BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY-
By Sally Deering
Photo By Steve A. Mack
Relatively unknown before he took office as the Mayor of Jersey City on July 1, 2013, Steven M. Fulop now has his own page on Wikipedia. Gaining in popularity, a local paper put him 4th on a list of Hudson’s 50 most influential people.
Mayor Fulop, 36, seems to have a vision for Jersey City’s cultural scene with plans to bring the city to greater heights that reflect its stature as the second largest city in New Jersey. By raising the standards of the arts scene, Fulop envisions Jersey City as an arts mecca similar to New York City that will attract visitors in huge numbers and big name acts to its performance venues while providing public spaces for resident artists, filmmakers, dancers, actors and musicians.
Moving forward, in the short time he’s been in office, Mayor Fulop has already been in meetings with Cordish Companies of Baltimore, the prospective developers of the Powerhouse building in downtown Jersey City. He has supported legislation to reinstate the tax credits to filmmakers who want to shoot on location in Jersey City; and, he has approved projects by mural artists to paint designated buildings in Jersey City. Mayor Fulop also has plans to turn the old movie palace, the Loew’s Jersey City in Journal Square into a performing arts center like NJPAC.
On a recent November morning, Mayor Fulop took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Riverview Observer about some of his plans and projects for Jersey City’s cultural scene.
MSF: I have a great appreciation for music and I have friends in the arts community, thus I’ve been engaged in it. I took piano lessons during my childhood and up until last year. I play classical music and I started studying Jazz. Classical is straight-forward, you’re reading notes and I could do that very well, but I couldn’t improvise. It’s a totally different skillset. My piano teacher moved, though, and now I’m looking for a new one, so if you know anybody,..
RVO: Do you have any interest in a specific area of the arts in Jersey City?
MSF: I’ve realized in order to make Jersey City really shine it needs a thriving arts community. That’s what attracts people here. Transportation won’t just do it, you need culture and art. We’re working with Senator (Steve) Lesniak to reinstate the film tax credit; legislation will be introduced next week. We’re looking to see how to put more money into the Loew’s and bring in professional management. You’ll see that on the Council agenda coming forward. That’s a big step. From a city standpoint, I can’t put $10-$15 million dollars into something that has the “potential” for success. The Loew’s is the size of NJPAC and across from the Journal Square PATH. You could get big names, and people coming from all over for art, music, restaurants. The Loew’s is really a key component of what we’re trying to do.