Hudson Chamber of Commerce Kicks Off History Series

All photos: Edwin Hadi

Get the flash player here:

On Tuesday night many of Hudson County’s business owners gathered at the former Jersey City Medical Center (or as it is now known, The Beacon) for the inaugural event of the Hudson County History Series.

The evening began with a short lecture by Changing Jersey City authors Cynthia Harris and Leon Yost, in a newly restored lecture hall. Ulana Zakalak, The Beacon’s Historic Restoration Consultant, explained that the hall, like much of the complex, had been in a state of complete disrepair. Water stains and faded paint marred the walls and ceilings where now, due to meticulous research including analyzing samples to determine the original paint colors in the room, shimmering golds and rich blues recreate the art deco look of yesteryear.

After the lecture and then some socializing and snacking on hors d’oeuvres, guests were treated to a tour of some the more intricately rehabilitated features of the Beacon, followed by a sneak peak at the ongoing restoration and development of the property.

Zakalak headed up the historical portion of the tour, showing locations such as the original entrance to the hospital which boasts a bas relief sculpture lining the room entitled “From Myth to Medicine,” the lobby, the new community library and perhaps most exciting, notorious former Jersey City mayor Frank Hague’s office on the ground floor, which has been converted, appropriately, to a poker room.

From there, George Filopoulos, president of Metrovest Equities, the real estate company that owns and operates The Beacon, treated guests to a sneak peak of the newest renovation to the complex, the Mercury Lofts building. The tour included a look at a 3,700 square foot sample loft that covered half of the space on the building’s second floor as well as a walk through much of the yet to be renovated space.

This event was the first in a series that promises to go above and beyond the kind of affairs that the Chamber of Commerce regularly hosts by offering business networking opportunities with a side of history.

a writer and educator living in Jersey City with his wife Stephanie, a painter. He teaches composition at New Jersey City University and works as a Writing Center Specialist at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. He is the managing editor of Patrol.