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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Chama, welcome to JC! I've lived here since '98 and I LOVE it. I even talked my husband into moving here from the L.E.S. when we got married, and now he loves it too.

Pros:
1) The "B & R"s (born and raised in J.C.) People who've lived here forever really love their town, and it's infectious. Really make an effort to get to know your neighbors. Their stories about crazy "Boss" Hague, the Stanley Theater, and all kinds of local legends are priceless.

2) Actually being able to say "hi" to people when you walk down the street (and having them say "hi" back!)

3) True diversity--not just "pockets" of one ethinicity or another. I used to teach at St. Mary's on 3rd Street, which represented over 40 different countries. Racial tension was nonexistent--which, coming from Philly, I was happily surprised by.

4) Some "suburban" perks--like the mall, Target, actual grocery stores, etc. For your creature comforts.

5) A burgeoning arts scene. I've been to some art shows at Victory Hall (on Grand Street), and I'm involved with the Attic Ensemble (great little theater company on Wayne Street). Local artists' work grace the walls of numerous restaurants (White Star, Baker Boys, etc.) My landlords are also both artists (who wisely bought a few houses years ago when they were dirt cheap!) There are some incredibly gifted people in this area--without the pretention of some NYC artists.

6) Having my NYC friends over for barbecues in our huge backyard!

Cons:
1) While gentrification benefits some, it hurts others. It's an interesting time to be in J.C.--although I love cute coffee shops as much as the next person, I worry about the bodega owners who've been here long before most of us.

2) People who move here thinking it's the next Williamsburg, and then whine about the crime, parking, blah blah blah...it's a CITY, folks. If you want Montclair, it's just a few miles away.

3) If you're by Hamilton Park (like me), there's no super-quick way to get to the PATH. The mini-buses just seem to run up and down Newark. So put on your sneakers and schlep to Grove or Pavonia!

Posted on: 2006/5/1 20:41
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Chama, we moved here a little over five years ago from the Upper West Side to the HP area. It takes a little while getting used to but eventually I think you'll enjoy it. The quiet is pretty amazing. I used to have a white noise machine I'd place on our bedroom window sill to partially block out street noise--no need for that here. I still get slightly amazed when I take the hound out for her evening pee 9:30 - 10 and there's *no one* out on the street. Very nice. Between that and the amount of living space we'd never have been able to afford in Manhattan, it ain't half-bad.

Posted on: 2006/5/1 13:41
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Thanks to all for the valuable information you have provided!. This is really great and certainly look forward to joining the community as a resident very soon. All the comments and tips have been very valuable. We'll check the Harsimus Cove & Embankment walking tour this Saturday for sure!

Mouse, MoparLarry, I appreciate your comments about having/using a car in JC. It's a good thing to know that a car is optional in downtown JC. We'll have a garage in our new place in JC, so we may get a car at some point (more for weekend trips/errands). Need to start thinking about a fuel efficient or hybrid car with the gas price trend...

Cheers! -- Chama

Posted on: 2006/5/1 11:46
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Chama, You may want to check out the Harsimus Cove & Embankment walking tour this Saturday, May 6, 11 am - 1 pm. It meets at the Grove Street PATH station at 11 and is guided by Pat Guida of the (NYC) Municipal Art Society. Yes, NYC organizations do tours in JC, usually co-sponsored by the JC Landmarks Conservancy as this tour is. The cost is $15. You'll find the complete listing of Jersey City's Preservation Month tours and events on <http://www.jerseycityhistory.net/PM2006-SCHEDULE.html>. I hope you enjoy historic downtown Jersey City discovered by Henry Hudson on September 12, 1609 (the same day he discovered New Amsterdam aka Manhattan, but our story is that he dropped anchor in a cove in Jersey City).

Posted on: 2006/5/1 1:49
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Regarding healthcare:

I just use doctors in new york for all the routine stuff.

Regarding a car:

I have a car, and use it infrequently. But, I really like having it. It is an old toyota -- good on gas and has thus far proved unpopular with the thieves ( keeping fingers crossed).

Very handy for: trips to home depot, the movie theatre in edgewater, weekends, etc. Maniac that I am, I also drive it into the city on weekends/nights.

Regarding shuttle to PATH:

Really no good answer here. The mini-buses run on their own schedule. Maybe (big maybe) you can find a taxi service for the bad weather days. But, I predict it you will walk 90% of the time.

Bars: They have just gone "smokeless" (YAY!). But, IMHO, they still close too early. NY still better on that count.

Locksmith: I use the guy on Grove Street.

Overall, it is just great being so close to the city. Some people come to JC and hate it, but many stay and develop roots.

Posted on: 2006/5/1 1:07
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Welcome (soon) to JC. I've lived here for 6 years, have never owned a car, work in Manhattan and live in Paulus Hook. So those are a few things that influence my point of view. As to the pros and cons:

Cons:
1) Obviously you can't walk to work or in general walk to everything you want to do (first you have to take the PATH).
2) As someone else mentioned, Uncle Joes closed a while ago and it was the only interesting (to me of course, but many would agree) music venue in JC. Like work, you'll have to take the PATH to whatever you like culturally, which is no big deal for an event but it's hard to make such a place your regular hangout.
3) Crime is a big issue for many but to me it's a bit like Brooklyn and probably better. JC is big in terms of land mass and, like everywhere, crime is concentrated in certain areas.
4) JC politics and governance have a deservedly bad reputation. Nevertheless, as a smaller city there probably is more opportunity to change things than in NYC. Still, I wouldn't get my hopes up (nor would I in NYC).

Pros:
1) Just about everything here is less expensive. Primarily housing, of course, but also everything you open your wallet for here will probably cost less. There are real grocery stores, Target, sales taxes are way lower, etc.
2) I really love the residential nature of my neighborhood and Hamilton Park is probably almost as good. There are no tourists all around and if you make an effort you will get to know your neighbors.
3) You will not have to pay the NYC income tax and will get to keep about another 4% of your income. This is huge over time.
4) It's really quiet unless you are on a big street. It always amazes me just how loud NYC is when I open my window at work. What I hear in JC is: birds, the occassional passing car, the wind, and the occassional siren in the distance.
5) JC is more diverse than Manhattan yet people mostly just get along with each other. Obviously this is subjective but I definately feel people are cooler here with people unlike themselves.
6) The PATH is so much better than the subway. This alone would make JC preferrable to the outer boroughs.
7) I feel the JC is in general more free than NYC. The lack of coops being the dominant means of ownership is a good example of this. For whatever reason people are less invested in each telling others what to do via private or government means.

Quote:

Chama wrote:
Greetings to all fellow forum members!

I've been reading a lot of the postings in jclist.com for the past few weeks and decided to join the forum. We will hopefully become official residents on downtown Jersey City in June (we are purchasing a condo 3 blocks away from Hamilton Park, can't wait to move!!). [snip]

As a 'soon-to-be-resident' to the area I wanted to get a feel for what things you like the most about downtown Jersey City, and what things you like the least. What excites you about this place? What worries you? Just to get you started, we presently live in midtown Manhattan, in an area that is not really residential. It is very convenient to get to work (we walk everywhere pretty much) and get to see all kinds all people, any time of the day or night. However, the noise on the streets (like garbage and demolition trucks during the day and late night) is simply unbearable! The taxes are killing us, and forget about thinking of buying a condo here (and I can't stand the co-op philosophy on residential buildings). The city is just too busy and too noisy for us. We are longing for a more residential, quieter, charming place to live, where we can find a sense of community and stability... and, of course, with a convenient commute to NYC.

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts, and any advice on how to prepare for our new 'home' city will be greatly welcome. Thanks so much in advance!!

Posted on: 2006/5/1 0:29
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Special thanks to MoparLarry and xstitch for your comments, very useful information indeed. Our new place is about 10 minutes walk from the Grove St. PATH, and yes, we’ve walked by Newark Ave. few times and noticed some of the stores & restaurants in the downtown JC area. We have also discovered some cute stores (like Gourmet Organic) and cafes (Isabella's) near HP area.

Based on your comments, I had few more questions to the readers:
- Where could I get more information about the mini-buses that take you to the PATH stations? This will be very handy on very rainy or snowy days.
- What kind of permit is required for visitors who need to park on the street for few hours? Is there such a thing like a ‘visitors parking permit’ to display on the dash board?
- Is there a Locksmith store in downtown JC, by Newark Ave or somewhere close by?
- What kinds of services are provided at Liberty Health Medical Center besides ER?

Thanks again!!

Posted on: 2006/4/30 23:21
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Welcome. I'm one of the rare people who moved here from the burbs and still work in the burbs. So I have a car. Since you don't i'll spare you the parking enforcement rant (selective, especially when the city is lacking for $$$$ for minor offenses.)
So if you can avoid a car, do so, although it isn't half as bad as Hoboken parking.
I've been here for 6 years and commute everyday to Neptune, (down the shore, not outer space) so I guess I like it here.
Downtown JC, especially my neighborhood here in the Village, reminds me of Queens, when I was a kid. For a city, it is pretty quiet.
Great mix of people, although the old timers are either moving or dying. A shame because I love hearing their tales of old JC and what used to be here. Stop and talk to the long timers.
Anything is pretty much in walking distance or busable, including the Shop-Rite, Newport mall, etc. But don't pass up the small stores on Newark Street. Downtown Hardware is a gem and they always seem to have what you need. Downtown Vets also are a good place if you have pets.
You'll never go hungry here unless you want to.
Grove street PATH is walkabale or their are busines and min-buses to take you. Cab ride late at night is $3-4.

Dislikes: It's still a city folks and there is crime. Three car break ins and my building twice, so take appropriate steps.
We lost our live music club (Uncle Joes) and that is a loss. Some places have tried to fill the void, but we need our Jersey City version of Maxwells back.
Ditto for struggling art life. We have galleries and plenty of artists working in various spaces (take the artist tour when it's announced. Downside was we lost the 111 Fist St. artists building, which was a mistake as far as reviving downtown.
The school system is still under state control, which is what I think leads to the Hoboken syndrome (young 20 somehting move in, meet, marry, have kids and head for the burbs when kids get to be school age).
What you will find is a city in transition, a place with a charcater of the old and an emerging identity, which is still a work in progress. it's like Hoboken was about 15-20 years ago before it became a developers wetdream.
Enjoy!

Quote:

Chama wrote:
Greetings to all fellow forum members!

I've been reading a lot of the postings in jclist.com for the past few weeks and decided to join the forum. We will hopefully become official residents on downtown Jersey City in June (we are purchasing a condo 3 blocks away from Hamilton Park, can't wait to move!!). We were not familiar with the downtown area of Jersey City until over a month ago, when we went for an 'Open House' tour with some friends. We really liked the area and were fortunate enough to find the kind of condo we were just looking for.
The forum has been a wonderful and colorful source of information to learn more about the community, resources, politics, and the idiosyncrasy of the residents. I look forward to participating in the forum discussions myself.

As a 'soon-to-be-resident' to the area I wanted to get a feel for what things you like the most about downtown Jersey City, and what things you like the least. What excites you about this place? What worries you? Just to get you started, we presently live in midtown Manhattan, in an area that is not really residential. It is very convenient to get to work (we walk everywhere pretty much) and get to see all kinds all people, any time of the day or night. However, the noise on the streets (like garbage and demolition trucks during the day and late night) is simply unbearable! The taxes are killing us, and forget about thinking of buying a condo here (and I can't stand the co-op philosophy on residential buildings). The city is just too busy and too noisy for us. We are longing for a more residential, quieter, charming place to live, where we can find a sense of community and stability... and, of course, with a convenient commute to NYC.

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts, and any advice on how to prepare for our new 'home' city will be greatly welcome. Thanks so much in advance!!

Posted on: 2006/4/30 22:50
"Never confuse dissent with disloyality" - Thomas Paine
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Re: Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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A few things off the top of my head. About the noise level. We live right on Hamilton Park and sometimes, I feel it is very noisy. Kids/adults screaming or speaking very loudly in the middle of the night, basketball it seems 24 hours a day. But, I have to add, that I lived in midtown Manhattan years ago and it was MUCH MUCH noisier in Manhattan. Plus, you mentioned that you won't be living directly on the park, so I think it will probably be a lot quieter out your window.

Things I like:
1. It is very charming here. It feels like I'm living in a neighborhood and not just in the middle of a development. 2. There are some community groups around here.
3. You really don't need a car to live here.
4. Diversity! Although this area is becoming more gentrified, it is still a lot more diverse than other areas.
5. Pretty good food in a relatively small area.
6. Close to the city, highways and airport.

Things I don't like:
1. Crooked politics that, I feel, impact the quality/quantity of services. Crappy public schools (for the most part), fairly poor sanitation, small library system given the size of the city, small police force given the size and demands of the city, hard to access public services (parks department, historical preservation department). I don't know how many politicians in the city and county have been indicted for various things, but it seems like too many.
2. A specific complaint that doesn't necessarily have to do with Jersey City alone (I think it applies to Hoboken too)...it's very, very difficult to find and hire various construction workers if you need work done.
3. Hard to find, what I think are, good medical services. There's an adequate emergency room in downtown JC, but I think it is nearly impossible to find good doctors for non-emergencies. All of my docs are outside of Hudson County (dentist, GP, ob/gyn, ENT).
4. In Hamilton Park there is a weird rivalry between a couple of the community groups (friends of hamilton park vs. HPNA). It is so bizarre. My understanding is that the HPNA tries to prevent the other group from making improvements in the park because the HPNA was "there first". End result, some things are hard to get done or don't get done, because of sabotaging and bickering. Really, really juvenile and obstructionist thinking. Haven't seen anything like it outside of middle school.
5. Lack of a dog run in HP when there is a clear need for one (I think politics gets in the way here).

Posted on: 2006/4/30 15:11
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Advice to a 'soon to be' resident of downtown JC
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Greetings to all fellow forum members!

I've been reading a lot of the postings in jclist.com for the past few weeks and decided to join the forum. We will hopefully become official residents on downtown Jersey City in June (we are purchasing a condo 3 blocks away from Hamilton Park, can't wait to move!!). We were not familiar with the downtown area of Jersey City until over a month ago, when we went for an 'Open House' tour with some friends. We really liked the area and were fortunate enough to find the kind of condo we were just looking for.
The forum has been a wonderful and colorful source of information to learn more about the community, resources, politics, and the idiosyncrasy of the residents. I look forward to participating in the forum discussions myself.

As a 'soon-to-be-resident' to the area I wanted to get a feel for what things you like the most about downtown Jersey City, and what things you like the least. What excites you about this place? What worries you? Just to get you started, we presently live in midtown Manhattan, in an area that is not really residential. It is very convenient to get to work (we walk everywhere pretty much) and get to see all kinds all people, any time of the day or night. However, the noise on the streets (like garbage and demolition trucks during the day and late night) is simply unbearable! The taxes are killing us, and forget about thinking of buying a condo here (and I can't stand the co-op philosophy on residential buildings). The city is just too busy and too noisy for us. We are longing for a more residential, quieter, charming place to live, where we can find a sense of community and stability... and, of course, with a convenient commute to NYC.

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts, and any advice on how to prepare for our new 'home' city will be greatly welcome. Thanks so much in advance!!

Posted on: 2006/4/29 15:12
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