While plenty of bars and restaurants adorn southern Hoboken’s waterfront, empty kiosks at one of the city’s most prominent green spaces have been ever-present for years. An overhaul of regulations passed by the city council last month is hoping to put them back into productive use.
The seven kiosks along Pier A, which were built during the mid-1990s, have been vacant for so long that Hoboken’s newer residents might not know they were ever actually in use. Old regulations governing the kiosks were written over two decades ago, which sparked Councilmen Michael DeFusco and Ruben Ramos to co-sponsor a new ordinance overhauling the rules.
Passed unanimously at the council’s July 10 meeting, the new regulations dictate that any current business operating from a physical address in Hoboken can be awarded a kiosk for an administrative fee of $1 per year. The council will solicit Request for Proposals from businesses that are interested, who will then be selected by a city review board.
In exchange for the space, a concessionaire must pay for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the existing kiosk and open for customers eight hours a day throughout the year, excluding holidays. Businesses at the kiosks are to provide live un-amplified entertainment from April through October for eight hours per month, which can include acoustic guitar, poetry readings, and the playing of symphonic instruments.
Under the ordinance, a business who takes a kiosk will have to employ local Hoboken labor at a rate that is $2 per hour higher than the prevailing state minimum wage. The ordinance also gives vendors the flexibility to prepare food off-site, which was forbidden under the old regulations.
“When these kiosks were first installed, Mayor Roberts envisioned they would be used by Hoboken businesses to expand their visibility and help reach a larger customer base,” said First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco. “Unfortunately, this has gone mostly undone and I’m excited to begin working with the city to implement a plan that will make our waterfront an even more desirable place to grab a cup of coffee while supporting small businesses.”
The city council will need to approve all contracts prior to the granting of a concession and hopes to have some new businesses slated for the kiosks around Memorial Day next year.