LETTER: Liberty State Park in Jersey City must remain open and inclusive for everyone


In a letter to the editor, Friends of Liberty State Park President Sam Pesin explains why he feels the park must remain open and inclusive for everyone.

Dear Editor,

Billionaire Paul Fireman’s front groups and other bought-off opportunists continue their war on Liberty State Park’s future with over three years of their malicious “Big Lie” smear attacks strategy.

They killed the Liberty State Park Protection Act, which was supported by 33,000 petition signers and 111 local, regional and statewide Coalition groups carrying on the 46-year overwhelming, clear, broad public consensus “Voice of the People” for a free Central Park-type park behind Lady Liberty with only small-scale commercial activities.

Fireman and his surrogates’ plans for exclusionary sports and entertainment complex stadium, arena and commercial concert venues would destroy LSP’s free public access due to admission fees and insane, unpreventable traffic jams.

LSP is already jam-packed on all nice weekends.

LSP is now free and accessible to everyone only because of overwhelming grassroots opposition to many commercialization and privatization plans.

None of Fireman’s groups have ever joined those battles for a Free People’s Park. Their “fake people’s park” is a commercial venues development park. Youth teams and reserving groups will benefit from ballfields, not stadiums.

Fireman’s representatives are shamelessly pushing his funded massive ad campaign of racial fear and hate-mongering attacks to kill the state Department of Environmental Protection’s spectacular, funded plans of diverse nature habitats and miles of paths for all people to enjoy in this crowded, concrete aera and for urban students to learn from – plans which were publicly vetted and studied for many years and now are at 60% designed by DEP and Army Corps of Engineers scientists.

The DEP’s nature restoration plans also take into consideration its commitment to the need for implementation of equitable access to at-risk communities for experiencing the quality-of-life value of natural habitats and open green space.

Besides the scarce urban natural area with paths, Fireman’s commercializers also want to kill the DEP’s sensible public input planning process with DEP’s new consultants’ recommendations for details of the 60 acres of FREE active recreation based on the 3,652 DEP survey responses from two years ago and for the vital re-instatement of shuttle service and other park improvements.

The June 15, 2022, letter to The Jersey Journal in support of the Protection Act from dozens of Jersey City African-American, Latina and Latino community leaders and activists, stated:

“Despite the false claims of billionaire Paul Fireman and his paid-for group and the others who have gotten monetary donations from him, we the undersigned African-American and Latino American residents assert that they do not represent our communities’ consensus against LSP privatization.”

Fireman’s proxies, who disgrace and dishonor their previous reputations and their integrity, are counting on Fireman’s high-paid public relations and lobbyists teams’ orchestrated fancy and deceitful propaganda, and their close relationships with the unfortunately brainwashed Gov. Murphy and other elected officials who have been Fireman’s colluding partners.

Gov. Murphy mustn’t cast aside the decades of the overwhelming majority who want a real park as a legacy to future generations. For now, DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette is acting on the right side of history by moving forward with the DEP’s free park plans and rejecting Fireman’s admission-fee venues assault.

I hope that all who care about Liberty State Park will stop by to see, support and ask any questions about the DEP exhibits of their plans and planning process during the two hours of its Wednesday, May 24th, Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. at the historic terminal at 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City.

Sam Pesin
Friends of Liberty State Park president

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  1. Gee, Paulie has a nice op-ed in the JJ claiming that he doesn’t want to privatize LSP. Of course, that’s not his real goal. He wants to own a chunk of it for his golf course and has recruited skeevy “activists” and sadly, gotten Bob Hurley to sell out his reputation. Once he’s got what he wants, unlike Trump, he’ll actually build a wall to keep non-members out.

    The only puzzling thing is why so many politicians who claim they want to keep LSP in a natural state are sitting on their hands. Or maybe their wallets?

    One thing is certain. If the next governor is a republican, and that’s the way NJ elections seem to go, we can count on LSP becoming a strip mall with a water park, a food court, and a steep admission fee. Maybe even a shooting range.