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Edison’s Amboy Avenue revitalized with new opportunities under ‘The Big Tent’

EDISON – The beautification and improvements on Amboy Avenue in the Clara Barton section of the township have been a long time coming.

Businesses such as Ruby’s Kitchen, Ferraro’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, The Coffee House, Babooshka Hair Salon and medical offices have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into their properties and “it’s tipping the scale” for a number of opportunities, according to Councilman Joseph Coyle, who spoke about the improvements at a Township Council meeting on Oct. 27.

Soon The Ice Cream House, 940 Amboy Ave., will join the downtown offering “an ice cream experience that will transport you to the Jersey Shore,” according to its website.

“It’s a great beginning,” said Coyle, who has been leading the efforts to beautify the area, not only as councilman, but as president of the Edison Chamber of Commerce. “It just shows what happens when we take care of our neighborhood.”

When it comes to a centralized downtown in Edison Township, Amboy Avenue is it, Coyle said, noting Amboy Avenue once was bustling with a pharmacy, a bakery, a hardware store and Stewart’s Root Beer.

Coyle said it has been a 15-year process for the beautification and improvements to Amboy Avenue, which began with the support of former Mayor George Spadoro, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2006, then continued with former Mayor Jun Choi, former Mayor Antonia Ricigliano and now Mayor Thomas Lankey.

“A lot is happening now, but for years we didn’t make a big investment,” he said, noting former Councilman Michael Lombardi started the Beautification Committee for the council and residents voiced what they wanted in the area.

In June, the Edison Chamber of Commence partnered with the nonprofit Edison Community Beautification to launch Mayor Lankey’s summer music series every Wednesday night on the corner of Amboy Avenue and Third Street to provide free entertainment for residents and the public.

Along with the summer music series, the partnership renovated the area of 926 Amboy Ave. – the former Stewart’s Root Beer stand – to create a pop up park with a large commercial tent to host a local artist and artisan vendor market known as “Meet Your Neighbors Monday” and currently they are hosting Edison Harvest Days on Mondays, Fridays and over the weekend under “The Big Tent,” which features food trucks, a beer and wine garden, music and vendors.

The Harvest Days began on Oct. 1 and will run through November. Coyle went on Facebook Live to showcase the happenings of a Harvest Day on Nov. 6-7.

Coyle said all events and displays were sponsored through corporations and the community.

“We had over 80-plus music nights on the block for free to the taxpayers,” he said, in addition The Coffee House showcased 40 differing musician nights.

Coyle said the summer concert series on Amboy Avenue, which ended on Oct. 27, and now Edison Harvest Days, is just the beginning of what the township can offer the community.

The township already hosts a lighting of the Christmas tree and display of holiday lights around the township, which has been going on since Spadoro’s administration. The chamber also hosts an annual free Food, Wine and Beer festival.

As for beautification, Coyle said Edison Department of Public Works Director Ray Poerio takes care of the mums throughout the township and places flowers at all the memorials.

The councilman said he looks forward to working with his council colleagues and the next administration in creating more opportunities in other parts of the community including the section on Oak Tree Road.

“I’ve already spoke to Councilman [Ajay] Patil about Oak Tree Road, which we know is a huge opportunity,” he said, noting people around the country know about Oak Tree Road. The area – known as Little India – features many South Asian shops and restaurants. The district extends into the Iselin section of Woodbridge.

Council Vice President Sam Joshi, who will become mayor in January, applauded Coyle for his efforts at the meeting. He said he has spoken to many residents in the neighborhood and they are particularly happy with what is going on along Amboy Avenue.

For more information visit www.edisonchamber.com.

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