Paterson Top Stories

Of Martyrs and Veterans: City Council Navigates Competing Park Monuments

Union Avenue Park   Photo via Google Maps


PATERSON, NJ – The City Council on Tuesday night was all ready to approve the Paterson Bengali community’s request to create a cultural monument in a small park on Union Avenue.

That was until the president of the Paterson Veterans Council got up to speak. Years ago, the park had been dedicated as a memorial to Vietnam veterans, said Tony Vancheri.

Sign Up for E-News

“I’m more concerned about the men and women who gave their lives for the United States of America,’’ said Vancheri, who was wearing a red-white-and-blue tie in a flag pattern. The president of the veterans group said he understood the Bengali community’s desire to create its monument. “The problem is that it honors people from a foreign country,’’ he said.

The issue confronted council members with a dilemma. City officials routinely express their pride in Paterson’s multicultural diversity. They also recognize the special role of the city’s veterans.

“We don’t want to do anything that pits the veteran community against the Bengali community,’’ said Councilman Kenneth Morris.

By Wednesday afternoon, a compromise had been reached, officials said. The Bengali monument would be located in Westside Park and the park on Union Avenue would be left to veterans.

“It worked out very well,’’ said Councilman Aslon Goow, who represents the 2nd Ward where both parks are located.

“The spot is even better than what they were looking at,’’ said Council President Anthony Davis.

The Bengali group is looking to construct a “Shahid Minar,’’ or “Martyr’s Monument” in honor of political demonstrators who were killed by police in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan. Similar monuments are erected in many places in Bangladesh.

Bengali leaders told the city council they thought only one side of the park – which sits on two lots across the street from each other on Union Avenue between Paterson and Manchester avenues  - had been dedicated to veterans. They had planned their monument for a spot on the other side of the street.

At one point Tuesday night, city officials asked Vancheri if he had a problem with the Bengali monument being placed on one side of the street. He wasn’t receptive to the suggestion.

“The next body buried there will be mine,’’ he responded. “I’m not letting anybody put anything there. I’ll have 1,000 veterans there tomorrow.’’

Vancheri then suggested putting the Bengali monument in Westside Park, in the area behind Kennedy High, where the submarine exhibit used to be. Goow and Davis said Bengali community leaders inspected that location on Wednesday and were satisfied with it.

The city council will take its preliminary vote on the Westside Park monument at a special meeting on February 1, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Veterans monument no longer remains at the Union Avenue park. It had become a target of vandals there, so the veterans’ council moved it to the veterans park at Haddon Heights, officials said.

But Vancheri said his organization plans to create a tribute to Vietnam veterans at the Union Avenue park sometime in the near future.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


‘We Must Not Be Enemies’

May 9, 2018

Dear Editor

I want to take opportunity to congratulate Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh on his awesome election night victory and for running a campaign to unite all Patersonians. His message of “One Paterson” resonated with the electorate. I believe that Paterson's best days are ahead. He will govern the city the same way he campaigned, always putting Paterson and ...

Free Dog Training Classes

May 22, 2018

Does your family have a new dog or puppy that needs to get trained? You do not have to spend a fortune training Fido. Come to Passaic County's Free Dog Training Sessions in Goffle Brook Park in Hawthorne. Classes are held every Monday and Thursday from 6pm-8pm through June, July, and August. 

For more info, or to see if weather canceled the event, please call 973-881-4833. 

Paterson Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh Announces Transition Team Leadership

PATERSON, NJ – Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh today announced the leadership of his transition team, which will examine the current state of municipal government, make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of city services, and help make the necessary preparations for the launch of the new administration on July 1.

“As I said throughout my campaign, we intend to ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver Testimony on Proposal to Divert Affordable Housing Funds

May 21, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- TAPinto Paterson earlier reported on the response of local community leaders and activists on a proposal by Governor Phil Murphy to divert $46 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) which they wrote in a letter signed by representatives of over 100 groups statewide is “legally dedicated to the creation of affordable homes for lower income ...

Local Advocates Join Statewide Call for Restoration of Affordable Housing Funds

PATERSON, NJ- The leaders of several local organizations including Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Saint Paul’s Community Development Corporation, the Paterson Housing Authority, and the City of Paterson’s Neighborhood Assistance Office lent their signatures to a letter urging Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature to preserve a fund dedicated to creation of affordable ...

The Elections are Over, Now it's Time to Collaborate!

May 21, 2018

For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.

The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the ...