Not this past Saturday because I was at a wedding but LAST Saturday we attended a rally for Liberty State Park. I haven’t posted about it until now because I wanted to be very thorough and look things up and fact check like what people do in REAL JOURNALISM. As a classically trained journalist sometimes I like to do that. But it does take a lot of work, so not like, EVERY time.
As you can see, this took over a week to post so I guess I made the right choice in not pursuing a journalism career. Also in the end you’ll see that it’s mostly my opinion so who even cares.
This is the third time that we have gone to protest to protect Liberty State Park on behalf of the Friends of Liberty State Park. Their big issue is preventing the Caven Point section of the park from being developed by the nearby golf course. Caven Point is a natural area where a lot of migratory birds hang out. As well as a ton of other animals like harbor seals and also shanimals.
Yes, I hang out there.
The protests are always held in the southern part of the park, close to Caven Point. To me this part of the park feels like the most “state park” part of the park. I think it’s the parking lot.
On the way in, we noticed an odd box truck with screens on both sides, playing a commercial for Liberty State Park. This commercial seems okay on the surface, but it is not okay. This commercial is a trap. It was created by Liberty State Park for All, an organization that receives funding from Paul Fireman, billionaire and face of the movement to turn Caven Point into 3 holes of the Liberty whatever golf course.
This group has been working on blatantly misleading the community into thinking that Friends of Liberty State Park are somehow against keeping the park maintained and available to everyone. They’ve targeted citizens in Wards A and F (Greenville and Bergen Lafayette, respectively) to try to convince them that the Friends of LSP are against cleaning up the park and developing the park for the community, and that they only care about birds.
You know how much I care about birds. But the whole “bird” thing turned into a whole rude AF target for Liberty State Park for All. Like making fun of people for liking birds and wanting to protect birds. OKAY COOL THANKS JUST MAKE FUN OF THE BIRDS THAT’S REALLY HELPING SHIT, YOU GUYS.
The thing is, it’s very obviously not just about the birds. They just had to find something to focus on, to pick at. To create the narrative that we’re protesting against something that would actually benefit people and therefore we’re being lame for only thinking about birds. But making Caven Point part of a golf course wouldn’t benefit people at all. It certainly wouldn’t benefit “the public.” The public that lives in Jersey City and across the state.
It is a private golf course. It would not benefit the public in any way. Even if Paul Fireman expanded the golf course into Caven Point AND gave Liberty State Park private billionaire money to build some public stuff, like basketball courts, the public would still suffer. There are public funds for things like basketball courts, pools, amphitheaters, and everything else in the OG LSP “Master Plan.” We don’t need to make a deal with the devil madly fiddling away on top of a golf hole to get them. Are they called “golf holes?” I don’t know.
As we entered the park, there were “counter protesters.” I put this in quotes because there is reason to believe that they weren’t actual protestors and were paid to appear and protest. All of their signs were the same, in the same handwriting and said the same thing. As if someone had made them and passed them out. When directly asked what they were protesting for or against…they had no idea.
Everyone has a right to protest of course. And it’s fine, they weren’t doing anything wrong. But it’s suspicious that they were present under such conditions. IAs if they were being paid to participate, or were iuuuuuuu false information, or even worse were given no information at all. Which is actually what seemed like was happening. And it was creepy and weird and dare I say dystopian, just like the intentionally misleading commercial on the box truck.
We arrived at the protest to save Caven Point with a small sign in hand and took some pics with lady lib and then we were ready to protest.
Sadly it seemed like there were less people there than the last time we went to protest in January. And that could be for many reasons, COVID being the biggest one I guess. It was a Saturday, it was hot, people are just over it, etc. I don’t think there were less people because some of the people that were for protecting Caven Point last time are now against protecting Caven Point, but I didn’t have time to conduct an official survey. I think it was just people being people. And not showing up. That’s a people thing.
But the people that DID show up were great and there were a few really awesome speeches from some great NJ folks. I’ll share with you my notes:
Sam Pesin, President of Friends of LSP – “We’ll get started soon, you enjoy the sun!” I liked that nice little welcome.
Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro – “Some people can’t afford The Shore or Great Adventure and this park is that for them.” This was so beautifully Jersey and I couldn’t agree more.
I didn’t make proper note of who said this but I have the line, “In the dark halls of the statehouse…” in my notes and I think that was a clever dramatic device on someone’s part. Nice work.
“If you don’t show interest in politics, politics will stioll show an interest in you,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Also, “If they tried to do something like this in Central Park hell would freeze over. Why would we let it happen here across the river?!” YEAH.
Although he’s recently been a little questionable as far as likability in certain circles, circles that touch my personal circle as far as Jersey City society Venn Diagrams go, Mayor Fulop does say “Trenton” with a full-on NJ accent, “Tren-in,” like the “t” is silent, and that always makes me happy. And I’m sorry I guess. But I was glad he was there and for his support on this partcular issue at least. For now.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon appeared in an NJCU hat and I wrote in my notes he was “tryna be eyyyyy cool JC guyyyy,” emphasis my own. In the end he did reference the hat and also that he teaches at NJCU which I didn’t know so I guess I revoke my mean girl comment. Although I still haven’t forgiven him for the time when I used to live downtown and he knocked on my door and tried to engage me in some kind of political process when I was very hungover and clearly wearing my pajamas. That was too much for me. But I still like him, he’s doing good things. It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Ward E is Downtown, for your records.
I’d like to pause and say that Dancing Tony dutifully sanitized both mics and mic stands in between speakers. Thank you. HE RUNS FREAKIN FUN YOU GUYS.
New Jersey NAACP Armed Forces and Veterans Chair (and acting Environmental and Climate Justice Chair) Keith Bodden came out with a pile of literal hats (and a literal hat assistant man) to show all the different “hats” he has worn in his life and still wears now. I LOVED IT A TON YOU GUYS.
I have in my notes that Frank Gilmore was the “best guy” but I guess I was tired at that point and I didn’t write down why. But just know that he freakin killed it.
A local 8th grade student came up and read a letter to the editor she wrote. She did a beautiful job and was very composed and well spoken, I felt proud! I got a little tearful when she brought up some things about the birds. You guys know I love birds. The whole time I was like, “maybe we need to make it less about the birds so people can’t tease us about the god damn birds,” but then I was like, “well…I do like the birds.”
Speaking of birds, Shayna Marchese also spoke a bit about the birds! She’s a photographer who takes AWESOME pics of birds in NJ. All birds all the time. I LOVE HER INSTAGRAM GO TO THERE. A TON of the birds she captures are within Liberty State Park and Caven Point specifically so you can really see what the area has to offer as far as nature, even in such an urban setting.
I don’t know when the next vote for the LSP Protection Act is, and I couldn’t find it online! I did find some information in all of the following locations, and I encourage you to check them out. I do think they will be updated once they have a date in mind.