Driven From Brooklyn to Hoboken by 9/11
Sep11

Driven From Brooklyn to Hoboken by 9/11

By Kathy Zucker • September 11, 2013 Beautiful blue skies on an Indian summer day. Getting ready to take the subway into lower Manhattan. The only difference between 9/11/01 and today? I am standing on the opposite side of the Hudson River. Physically, I am the same distance from the World Trade Center site. Psychologically, it’s a different world. WATCH – Emmy-winning documentary State of Reflection: New Jersey Ten Years After 9/11 Kathy Zucker, CEO of Metro Moms Network, mother of three young children and winner of the New York Life Keep Good Going Shorty Award, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. Read her MomCondoLiving blog, follow her on Twitter (@KathyZucker), friend her on Facebook and watch her on...

Read More
Believe In Yourself – Diana Nyad and Miles Chamley-Watson
Sep03

Believe In Yourself – Diana Nyad and Miles Chamley-Watson

By Kathy Zucker This August, I watched two historic firsts unfold – 64 year old Diana Nyad made a historic swim from Cuba to Florida and college student Miles Chamley-Watson became the first American ever to win the senior World Fencing Championships. I first heard of Nyad after her failed fourth attempt in 2012 and I have known Chamley-Watson since he was a preteen training at the New York Fencers Club. For every iconic moment, there is ten years of work leading up to it. I watched Miles do endless footwork, strengthening exercises and commit countless hours and dollars to his sport. With each failed attempt, Nyad redoubled her training and added to her support team, stating, “it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” For this successful fifth attempt, 35 people – including a pulmonologist – were there to answer every need, such as clearing the water of sharks during her iconic swim. What sets apart people who achieve seemingly impossible goals? The ability to dig deep to rise to the top in unexpected circumstances. Nyad had ideal conditions for her swim, and Chamley-Watson – ranked 17th coming into the competition – had a favorable tableau. When opportunity strikes, many people fail to capitalize on it – both Nyad and Chamley-Watson kept pushing past the points when most people falter. I know a thing or two about accomplishing seemingly impossible goals. Almost exactly one year ago, I led my family, condo building and neighbors through a week of danger and uncertainty when the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy closed in on us. Based on my actions helping hundreds of people come through the experience safely, I received a Shorty Award sponsored by New York Life. When I prepared my building for the hurricane on the morning of October 29th, I did not set out to become a hero. I never dreamed how far I would have to push myself – those days felt like years. Every morning, I woke up hoping the ordeal was over. And as the hours passed and I tried to assess the available information while rationing dwindling resources, I felt hope fail. Somehow, from some deep well I never knew I possessed, I found the strength to keep planning, stay cheerful and maximize my resources. On the eighth day, with power restored and the fridge restocked, I finally came down from that heightened sense of awareness and slept deeply for the first time since the day before the hurricane. When you find yourself in the midst of an iconic moment, never give up. Keep pushing yourself to the limit, and you may...

Read More

Pier C Park is Open

Swing by 3rd & Sinatra Drive in Hoboken, NJ today for some sun, sand & sprinklers as Pier C park reopens for the first time since Sandy. The park will be open today, Saturday 6/8, from 7am-11pm, more at http://bit.ly/ZYsPjj It’s SUNNY in Hoboken, enjoy your weekend! Kathy Twitter @KathyZucker  | ...

Read More
Environmental Impact of Hurricane Sandy in NJ
May31

Environmental Impact of Hurricane Sandy in NJ

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, floodwaters covered much of Hoboken, NJ for three days, bringing a variety of toxins such as botulism. The storm surge was so strong that it shoved aside sandbags and struck cars with such force that their windows rolled down. Heating oil tanks were toppled, causing leaks. Oil floated on the water surface, sparking fears of fire. As a condo board president in a building that experienced flooding, we were essentially in a self-reporting situation. City officials asked homeowners to report oil contamination but were unclear as to how to spot contamination. After researching the issue, I was able to determine that my building did not have actionable oil contamination. The rainbow slicks I saw were most likely gasoline that could be sanitized by a powerwasher and cleaning solution. The contamination that city officials were seeking was puddles of heating oil, which would have appeared black and sticky. Some homeowners were unaware they had oil contamination – several months after Sandy, they received a knock on the door from officials who notified them they would receive free backyard cleanup to remove environmental hazards. My building, which has a courtyard and several private backyards, did not receive such a visit. In many instances, we do not know the causes of contamination. In Bayonne, homeowners returned after Sandy to find a mysterious oil slick covering their homes and cars – an official stated it was “an unrefined substance that likely rose up from the ground with the surge caused by Hurricane Sandy.” With cold weather setting in and temporary housing scarce and costly, the majority of homeowners were eager to return home and begin cleanup onsite. During Sandy, contractors throughout the state of New Jersey were flooded out of their business places, experiencing damage to their properties and equipment. My condo association manager had to import vendors from Pennsylvania to get work done quickly and at a reasonable price. Repair estimates in the aftermath of Sandy were double and triple the normal rates. There are many types of oil contamination, with varying toxicity levels. Testing typically takes 4-6 weeks – with the exception of Hoboken Catholic Academy, I do not know anyone who waited to conduct environmental tests before reoccupying their property. With contractors overscheduled and expensive, many owners did not know the full extent of the damage to their properties for weeks or months after Sandy. After the damage assessment came insurance claims, which took 4-6 months. In many instances, repairs did not begin until insurance checks arrived – a number of owners are appealing the claims. The long-term environmental impact of...

Read More
Hoboken Six Months After Sandy: Belt Tightening Time
May01

Hoboken Six Months After Sandy: Belt Tightening Time

Last week, my Hoboken, NJ condo association held its annual meeting. The good news? Our building is completely repaired from Hurricane Sandy and has made improvements so we are prepared for a storm of the same magnitude. With hurricane season starting in a few weeks, those fortifications could not have happened a moment too soon. The financial news was also good. Our Sandy repair costs were covered by a combination of insurance, a credit from a United Water billing error, and a surplus, so there is officially no Sandy assessment for my building. The bad news? We had to use funds earmarked for 2013 projects to effect Sandy repairs and now have to save up over the next few years to undertake projects such as repairing stained concrete stairs. My association was lucky that we were in a financial position to withstand a storm of the magnitude of Sandy. Many other homeowners, schools and businesses were not so fortunate. My children’s school, Hoboken Catholic Academy, continues to make repairs after Sandy caused heating oil to leak deep into the earth beneath their facility at 7th and Madison. If the most recent tests show the soil is clean then the school can make the necessary repairs for kids to return in September. If the kids are not back by September, many families will likely withdraw and move to the suburbs. We don’t know what is in store for Hoboken. From water main breaks to bonding for repairs to Piers A and C, the bills for Sandy damage are only just starting to come in. I was happy to hear that $1.8 billion in federal funding was recently allocated to New Jersey, with an eye toward helping condo owners who cannot elevate their properties above potential floodwaters. However, times are difficult and I know many homeowners who are struggling to rebuild because flood insurance and FEMA reimbursements covered such a small portion of repair costs. Hoboken homeowners recently saw an increase in the Board of Education budget that will cause an immediate rise in our property taxes. I was prepared for a school tax increase since the board has been lucky in recent years, with large numbers of teacher retirements offsetting rising costs. However, it is not fiscally responsible to rely on luck, and we can expect school taxes to continue to rise as one of the charter schools adds on a grade each year. Tough choices lie ahead for Hoboken. Homeowners are going to be funding repairs to Piers A, C, the soccer field and overall waterfront that will cost millions. Just like my condo board, the city needs to...

Read More

Four Water Main Breaks in Three Days After Sandy Complications – Hoboken, NJ

Getting multiple reports of a fourth water main break in three days in Hoboken – initial report came from dog walker who stated 8th & Jefferson “erupted in water.” The first break occurred early on Thursday, March 28th. 4th water main break reported in 3 days – dog walker saw 8th & Jefferson “suddenly erupt in water.” #Hoboken, nj — Kathy Zucker (@kathyzucker) March 30, 2013   Condo board prez reports engineers saying #sandy flooding destabilized #hoboken water table, causing water main breaks. — Kathy Zucker (@kathyzucker) March 30, 2013   @kathyzucker Confirmed water main break at 8th and Jeff. Water being shut off at prospect hill now. Leaving early for Easter! — Emily Jabbour (@HobokenEmily) March 30, 2013   Am updating my twitter account with more details as they come in, you can see my public feed at https://twitter.com/kathyzucker Watch Kathy Zucker and the Metro Moms Network team LIVE at 7:30 pm on April 8th – Kathy is a finalist at the Shorty Awards for the best parent in social media  ...

Read More