We are writing this in the hope that something can be done about the outrageous number of potholes on Highgate Terrace in Bergenfield. Highgate runs between New Bridge Road and Churchill. The portion between New Bridge and Westminster Gate has been totally repaved. It is the portion between Westminster Gate and Churchill that we are concerned about.
Why, in actual fact, do we all need to care about this street? All of you have read stories about “Good Samaritans.” When a person goes out of his way to help someone in a difficult situation he is deemed a Good Samaritan. That is the case of Moshe Skoczylas, who stopped to help someone on the New Jersey Turnpike last year and was involved in a horrific accident. As a result he has been housebound for the past 13 months.
Moshe and his wife Eliza, with their children, have quietly and stoically tried to go on with their lives as best they can, in what have been extremely trying times. Highgate has more potholes and bumps than any other street that we have found in the neighborhood. We had already experienced frustration on this street when we attempted to push our daughter Naama’s wheelchair when she makes her annual Simchat Torah visit, fearing that she will fall out of the chair. This, however, is for only a few days, and we deal with it as best we can.
Quite astoundingly, the Skoczylas’ have broken five wheelchairs in trying to maneuver their street. As if all that they have lived through has not been enough, they have this added burden to reckon with. In their garage, they will soon have a warehouse of broken wheelchairs.
Neighbors have experienced flat tires, and people who have difficulty walking, including Mordechai, who is waiting for a new knee, is constantly afraid of falling at any second.
It is not as though the Borough of Bergenfield has not been notified of the special circumstances of this street. Letters have been sent, Dr. Scott Chudnoff represented the entire block at a Bergenfield Town Council meeting, and pleaded for an improvement to the street. Every once in awhile, little patches of black tar are poured on minor spots, only to disintegrate within a few weeks. It is time for the city, who claims that they have no money for this project, to realize the urgency of why this needs to be done. Step forward and get to it!
Any one of us could be stuck in the house, unable to go out, because of the apathy of a group of people who have not seen fit to rectify this situation. Perhaps it is time for those of us who live in Bergenfield to withhold our taxes until Highgate is paved. What would happen if we all sent letters to Mayor Norman Schmelz, with a cc to Governor Chris Christie, expressing our frustration, especially due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Skoczylas family. Do we need to call in Cory Booker—do we need to contact other local media organizations? Let’s do it together. We as a community are known for reaching out to each other for help. This seems to have everyone’s hands tied.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick