Jersey City, New Jersey
2007: A Happening City
By Mihai Pruna
Right across the Hudson from downtown Manhattan lies Jersey City, the second largest city in
the state of New Jersey, after Newark. Long ago it was an industrial and transportation hub,
but as ship and train bowed to airplane and automobile, Jersey City lost its significance. Poor
and neglected, it wallowed under corrupt administrations until fairly recently. As property prices
and rents in Manhattan skyrocketed, tenants and business started moving to more affordable
urban locations that still allowed easy access to the city. This demand spurred urban renewal
projects on the western shore of the Hudson, which became known as the 'Gold Coast'.
Jersey City is well placed to become New York's 'sixth borough'. It is connected to Manhattan
by the PATH Train, a service very similar in functionality to a New York subway line. The
downtown district, on the East side of Jersey City, is especially well served by the PATH, with
three stops: Grove Street, Exchange Place and Pavonia / Newport. Further west lies the
transportation hub at Journal Square. The newly expanded Light Rail also runs through
downtown Jersey City on a North-South course following the river. Access to Manhattan is an
important gentrification criteria for Jersey City, as most newcomers are New York transplants
on a budget who still have jobs and a social circle across the Hudson.
The Waterfront and Historic District
The process of urban renewal started by the river. Companies originally based in Manhattan
have already opened offices in shiny new buildings that are quickly building a skyline for
Manhattanites to enjoy from the other side of the Hudson. Prominent among these is the
Goldman Sachs Tower
The waterfront is home to numerous financial institutions and is a logical extension of the
World Financial Center in Manhattan. Ferries and the Exchange Place PATH Train Station
connect Jersey City's financial district to New York. In addition, the waterfront has added mixed
use neighborhoods that place together businesses and residential areas. The Newport
Community is a prime example. It is served by the PATH Train Pavonia / Newport Station.
The Powerhouse Art District is another example of planned gentrification. By the majestic
structure of the old Jersey City Powerhouse a neighborhood dedicated to arts and
entertainment is being brought to life in the Historic Warehouse District. Also known as the
Work and Live District Overlay, the most notable provision of this urban renewal project is that
at least half of the newly created residences must go to artists.
Jersey City Waterfront around Exchange Place. The neighborhood teems with office buildings. One can get around via either PATH
Grove Street and Journal Square
To the west of the waterfront, the gentrification of downtown Jersey City proceeds in a more
natural, unplanned manner. The Grove Street area sees new high rise buildings being erected
while the old brownstones get restored. The neighborhood is often compared to downtown
Manhattan before gentrification, and many see it to be the next SoHo. It is well connected to the
other SoHo by the PATH Train through the Grove Street Station.
Even further west, another area that is seeing an incipient stage of gentrification is Journal
Square. Traditionally an immigrant neighborhood, more and more professionals with jobs in
Manhattan have been moving here because of affordable rents and easy access to New York
City via the Journal Square PATH Station. The neighborhood does not yield many visible signs
of gentrification at this time, but development is definitely on the drawing board. There is also
talk of adding a new PATH station, relatively close to Journal Square, which would improve the
gentrification prospects of Western Jersey City.
Grove Street Neighborhood around the PATH station. Gentrification is seen in the new residential towers and olde
Journal Square. The neighborhood's vibrant commercial center is easily accessible via the PATH hub. This area is ripe f