Amid Backlash, Mayor Fulop Tweets Plans for a New, ‘Energized’ Exchange Place

Exchange Place Revitalization Jersey City
Rendering of proposed changes. Image via @StevenFulop/Twitter.

The firestorm around the moving of the Katyn Memorial doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Yesterday, Mayor Fulop shared on Twitter, a rendering of the city’s plans for an “energized” waterfront walkway next to Exchange Place. It includes green space for picnics, a children’s playground, water spray station, and stages/tents for live performances.

These plans, however, do not include the Katyn Memorial, which Fulop says will be “prominently displayed somewhere else in Jersey City with community support.”

The hope was that sharing the plan would help garner more community support for the project. Unsurprisingly, it had the opposite effect. A scroll through the responses to the tweet show ever-increasing opposition to the proposal.

Similarly, in our Instagram post yesterday regarding the potential memorial move, we asked our followers to weigh in with their opinions. Not only was it our most commented post ever, but the overwhelming response has been against the move.

Fulop’s original reason for moving the memorial was that it is too violent for children to see every day. This angered not only local residents but the international Polish community as a whole who accuse the mayor of trying to erase history. Their argument is, history is gruesome and children should be aware of atrocities of the past so they can learn from them in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Considering the backlash, it’s surprising that the mayor continues to push this plan. Looking at the rendering, the memorial could easily be returned to its original location with only minor changes to the plan. It seems odd he is taking such a strong stance on this.

Could it be that a large developer and property owner along the waterfront, who also just happens to be bankrolling the renovation costs, is putting pressure on the mayor, who was elected to represent the people? We at Jersey Digs hope that’s not the case.

Let’s take a poll and see what the community thinks.

Do you support the Katyn Memorial being moved?

View Results

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  1. It is sad that Steven Fulop the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants would be in anyway complicit in trying to minimize a very important part of history to placate a developers marketing strategy. NEVER FORGET.

  2. I wish that Mr Fulop would put as much effort into pushing for building more schools in the jersey City area as he is into moving this memorial….. i guess there is no room for that in between new parks and sky high condo towers ….. developers will move on, the community will stay and will not forget

  3. Mayor Fulop has larger ambitions than mere Mayor of Jersey City. Remember that, folks, when he runs for higher office.

  4. Petition to Donald Trump calling a international investigation into Smolensk Plane Crash, April 10th 2010

    We the Free Poles wish to make a plea to you, Mr. President, as the leader of the Free World, in the face of our country`s helplessness, to initiate an international investigation into the 2010 plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, which killed the Polish President, along with 95 representatives of Poland. Those on board were on their way to the 70th commemoration of the Katyn massacre of Polish intellectuals, politicians and military officers by the Russians in the Second World War.

    please sign:

  5. Why is everyone blowing this “controversy” so out of proportion? The reason this statue should be moved (or entirely re-conceived) is because it is such bad art. Memorials should offer an opportunity for reflection and remembrance, not beat you over the head (or in this case, stab you in the back) with an ultra-realistic depiction of trauma. This is why the Vietnam Memorial in DC and the WTC memorial in lower Manhattan (and countless others) are so successful and memorable. Will we ever forget either of those atrocities, no. Do we need to see permanent depictions of soldiers being blown up or office workers jumping to their deaths from burning buildings to “remember?” I think not.

    • Who decides what is bad art? you? How about having an open conversation about it instead of hiding and making decisions behind closed doors with only Fulop and developers in the room (oh and their money). People have to sue just to have a conversation?

  6. By chance is this the location of the dancing Israelis seen filming the 9 11 attack in a suspiciously celebratory mood. ..later arrested and eventually returned to where they came from

  7. While attending various festivals the city has staged on the plaza over the years I’ve often seen the memorial as an inconvenient backdrop for festivities. It seems that now the business community, whose taste runs from bland to more bland to blandest, plans to hide the statue elsewhere. That is to be expected, because it is indeed “an ultra-realistic depiction” of an inconvenient truth of history, one that retains relevance nearly 80 years later and always will. (An ally against evil will kill you if it plans to gobble your country up later with less resistance.) I say the statue should be kept where it is, the surrounding area greened up a bit and a few benches installed, and the kiddie play area, a strange and inappropriate use for a clearing between business buildings, be built elsewhere. And please, no stupid Jersey City identifier sign.

    • the Jersey City identifier sign is more appropriate and relevant at that location than some foreign tragic story depiction statue that is pretty morbid – do you see 9/11 memorials overseas?!

  8. It wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place, and relocating it doesn’t mean children won’t learn about atrocities anymore.

    If we’re so concerned about reminding ourselves about atrocities, then our entire city would be flooded with memorials because there have been endless atrocities throughout history. Why should Katyn be the only one remembered at Exchange Place then? Why don’t we have a gruesome memorial for every atrocity that has ever happened in the world at Exchange Place?

  9. Move the statue. It can still be remember at another location, it doesn’t need to be at the waterfront next to a children’s playground. Wasn’t intended/planned to be there in the first place. There is no historical significance to THAT particular location for the statue.

  10. Children in other parts of Jersey City see actual stabbings and shootings (not statues) nearly daily….and yet Fulop remains silent on it.

  11. The statue should be kept where it is, and Fulop is with developers and them money making strategy.
    Shame on you.


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