

    • The park is public right now – it is included in the City’s public park inventory and has been for many years as part of an existing public private partnership created when the approvals were granted for the up-zone of the property. So no property rights need be given up by the property owner to activate what is already public space.

      No “negotiations” with the property owner are needed to activate the park by putting up signage and publicizing the fact that this beautiful, well maintained existing park is public.

      By misleading the public about the condition of the park and the reasons its underutilized, DeFusco doing the opposite of activating this park. Who will use a park that no one uses because it’s in “poor condition” as DeFusco falsely claims?

      The property owner might have to agree to put in a kiosk or live entertainment as DeFusco proposes – that depends on the terms of the agreement creating the public park – but that is not needed to activate the park as what it already is – terrific passive space – and you say, only the Mayor can negotiate something like that anyway, not DeFusco. DeFusco can speak to anyone he wants about anything he wants, as long as he makes clear he speaks only for Mike DeFusco, grandstanding City Councilman without authority to agree to anything, not for the City or even for the City Council.

  3. What Vision from Mikey D, issuing a press release about something that can be solved with a doorstop to keep the freaking gate open. Another win for Team Sacco.

  4. What a piece of work this guy is. I wonder what his next awesome thing will be. He needs to move on to other things and let someone else help the people in the 1st Ward. How many years went by without having a helpful representative. Too many!

  5. This is a very clean, green, beautiful oasis in Hoboken. Hope that does not change.
    After reading this story I stopped by this morning on my way to work and found that the gate was not locked.

  6. totally agree! I love the tree coverage and shade. It’s actually the only green space in Hoboken that isn’t crowded. My daughter plays in here every day. Total nonsense about it being in “disrepair” — small improvements can always be made but this proposal is a disaster and will definitely cost him more votes.