It’s a no-go in Trenton.
Last week, officials in the Capital City announced that a popular banner summer event–First Fridays 2023, is canceled due to a recent increase in violent crimes–homicides–in the capital city this month.
It’s been a deadly year so far in Trenton as the city recorded its 16th homicide of the year on Thursday morning—the fifth murder this month–with nearly a whole week remaining in June. The spike in violence has prompted city officials, including Mayor Reed Gusciora to call for the suspension of a popular summer tradition in Trenton-First Fridays. Safety and security issues at other popular and pending events, including Cigar Sunday and Art All Night, are also being reviewed and may be canceled or postponed.
According to some Trentonians, sizzling summer events have been a welcomed tradition in the city for years. Among other things, community-based events like First Fridays revitalize downtown Trenton with eating, drinking, dancing, music, community engagement and networking in the city for hours every first Friday of the month throughout the summer. However, the prospect of fun and dancing in the streets has turned to fear and staying at home, as Trenton is on track to pass the 23 homicides in 2022.
“It’s sad when a few knuckleheads ruin a great community event,” said Maurice Hallett, owner of 1911 Smokehouse Barbecue. Hallett added that his company and the African American Cultural Collaboration of Mercer County (TAACF) have picked up the tab for the First Fridays festivities for the past seven years. “Because of a few knuckleheads–my Dj misses out on several paid gigs, my employees miss out on some of their biggest tipped days of the year, and the city misses out on 4 hours of bonding and stress relief.”
And Michael Ranallo, a former City Council candidate and administrator of the popular website Trenton Orbit said the recent crime wave and cancellation of popular community events continue to cast an even darker shadow over the city of Trenton. “My town can’t behave itself, so we can’t have anything nice,” Ranallo said. “Businesses and individuals lose revenue and Trenton’s reputation takes another hit. Keep up the bad work Trenton!”
To keep abreast of upcoming events in Trenton, visit Trenton Orbit.