SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Mayors from the municipalities of Scotch Plains, Plainfield, South Plainfield and Edison were joined by their dignitaries in a ceremonial meeting at the shared border on Woodland Ave. on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to demonstrate a renewed commitment to their partnership while recreating a more-than-half-a-century old photo.
The idea to recreate the photo was inspired by the long-time, 86-year-old Plainfield resident Al Pittis, who is currently a member of the Plainfield Cultural Heritage Commission.
“This day would not have been possible without Albert Pittis,” explained Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, who added that the planning for this event started a couple months ago. He said to me, ‘Mayor, this is an event that occurred 54 years ago and I think it would be a great idea to reach out to your fellow mayors and recreate this event.’ We took the idea and ran with it.”
Mapp, who opened the meeting with a moment of silence out of respect to the 22 victims who died in the Manchester bombing spoke on the symbolic gesture of cooperation and working together as a step toward a better future.
“The words that are spoken here today are on fellowship and working together,” said Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith. “The fact that we have four mayors and all these important dignitaries today is great, especially in today’s world with violence and unsettledness going on. As a group coming together is something special.”
Scotch Plains Township Manager Al Mirabella added that "it was a event where four municipalities and two counties dropped their borders and pledged to work together for the betterment of all our residents."
South Plainfield Mayor Matthew Arnesh and Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey echoed the sentiments on cooperation before participating in a series of photo opportunities, including the recreation of the original photo that appeared in the Plainfield Courier-News in 1963.
The mayors in the original photo were John George of South Plainfield, Robert Maddox of Plainfield, Anthony Yelencsics of Edison, and Norman Lacombe of Scotch Plains.
After recreating the iconic photo, the mayors sat down to sign a joint proclamation and toasted to the renewed commitment of working together.