Author Topic: Main St.  (Read 60268 times)

Offline Kaffekat

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2005, 02:17:43 AM »
At one time - as someone pointed out Main Street was the place to be.
Researching it I have found pictures going back to the late 17th Century - ...
To the 18th Century - the 19th - the early 20th.

......  I grew up listening to tales of how it  Main Street 'was'.

I grew up listening to tales of my dad, a Sicilian immigrant  that grew up in Hackensack NJ back when most of it was farmland.
Of how it was when my my mom emigrating from Denmark during the war..

But one thing I do recall is: I remember the street fair on Main St.
Back then, they blocked off the street, carpeted it, had bands, sales, vendors - a Carnival. It was a major event.
People came from all over the tri state area to view it.

I barely remember it, and I still remember it.

 Bring back the old Hack Main Street St Sidewalk Sale the way it was. .

Go back to the 1960's, the 70's. Better yet go back to the late 1890's - early 1900's!!
Nostalgia- of whatever sort,  is big now.

In the 1980's is when Main Street really fell. Trying to compete with the Malls on their own level: Garden State Plaza, Riverside etc....
The Malls Climate controlled, convenient - Main St had no chance. I worked on Main Street in that time frame in the 80's.

I thought, and I still think that Main Streets only chance nowadays is to go back. Competing with the Malls on their own level it is doomed,
taking advantage of it's actual age - on the other hand.
:)

Someone asked why do some of us want to save Main St - why do we care?

Because it has been around. Because we grew up with it. Because -
and most importantly - it has history -
not just another mall.... another street, not just another Main St., it is part of Hackensack History. Part of America's oldest History.

Much of it gone, too late. Lets keep what we can alive.

Keeping Main Street alive saves Hackensack from being just another boring bland old 'Mall', just another boring same as the rest of them county .... Another generic part of the greater metropolitan area that, and let's admit it blends into the same old, same old metro area.... .

Hackensack, NJ  one of the oldest states, counties in the USA, we should remember that and keep what we can.   

Offline semafore

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2005, 09:39:15 PM »
I grew up in Hackensack in the 40s and 50s, before the Paramus Mall took hold. It was a shopping mecca then and could become one again. In the Midwest, where I have lived for 35 years, the "newest idea in shopping" is a return to stores on streets instead of malls. The Simon people opened the Clay Terrace  in Carmel, Indiana last year, which is comprised of dozens of stores on both sides of a tree-lined street and it has been a stunning success. People like walking outdoors from store to store (even in the horrible weather we sometimes have) rather than a stuffy mall. If Hackensack would do more to bring trees downtown, (and some better stores) maybe the shopping would get better.

Offline chadshere

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2005, 06:10:05 PM »
I just read this posting about Prozy's planning on closing. Did the store close yet? I hope not...I would like to stop by there and say goodbye. I worked there in 1985 and I actually have fond memories of being there including the Prosnitz family.  Reading the comments about Main Street, good and bad, made me think of the main street of my youth. Back in the early 70's there used to be a big parade that went down Main Street. I think it was for Memorial Day. The parade ended at the court house.  Another memory is going into Woolworths and smelling the hotdogs cooking at the lunch counter.  I used to try to get my mother to go to the back of the store to try to get her to buy me a toy.  Finally there were two movie theaters, actually across the street from each other. The Fox and the Oritani. Does anyone know how long the movie theaters were there? Why were they across the street from each other anyway?

Offline itsme

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2005, 12:12:26 AM »
Sorry, its already closed like so many other stores on the lower half of Main Street.

Offline Editor

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Re: Bakman Building, Main St.
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2005, 04:18:11 PM »
I found this in "Hackensack Illustrated".  This is now the Check Cashing place on the corner of Main and Mercer.  It's in the Special Improvement District.  I'm hoping the owners will take advantage of the SID's sign and facade grant program to be launched soon. 

Note the meat carcasses, carriages and covered sidewalk.  Wow.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 05:16:04 PM by Editor »

Offline itsme

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2005, 08:40:07 AM »
I read the post regarding the Bakman building on Main and Mercer.  I recall a meat packing business at the corner of State and Mercer which is now the Armour Building and occupied by lawyers.  If I am wrong someone help me out here.  Its possible that I just associate the name "Armour" with the building.

Offline Skipx219

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2005, 02:54:56 PM »
 In the early '50's my parents took me with them to purchase a half beef. I was pushing a beef hanging on one of the hooks like a swing when it fell on me. I remember it a an Armour pack plant.

Offline Editor

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Main St. Facades
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2006, 10:06:21 AM »
Putting a fresh face on Main St.

The Upper Main Alliance has allocated $125,000 in this year's budget to make storefronts more uniform so that Main Street will be more appealing to shoppers and diners.

The alliance will reimburse owners for up to one-third of the cost, or a maximum of $10,000 for facade improvements and $2,000 for new signs and awnings.

I would love to see the Bakman Building (Susquehanna Hotel) restored to its former glory:

« Last Edit: March 01, 2006, 10:30:24 AM by Editor »

Offline Editor

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2006, 09:59:11 AM »

ericmartindale

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2006, 01:25:53 PM »
I wanted to float a novel idea for the improvement of Main Street - a pedestrian-only plaza from the Green to the Library. Perhaps all the northbound traffic can be diverted to Moore Street, which would then become one-way northbound from the Courthouse all the way up to the library.  The buses would also go up Moore Street instead.

Then Main Street could become pedestrian-only from the Green to the Library.  The northbound traffic on Moore Street would return to Main Street via Camden Street, which is the northern end of Moore Street.

Here's a vision of the future for Main Street: There could be one very wide pedestrian sidewalk right down the middle of what is now Main Street, perhaps 20 feet wide, and made of stamped concrete or something else with pattern-work.  It would be fully accessible to emergency vehicles, when needed.  The remaining width on either side would be space for outdoor cafe's, landscaping, etc.  There would be ample room for flower beds, statues, a fountain, passive sitting areas, etc. 

The whole thing could be designed in some GRAND WAY, completely unlike anything in the metropolitan area.  This would be the ultimate atmosphere for restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, coffee houses, specialty shops, etc.  Hackensack would surpass Ridgewood, Englewood, Nyack, Montclair, Hoboken, or any other downtown.  We would actually become a tourist destination.

There would have to be provisions for new parking decks, of course, to handle all the customers that would smarm into Hackensack, and to compensate for the loss of street parking.

All the cross street, such as Atlantic, and Mercer, would still cross. Perhaps the lights would stay, so that pedestrians would cross when green.  Banta Place would also have to be made into a pedestian-only street.   No big loss there. There are no driveways between the stores that reach Main Street,  so that isn't a problem. Actually there is one driveway just north of the railroad on the west side, but that whole property could be redeveloped. That whole square block should be redeveloped. Logistically, the pedestrian promenade plan could work.

It would cost millions to implement, but I think that the resulting increase in ratables would more the compensate.  In fact, property values would soar everywhere within 5 blocks walking distance of this pedestrian promenade.

I did mention it to a few merchants, and got some positive reaction.  I plan to pitch this idea to the Upper Main Street Business Improvement District, and to city officials.

ericmartindale

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2006, 11:37:29 PM »
This idea of a converting Main Street into a pedestrian street between The Green and the Johnson Public Library is not unprecedented.  It turns out this has been done all over Europe. They call them "Walking Streets".  They can be found in the following cities: Cologne(Germany), Vienna (Austria), Lugano (Switzerland), and Helsinki (Finland). All are thriving, and they have a tremendous appeal that cannot be duplicated in a shopping mall. They also exist in Tokyo.

Special thanks to bass player Michael Richmond of Teaneck for providing me this information.

Here in the USA pedestrian-only streets can be found in the historic city of Salem, Massachusettes.  Come to think of it, the Boardwalk of Atlantic City is also a pedestrian-only street.  If anyone knows other cities with pedestrian-only streets, please post. Thanks.

Offline Editor

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2006, 12:40:59 PM »
Montreal has a bunch of "pedestrian only" streets with restaurants, art galleries, etc. They also have a thriving tourism industry and two or three colleges creating tons of pedestrian traffic.

As much as I love the concept, I doubt this would work on Main Street. We should, however, make Main Street much more pedestrian friendly. 

Montreal:


ericmartindale

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2006, 11:38:50 PM »
I wasn't expecting you, of all people, to be a naysayer. You "doubt this would work on Main Street".

Please clarify. Do you: (a) doubt the concept that it would bring economic prosperity, meaning do you doubt that shoppers, visitors, and tourists would use it heavily if it were constructed.  Or (b) do you doubt that there could ever be a political consensus among merchants, property owners, taxpayers, city and county officials, etc., to make the decision to implement such a project.

I admit that I also have some doubts regarding (b), but absolutely no doubt about (a).  Since you have offered half an opinion with two possible interpretations, I am asking, in as friendly a manner possible, for you to clarify that opinion.

And just to make it clear, despite doubts, I am not someone who ever lets (b)-type sentiments stand in my way. There was plenty of (b)-type sentiments regarding the preservation of Borg's Woods, and again with the river walkway. Ditto for the idea of building luxury condominiums on State and Union Streets, moving the County Police from Zabriskie Street to East Broadway, and building a new city hall on Essex Street. All these initiatives started with a "vision" that was considered impractical to implement. But if enough people gather behind a vision, and it is a good vision, things can and do happen.

Who was it that said "where there is no vision, the people shall perish"? That is EXACTLY my philosophy regarding public policy.

Offline Editor

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2006, 11:07:07 AM »
Where there is no vision, the people shall perish. - Proverbs 29:18

Vision, without recognition of reality, is fantasy. - me.

Car-free zones (Wikipedia)
In 1997 there were about 30 pedestrian malls in the U.S. ... Most of these experiments were failures in the respect that they cut off automobile traffic from retailers. Most were re-converted to accommodate automobile traffic within twenty years (originally 200 were founded of which around 30 remain).

More pedestrian malls fail than succeed, observers say


Downtown Pedestrian Malls

In the 1970s many downtowns closed major streets and converted them to pedestrian malls as a way to attract customers. The success of such conversions has been minimal, and twenty years later most have been converted back into traffic streets.

Demise of Pedestrian Malls
_________________

You might start to persuade me if you can find one pedestrian mall in the US that actually works and is comparable to Hackensack.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for reduced dependency on the car, open air malls, cobblestone walkways, fountains, etc.  But there are countless reasons why Main St. is not a good candidate.  If you turn cars away, you better have strong tourism or a college base or other segment of the population that doesn't drive.  You'd also better have a way for trucks to load into these stores. Many stores on Main are front-loading stores.  Finally, we are surrounded by automobile infrastructure (Routes 4, 17, 80) and Main Street is a main thoroughfare.  Do I need to continue?

The SID is doing a good job in their district with planters, garbage bins, new facades, coop ads and the like.  These are practical, realistic and effective tools.  The library looks great and newer businesses are succeeding. 

The SID and Chamber of Commerce Street Fair is in October.  The City is closing Main Street to cars for one day.  Let's see what happens.   
« Last Edit: September 24, 2006, 11:50:20 AM by Editor »

ericmartindale

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Re: Main St.
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2006, 09:07:49 AM »
Our editors statistics showing that the percentage of these projects that have failed are indeed a concern. After a little more research, I am now asking what is the relevance to Hackensack?

Professional planning studies would have to be made supporting a pedestrian street initiative in Hackensack, and there is little harm in investigating it. Simply dismissing it or blindly supporting it is not a good thing. Something like this needs to be be studied.

Heres some possible reasons why pedestrian streets built in the 1970s failed in some downtowns:

(1)   They were built during an era of middle-class flight out of cities. (We are not in such an era now, cities everywhere are rebuilding and improving)
(2)   They were built in or very near a high-crime neighborhood. This was the case in Trenton (This is not relevant to Hackensack)
(3)   The remaining street pattern had a seriously disrupted traffic flow. In fact, our editor stressed this in his post (this wont be the case in Hackensack with Moore Street becoming one-way north and completely absorbing all the northbound flow on Main Street from the Green to the Library)
(4)   Inadequate connections from the downtown to the regional highway network (We have good connections, River Street and Hackensack Ave provide this)
(5)   No Business Improvement District (BID) to manage and oversee everything. BIDs are a relatively new concept (One of the links the editor provided stressed this.  Hackensack has a BID)
(6)   Inadequate provisions for nearby parking, no parking towers. Or parking facilities with parking meters that have a maximum time of only one hour. (This definately must be addressed. We need parking towers.  In fact, Hackensacks change from two-hour to one-hour meters in the 1990s was a disaster, and it drove many stores out of business)
(7)   No major pedestrian base in the form of colleges, office buildings, and/or surrounding neighborhood (Hackensack has a huge office base, a growing residential base, with lesser contributions from Bergen County Community College and even the Parisian Hair academy).  If the city builds a new city hall with a library on Essex Street, the plan is to convert the Johnson Library into a large cultural arts center. This will bring even more pedestrians into the downtown, especially in the evening hours.
(8)   Inadequate population density in the surrounding area.  (I seem to recall a planning study documenting half a million population within a 5 mile radius of downtown Hackensack)
(9)   Inadequate streetscape improvements.  Some cities just blocked off the streets and expected pedestrians to walk on the asphalt. In many cases, there were inadequate attempts to create an atmosphere with lighting, special paving, trees, flowers, etc.
(10)   Lack of investment from the private sector. This is related to issue #1 on this list.
(11)   Inadequate mass transit.  Our editor didnt mention this, but I understand that this was a very big factor in some of the failed projects.  Hackensack does have a lot of bus lines coming into the downtown. It would be nice to see rail reconnected.

Clearly, there has been a movement in the direction of pedestrian-friendly downtowns and new urbanism planning, especially in the last 5 years.   The articles that our editor linked to indicate that a lot of the pedestrian-only downtown streets were built in the 1970s, and failed.  One actually mentioned that having a Business Improvement District is essentially to such a project succeeding.  Cities in general were failing in the 1970s. There was a lot of disinvestment and middle-class flight. 

Now it is 2006, and cities are the center of investment once again. Demographics in Hackensack have also changed in favor of this concept.  We now have a great diversity of immigrant people in Hackensack, almost all from countries that place less emphasis on the automobile. Contrary to the assumptions of most white people, statistics show that this demographic change has occurred WITHOUT a reduction in education level or per capita income, after adjusting to inflation. In fact, both have risen.

 I do not believe that a pedestrian street project would have succeeded in 1970s Hackensack.  Now is a different story.  This concept is something that needs to be studied, not dismissed because it was done improperly in other cities, or done during the wrong era.

Issues such as deliveries and garbage pickup can be addressed in the same manner as other pedestrian downtowns, usually during very early morning hours.

Although Hackensack has taken the mighty step in establishing a Business Improvement District, there has been no collective vision.  Instead, the guiding vision remains the same --- each individual merchant expects to magically entice customers, simply on the merits of their own products or services, to drive to downtown Hackensack from suburbia, park on Main Street within a block of the store, and walk in the front door. 

Weve been struggling with this failed business plan for 50 years. It hasnt worked since the first mall opened in Paramus, and from that point forwards it will never work. ITS TIME TO TRASH THAT BUSINESS PLAN IN ITS ENTIRETY AND MOVE IN ANOTHER DIRECTION

People are going to patronize stores and restaurants in Hackensack for two primary reasons:
(1)   THEY ARE ALREADY THERE because
a.    they live there (in a new multi-unit building)
b.   they work there (in an office),
c.   they are visiting an office for business purposes
d.   they are visiting a library, a future cultural arts center, or a health club such as the YMCA
(2)   they are traveling to downtown Hackensack specifically to enjoy the atmosphere of an improved pedestrian downtown street.

Right now, relatively few people are driving into downtown specifically to visit stores and restaurants. Despite our editors fear that Hackensack doesnt have a pedestrian base to support the pedestrian street concept, our existing retail and restaurant establishments are already almost totally reliant upon the pedestrian base. Most of their customers are the already there because they work in nearby offices.  Thats why everything shuts down after 5:00 PM. Now, if we make a really nice pedestrian street, three things will happen (1) an even higher percent of the office workers will patronize Main Street, (2) much more people will walk in from the surrounding high-density residential neighborhoods, and (3) we can actually achieve the holy grail of downtown planning, which is getting people from suburbia to drive in, park in parking towers, and enjoy the pedestrian street atmosphere.

Now comes the tough part, convincing the majority of merchants to give this some serious thought, so that we can get some professional planning studies of this concept.