To all your history buffs, please visit Bergen County, NJ for interesting experience of visiting our historical sites and restaurants. Check out our Team Project from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. “From Revolution to Renewal-A Historical Tour of Bergen County”.
I had the most interesting semester for Spring Term at the college where I work. Everything started off fine. We had classes in the the afternoon, good discussions on Marketing and had a very successful Team Project marketing the Lyndhurst Snack Shop, the new Bulldog Cafe, for business (See Day One Hundred and Fifty-Nine in MywalkinManhattan.com):
I had just handed out the next Team Project, “From Revolution to Renewal: Exploring the Historic Bergen County”, a major tourism project I wanted to the students to work on for the remainder of the semester the week before the break. I had the students to break up into groups and get to know one another and get their game plans…
I never realized until just recently that we have an art gallery on the Bergen Community College campus. I have been teaching here since 2013 and just found out about this little ‘gem’ that is tucked in the second floor of West Hall.
This wonderful little gallery can be accessed on the Main Campus of Bergen Community College and is open to the public for viewing. The Art students of Bergen Community College show their works in student shows and the Retailing students show their work outside the Gallery.
Gallery Curator Professor Tim Blunk
The Gallery is a reasonably sized space and viewing the Gallery Bergen takes a reasonable amount of time that is not over-whelming. It is a nice way to spend the afternoon when visiting the campus.
Please visit the Bergen Community College for future shows.
Gallery Bergen recently showed, “Belongings: Photographs at the Borders of Citizenship” exhibition which is showing the works of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Clem Albers (1942) and Tamara Merino (2018). This exhibition pairs two sets of photographic records, two tragic experiences of people on two sides of the US border, separated by seventy-five years in America’s cultural and political struggle over who belongs and who doesn’t (Bergen Gallery Press Release).
A former exhibition was “Lines of Fire/Lines of Ice” . This exhibition is art being presented to get us to think of our effects on nature. The Gallery Bergen is presenting art that might help us change our views of ourselves in the world (Curator).
“It is 2019. Fires advance; glaciers retreat. Oceans rise; deserts spread. The Homo sapiens population grows exponentially; entire species of fish, mollusks, insects, amphibians and birds perish each day. Lines are being redrawn on the surface of the earth-lines that can be seen from space. Yes these same lines are often blurred or erased when viewed through the lens of ideology”-Tim Blunk, Curator.
See Performance Artist Jaanika Peerna perform the ‘Glacier Elegy’ similar to the one she did at opening night.
The Gallery is curated by Professor Tim Blunk, Director Gallery Bergen.
In April 2019, the Student Art Show is going on in the Gallery. This was where students were showing off their end of the semester projects.
Student Show at Gallery Bergen
A former show by Hackensack-based artist Lauren Bettini, whose exhibition “On the Mend” was an exploration of the female body, displaying themes of “Women’s work” through accounts of women who bear scars, both physically and emotionally. This unique installation utilizes the entirely of the gallery, literally tying together embroidery of surgical procedures are “mended” through the appearance of the physical act of sewing. The exhibition is a platform to celebrate the beauty of their altered bodies while women stand strong together to share their stories.
Artist Lauren Bettini
It is an interesting take on what we endure in life and how we sometimes hide it from society.
“On the Mend” Exhibition Summer 2019
The mounted three-dimensional castings of woman’s hands are used to symbolize a movement of women joining together, sharing their stories and helping each other heal. This platform to honor women who have survived medical surgeries, celebrates the beauty of their altered bodies and pays homage to centuries of women who have created are in the form of sewing and embroidering (Gallery Bergen Promotional packet).
The recent ‘NJSeoul: New Art from the Korean Diaspora’ that opened for the Fall of 2019. The show was a combination of paintings, pictures and visual art from five different Korean artists. The show also features video art and interesting short films.
New show from September 12th-October 31st 2019
Some information of the Exhibition on Studio Bergen
The exhibition that opened for the Fall semester 2019 is the ‘(Pro) Found Objects’, the Bergen Community College Faculty Exhibition. The exhibition features works from 19 different Professor/Artists whose work includes statuary, photos, paintings, video art and clothing construction.
This painting is by Professor Juan Leon
This painting is by artist Juan Leon
This painting is by Professor Ada Goldfeld
The opening night on November 14th 2019 featured a performance by the Music Department and a performance by the head of the Drama Department from the upcoming show “I do, I do”. Then everyone had time to look over the art before a light reception at the end of the evening.
Opening in the Spring of 2020, Gallery Bergen is featuring “Ornithology: Patterns of Flight” that features birds in flight, sound and behavior. I saw the exhibition as man’s perception of birds at play and at rest and our concept of aviation in terms to humans. How do we communicate with the natural world, if we can and how do we relate as humans to the natural world.
‘Moche-Bird Runner’ by Susan Haviland
The art was everything from visual to video and showed the artist’s interpretation of the bird world. This was my favorite piece in the show.
‘Ashes to Gold’ by Caroline Bergonzi
Each artist had a unique take on their art.
‘Deep Song’ by Susan Haviland
During the musical performance part of the opening, one of the artist’s in the exhibition teamed up with another musician and performed their concept of birds in flight. To that our Dance Department created a performance that encompassed the whole gallery.
Our Adjunct Dance Professor’s performed that night
Professor Justin Watrel at Gallery Bergen Opening
Here I am admiring the art that night. It was a wonderful exhibition. The Gallery Openings are an interesting night of art and music. The receptions are not bad either. Our Culinary Department does a nice job with appetizers and desserts.
This time lapse on YouTube is from the opening night of ‘Patterns of Flight’ at Bergen Community College
With the Gallery Bergen closed with campus being closed, Curator Tim Blunk created this YouTube video “20Big20: Quarantine and Protest” on the pandemic and racial strife:
Another exhibition that the College has is BCCAnimation:
In the era of COVID, Gallery Bergen has created new exhibitions via YouTube. This is for the new “Black Lives Matter @BCC: Photographs from the Live Protest”:
These are photos from all over the country during the Summer of 2020 protests.
Gallery Bergen recently hosted the Student Exhibition 2021 virtually:
The creative approach to Gallery Bergen in the era of COVID keeps us active.
When Gallery Bergen reopened in 2021, the first big exhibition was “The Ramapough Nation: Excavating Identity”, the art of the nation.
The exhibition featured works by local Native American artists.
The exhibition contained visual arts by local indigenous artists, panel discussions (see Facebook page) and gallery talks.
The new exhibition that recently opened in the Fall 2021 is “Zoom Out: Works from Bergen Community College Artists”, a faculty show of works from the professors from the art department.
“Zoom Out” exhibition
Works from the Opening Night:
The opening night of “Zoom Out” with works in the visual arts
The “Zoom Out” exhibition was a selection of faculty works in the visual arts, painting, graphics and sculpture. One professor created an interesting piece of video art reworking the movie “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock.
The video creation on the movie “Psycho”
New Works from “Zoom Out”
Work by curator and Professor Tim Blunk
In the Spring of 2022, Gallery Bergen has exhibited “Art in History: the photographers of the Great Depression”, with photos from the Depression era of the 1930’s. It was a heart-breaking display of a very dark time in our country’s history. I could see that many people don’t realize that this was only 80 years ago. It gave a view into the lives ordinary people whose lives were affected by the falling economy. Lives were upended by things like the Stock Market Crash and the Dust Bowl.
“Art in History: the photographers of the Great Depression” exhibition
The photographers were part of the WPA where people from the arts part of the government program were to keep artisans working during the Great Depression. The works are a heartbreaking reminder of how fast life can change.
I was lucky that I got to sit in on Professor Tim Blunk’s class that afternoon for the lecture on the exhibition. It is scary how much these students didn’t learn in high school about this time. What amazed me was that how much this is still going on not just all over the world but in our own state as well. I have travelled to parts of the New Jersey that remind me of these pictures.
The BCC Student Art Show 2022 was the first time in two years the students got to showcase their work in the Gallery
Asian Awareness Month in 2022 brought interesting speakers and engaging movies to Gallery Bergen.
The lectures and independent films were very interesting and brought wonderful conversations to Gallery Bergen during the celebrated month of April.
In June of 2022, I attended the opening of the “Reflection/Refraction/Manhattan: Photographs by Jin Hong Kim” exhibition at Gallery Bergen, celebrating this local Korean-American photographer/artist. Each of the works was from a section of Manhattan from the Hudson Yards to Midtown to Lower Manhattan giving a almost surrealist look at the City in the Post-COVID era. It was as if the artist asked us to look at Manhattan again from a different lense or perspective.
The new exhibition by local photographer Jinhong Kim
Each of the pictures looked as one patron said, “like something that Salvador Dali might do.” It gave buildings in Manhattan movement and asked us to look at them a second time.
The Exhibition “Pulse: Resonating Earth” by artist Poramit Thantapalit is very engaging and fascinating to walk through.
From the Gallery Bergen Website:
During the fall of 2022, Gallery Bergen will be transformed into an aquatic installation by Thai artist Poramit Thantapalit. His medium is trash – as in found plastic bottles, plastic bags, and other refuse that might have as easily found its way into the Hackensack River, a landfill, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Instead, Poramit breathes life into these materials, shaping luminous organic sculptures that undulate and pulse from the ceiling and wall. They make the viewer forget their origins in their newly aggregated forms.
There is a genre referred to as eco-art, or “trash art,” but this is something very different. “Jackson Pollock painted with house paint, but he wasn’t a house painter,” says Gallery Bergen director and curator Tim Blunk. “Poramit’s deft artistic hand and his understanding of transforming quantity into quality creates work that transcends its materials.” PULSE: Resonating Earth will be embellished with several performance events, including the scheduled opening gala on September 22 and its closing on December 8. Both will include dance performance pieces by BCC faculty member Lynn Needle and her Art of Motion Dance Theatre and Steinway pianist Carolyn Enger. The opening will include excerpts from Needle’s work, The Poseidon Project – An Aquatic Myth – a suite with live music and dance, including narrated choreographed sections, each connecting to aquatic myth, legend, and nature.
Pictures from the Exhibition:
Story from the exhibition on Land Acknowledgement.
All the art displays of Poramit Thantapalit’s work in Gallery Bergen
The colorful interactive art of Gallery Bergen in 2022 of artist Poramit Thantapalit
I recently visited the Easton Tower on a beautiful sunny day and it really is a treat to see. It is located on the Saddle River Bike Path, so you can access it from the other side of the park and park on that side of the road for easy access. After seeing the tower, take a walk up and down the Saddle River Bike Path. It is really beautiful to follow the river on a nice day. It is really picturesque and a wonderful place to take pictures and enjoy nature.
This information is provided by the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs:
The Easton Tower is a unique historic site in Bergen County, NJ. This stone and wood frame structure was built along the Saddle River in 1900 as part of a private landscaped park in the Arcola area Paramus. Surrounded by busy NJ roadways, it is now adjacent to the County’s Saddle River Bikeway.
Once used to pump water to irrigate and provide a scenic setting for the estate of Edward Easton, it is a 20 foot rectangular, stone-masonry tower topped with a wood-frame structure and a wood-shingle, gabled roof. On the side is a large wood water wheel, which is under a wood-shingle roof. The architect Henry Ihnen designed it.
In the 18th century, this area along the Saddle River and near the heavily used Albany Post Road, was the location of many mills. Jacob Zabriskie, a Bergen County Freeholder during the Revolutionary War had leased the 80 acre mill site around 1766 and in 1771 acquired the mill that had been built in the 1740’s. Revolutionary maps identify it as “Demarest’s and Zabriskie’s Mills.” Over time it was rebuilt or expanded and in the early 1800’s painted red by its owner Albert Westerfelt. It is at this time it acquired the “Red Mill” name often mistakenly applied to Easton Tower. By the 1800’s, the mill had fallen into disrepair and was demolished circa 1894.
In 1899, Edward D. Easton (1856-1915), bought this almost 48 acre site, which included the mill pond and dam. The area was called “Arcola”. Easton’s father, a teacher, had originally brought his young family to this area and suggested the name for the new settlement after a town in Italy. Edward Easton was a notable figure in American technological history. He started out as a stenographer, reporter and then a court stenographer In Washington DC, covering many famous trials in the 1880’s. After the 1886 patent was granted for the method of engraving sound by incising wax cylinders, Easton went on to make his fortune in the recording industry. He was a founder and eventually president of the Columbia Phonograph Company, which became one of the three major recording companies at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Easton Tower
After opening an office in New York City, Eaton relocated his family from Washington DC to Arcola. He had a large house built on his property and commissioned the design of a landscaped park. The tower, to be built neat the site of the old Red Mill was a functioning structure pumping water to several fountains. There were also rustic bridges, lakes and expansive lawns. The tower was a favorite of photographers and appears in many contemporary postcards. People came from miles around to this beautiful spot to take boat rides and walks and in the winter, ice skate near the tower. Sources list the Easton home and park as having been used in early silent films.
After Easton’s death in 1915, the property went through various owners. In 1931, construction of the Route 208 connection with Route 4 at “the Old Mill at Arcola” provided access to the recently opened George Washington Bridge. This destroyed sections of the landscaped park and isolated the tower. In 1940, the 1.26 acres site was sold at a sheriff’s sale to Clyde A. Bogert. The County acquired the tower from the Bogerts and the Blauvelt-Demarest Foundation in 1956. In 1967, the Bergen County Park Commission dedicated the tower. Easton Tower was placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places and in 2008 was completely restored by the County. It can be viewed from the Saddle River Bikeway and visited year round.
Disclaimer: This information is taken from the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs (C) 2015 pamphlet. The Bergen County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
Special Note: I visited the site recently and it is hard to get to by car. It is located right off Saddle River Road and it is off on a odd bend in the road. It is a quick turn to the right so pay attention to the directions.
Open: Sunday-Saturday-10:00am-4:30pm/Please check the website during the off seasons
Fee: Bergen County Resident: $4.00 Adults/$2.00 Child/$1.00 Seniors/Child under 3 Free/Non-Bergen County Resident $8.00 Adult/$5.00 Child/$2.00 Seniors-Disabled/Children under 3 and Active Military free
The Bergen County Zoo has been enjoyed by thousands of people over the years and has many fans. Every season, hundreds of families walk through the doors of the zoo to enjoy the afternoon out, visit the animals and ride the train around the park. What started as a duck pond and reserve in Van Saun Park in the 1960’s has morphed over time to the current zoo.
The 1980’s saw a tremendous change in the animal collection. The first birth of an endangered species in our zoo’s history occurred in 1982 with the birth of a Brown Lemur. Numerous species, many endangered were added including Ocelots, Red Brocket Deer, Mountain Lions and Snowy Owls among others. Births of Ocelots, Brocket Deer and Spider Monkeys occurred throughout the second half of the 80’s .
The Zoo Map
As the zoo moved through the 1990’s, many changes continued to occur. The zoo’s commitment to wildlife conservation strengthened and more endangered species were added to the collection including Andean Condors, Golden Lion Tamarins, Goeldi’s Monkeys and Galapagos Tortoises.
The Train that goes around the zoo
Additional areas were renovated, providing exciting opportunities for our visitors to view and learn about many new species. Major projects completed in the 1990’s area as follows:
Mountain Lion Exhibit (completed 4/90)
North American Plains Exhibit (completed 10/92)
Master Plan (completed 06/93)
Bergen Dutch Farmyard (completed 10/94)
South American Exhibit Areas (completed 10/96)
Zoo Entry Complex (completed 08/99)
Efforts to secure alternative funding sources became fruitful in the 1990’s with over $200,000 in federal grants received. In addition, local businesses and corporations increased their support of various zoo activities through cash and in-kind contributions.
Additionally a new entry complex was developed including new ticketing facilities, a new train station, gift shop and entry plaza. New and exciting special events were also developed including Holiday Lights and Zoo Boo, the most heavily attended event in zoo history. Educational programming was significantly re-developed, providing opportunities for our area residents to explore the zoo and learn about wildlife in new and innovative ways.
Another significant milestone for the zoo was the development of a comprehensive master plan. This planning tool was created to identify the future needs of the zoo and its visitors as well as provide an organized and orderly schedule of development.
As the 21st Century began, zoo development continued to advance. Several major projects were undertaken including a new state-of-art Animal Care Center, an Outdoor Demonstration Area for public programming and an Education/Discovery Center. All of these projects enhance the experience of our visitors, while furthering the zoo’s mission of wildlife conservation and public education.
Additionally, the zoo took a major step in support of conservation by establishing an annual field conservation grant program. The program provides financial support to researchers conducting field work in North and South America. Also, the zoo’s original master plan was formally revisited and determined to be no longer effective. As a result, a new plan was developed to assist the zoo in its development strategies over the next 20 years.
In 2007, we moved forward with a Coati exhibition replicating an abandoned adobe. To address the needs of our keepers, we built a holding facility in 2008 for our alligators at their exhibit, therefore eliminating annual roundup of alligators. With the decline in the economy, the zoo has directly been affected. Funds for construction of new exhibits have been put on hold and fixing existing structures is taking priority. A new Neotropical songbird exhibit opened in 2009, adding new birds to our collection. A larger guanaco exhibit was built at the far end of the zoo utilizing empty pasture space in 2010. In 2011, we had some dramatic effects caused by severe weather and significant personal changes, including the resignation of our zoo director of over 30 years, a change in the board of the Friends of the Bergen County Zoo Inc. and a new director of parks. So we start another chapter in our history.
In the last five years, the zoo has had many changes. New Tamarin exhibit was constructed in 2013, two buildings constructed to replace the single outdated structure. Replacement of one of our bridges in the zoo, a wood bridge was replaced with a wider concrete bridge with decorative railings and new light posts. The removal of our seasonal outdoor exhibit support structure in 2015 so we can prepare for an interactive barn which will be open all year round by the end of 2017. In 2015, one of the best features we added was the new overflow parking lot. This lot will vastly improve our visitors parking experience as it replaces our old overflow parking, which was a muddy field with many walking hazards.
Also, 2015 was milestone year marking 25 years as an Accredited Institution of the AZA, for a small zoo this is truly an accomplishment. In light of this, in 2016 a new Master Plan was developed with Jones & Jones and new county administration so we have a new direction for future projects. This plan includes the construction of a new prairie dog exhibit and bison & elk viewing area (to open in the spring of 2017). This will provide more opportunities for schools and our education department to conduct classes related to our exhibits of eagles, prairie dogs and the bison & elk.
(This annotated history of the Bergen County Zoo was provided by the staff of the zoo).
The Bergen County Zoo is an accredited member of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Beginning with November 1st, the Bergen County Zoo will be free of admission. The weather during the late fall and winter months does not allow for the majority of the animal collection to be view able to the public (see the above Animal Collection link for further details). Admission to the zoo will resume in May of 2017-forms of payment are cash and credit only. The admission fee schedule is listed below. Please note that in order to receive BC Resident rates, proof of residency is required at the admission ticket window.
In July and August, live animal shows are held daily in our outdoor amphitheater, which is located behind the Tamarin Exhibit. Shows are free with zoo admission and seating is first-come, first-served. Daily shows with time frames can be seen as you enter the zoo.
Cost: $1.50 (cash only)
The train and carousel operate from mid-April to mid-November (approximately). Hours are typically from 10:00am-5:00pm unless otherwise specified (weather permitted) with the last ticket being sold at 4:30pm and the last ride at 4:45pm.
Schedule for the train and the carousel, for the week of June 11th-June 17th are as follows:
Train: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Carousel: Sunday, Tuesday (opens at 1:00pm), Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Pony Ride concession operates from April through October. Currently, the vendor is Ironside Farms, they can be reached at (201) 835-0932.
Disclaimer: this information was directly from the Bergen County Parks Site and can change at any time. Please call the zoo for more information.