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Re: McGinley Square Revitalization - Will anything ever happen?
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That McGinley Square is gentrifying seems incredibly obvious to me, even if the clearest, hit you over the head frills of revitalization are not yet here.

I've lived in this neighborhood for five years and the reason I moved here is the same as the reason half my neighbors moved here. We were looking for a place to buy that was reasonably safe, reasonably convenient in terms of transport to our mid-level NYC jobs, and in a price range that's actually affordable for your average yuppie who has finally tired of paying rent. More and more and more yuppies will come, until it is no longer affordable. They will not come for a Trader Joes, though that would be nice. They will not come for the big towers and cookie cutter condos at JSQ, which I personally hope never come, those kinds of neighborhoods always strike me as soulless and ultimately flimsy in terms of long term value. They will come for what is already here. Yuppie businesses serving this community will, toward the END of this process, finally be able to sustain themselves, and presto chango. At that point the area is obviously revitalized, visible even to those people with only passing familiarity with the neighborhood, replete with all the bells and whistles and frills of gentrification, for those who like that sort of thing.

Is it happening quickly? Lord no. It seems to be happening glacially. But more important than the speed of the change (unless you are an investor just looking to flip stuff) is that it is happening inexorably. Better government management might speed things up, but it's not really necessary in the long run because the fundamentals - convenient access to NYC, reasonable safety, affordability - are here.

How quickly will it happen? I think anyone who says they can tell you that has an over-inflated ego or is full of hot air - the most brilliant economic minds in the world have trouble predicting the world's economy and markets, or New York's, or Jersey City's - though plenty of them will do their best to make you think they can predict the future, just like a few of your JCListers. What is self-evident to the people reading this list who live in the McGinley area, however, is that young professionals are moving here from NYC because they've been priced out of every other comparable neighborhood, and they're going to keep coming. This is literally self evident because I scoured every neighborhood on the subway lines within an hour of Manhattan for a year before eventually buying an apartment that I saw on the first day I visited my affordable, my convenient transport into NYC, my good space and quality for the money, my reasonably safe, my oh-thank-you-lord McGinley Square.

I honestly think the reason it is affordable despite these amazing amenities is that NYCers are scared to cross the Hudson River. I don't know why. Maybe they haven't discovered the PATH and think they would have to canoe. Maybe they were scarred early in life by bon jovi, or malls. Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled. I'd like to present the Hudson River with a thank you card. I've been successively priced out of the Upper West Side (110th and broadway and then amsterdam ave and 120th, pretty darn grimy when I was living there - now all starbucks and banana republics, which is worse than grimy in my view), Park Slope (lincoln place between 7th and 8th. gorgeous neighborhood, amazing park, lots of nightlife options, bike into nyc . . . would still live there if I was a millionaire!), and Prospect Park (trendy now but seven years ago it was sketch city. All of the bodegas around the corner had these bullet proof windows installed in their doors. They closed the shop after dark and you had to pass your money through the glass if you wanted to buy anything, the selection being bad candy, bad cigarettes and bad beer. The local little St. Peter's shops are dean and deluca in comparison.)

The difference of opinion about whether McGinley is a 'nice' neighborhood or not is really just that - a difference of opinion. The citing of facts on every side has been very interesting but if your opinion of a place is already set, facts on either side of the argument don't really matter - they don't address what you personally need to be fact in order for a place to meet your personal definition of nice. For me and for the rest of the desperate yuppie hoards, which along with booming economies tend to drive the more commercial aspects of gentrifying neighborhoods, nice is affordability, reasonable safety, and convenience, and McGinley has those three things.

All that said, I do hope that whatever happens with Montgomery Gardens makes that area safer in the not too distant future. I don't give a fruit fly's behind about big ugly towers going into Journal Square or even the shiny new student center at St. Peter's College. But Montgomery Gardens/Montgomery Ave isn't an area that I feel comfortable walking by after dark, as a woman on my own, and personally I think that being able to walk to downtown jersey and the water at any time of day would be a practical bonus for the neighborhood. Well, fingers crossed on that one - I'm sure it will happen eventually.

Posted on: 2013/3/9 6:17
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