Art Home Travelogues

Jersey City Travelogue

A few weeks ago I landed a consulting gig with Big Financial Firm in Jersey City. “Joisey City,” as it is sometimes known, is hard on the Hudson River waterfront, directly across from New York City’s financial district. The Exchange Place district, where I’m situated, has become a fast-growing back-office location for many other Big Financial Firms that find Manhattan real estate a bit pricey.

Skyline View

In fact, growth all up and down the Hudson and Bergen County coast is allowing lots of civic improvements. In addition to restaurants and other amenities, they’ve built a “light rail system” (which I keep calling a “streetcar,” but then I’m almost old enough to remember them) that goes from North Bergen all the way down to Bayonne.

Streetcar Tracks

Construction is everywhere. The first week on the job the piledrivers (left) directly across the street were continuously working on the foundations of a new building. Two blocks away, a team was restoring the facade of this old church (right).

Construction

The name of this neighborhood is Paulus Hook, and it dates back as one of the earliest settlements in New Jersey. As an historic district, it has lots of nice architectural detail new and old, such as the fine stonework on this church hall.

Church Hall

Or the contemporary door on this renovation of an old warehouse for condos.

Doorway

There are blocks of attractive row houses with nicely tended gardens out front that remind me of Brooklyn. There’s even a Thai restaurant on the corner.

Row Houses

A few blocks over is the new-ish Goldman Sachs building, the tallest in New Jersey. Construction of this building was put on hold for a couple of years after 9/11, but it’s been finished and is a beauty.

Goldman

The facade is dressed with these criss-crossing stainless steel tubes, with vertical accents of perforated steel. The effect is only visible up-close. This pic is out of focus because there are security guards all over and I was trying to be surreptitious.

Detail View

The lobby of the building is spectacular, and it faces a plaza right on the water, with views in all directions. Looking south, you can see in a row the old Victorial Liberty State Part Train Terminal, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty (right above the last cupola of Ellis Island). The Colgate clock is a long-time Jersey Coast landmark.

Train Terminal, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

A neighborhood like this keeps its maritime roots. Here in old Paulus Hook park you can see anchor chains festooning the wrought-iron railings. The red building directly behind is the “Old Beehive,” where Carolyn used to work many years ago. To the right and across the street you can see the landmark Post Office building.

Paulus Hook Park

And of course no neighborhood this close to ground zero can be without it’s 9/11 remembrances. This is a bent and twisted girder, with a marble plaque in the background.

9/11 Twisted Girder

The “Man With An Open Briefcase” was, and is again, an amusing fixture in the park across from One Liberty Plaza, which is right next to ground zero. Someone the bronze statue survived that day when everything else in the park was flattened. It became a makeshift memorial, and people left flowers, notes, and other artifacts.

Briefcase Man

This is a copy the sculptor made in which he reproduced all these items in cast and painted bronze. The trompe d’loiel effect is remarkable — I had to touch a few pieces just to be sure they weren’t real. The original is, I believe, still at Liberty Plaza.

All in all I’m enjoying my explorations, at least while the weather holds. The wind does howl down there in the Winter, but I’ll be widening my circle as long as I can.

Tom

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he’s also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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