SQUEEHAWKEN, New Jersey. This borough of Bergen County has an identity problem according to Mayor Tony Latanzio. “Ever since I was a little kid,” he says ruefully, “we’ve been in the shadow of Paramus,” an adjacent municipality that skyrocketed to national prominence in the 1960s as a result of “Make That Spare,” a televised bowling show.
“Forget about New York,” says local Department of Public Works Supervisor Mike Dibasi. “How’d you like to have some mook from Paramus lording it over you just because of some stupid TV show?”
The heartwarming story of a boy and his bowling ball.
But this year officials set out to spruce up their image with a high-minded summer civic project of the sort adopted by other cities, which usually involve a mass reading of a popular classic such as “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “We took a survey and it would have required significant financial incentives to get people to buy into something like that,” says Head Librarian Norma Morton. “We would have had to put the Denver boot on a lot of library fine scofflaws to fund it.”
Paramus natives lording it over visiting Squeehawkenites.
So Squeehawken decided to take a different tack, and leapfrog over their near neighbor to take on the Big Apple. “We’re like a wild-card team,” says Latanzio. “We may not have the best record, but we got a shot at the championship.”
Instead of a reading project, Squeehawken will attempt to stake its claim as “The City That Never Snores,” an in-your-face challenge to New York, The City That Never Sleeps. “Everybody knows that’s a lie, you gotta sleep sometime,” says Dibasi. “And when we sleep, we ain’t gonna snore–period.”
So officials took $60,000 from a snow removal fund that wasn’t touched last winter because of a mild winter and spent it on anti-snoring aids for the 8,452 adult male residents of the town, then embarked upon a national public relations campaign to make Squeehawken a Mecca for sleep-deprived women.
Take that, Paramus!
“We put ads in Marie Claire and US Weekly,” says Latanzio. “Pretty soon, nobody’s crowing about their VHS tapes of Make That Spare no more.”
The results won’t be known until a post-Labor Day survey is completed, but female residents say they’ve already noticed a difference in their energy levels and their outlook on life. “Before, I was always tired,” says Sheila Cesko, whose husband Mike stays up late watching Australian rules football on ESPN 14. “Now, I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to tell him no way are we having sex.”