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Petition to oppose Governor's Liberty State Park commercialization and privatization plans
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Please sign the Petition at to protect ?#?LibertyStatePark? for future generations. Don't let Governor Christie commercialize and privatize our free and green open space behind Lady Liberty! Stop the Governor's plans to hand over parkland to developers. Everyone, after signing the petition, please share it on social media! ?#?SaveLSP? Friends of LSP's 10 page opposition statement is at ... 20for%20LSP%201_10_16.pdf
The NJDEP 18 page report full of misinformation and nonsense is at A massive grassroots involvement is needed!

Posted on: 2016/1/16 14:12

Re: Meeting on Jersey Avenue Turnpike Extension - June 22
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Here is summary note about the Jersey Ave Road issue and public hearing. It's also on Friends of LSP website at

There is a public hearing run by Turnpike Authority(TA) at JC City Hall on Mon. 6/22 on its design for $10 million two lane road connecting Jersey Ave to Phillips Street, over Mill Creek, just east of existing footbridge. This long-planned road is going to happen but TA needs to hear from us before finishing design. The Friends board has strongly expressed with LSP Supt Rob Rodriguez and Deputy Supt Jon Luk how essential it is to have a bike path and sidewalk on both sides of the 2 lane road and JC's representatives to the TA, Chief of Staff Mark Albiez and Mayoral aide Doug Carlucci have pledged that the road's shoulders will be turned into those pedestrian and bike paths. It remains to be seen if the TA's exhibit boards and public statements support that use of the shoulders but when the road is completed, it will be JC's road for the city to do what it wants. The existing footbridge, with thousands more moving to JC, will not be sufficient.Construction will last from Spring '16 to Spring '18.

On 6/22, public hearing is from 5pm to 8pm. From 5pm to 6:30, TA representatives will informally discuss project with exhibit boards. At 7pm, after a brief TA presentation, the public can speak or give written testimony until 8pm or until last person who signs the list, gets to speak (5 minute limit). Public comment period will go until Wed July 8. The Friends board urged JC to insist that TA have an email address for comments(or for JC to set up its own email address for comments) as ludicrously and shamefully, so far the TA has only provided a street address.

Sheri L.Malloy, P.E. Project Engineer Hearing Officer
New Jersey Turnpike Authority
P.O. Box 5042
Woodbridge, NJ 07095

The main road benefits as presented over the years are:

- emergency services, longtime road advocates, will have another way in/out of the park or from Caven Point Rd/Phillips St with Medical Center nearby
- road will help strengthen connections/bonds between JC neighborhoods, especially Lafayette and downtown residents but also other neighborhoods.
- Lafayette residents have complained for years of commuters going through their neighborhood (Johnston to Pacific to Grand) so many of those commuters will get to Grand directly. If more commuters use it by getting off at 14B, that will have to be monitored and after Pulaski Skyway reopens (Skyway was justification for the TA getting $10 million), JC should follow recommendation of a top firm of having 3 "roundabouts"on Phillips to slow down the traffic and make the bridge a more neighborhood friendly road.
- Road will make it easier for residents (who would be driving) from downtown & other neighborhoods to get into and out of LSP more directly.

The main detriment will be commuters using the road but JC feels there may not be many more commuters than now go from Phillips thru Lafayette to Grand. But other than rush hours, the bridge has its benefits for the community. There will need to be a traffic light at Zapp Drive/Johnston Ave/Phillps & landscaping and a safe concrete type barrier/bollards separating the road from the bike lanes on both sides.

Posted on: 2015/6/15 18:15

Re: Jersey City councilman wants private entity to 'take over' Liberty State Park
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Thanks to Terrence McDonald of the Jersey Journal for reporting Councilman Boggiano's uninformed and dead wrong recommendation for the privatization of Liberty State Park. ... _to_tak.html#incart_river

My comments posted after that story as Friends of LSP president and son of Morris Pesin, the park's "father" are:
In addition to the Councilman wanting the state to give up LSP to a private entity - casting aside 39 years of the broad public consensus for a free and green urban open space park - he complained about a few things which the story mostly addresses. LSP is a beautiful open space park used mostly by the urban people for the quality of our lives. Of 5 and a half million LSP visitors annually, about 700,000 use the ferries and about 500,000 go to Liberty Science Center and the rest come to the park to enjoy a variety of unstructured recreation. Regarding the bathroom near the temporary ticket window, that undersized facility serves about 5000 people each weekend and the maintenance department, as understaffed as it is, cleans it 3 times a day. When the Terminal reopens in the fall after a $10 million reconstruction after Sandy, those bathrooms will better serve the public. Regarding long lines for the ferries to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island - since 9/11, the security checks by the National Park Service slows the line way down and the line is shorter than in Battery Park, and Americans and people from around the world expect lines getting to any major tourist attraction. About food choices, as someone suggested, people may and do bring picnics to the park if they want something in between the two excellent park restaurants and the hot dog carts and there is also Liberty Cafe Diner at the southwest corner of the park.The Friends of LSP have led many grassroots battles against privatization with our main ally, The NY/NJ Baykeeper and with groups and people from our county and state,in addition to funding over 800 trees (they aren't planted in the key view sheds toward Lady Liberty) and creating and maintaining over a dozen gardens. The DEP and Governor's privatizers will reveal their privatization plans probably this summer, after their major search for privatization plans, and a new grassroots movement will be needed to protect the park from commercialization and privatization. LSP is important for the quality of life of the urban people, and the park needs the state to support LSP as an American landmark, a free park behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. To get on the Friends email list, please see the top right of our website

Posted on: 2015/5/19 22:05

Edited by sampesin on 2015/5/19 22:30:08

Plse call Gov re LSP's major danger from bill on his desk
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Supporters of Liberty State Park,

Liberty State Park, enjoyed by people of all backgrounds - a "symphony of brotherhood"- to use Martin Luther King's phrase, is in major danger of commercialization and privatization.

I urge people to call Governor Christie at 609-292-6000 and urge him to conditionally veto A3969, the Meadowlands bill, until the Liberty State Park language is removed. Hopefully, the Governor will do the right thing and not dishonor Lady Liberty and desecrate park, a national treasure.

Assembly bill 3969, on Governor Christie?s desk, had last minute language - shamefully inserted with no public discussion - which gives blank check power to a Meadowlands development commission, whose members include the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority, ?to evaluate, approve and implement any plan for Liberty State Park?.

For news stories and editorials and the JC Parks Coalition sign on letter for organizations (almost 50 so far), please go to

If Governor Christie signs this bill, he will be facilitating the ramrodding of unpopular and wrong-headed development plans into this priceless American public space, a sacred park as it is scarce urban open space and sacred as it is the neighbor of Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. The overwhelming majority has always wanted a free and green urban state park.

Sam Pesin, president of The Friends of LSP and the son of Morris Pesin, LSP's "father"

Posted on: 2015/1/24 15:44

Liberty Park-urgent plse call Gov re major threat urging conditional veto
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The Friends of LSP urge all park supporters to call the Governor if you haven't done so and to please SPREAD the WORD about this major threat to LSP's future. The Governor could sign A3969, on his desk now, on any day.

Please call Governor to keep LSP's final decision-making on any plan under the control of the NJDEP with full public participation. Please call 609-292-6000 and urge Governor to Conditionally Veto Assembly Bill 3969 - the Meadowlands Agency Consolidation Act until the LSP language is removed - as the bill gives decision-making power on LSP plans to this new autonomous Meadowlands development commission - the bill says that this Commission "shall evaluate, approve, and implement any plan for LSP"! The NJ Sports and Exposition Authority is the main entity comprising the new Commission.

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer story on the LSP threat has DEP spokesperson admitting the language was bad, and the only way for it to be removed is by a conditional veto.

Many news stories including NY Times and powerful editorials (and the bill's language at bottom of page) are on the Friends' webpage at this crucial time for the park's future.

The JC Parks Coaltion (JCPC) is calling upon organizations to sign a letter at this link urging Governor Christie to exercise his conditional veto until the language is removed from the legislation. The letter, including JCPC's member groups, has almost 50 groups signed on now. The letter itself is near top of Friends' webpage above and is also at this link.

Your writing a letter to the editor of The Star Ledger of under 200 words or to any newspaper would help a lot as would contacting your legislators (list at bottom right of gov't website).
Thanks very much for your help in calling the Governor and spreading the urgent word and thanks to all those who have called already!!!

Posted on: 2015/1/19 23:05

Re: Liberty State Park advocates fighting major park threats
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

from Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park i urge everyone to read the powerful Star Ledger editorial and (Bergen)" Record editorial and The Record news story and Friends press release at Please call Governor at 609-292-1993 to veto the Hackensack Meadowlands Consolidation Act until the LSP language is removed- as it confiscates LSP from the NJDEP and from full public participation and gives away LSP to this new autonomous agency. The 10 lines slipped into the 80 page bill says that this autonomous agency "shall evaluate, approve and implement plans for LSP". The Jersey Journal story failed to provide those words - which are a major threat to LSP as the Governor is intent on privatizing LSP and as someone wrote, it was Democratic legislators, including bill's sponsor Asm Vincent Prieto who agreed to put the LSP language so that the Governor would sign the 3% Meadowlands hotel tax to benefit a few towns in Meadowlands. As Record editorial stated, it's a fine bill but it "smells" of a deal and LSP language must be removed. The other threat to the park is that ballot measure 2 took major funds away from LSP and all state parks. Please cut and paste an email of recommendations (or use your own words) by Thurs Jan 8 to the Senate Committee working on the enabling legislation for measure 2. Our recommendations and justifications are at Thanks to all park supporters who will help protect LSP. Sam

Posted on: 2015/1/4 0:29

Re: Please stop the huge 9/11 memorial at LSP - it will ruin the park's views of the Manhattan skyline!
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The Friends of Liberty State Park with over 800 park user members strongly opposed this NYC priceless skyline- blocking memorial which had zero public hearings. Please see our concluding condemnation of this monstrosity destroying views and the Public Plaza, and many articles about the grassroots battle at

The Friends of Liberty State Park with hundreds of park user members(and most local elected officials) strongly opposed this NYC priceless skyline- blocking memorial which had zero public hearings. Please see our concluding condemnation of this monstrosity destroying views and the Public Plaza, and many articles about the grassroots battle at

Our lawsuit regarding no public hearings and their wrong permit failed since judge as the Governor had zero courage to stand up for that panoramic view from the most crowded part of LSP or for democratic public hearings. This memorial could have been located next to the existing 9/11 memorial, the inspiring "Grove of Remembrance", to right(south) of the cobblestone road, Audrey Zapp Drive with 740 beautiful trees and a boulder with victims' names.

This public memorial in a public park should have had public hearings.

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of LSP

Posted on: 2013/6/2 14:50

Re: "Empty Sky" - NJ State 9/11 Memorial in Liberty State Park
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The Friends of Liberty State Park with over 800 park user members strongly opposed this NYC priceless skyline- blocking memorial which had zero public hearings. Please see our concluding condemnation of this monstrosity destroying views and the Public Plaza, and many articles about the grassroots battle at

The Friends of Liberty State Park with hundreds of park user members(and most local elected officials) strongly opposed this NYC priceless skyline- blocking memorial which had zero public hearings. Please see our concluding condemnation of this monstrosity destroying views and the Public Plaza, and many articles about the grassroots battle at

Our lawsuit regarding no public hearings and their wrong permit failed since judge as the Governor had zero courage to stand up for that panoramic view from the most crowded part of LSP or for democratic public hearings. This memorial could have been located next to the existing 9/11 memorial, the inspiring "Grove of Remembrance", to right(south) of the cobblestone road, Audrey Zapp Drive with 740 beautiful trees and a boulder with victims' names.

This public memorial in a public park should have had public hearings.

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of LSP

Our lawsuit regarding no public hearings and their wrong permit failed since judge as the Governor had zero courage to stand up for that panoramic view from the most crowded part of LSP or for democratic public hearings. This memorial could have been located next to the existing 9/11 memorial, the inspiring "Grove of Remembrance", to right(south) of the cobblestone road, Audrey Zapp Drive with 740 beautiful trees and a boulder with victims' names.

This public memorial in a public park should have had public hearings.

Sam Pesin, president of Friends of LSP and Dorcey

Posted on: 2013/6/2 14:49

Re: Friends of Liberty State Park oppose Formula One Grand Prix in Jersey City
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The NJDEP is definitely going to meet with the Formula 1 company about a race track in LSP. We urge DEP to tell them to forget about wrecking LSP and go elsewhere.

Friends of Liberty State Park
Position Statement Opposing Liberty State Park Formula 1 Permanent Race Track

The Friends of Liberty State Park urge Governor Christie and NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin to be wise protectors of Liberty State Park. It would be totally wrong regarding the true purposes of a free and green urban park behind Lady Liberty to allow the insane, obscene, and destructive Formula 1 Grand Prix permanent race track plan ?on the table?.

When DEP officials soon meet with representatives of this English company owned by Great Britain?s wealthiest person, Formula 1 Grand Prix car racing CEO Bernard Ecclestone, the ?stewards? of our state parks should stand up for one of New Jersey?s and America?s greatest public spaces and firmly say LSP is a special park behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island and that a permanent race track will never be considered. The Governor should fight for American values by nipping this in the bud so it doesn't become another negative, wasteful fight like against the golf course or waterpark plans.

Let Formula 1 propose building a race track in London?s Hyde Park, in New York?s Central Park, or on the Washington D.C. Mall. Most people worldwide would laugh at anyone pushing such a shameless, insane and repulsive commercial plan for sacred urban open space. Letting a British company arrogantly ruin the inspiring free park behind our national shrines to democracy would betray the spirit of the American Revolution.

LSP?s plans are completed now after decades of the vast majority strongly and repeatedly supporting a peaceful open space park for unstructured recreation activities, and nature trails in the Interior, where nature is making a dramatic recovery from its railroad era.

When Republican Governor Whitman, 15 years ago, rejected the golf course plan, she told the media her reason was ?overwhelming public sentiment?. Governor Christie should realize that an inevitable grassroots statewide battle will ensue and that he?ll have the same choice as Governor Whitman, listen to the voice of The People or destroy LSP.
Former NJDEP Commissioner Scott Weiner stated during the multi-year LSP golf course controversy that ?any proposal for LSP must have a broad public consensus.?

A conservative should see the reality that this is a very wrong use of public land with a highly questionable economic benefit for NJ with nearby NYC attractions, restaurants and hotels. We?ve heard from an enthusiastic Formula 1 follower that the net economic impact of hosting/building a Formula 1 track has been negative except for a few insiders.

This plan threatens LSP?s heart and soul. Building a LSP permanent race track throughout our beloved urban oasis, needed and deserved as an escape from crowded and concrete Hudson County, is the opposite of the essence and spirit of an open space family park. Once a permanent race track is built for an annual Grand Prix weekend, there would be pressure to use it regularly for other admission fee car races and other sporting events.
Other than building a permanent landscape-dominating race track, the Formula 1 and other races would need staging areas for the teams and all their support vehicles, runoff space and grave traps on the outside of every corner, space for spectators, etc.

The loud noise from Formula 1cars or cars in other races would disturb the park?s peacefulness, residents living in nearby neighborhoods, and the park?s varied wildlife. Plus the traffic congestion in neighborhoods and on the turnpike would be terrible.

LSP is a park and not a commercial venue and should only be the location for very periodic and suitable ticketed events such as All Points West or the Red Bull Air Race weekend which leaves no permanent infrastructure in LSP. The Air Race, with its family entertainment, wanted to build a airplane runway in LSP and the DEP rejected the idea. With APW and RBAR, the south, north and western sides of the park are open to traffic but this race track would mean the closure of the park, confiscating it for a private event and violating the Mission Statement of Liberty State Park regarding public access.

The Friends thanks JC Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who reviewed his clueless tourism official?s proposal and withdrew it, stating he?d only support ?appropriate plans which will have the least impact upon the quality of life of our residents and our community.?

The Governor should immediately tell Bernard Eccelstone to look elsewhere and let the people enjoy LSP, one of the most meaningful and beautiful public spaces in America and the world. Why even start a public hearings process on this radical permanent race track plan for this public park when it?s obvious most reasonable people will oppose it.

The Friends is an all-volunteer 22 year old park group with over 900 members. We are an ?ORFO?, an ?officially recognized friends organization? of the NJDEP?s Division of Parks and Forestry. Our goals are to protect and improve LSP for future generations.

We call on Governor Christie to ?do the right thing? and not threaten LSP with a crazy plan. Please, in the words of First Lady Nancy Reagan, ?just say NO!?

Sam Pesin, president on behalf of the Friends? Board of Trustees

Posted on: 2010/5/10 1:47

Re: Friends of Liberty State Park oppose Formula One Grand Prix in Jersey City
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Here is another email from the Formula 1 racing fan in MA:

The CEO of Formula 1 doesn't really care if any given race is successful to its promoters - or a good experience for the fans. What he wants is enough venues to create competition among them so he can auction off the races - in other words get his cut up front, which he already is doing.

Montreal's track is in a park (Jean Drapeau) on an island (Ste. Helene) that was built for the World Fair & Olympic Games in Montreal back in the 60's. The spoil from the massive Metro project was dumped into the St. Laurence river to create it & other islands that became venues for these events & parks after them. While Montreal is a large city & the hub of its region much like the NYC-northern NJ area its total traffic volume is substantially smaller so the F1 impact on essential & commercial traffic in the area is negligible.

One saving grace is that the Metro has a stop at the park which is used by the vast (virtually 99%) majority of F1 fans. On race day it is capable of taking 100,000+ riders from the park back to the city - over two to three hours - & effectively regulates automobile traffic impact.

Jean Drapeau works as a public park most of the time since the (paid for) race track is used for events at most 3 to 4 weekends out of the year. But the track does dominate the landscape. Fences & other barriers that are required for a safe racing environment plus the track & associated facilities make it hardscape dominated.

Liberty State Park's proximity to the NJTP makes it an extremely poor choice as a venue for a modern day F1 venue. I have been looking at LSP on the map & even with my limited knowledge of the area see major problems for that type development & operation that comparison with Montreal invites.

A "conservative" should see this idea for what it is - a high risk use of public land & (ultimately) public funds for what is likely (if not virtually certain) to become a white elephant.

I don't want to just go on & on & waste your time. If you see a way that I can offer more than encouraging words let me know.
Jamaica, MA

Posted on: 2010/5/8 16:16

Re: Friends of Liberty State Park oppose Formula One Grand Prix in Jersey City
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

I got a second email from a Formula 1 racing fan, who is opposing a permanent race track in LSP from the same person who sent me one posted on JC List in #71. This email addresses further the false economic claims of a permanent car race track in this urban open space park:

from John of MA:

One point I neglected to mention (& in trying to be succinct) is the highly questionable economic benefit of any NJ F1 venue for anyone except Ecclestone & Co

F1 is at best a niche sport in North America & especially in the US. With Montreal (which has only been able to re-secure its F1 venue with substantial governmental & community financial support - an unlikely scenario in NJ) only seven or so hours away - & with the necessity of having North American F1 races back-to-back weekends to shoe-horn them into the F1 calendar - would mean a dilution of fan attendance for both venues.

Canadian tickets start at $225 for the weekend & I would imagine US prices would have to be substantially higher, consequently the North American F1 fan, would most likely opt for one or the other venue - not both. On top of the negative environmental impact argument I made previously, the economic fragility of the scheme should make F1 in NJ a pipe dream...but crazier things have happened.

So, thank you for your leadership & I will do my best to visit LP some time. I have found that NJ really is the Garden State...once you escape NJTP & GSPW.

Best regards,

Jamaica, MA

Posted on: 2010/5/7 0:37

Re: Friends of Liberty State Park oppose Formula One Grand Prix in Jersey City
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

I got this email today from a big Formula 1 racing fan who is opposed to building a race track in LSP:

I applaud your coming out against Liverty Park as a F1 venue. It may surprise you, but I am an F1 fan - and can speak from attendance at over 14 races & 4 venues over some 17 years. Most of the races attended have been in Montreal - which has, according to a large consensus of F1 fans arguably the best transit facilities for getting to & from the track of any venue on the circuit.

Indianapolis, the venue of the most recent US F1 Grand Prix races (and which I attended - once) was possible to a large extent because the promoters were able to secure the Indianapolis Airport parking lots & Indianapolis public transportation buses to bring fans to & from the track. I imagine this came from annual experience with the Indy 500, but I can assure you that it is at best a make-do arrangement for the fans. And, significantly, the added traffic of fans driving to the airport and then the buses bring them to the track gridlocked the affected interstate system.

I drive frequently through northern New Jersey, typically on weekends. On even non-holiday ones the traffic moves at, shall we say, less than optimum rates. Throwing a F1 race weekend into already marginal conditions would result in addition to the obvious additional costs of trash pick up, traffic enforcement & security to be negotiated with the promoters (who will argue against picking up their fair share of the tab by saying they are bringing an "economic benefit" through concession sales taxes, etc.) but the added costs in increased fuel consumption and lost time for the (non F1 fan) drivers and citizens who must use - depend on - these same roads.

I could go on, but see no reason to preach to the pulpit here. You may use any of the above to make a point that your opposition is not just a NIMBY argument. Check out some the newer venues Bernie Ecclestone has promoted and you will find that the net, net economic impact (of hosting/building a F! venue & track) has been negative except for a very few insiders - and, of course, Mr. Ecclestone himself.

Good luck!

Jamaica Plain MA 02130

Posted on: 2010/5/6 0:17

Re: Friends of Liberty State Park oppose Formula One Grand Prix in Jersey City
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

I thank Melissa and Ricardo for their stories exposing this shameful, sickening, outrageous, obscene plan.

At this link on the Friends website is the 3 page Proposal from Jersey City Tourism sent to LSP for approval and Friends letter of opposition to race track to Mayor Healy:

To express your race track inside LSP views to Mayor Healy, please call his office at 201-547-5200 or email to

As president of the 900 member Friends of LSP, I have urged the Mayor to end JC's support of this proposal that the Tourism official sent to Liberty State Park for approval. This tourism official is clueless about the unstructured recreation and nature purposes which the vast majority has supported since before the park opened in 1976.

The tourism official is clueless about the fact that there would have to be public hearings and a public comment period. Overwhelmingly LSP users will oppose this plan.
as with the golf course and commercial waterpark plans.

Mayor Healy was a very strong supporter of the cause of stopping the massive LSP 9/11 NYC skyline view blocking hill and walls (30 ft high by 200 ft long walls) Memorial by the Terminal waterfront location.

Once a race track is built, there will be pressure to have many car races there, which is not compatible with an urban state park needed and deserved by families like Central Park is for non-commercial unstructured activities.

I urge people to oppose this plan until city officials tells LSP officials that the plan is being withdrawn.

Sam Pesin, Friends of LSP president

Posted on: 2010/5/4 1:32

Re: Please stop the huge 9/11 memorial at LSP - it will ruin the park's views of the Manhattan skyli
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The Record (based in Bergen County)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Editorial Page COLUMN
A living memorial is best

A fitting tribute to New Jerseyans who died on Sept. 11 is already in place, on a restored brownfield, and called the Grove of Remembrance.

THE CONSTRUCTION bids for the Sept. 11, 2001, memorial proposed for Liberty State Park have come in. The bids were expected to be $10 million or so. The low bid turned out to be $22 million. The high bid was $25 million.

The state Treasury Department is negotiating with the architect for revisions that would cut costs but preserve the plan. I submit that that would be wasted energy.

The plan is a grandiose, overblown architectural fantasy that would forever spoil the breathtaking view from the park of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan. (memorial doesn't block Statue or Ellis Island).

I have an alternative memorial in mind. It would cost nothing, because it is already in place in the park, although few know it is there. It is smack where a memorial should be, well back from the water's edge but with a view of the site where the World Trade Center stood.

This installation, on 11 acres of a former brownfield, is called the Grove of Remembrance. It was built with a modest federal forestry grant of $143,000 and with $220,000 in cash and in-kind donations.

The grant paid for 691 mature trees, one for each New Jerseyan who died in Lower Manhattan on that terrible day. The grant also paid for mulch, soil and shrubs, and for a big bronze plaque engraved with the names of the dead.

The grove, a living memorial, is maintained free of cost to the state by volunteers and by Jersey City schoolchildren who grow flowers and plants in classroom conservatories and take them to the grove each spring for planting. The kids learn about gardening and the responsibilities of citizenship.

Every year, there is an Arbor Day contest, for which children write a poem or a short prose piece. The winners read their compositions aloud, in a ceremony in the grove, and plant a tree. It is homey and nice.

The first year this custom was observed was 2003, when then-Gov. James E. McGreevey planted the first tree in the grove, attended by relatives of the New Jersey Sept. 11 victims. Four days later, on April 25, Arbor Day, 300 volunteers planted, mulched and watered another 200 trees. The Grove of Remembrance was thus established.


Our Jim had bigger plans, though. A garden was all well and good, but he wanted something monumental, a built structure that would commemorate his own leadership as well as the dead.

In December that year, he announced a national competition for a design for a memorial. Three hundred twenty entries were submitted. These were whittled to a half-dozen by a team of architectural and design professionals. Then a jury of a dozen New Jersey relatives of 9/11 victims picked the winner. It had been submitted by a Manhattan architect, Frederic Schwartz.

He called it "Empty Sky," because it would be open to sun and rain, morning and night. It would consist of two parallel, 30-foot-high concrete walls, faced in stainless steel, 16 feet apart. Each wall would be 200 feet long, the same length as each side of the World Trade Center towers. On the steel would be engraved the names of the 691 New Jersey dead, in random order.

The walls, open at the ends as well as the top, would be built atop (inserted into) a 10-foot-high earthen mound. They would focus the gaze of visitors toward the site where the towers stood, on the other side of the harbor. At night, bright lights atop the walls would shine straight up into the sky.

The installation would cover 1.6 acres, including much of the public, harborside plaza adjoining the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. The plaza, formerly used for concerts and other public gatherings, is now truncated, ending at a pile of dirt 30 feet high, surrounded by a fence. The pile is to be compressed into the planned 10-foot mound. (mound is already at 10 feet).

Funding source

What has yet to be established is where all the money for the memorial is to come from. The Port Authority is supposed to contribute $7 million and the state $6 million, although it is confronting a deficit of more than $3 billion. McGreevey had spoken vaguely of private donations, but no campaign has been mounted.

Jersey City officials have criticized the scale and location of the memorial, as has Sam Pesin, the indispensable, irrepressible president of Friends of Liberty State Park. He complains, justifiably, that state officials have convened no hearing on the plan since it was chosen. If they did, they would get an earful.

Governor Corzine has supported the plan, and I suppose that, if need be, he could just sit down and write a personal check for whatever was needed. But there is a better solution. It would be to give greater visibility and recognition to what's already there, the Grove of Remembrance. If in addition something more was deemed necessary, it should supplement the grove, not stand between it and the harbor, cutting off the view.

James Ahearn is a contributing editor and former managing editor of The Record.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 2:34

Re: Please stop the huge 9/11 memorial at LSP - it will ruin the park's views of the Manhattan skyli
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Dear Lovers of Liberty State Park,

Please support the Friends of LSP's Legal Fund to Save the Sacred Views of Ground Zero and Manhattan from the closest place in LSP, and to save LSP's only Public Plaza. The memorial design is two 30 foot high by 200 feet long steel walls which would be inserted into a 10 foot high by 200 foot long Hill. The memorial would have a severe negative impact on LSP by obstructing one of the most important urban views in the world. The Governor and Commissioner has totally ignored park users' consensus against this design in this location. Another way to help is by writing a letter to the editor, Augie Torres of The Jersey Journal

and/or JC Reporter Editor in Chief, Caren Lissner

For background on fight against the state's official NJ 9/11 Memorial, chosen with zero public input, please go to

If you'd like to help our legal effort, probably the only way to stop this memorial, with its new bids making the memorial cost twice as much as the $13 million estimate, please send a check of any amount, made payable to "Friends of Liberty State Park" to
Friends of LSP
PO Box 3407
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Thank you for any help in this battle for ours and future generations.
Sam Pesin, president of The Friends of LSP and son of the late Morris Pesin, the "father" of LSP

Posted on: 2007/10/21 3:04

Re: Please stop the huge 9/11 memorial at LSP - it will ruin the park's views of the Manhattan skyli
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Supporters of Liberty State Park,

The Friends of LSP was forced to initiate a lawsuit to stop the 9/11 memorial approved for LSP with no public hearings. The memorial, two steel walls that are 30 feet high and 200 feet long, inserted into a 10 feet high by 200 feet long hill, blocks the most important urban view in the world, the sacred and panoramic view of Ground Zero, Lower Manhattan and the entire NYC skyline from the closest place in LSP. The Friends\' and the vast majority of people who know the dimensions and location have the goal of saving the Sacred View and Public Plaza.

Today\'s front page story is at: ... nal_front_and_back_8.html

The bids for LSP Memorial\'s walls that were estimated at 9 million came in at $22 million. The whole project was supposed to cost $13 million so total cost now is probably around $26 million.

Since the news story quotes state as saying they will get architect to cut back on costs (without changing designaccording to what reporter told me, since they know changing design would mean a new permit), we will have to rely on our lawsuit to save the NYC views and the Public Plaza.

But hopefully this news about the high bids, even if they can get their goal of getting cost to mid-teens of millions, will get citizen budget watchdog groups and legislative scrutiny because of the state\'s budget deficit. I hope that people will consider sending a check made out to The Friends of LSP to the address below to support our lawsuit. Our lawsuit contends, among other points, that the state rushed the process and got the wrong permit on purpose to avoid public comment. The State Historic Preservation Office failed to review the impact of the gigantic memorial on the historic 1889 CRRNJ Terminal.

Destroying such a powerful view of the NYC skyline and Hudson River and to demolish the popular Terminal Public Plaza is ill-conceived and is a disservice to future generations.

Background material is on the Friends website

Park lovers contacting legislators and writing to the newspapers would be a great help.
Sam Pesin
president of The Friends of Liberty State Park
The Friends of Liberty State Park
P.O. Box 3407
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Posted on: 2007/10/8 19:14

Tonight! Liberty State Park Public Meeting to Stop 9/11 MEMORIAL DESIGN at Liberty State Park
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

LSP Public Meeting on
Skyline-blocking 9/11 Memorial Design
This design separates instead of connects us to where the tragedy occurred.
Wednesday August 16 6:30 pm to dark
Organized and hosted, with respect and dignity, by The Friends of LSP

Park Users? Participation is Urgently Needed
It is not too late if the public comes tonight and/or writes the Governor. Mayor Healy and Assemblyman Manzo are against this design that blocks sacred views of Ground Zero, lower Manhattan and the Hudson River. People power is needed tonight. Three letters to Jersey Journal today at

Location of the Public Meeting:
The chairs will be in the ?North Field? near the CRRNJ Terminal in LSP?s NE corner, next to the parking lot at end of Zapp Drive, the cobblestone road, and next to the Memorial Hill which blocks skyline, Ground Zero, & river views.

The design includes the Hill, that will be 10 ft high and two stainless steel walls, 200 ft long and 30 ft high, next to historic Terminal. All people who care about LSP are urged to attend this important meeting. Transcripts of public comments will be sent to Trenton. The Friends had asked and patiently waited for NJDEP Commissioner Jackson and Governor Corzine to hold a public meeting, but they haven?t, so we?re holding this approved public meeting so people can express their opinions and learn about this memorial. Please attend to speak and/or hear fellow park users.

This controversial 9/11 Memorial ?Hill and Walls? design blocks sacred and important NYC skyline/river views. The design was undemocratically approved with no public input. It isn?t too late for the Governor to terminate this obstruction of the ?national shrine? of the NYC/river view, and to revise this design or have a DEP public meeting on the 8 finalists chosen by the ?expert jury?.

Background Material : click on 9/11 Memorial
Sam Pesin, president
The Friends of LSP

Posted on: 2006/8/16 16:46

Re: Please stop the huge 9/11 memorial at LSP - it will ruin the park's views of the Manhattan skyli
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

To see the Memorial Hill, which isn't a foundation for the two 200 foot long and 30 feet high Walls, please see the architect's website, and for a comparison, there's a link to a photo of my mother with the view of the whole entire skyline view intact.
Just as important as preserving a sacred view of the downtown NYC skyline at the north end of Liberty State Park(and the view of the river on which people were evacuated on 9/11), is that there be an opportunity for the public to express themselves about the consequences of this design at a public meeting on this public memorial in this public park behind Lady Liberty. The Walls will block views also.

Posted on: 2006/6/8 1:12

Liberty State Park's Interior 234 acre nature Restoration Plan
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

Please check to see the amazing Interior Restoration plan, moving steadily forward.
After years of the Friends and statewide Coalitions fighting commercialization plans for the park's Interior, the stage was set for a "restoration" of this former freightyard where nature is making a dramatic comeback. The Friends, on the LSP Public Advisory Committee has actively supported the Restoration of a natural area with nature trails. Please read about the plan's details on our website,
There is already over 11 million dollars secured in NJ funds and the plan is on the highest priority list of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and needs about 25 million for the federal match. The project, the largest urban nature Restoration in the nation, will be included in the next Water Resources Development Act that comes up in Congress and such legislation would involve authorization to spend many billions, and so it is very likely that this plan will be started next Spring, and finished within 5 years. There will be trails through a 100 acre forest, salt marsh created by the cutting of a tidal channel connecting the River to the park's Interior, freshwater wetlands, and tall grass habitat.
An athletic field is planned for the SW corner of the park to go over the old pool parking lot. So the park with these plans will be completed, except for 30 million dollars plus to restore the sheds at the Terminal, under which will be space for various ideas such as extra space for festivals, a green market, a few old trains, and a people mover connecting ferry lot to Terminal.
But new commercialization plans, opposed by the overwhelming majority since the park opened 30 years ago, may still be pushed forward so people who care about the park will need to be forever vigilant to protect this great urban open space waterfront state park behind Lady Liberty.

Posted on: 2006/6/4 13:18

LSP users have right to public meeting on NYC skyline blocking 9/11 memorial
Not too shy to talk
Not too shy to talk

The Friends of Liberty State Park Statement on the Need for Public Meeting on the 9/11 Memorial at Liberty State Park The State of NJ should already have had a public meeting at LSP on the design of the 9/11 Memorial, which blocks the historic view shed of NYC. There never was a public meeting on this major addition to our urban state park, one of America?s most important public spaces. It is totally un-American that there hasn?t been a public meeting in the public park behind Lady Liberty, the world?s greatest symbol of democracy. The exclusionary design process was an unconscionable disservice to LSP?s users and future. It?s late but not too late at all, to avert a design disaster for all present and future LSP users who have a right to the skyline View Shed that is too sacred to be destroyed. The Friends have recently heard from a couple of hundred angry and shocked regular park users who have seen the view blocking Hill; some of them are 9/11 survivors who escaped from the attacked Towers and who lost friends that terrible day. When they saw the Hill being built, they found out about the Hill?s and the Wall?s height. They and all park users and members of the public deserve to have and must have public input. We feel that the design, as in NYC and in any other democracy-respecting local or state must have public input, especially with the NYC skyline being such an important part of LSP. At the Friends? Spring meeting on 5/20, there was unanimity in calling for an urgent public meeting. The consensus comments in an intense discussion focused on the obliteration of the skyline view by the Memorial. A survivor said that the attack destroyed people and the design destroys the crucial skyline view, which had been one of the world?s best and most meaningful views. The Memorial tremendously detracts from a sacred aspect of LSP, and FAILS NJ?s ?Memorial Design Competition criterion ( of "integrating the Memorial elements with New York City, New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Liberty State Park, the Memorial tree grove, Morris Canal and the State of New Jersey?" ?The Jury will be considering how the proposals complement the physical context of the Park and the region?. People felt this design is way out of scale and violates LSP?s and the historic 1889 CRRNJ Terminal?s integrity. Most people agreed that a Memorial is appropriate. We ask NJ and the architect to eliminate the 10 plus foot hill, and to change the design into a flat open space. The green open space is compatible with the park and the design criteria and doesn?t cause egregious harm to the park user experience.. The overwhelming majority has always wanted a green open space waterfront park and to enjoy the dramatic and spectacular views. The Hill diminishes LSP. The Hill cuts off the skyline view for Zapp Drive drivers, ferry tourists and anyone using the N. Field for passive recreation. One of the most active park volunteers stated Saturday, that in Japanese landscaping, a key principle is to borrow the beautiful and screen out the ugly, but that here the opposite would happen with the Hill, as the powerful, meaningful and inspiring is screened out. ? Memorial Hill would take away a sacred, powerful, scenic View Shed, the closest and best view in the world of downtown NYC. People driving up Zapp Drive will see a Hill instead of one of the best views in the world of the full skyline. It's like the misguided Vietnam War philosophy of burning a village to save it. The Hill destroys a sacred view from its western side, in order to honor the view. ? State Senator Bernard Kenny, Jr. the state's Majority Leader, in a recent filmed statement declared "in and of itself, the vista of lower Manhattan is a national shrine?. This Memorial robs the public of the national shrine of the view ? The Hill eliminates the beloved and inspiring straight ahead views of the skyscrapers from top to bottom, including Ground Zero area buildings, and also the views of the boats in the Hudson River as one drives or walks up Zapp Drive. It was on that river that the living and dead were transported to LSP on 9/11. Below is an email sent to NJDEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson by a 9/11 survivor. From: "Tanya Chauhan" <> To: Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 12:39:49 -0400 Subject: Liberty State Park 9/11 Memorial Dear Commissioner Jackson, I am a Jersey City resident, 9/11 survivor and frequent user of Liberty State Park. I am writing today to express my concern over the planned >9/11 memorial for the prime location of LSP. I am greatly disturbed at the plan for a hill in the front of the park. First the Twin Towers were taken away and now the great view of downtown NY is being taken away. While I read the original articles regarding the planned memorial I had no indication that there would be a hill blocking this magnificent view as a part of the memorial. In fact my memory of the descriptions was that they highlighted the view. I was working in the WTC on 9/11, I have co-workers and friends who died on 9/11 and I respect their memories, those of their families and those of all of us who survived that horrible day. I also love Liberty State Park. I love its openness and views of NYC. I try to go to the park at least weekly. I have volunteered on projects that support the park and made donations to the park. It is an important part of>the Lafayette neighborhood, Jersey City and New Jersey as a whole. It draws visitors from around the world for its amazing views and overall beauty. The planned hill destroys these views. Please work with the plan architect and whoever else needs to be involved, hopefully including the neighboring communities to ensure that this does not happen. Best Regards, Tanya Chauhan Below is the letter to the Governor by Ruth Conrad, the widow of the late Ted Conrad, one of the founders of Liberty State Park May 10, 2006 The Honorable Jon S. Corzine Governor of New Jersey PO. Box 001 Trenton, NJ, 08625 Dear Sir, On Sunday, May 7, 2006, I attended the 30th birthday party for Liberty State Park. As the widow of one of the co-founders of the park, Theodore Conrad, the park is very dear to me. To my horror I discovered, that somebody in Trenton decided to spoil the main beauty of the park, namely the magnificent view of the river and the skyline of New York, including of the site where the World Trade Towers once stood. If you tried, you could not design a more moving memorial to the victims of 9/11, than to just ride down Audrey Zapp Drive , having the reminder of that horrible day in front of you. I became aware, that there war a hill, covering the whole lawn next to the old Railroad Terminal and learned, that the plan includes to put two stainless steel slabs of 30by 200 on top of this hill. I wish you could take a trip to the park and I am sure, you would agree with me, that this whole idea is just too horrible . I understand, that the whole project was done without any public hearings, in other words, it was just stuffed down our throats. The only solution to this catastrophy is, for you to give an order to stop it immediately and to tear down that hill. Morris Pesin and my husband must be turning in their graves and so, I am sure must be the victims of 9/11. I am looking forward to hearing from you with the news, that you have stopped this atrocity. Yours truly, Ruth Conrad

Posted on: 2006/6/4 2:00

Edited by sampesin on 2006/6/4 2:26:02




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