Today, Steve Fulop, mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, is featured in The Wall Street Journal.
That's a long way from how the politicos of that old-line blue-collar political machine used to only be covered in the Jersey Journal. (My brother-in-law, Scott Ring, had been publisher of the Jersey Journal).
Fulop has been among the builders who transformed Jersey City into a gentrified setting for financial and media players. In some circles, Jersey City is known as The Other Wall Street. Downtown apartments are pricey. And social life is cool.
To the surprise of many, Fulop won't be running for governor. Instead he gave his support to his one-time nemesis Phil Murphy. So, we wonder what is his vision for his next big undertaking?
Also, he may be a witness for the prosecution in Bridgegate. He had refused to back Chris Christie's re-election. As a result, Fulop was allegedly given the cold shoulder by the powerful Christie Administration.
Fulop's career runway faces no big obstacles. Ironically, Christie's may be totally blocked. According to testimony at the Bridgegate trial, he was aware of the plan to create Fort Lee traffic gridlock on the George Washington Bridge. When informed how much chaos it was causing, he allegedly laughed. Although he has not been charged of any crime by law enforcement, in the court of public opinion he is not faring well. Will Donald Trump dump him from the transition team?
Currently, Fulop's legacy includes making Jersey City a prestigious urban address. Having grown up downtown (227 Bay Street) in the 1950s, I never envisioned it could be anything but a feeder pool for strivers who were hell-bent to flee. We were determined to leverage Jersey City cunning and drive to create a middle-class life anywhere else. It was a platform for success, in a peculiar way.
Is it painful not to be able to go home again? You bet.
I was among the best and brightest at Henry Snyder High School. I sold the most subscriptions to the Star Ledger as a fundraiser for Sacred Heart Catholic School. And the day my mother died on 100 Clerk Street, my sister Anne Murga-Ring never picked up the rum-laced Italian birthday cake for nephew Frank Klinga. That remains an unfinished memory. Murga-Ring and I haven't spoken since 2003. Frank's mother, my sister Camille, died at age 60. Since then I have struggled to find where I "belonged."