Gentrification in Jersey City

Newark Avenue, Jersey City

I’m sure gentrification in Jersey City began long before I moved here 18 years ago but the recent acceleration has been dramatic.  When I moved to Downtown, it was a different place.  It was quieter, less congested, plenty of street parking but it was also more run-down.  It was rougher and felt a bit more dangerous.  We felt like pioneers back then, working together with neighbors to make our community better.  Progress was frustrating and very slow.

I moved here from an East Side apartment on 52nd Street in Manhattan, and one of the first things that I noticed was that I couldn’t step out of my front door without every person stopping to say hello.  Even after many years at Southgate the only “Hello” I ever got was from the doorman.

Jersey City is changing faster than ever right now with new development everywhere.  The new restaurants, and bars and young families are all great additions.  Adding new life and vitality.   The pressures of gentrification seem to be unstoppable but I think we need to make an effort to protect the many aspects of Jersey City that make it unique and diverse.   For me that is the sense of community and the daily “hellos” that greet me every time I step out the front door to walk the dog or go shopping.  I hope we can preserve that bit of old Chilltown’s personality.

I recently read a blog by Jersey City native, David Acosta, asking for the many folks moving to Jersey City to, “enjoy your new home but, please respect the culture of ours that has not been taken away yet.”  You can read more from his blog here.