The New Harrison Welcomes a 21ST Century PATH Station

By Ron Marsico, Director of Media Relations

Harrison, the one-time New Jersey industrial town in a state of transformation hard by the banks of the Passaic River, yesterday celebrated the opening of its gleaming new steel and glass PATH rail station for the 21st century.

Where abandoned brick warehouses symbolizing the passing of the town’s 1950s and 1960s heyday once stood, there is now the Red Bull soccer stadium flanked by townhouses, condos and sleek shops, sprouting like spring floral shoots in a town revamped for economic growth.

Amid Harrison’s rebirth is the newly opened first section of the $256-million Port Authority PATH station, a dream of the town’s late Mayor Raymond McDonough, who envisioned a 21st century station to replace the deteriorating structure that opened smack in the middle of the Depression in 1936. McDonough died in office in 2014, but his widow, Constance, unveil a plaque in his honor outside the facility.

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A 21st century PATH station comes to Harrison

To mark the opening, Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director Rick Cotton, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.), Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and current Harrison Mayor James Fife, joined with PATH General Manager/Director Michael Marino and PATH Deputy Director Clarelle DeGraffe and other dignitaries. Following tribute speeches, they clipped a blue ribbon to officially open the new facility.

“He had a vision for this place called Harrison, which not a lot of us really shared,’’ said O’Toole of McDonough, who served 20 years as the town’s mayor. “He was a pioneer.  He understood. He had the vision.”

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    Constance McDonough, widow of the late Harrison mayor, leads ribbon-cutting ceremony

Yesterday’s station opening along the westbound side of the PATH tracks completes the first of a four-phase redevelopment, which will bring a similar glass and steel station to the eastbound side by mid-2019 and then a renovation of two existing nearby station buildings. Use of the Harrison station has soared in recent years, jumping 25 percent since 2012 with nearly 2.6 million riders in 2017.

The airy, light-filled station with high ceilings includes weather-protected entrances/exits, elevators, escalators and widened stairs. Other amenities include PATH’s first “countdown clocks” that tell passengers when the next trains will arrive, as well as extended platforms to accommodate 10-car trains on the Newark-WTC line in the future.

Harrison Mayor Fife called the new PATH station “the diamond stone’’ that will anchor the continuing redevelopment of Harrison.

Cotton praised community officials for supporting the agency’s efforts on the project.

“We are dedicated to upgrading the legacy facilities to improving the customer experience, and to doing all we can to modernize and move our transportation systems up the curve,’’ he said.  “You can’t do a project unless the local community supports it.”

Lt. Gov. Oliver, who fondly recalled trips to the hardscrabble town when her mother worked for RCA in Harrison in the 1970s, expressed wonder at the Harrison of the 2010s.

“I am amazed at the transformation of Harrison, New Jersey,’’ said Oliver, calling the new station a cornerstone of that progress. “Economic development is going to come with that. Business expansion is going to come with that.”

O’Toole assessed the woefully outdated and crumbling old station succinctly.

“It is not fit for mankind,’’ he said, drawing laughs and quickly turning his attention to the brand-new station behind him on the speaker’s podium. “This is what Harrison deserves.’’

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Chairman O’Toole addresses crowd at station opening

Posted in Harrison Station, PATH, Uncategorized

Singapore Airlines Restores World’s Longest Non-Stop Flight to Newark

By Christine Cassidy, Media Relations Staff

More than 1,100 flights a day find their way into and out of Newark Liberty International, one of the country’s busiest airports. But none compares to the one that touched down shortly before dawn last week.

Singapore Airlines’ A350-900 ULR, reclaiming its status as the world’s longest non-stop flight after a five-year absence, landed just after 6 a.m. on October 11, more than 19 hours after taking off from Singapore’s Changi Airport. The aptly named ULR, which stands for Ultra-Long Range, arrived to great fanfare at Newark Liberty, where it was welcomed by airline officials and employees and Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence.

It wasn’t the first time Singapore Airlines had scheduled this extended non-stop flight to Newark. They were routine between 2004 and 2013, before the cost of fuel forced the airline to shelve the service. The new, bigger plane, the airline says, consumes 25-percent less fuel than similar earlier models.

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The A350-900 ULR, moments after arrival

Tickets go for about $5,000 round trip. It includes a continual supply of food and beverages, free WIFI and other amenities. Seats on the new jumbo jet, which was built for this route, are large and comfortable, and comfort is something a passenger on a 19-plus hour flight would certainly desire.

The flight has no economy seats. Instead, it has 94 more-spacious premium economy and 67 business class seats, which can fold out into a bed. Starting next week, the carrier will offer daily flights from Singapore to Newark, once a second Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft is delivered.

Posted in aviation, first nonstop flights, Newark, Newark Liberty International Airport, Uncategorized

Port Authority Goes Pink For Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Rudy King, Media Relations Staff

From the top of the George Washington Bridge to concourses of the busy Midtown bus terminal and LaGuardia Airport, the Port Authority has gone pink for October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the impact it’s left on the agency, its people and their families.

For the past decade, electricians at the GWB have teamed to string a necklace of LED lights along the bridge’s cables, a display that went live on the south side of the bridge on Oct. 1. The gel-lighting network – composed of pink transparent coverings with the names of breast cancer victims fitted over regular lights – was the brainchild of GWB electrician Chris Bonanno, in tribute to his sister who contracted the disease more than a decade ago.

“We’re doing everything we can to make a difference, and praying that one day they won’t have to do this because a cure was found,” he said.

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Photo Credit: NJ.com

Breast Cancer Awareness Month was established to raise awareness about the scourge of breast cancer in the United States. It’s the second-leading killer of women, after lung cancer, with more than 260,000 cases of invasive breast cancer expected to be diagnosed in U.S. women this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

At both the Port Authority Bus Terminal and LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal, pink- ribbon decals decorate facility floors. PABT Physical Plant Manager Robert Doeg noted that the bus terminal is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month for a second year with the installation of the Port Authority custom-made logo in the building’s South Wing. Doeg said the PABT wanted to do something special, following in the tradition established at the GWB.

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The PABT team and the decorative decal marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Asked what this installation means to his team and to him personally, Doeg paused for a moment, then said, “We’ve had and have staff, family and friends who’ve been impacted by the disease. So it’s very personal to us and a very big deal.”

“Being able to contribute towards this great cause makes us feel good that we can help bring awareness and give back,” he said.

In addition to the displays at the GWB, PABT and LaGuardia, Breast Cancer Awareness Month events and lighting programs have been taking place at the FAA control tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport, at Newark Liberty International Airport and at PATH.

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The Marine Air Terminal display at LaGuardia

Members of the Port Authority Police Department Women’s Law Enforcement Association are wearing blue and pink bands around their shields as a sign of support for colleagues and loved ones affected by breast cancer, the third year they’ve done so. As in the previous years, the association is working with other area police departments to raise money by selling the bands, with the proceeds going to Gilda’s Club, an organization that benefits cancer patients.

Posted in breast cancer, breast cancer awareness, GWB, LaGuardia Airport, PABT, Uncategorized