Across the Hudson River from Manhattan sits Jersey City. The “sixth borough” of New York is adorned with waterfront high-rises and office buildings guarded by none other than Lady Liberty herself. She’s no giant fighting robot (yet), but she’s at least the closest thing to it. Located between the Hudson and New York’s Upper Bay, Jersey City began as a docking town. Slowly, but surely it has become a new must-move spot in the New York Metro area, as tons of Manhattanites have migrated here for that big city vibe minus the big city price tag.
Frank Sinatra may have sung about several other famous cities, but he was born and bred in New Jersey, and that’s good enough. So if the bright lights are calling your name, we recommend you answer.
As the self-proclaimed “tapestry of nations,” the neighborhoods in Jersey City are definitely diverse. Within a few minutes, you can pick up some matzo ball soup from a Jewish deli, a plate of excellent chicken tikka masala, Puerto Rican plantains, and everything in between. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life around here, so come hungry.
Keep in mind the prices here are in terms of cost of living in NYC/NJ terms. A lower cost neighborhood could mean that rent begins at $900, which is fairly inexpensive, relative to the surrounding areas. The friendliest and most residential areas are listed below.
Downtown: Bursting with townhomes, brownstones and luxury condos, Downtown is anything but inexpensive. Then again, an apartment complete with doormen doesn’t really come across as such, does it? With studios sometimes costing around $1,700, one should be sure they have a fair bit of job security before perusing the area. The most popular spots include Grove St., Van Vorst Park, Hamilton Park and Paulus Hook, and, despite the transformation from warehouses and rail yards to modern looking buildings, the area has managed to retain its historic feel. The Powerhouse Arts District, a warehouse-dominated area that lends itself to art and loft/condo living, has become a popular move-location for those who want to be in the thick of things. While downtown appeals to the hipsters, cool kids and single folk (assuming you are ready to mingle as well), it’s also home to small families who delight in the availability of parks and outdoor space.
Hudson Waterfront: Stand at the edge of the Hudson waterfront and look across towards the skyline of Jersey’s lovable insomniac neighbor, Manhattan. Overlapping with the Downtown area, the Hudson Waterfront is a desirable area for those who want access to newer apartments and studios, as well as luxury high-rises. In Newport, which is close to the Exchange Place (or Financial District) for all you business types, new residential condos, towers and waterfront offices have been erected. It’s where you’ll find a mall (isn’t New Jersey the birthplace of shopping malls, after all?) along with several waterfront restaurants and hotels. Feeling artsy? WALDO (Work and Live Overlay District), an eight-block area consisting of artist work/live space made up of studios and apartments, is also found here. The artists who live and work in the area consider WALDO to be a sort of private area; but this doesn’t mean non-residents can’t come appreciate the pieces created by its residents. 2 bedrooms are around $2400.
Journal Square: With its own stop on the PATH (“Port Authority Trans-Hudson” for all you newbies) and a current redevelopment plan in the works, Journal Square is Jersey City life on the inexpensive side. The perfect blend of office buildings and mixed-use buildings (shopping/living) gives Journal Square a comfortable feel despite its addresses. This is a good area for young couples just starting out and those who have come to the great Garden State for a bit of higher education, as this part of town sits beside a Hudson County Community College campus. Keep in mind that Journal Square doesn’t have the same nightlife scene as Downtown and the Waterfront, so if you’re coming to party, you should probably factor the commute time into your game plan.
The Heights: Outdoor lovers, families and those looking for a little greenery (What else would you expect from the “Garden State”?) should head to The Heights. The further east you rent (think towards Hoboken), the more convenient transportation gets. Better yet, sweet views of Hoboken and NYC are pretty common around here. The Heights is much more residential than many of the other options, due to its abundance of townhomes, so you’ll find small families and young professionals. If you are in the market for apartment living, the area of Palisade Ave. is chock-full of happening spots. Areas like Pershing Field offer year-round outdoor activities including an Olympic-sized pool that turns into an ice skating rink in the wintertime. Talk about nifty!
Getting around this area of Jersey can be done in just about every way (except for teleportation… yet). Walkers, bus riders, motorists and ferry lovers alike coexist here. Work in the New York City? Simply motor your way through the underwater Holland Tunnel through the Hudson River (one place no one should go without the protection of a car, or at least a wet suit). Have to head out to other parts of Jersey? Take the NJ Turnpike (aka I-78) or other highways (139 & 140) to navigate through the tri-state area. With the 2nd highest percentage of public transit users, Jersey City is also home to a couple of rail systems including the Hudson-Bergen and the PATH train. Finally, just as with any great Northeastern city, there is plenty of walking room.
Have some downtime from work? Good news! There’s a ton to do in this fair city. Whether it’s a short boat ride to Ellis Island, a day of ice skating in Pershing Park or a night out in the arts district, Jersey City is anything but boring.
If business is on your brain, you have come to the right place. Jersey City has one of the largest banking centers and is, in fact, called “Wall Street West” – complete with an abundance of food trucks and Gordon Gekko look-alikes cloaked in power suits.
The art scene here is exploding and local studios, cafés, galleries and museums are showcasing the best of what the local artists have to offer. Both appreciators and creators tend to agree that this city is nothing short of an artist’s dreamland.
As New Jersey’s second largest city, Jersey City offers residents nightlife, attractions and a cool, laid-back culture situated in a diverse area. Did we also mention the ever-growing NYC skyline behind it? Because it’s awesome, in case you haven’t heard. Come see what’s waiting for you on the other side of the Hudson (love of teased hair and Bruce Springsteen songs accepted but not required)!
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