By Ron Leir
Now appearing in highway rest areas, area airports, bus depots, train stations, hotels – seemingly omnipresent in northern New Jersey – it’s the Kearny Digest.
This year’s new version of the Kearny Magazine, underwritten by the town’s Urban Enterprise Zone board, has been disseminated hither and yon in hopes of getting the attention of the tourist trade expected to pour into the meadowlands area to catch the SuperBowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford and beyond.
“We had 100,000 copies printed,” said Kearny UEZ Director John Peneda. Of those, he said, “we kept 2,000 in town” to spread among municipal facilities like Town Hall and local eateries, drug stores and shops.
Snapshots from the digest are also posted on electronic bulletin boards at N.J. Turnpike and Garden State Parkway rest areas where commuters can also pick up the free booklets from magazine racks inside, Peneda said.
“If we can get 1,000 people visiting Kearny, hopefully, as a result of effort to promote the town, it would be worth it,” Peneda said. “It’s a way to put Kearny on the map.”
The campaign didn’t come cheap: Erbach Communications Group of Lyndhurst has billed the board $51,939 for the preparation and printing of the digest and the board is paying CTM Media Group, based in Stamford, Conn., $15,000 for distribution of the booklets over a six-month period, Peneda said. Revenue from some advertising in the digest helps offset part of those costs, he added.
Peneda said the original plan was to send them out now for six months straight to exploit the traffic projected from not only the SuperBowl but also the Formula 1 car race scheduled for June along the Hudson River in Weehawken and West New York.
But, after the race was canceled, Peneda said the board reconsidered, feeling that it would be more effective to do a three-month distribution now and then wait for the summer to do another three-month circulation when more people are likely to be traveling through the area for vacation.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to spend funds to showcase the town,” he said.
How does the Kearny Digest “sell” Kearny?
Well, the front cover reminds those perhaps not in the know that, “The ‘Sopranos’ Ate Here,” referring to Satriale’s Pork Store, “the fictional butcher shop/deli at 101 Kearny Ave
. Part of a two-page Digest spread on the six-season TV series notes that, “… the [Satriale] storefront and the life-size pig that adorned the roof on film days, was one of the most requested stops on the ‘Sopranos’ bus tours that ran even after the TV series ended.”
The Digest also points out that the Irish American Club, next door to the since-demolished Satriale’s, switched its Irish flag to Italian “whenever filming took place.”
Another film-related point of interest mentioned by the Digest is The Skyway Diner at 280 Central Ave. under the Pulaski Skyway in South Kearny where Tony’s protégé Christopher “was gunned down by two gangster wannabees.” Superstorm Sandy’s impact prompted the diner’s closing in 2007.
Other Kearny locations used in shooting the crime drama, highlighted by the Digest, are: The Boathouse at 927 Passaic Ave., St. Cecilia’s Church at 120 Kearny Ave., Knox Presbyterian Church (now closed) at 36 Kearny Ave., Irish Heritage Park, Stewarts Drive-in (the interior) at 938 Passaic Ave. and the railroad bridge crossing the Passaic River which, according to the Digest, “was featured in all 86 ‘Sopranos’ episodes and appeared in the movie version of “Annie.”
Hollywood director/actor Clint Eastwood also filmed in Kearny last October when part of Elm St. was made to look like a ‘60s neighborhood for the backdrop of a story about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Digest points out.
Also on the cover:
• Visitors to the area in search of a different culinary treat are led to Kearny as a “Dining Destination [to] Delicious Meals from Around the World,” a reference to restaurants serving “Portuguese, Brazilian, Peruvian, Scottish [and] Italian” specialities, with a detailed list of locations inside.
• To catch the attention of sports fans, there is a “Welcome to Soccer Town U.S.A.” and a photo of Kearny native John Harkes, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the first American to play in the English Premier League.
• And, entrepreneurial-minded newcomers to the area are offered a prompt: “Opening A Business In Kearny? How to reach the KUEZ” for advice on getting started.