PATERSON, NJ - The city’s celebration of Paterson Proud week continued on the 4th of July, a day traditionally reserved fireworks, barbecues, and celebration of our nation’s birth, with the first ever raising of the official flag of the City of Paterson.
The week also included a food truck extravaganza at Vistas Park and fireworks display that attracted over 1,000 guests, and a celebration to mark the completed upgrades to Buckley Park.
“243 years ago we declared independence from England,” Mayor Andre Sayegh told the crowd of about 60 people from the steps of Paterson City Hall. Just 16 years later, on the same day in 1792, he would add, the City of Paterson was officially born.
Joined by several well known local figures, including City Council President Maritza Davila and former Mayor Pat Kramer, Sayegh offered a litany of Paterson’s historical accomplishments including its place as the nation’s first industrial city and the location where the first submarine was built.
Larry Doby, the Hall of Fame Patersonian who broke the American League’s color barrier and Lou Costello , one half of one of the best known comedy duos of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s also proudly called Paterson home, Sayegh added.
Recalling an editorial that he read earlier in the day referring to the United States as “the greatest country in the world,” Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9) told the audience that the nation has that honor “because we’re different.”
“We are the world’s greatest democracy. That’s why a lot of people want to come here,” Pascrell said adding that while we’re not a perfect nation, and indeed only “our Creator is perfect” the United States always strived to be “a perfect union.”
“Our glass is half full, not half empty.”
Pascrell, for whom the Paterson Fire Headquarters on McBride Avenue was recently renamed, went on to recognize the contingent of firefighters that were on hand for the event.
“They protect us every day,” Pascrell said because of the value they place on everyone’s life. “These guys are here today. They are not with their families.”
Following the flag raising ceremony all of the guests were invited to continue the celebration of the Silk City’s birthday with a cake cutting in the mayor’s office. Sayegh thanked Bob Guarasci, Founder and CEO of the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) for donating the desert offering the wisecrack that “cake cutting is a team sport.”
Paterson resident Murat Baycora attended the event with his three daughters, Sara, 11; Ceyda, 9; and Ferah 8.
“I like the historic places in Paterson, like the Great Falls and the Paterson Museum,” Sara said.
Ceyda said one of her favorite things about her hometown was the food.
“I like the restaurants.”
Ferah concurred with her older sibling.
“I also like the restaurants,” the youngster stated. “My favorite food is Turkish food.”
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