By Ms. Audra Calloway (AMC)March 15, 2013
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Marty Kane is not a man to lounge around.
In addition to a 40-plus hour workweek, he is president of two community organizations, a board member of several others, and plays on multiple intramural sports teams.
And he loves every minute of it.
"You wouldn't do these things if it wasn't fun," Kane said. "I think people who work for the government are very, very good about giving up their time for various organizations, whether it's church or school or fraternal."
As a business manager with the Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems, or PM TAS, Kane is responsible for the financial, contracting and international aspects of the organization. PM TAS is part of the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal.
PM TAS is a joint project management office between the Army and the United States Marine Corps. The office manages all towed howitzers in the Army's inventory, the M777A2 howitzer for the Marine Corps, and two survey systems.
When he's not at work, Kane can often be found researching and relating the story of New Jersey's largest freshwater body, Lake Hopatcong. About 4 square miles in area, the lake is in the state's northern mountains along the border between Sussex and Morris counties.
His interest in history and love of the lake has made him an aficionado on the subject.
Even though Kane was born and raised in New York City, his family owned a home in Lake Hopatcong and visited the region frequently.
"Lake Hopatcong was a great northeast resort," Kane explained. "From the 1880s to the 1930s, it competed with places like Atlantic City and Asbury Park. At its height as a resort, the lake had over 40 hotels, with several over 100 rooms each. During this period it supported two separate amusement parks, each with its own roller coaster and midway of rides and games."
Over the years, the lake hosted many of the rich and famous, including actors, and leaders of industry and commerce. The lake also attracted performers in vaudeville, theatrical entertainment popular in the early 20th century consisting of a number of individual performances, acts, or mixed numbers.
"When I was young I had heard stories of great hotels and steamboats on the lake. Once I settled up here, I visited the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum and found out the lake really did have a most interesting past. I soon became involved (with the museum) and I was hooked."
Kane has since authored four books on Lake Hopatcong, and also co-authored a book and DVD on Bertrand Island, a small peninsula in Lake Hopatcong.
While condominiums were recently built on the island, it housed the Bertrand Island Amusement Park from 1912-1983.
"Bertrand Island was pretty much where every young person went on the lake," Kane remembered. "It was the first place you could go to without your parents and in those years you could drive an outboard boat at 13 years old."
The goal of Kane's books is to introduce the local community to its history.
"It's fun to do talks and events in local schools and have the kids realize that their area really has a history. In the same vein, folks regularly take the "Then & Now" book out in their boats to see just how the lake has changed, or hasn't."
Most of Kane's research for the books came from primary sources, including old newspapers.
"We are very lucky in that The Angler and later the Lake Hopatcong Breeze was published summers, almost uninterrupted at the lake, from 1894 to 1982."
Kane is now president of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, and can be found working at the museum on Sundays.
"We are just completing our second total makeover since I have been involved. The museum has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the state and we are very proud of what we have accomplished there. Our four major programs run by the museum each year, all on Lake Hopatcong's history, regularly sell out at 200 people. It is great to know that so many folks are enjoying the lake's history."
While the museum focuses on the lake's history, Kane wants the community to realize that "there is no reason that the lakes best years are not still ahead of us."
To help ensure that the lake continues to thrive, Kane and other community members founded the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, which focuses on making Lake Hopatcong a better, cleaner, safer place with more things to do.
"We are completely non-political and are trying to team with the four surrounding municipalities, two counties, and the State to help bring volunteers and resources to a host of activities that can benefit the lake. Lake Hopatcong is an amazing resource and hopefully we can help keep it that way."
Kane still visits the lake in a small boat that he bought shortly after starting to work at Picatinny in 1979.
"I interviewed at Picatinny right out of law school and started shortly after passing the bar exam. I was familiar with the area as my parents had come up to Lake Hopatcong during the summers my entire life."
Kane double-majored in political science and history at Queens College, N.Y., and earned a law degree St. John's University, N.Y.
He worked 19 years in Picatinny's legal office, and has spent the past 15 years working as a business manager.
Since the 1980s, he has also been an active member in Picatinny's street hockey and softball teams that are coordinated through Forge Fitness.
A 1972 graduate of Seward Park High School, an inner city school in lower Manhattan, Kane has been a long-time board member of his high school alumni association and is now the organization's president. Seward Park High School was recently converted to five smaller high schools. The former Seward Park High School building was renamed the Seward Park Educational Campus.
"(The alumni association) adopted all five of the schools and work closely with the principals of all five, and we do everything from awarding scholarships to mentoring the kids."
Kane and his fellow alumni also encourage local Manhattanites to partner with the school. One of the co-producers of the TV sitcom "Friends" is a graduate of the school and will soon begin to work with the performing arts school.
"You meet some really great kids that make you feel good about our future," Kane said.