Yet Another Renowned NJ Catering Venue Passes: The Woodcliff Lake Hilton Closes

Yet another North Jersey hotel that rings with decades worth of fond memories is biting the dust -- and raising the anxiety levels for customers forced to find another venue for their weddings, proms, bar mitzvahs and other special events.

Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf

Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf

Photo Credit: derivative work: Blueag9 (talk)Zygi_Wilf_and_Edward_Masso.jpg: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dave Carter (RELEASED), CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hilton Woodcliff Lake is closing within the next two weeks, having been sold at auction to a company headed by a New Jersey-bred billionaire developer.

"I personally have been going to events there since I was a teenager. My own Sweet 16, proms, fundraisers were all held there," New Jersey State Sen. Holly Schepisi said. “I’m sorry to see such a long-time staple of our community shut its doors so abruptly."

Among those who had to move quickly was Mahwah High School's junior class, whose formal had been scheduled at the Hilton in March. They'll be at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern instead.

The Dead Mans Curve Custom Machines Car Club had even worse luck. The group had already moved this year's Wild Weekend 13 late-summer car show to the Hilton after the Sheraton Crossroads in Mahwah suddenly closed down.

"The Woodcliff Lake Hilton has assured us that everyone will be refunded in a timely manner," Dead Mans Curve LLC wrote in a social media post. "If you're not comfortable with waiting, you can contact your credit card company and dispute the payment to the hotel."

Organizers also assured everyone that "Dead Mans Curve IS having a show this year."

The site just hasn't been locked down yet.

Nearly 100 employees at the 338-room Hilton were promised work at other hotels, Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo said.

"It’s a sad day for WCL and our community to see the Hilton close its doors," the mayor told Daily Voice on Tuesday, Feb. 6. "The pandemic and the downturn in the economy made the closure inevitable.

"We hope they the new owners can bring a boutique hotel to continue the tradition that the Hilton is leaving behind," Rendo said.

That would be Minnesota Vikings owner Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf, a 73-year-old Polish immigrant who was raised in Hillside and only just recently sold his mansion in Springfield.

WIlf enters the picture with a reputation tarnished by a $100 million judgment that he, his brother and cousin were ordered to pay in 2013 after an apartment complex deal fell through.

Wilf, who lives in a four-bedroom Park Avenue co-op, is widely reported to have a net worth of $1.3 billion. Yet he's only the 27th-wealthiest owner in the 32-team NFL.

The son of Holocaust survivors, the West Berlin-born Wilf made his fortune as the chairman of Garden Homes, which redevelops and rents out residential and commercial properties.

His father and uncle founded the company in New Jersey, and Zygi -- an attorney by trade who graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with an economics degree and from New York Law School with a J.D. -- took it national.

Garden Homes reportedly has built more than 25,000 homes in 39 states, has more than 25 million square feet of commercial property and counts Lowe's, Walmart and Home Depot among its high-profile clients.

The hope now is that someplace special replaces the renowned

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