Union closes Stuyvesant Ave. to cars to rekindle business

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UNION, NJ — The Union Special Improvement District is finally showing signs of life again.

Most of the businesses on Stuyvesant Avenue were forced to close their doors when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing those that could to go virtual and restaurants to pivot to curbside and takeout options only. But now that outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed, the SID is shutting down sections of the main street in Union to coax residents out of their quarantine.

“We want to get people reacclimated to the town,” SID Director and Director of Economic Development Fatimah Raymond said in an interview with LocalSource on June 20. “It really helps us reconnect the community.”

Stuyvesant Avenue was closed to traffic daily from June 18 through June 20 to allow residents to walk around the street, sample food from the bakeries and restaurants, and be social again. Jowell Domingo from Crow and the Coconut Yoga taught a yoga class in the street, and Princess Gibbs led a Zumba class a couple of blocks away.

“As things progress and we know what we can and can’t do, we’ll figure it out,” Raymond said. “But right now we’re focusing on calm and wellness. We want people to know it’s accessible. It’s a very walkable town, and the people are great. We can’t go inside these places, so we’re bringing it out to the people.”

Outdoor seating and fitness classes will return to Stuyvesant Avenue from June 25 through June 27 as well, and there will be entertainment at Columbus Park on June 25 from 3 to 8 p.m. More information can be found at www.uniontownship.com/967/center-reopening.

Photos by Amanda Valentovic