Hackensack’s Icon or “Favorite Son”?

 Hackensack’s Icon or “Favorite Son”?

Journeys into Hackensack

Hackensack goes back a long ways. It is a place of history. It also has played a role in our modern day popular culture.

If you were trying to explain the essence of Hackensack to someone how would you do so ? (A future discussion). What do you take most pride in about the town ? In explaining Hackensack is there a favorite son to point to ?

On this issue of favorite son (daughter), the Wikipedia entry for Hackensack lists many prominent names - a good number of them were on the list only because they were born at Hackensack Hospital.

But there are others with more substantial ties. Who would you pick ?

Here are some of my nominees:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, went to the prep school, the Newman School, in Hackensack in 1911

Chet Forte, television director and sports radio talk show host - best known for his years at ABC sports. A star athlete at Hackensack High School

Mike Fratello, NBA coach and TV commentator....dubbed dubbed him "The Czar of the Telestrator" by Marv Albert for his masterful way of diagramming basketball plays on screen...born and raised in Hackensack where he graduated from Hackensack High School, after being captain of the basketball, baseball, football and field hockey teams; named to the Bergen "All County" Football team as a center in his senior year.

Rudy Van Gelder, recording engineer who taped many jazz albums for Blue Note Records in his Hackensack recording studio in the 1950s.

William Widnall, member of the United States House of Representatives for 24 years representing New Jersey's 7th congressional district

Or perhaps important civic families that helped build Hackensack in its heyday and cared so much about it - names like the Borg (The Record) and Hanson families (Hanson Realty; Hampshire Management). But that was a long time ago and those families have mostly moved elsewhere.

Maybe we should not be looking at a person to get a sense of Hackensack. Perhaps it is in a song. For example, one by Billy Joel (Moving Out – Anthony’s Song – 1971):

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Or perhaps this one by Cole Porter (I Happen to Like New York)?

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Don't think so.

Or is Hackensack captured by a place or a building - places like the art deco Sears building, the Peoples Trust building (210 Main Street), the Arnold Constable building, the Court House Green, the iconic Holy Trinity Church or White Manna - or places now gone like Packard's, Prozy's, the Oritani Field Club or the Fox and Oritani Theaters ?

And, let's not forget the Ice House that has produced Olympic Figure skaters and professional hockey players or Hackensack Hospital (now officially called Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center) where they perform miracles daily.

And now, also in consideration as an icon for our hometown is the Hackensack Brewing Company

What do you think ?

Image: Roadside Architecture.com