Monday, June 5, 2017

The Past and Present of Jersey City

In 2016, CurbedNY named Jersey City as “Neighborhood of the Year”. No one would have seen this coming if they knew the history of this town from a few decades ago. In the past, Jersey City was a town that was definitely not sought after. In the past, the vibrant downtown area that residents enjoy today was relatively non-existent back then. It’s quite fascinating to read about the changes this city has undergone. For instance, the beautiful row houses you see in the image below are well worth over a million dollars today. In the 70s, these same houses were available for less than $100,000; the difference in price is incredible! 
Row houses in Jersey City 

History of Jersey City
Jersey City was one of the original settlements of New Amsterdam, which was later renamed New York, with a land grant awarded in 1630. Jersey City emerged as our country’s industrial power starting in the 1800's and played a tactical role in the American Revolution and Civil War. It became a major hub for commerce in 1824, with the opening of the 107-mile long Morris Canal. It was the initial destination for many immigrants entering the U.S through nearby Ellis Island, which operated from 1892 to 1954. The steamships transported more than 12 million immigrant passengers in search of a land with new opportunities. Some of these newcomers settled in Jersey City, a location full of brownstones and ornate townhouses built on streetscapes that were once farmland in the 1600’s.
Aerial View of Jersey City in the past
Morris Canal
Jersey City Turnpike in the 60s
Jersey City was known for being a manufacturing hub for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Around the 1970s and1980s, the city experienced some economic cultural hardships. Jersey City had vacant lots, abandoned tenements, and a neglected waterfront. By 1980, Jersey City only had a population of 223,532. Thankfully, in the mid to late 1990s, Jersey City began to undergo a development boom. The old piers, railroad yards, and tracks along the Hudson River waterfront gained new additions of modern residential units and office buildings. This led to more people moving back to the city with the potential for new jobs and a better state of living. A city that was once bland was now getting a new breath of life.

Jersey City Today
Jersey City is an ideal location for living because it is close in proximity to New York City. It has many different transportation options available like the 24-hour PATH train, major highways such as the NJ Turnpike, and the NY/NJ Waterway. The commute from downtown Jersey City to Midtown is approximately 20 minutes. This city is an amazing place full of diversity, beautiful architecture, and a growing population. 
Jersey City Skyline Today

By 2018, Jersey City will have over 266,000 people living there, and it will continue to increase by 2035, where the population will approximately reach 334,768 residents. Jersey City is full of landmark attractions like the Liberty Science Center, Liberty State Park, Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse, and the Colgate Clock Tower. Residents also love spending time with their families and friends visiting green spaces like Van Vorst Park, and the bustling downtown Jersey scene full of coffee shops, restaurants, arts centers and more.
Jersey City is a town that is currently booming. According to Mayor Steven Fulop, there are 10,000 new residential units under construction and another 17,000 approved. Fulop, has encouraged large-scale development while simultaneously championing small businesses. More than 650 new small businesses have opened within the past three years, many of them bars and restaurants. Jersey City is a location where developers and architects are making buildings to suit newcomers’ demanding tastes. JMA has done many projects in this area like our buildings 93 Bright,54 Bright, 349 4th street, 526 Manila, and 7th street townhouse.

54 Bright designed by JMA
349 4th street developed by JMA
93 Bright developed by JMA

526 Manila Townhouse 
526 Manila interior renovation
7th street townhouse designed by JMA

7th street townhouse 

7th street townhouse

Jersey City is also great because of its diversity that hosts an array of ethnicities and cultures. It is a family oriented city with amazing historical architecture, charm, great schools and transportation access that makes getting around convenient. JMA appreciates the historic sensibility of the townhouses in Jersey City and respects the neighborhood’s historic charm. However, we have the skill to create modern buildings that blend in respectfully with its counterparts and in turn increase the value of the neighborhood.
Our designs are timeless and preserve the beauty of historic neighborhoods yet still let them shine in the 21st century. Jersey City is a city that pulled itself up by its bootstraps and has turned into a location that many people are excited to be a part of. In today’s age, it is important to respect the memory of a city’s past while embracing the present. JMA will continue to create buildings in cities that will help create a vibrant future.

Cruz, David. “In Jersey City, Gentrification Accelerates, Changing Neighborhoods and Lives”. NJTV News, 17 March. 2016
Kaysen, Ronda. "Moving to Jersey City? Join the Club." The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 04 June 2017.
McDonald T. Terrence. “Jersey City development boom reaching new heights.”  The Jersey Journal NJ.COM.  New Jersey On-Line LLC.  Web 13 April 2015.
Rosenberg, Zoe. “The 2016 Curbed Cup winner is…Jersey City!”. CurbedNY, 3 Jan. 2017.
City of Jersey City. “About Jersey City.” Web
VisitNJ. “Jersey City.” Web
The State of New Jersey. “A Short History of New Jersey.”
Black and white photos Source: U.S Forums. New Jersey “Jersey City before skyscrapers”. Web.
JC Landmarks Conservancy. “Legacy of Historic Preservation” Web. 04 June 2017.

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