For those of you that know me, you know how much I loved living in Jersey City. And for those of you that don’t (which is most of you), that is ok too! I am Sara, Common’s VP of People and I lived in Jersey City from 2012 to 2020.
Originally I moved to Jersey City for easy access to New York, plus the great view of the skyline. I was working in Midtown and wanted to be just close enough to the city and Jersey City offered just that. With a quick ride on the Path right into Manhattan, it was a no-brainer.
I’ve lived in various parts of the city, mainly Paulus Hook, Van Vorst Park, and the Powerhouse Arts District. And while all of these neighborhoods are located downtown, all of them have something amazing to offer, and each one is uniquely different. Paulus Hook is a mellow quiet neighborhood with coffee shops and cafes where a lot of young families live. While it may seem like a slower and more low key part of the city, one of the major benefits is that it is along the waterfront and gives you incredible access and views to NYC.
Van Vorst Park is not too far from there either – a little bit tucked behind Paulus Hook and Grove Street – Van Vorst is filled with amazing old brownstones, converted factories, beautiful parks, and amazing restaurants. And the Powerhouse Arts District, while very different, maybe my favorite. The Powerhouse Arts District, also known as WALDO, is one of the most under-developed areas of downtown — you can see this history in all of the converted warehouses, the cobblestone streets and the bustling city life as you walk along the streets. The main Grove Street paths are located here which not only give you 24/7 access to NYC, but also give you access to other amazing parts of Jersey City: Bergen-Lafayette, The Heights, and so on.
Most people that I know who have moved to Jersey City have done it for close proximity to NYC and the amazing culture, community, and diversity. If you didn’t know, Jersey City has been ranked as one of the most diverse cities in the United States and you can feel it – from the different people you meet to the diversity in restaurants and cultural activities – there really is something for everyone.
The community is also one of my favorite parts of the city. While this is NJ’s second-largest city, there is such a great vibe within the communities. Everyone genuinely cares about Jersey City and everyone always comes together to support various causes when different events are offered. I have been fortunate enough to have met so many amazing people, through various organizations, or events, or local businesses from all walks of life. I feel lucky to call this place home and I feel even luckier to call the people I have met here lifelong friends.
Here are a few of my five favorite hidden gems in Jersey City:
Liberty State Park – You can walk over, ride your bike, or even take the ferry. Fun fact: LSP is around 400 acres bigger than Central Park! It is a great place to run, picnic with friends, go for a stroll along the water, or just hang around the open fields and frolic along the water with NYC and Statue of Liberty views. You can also access the old Central Railway Station which has since been abandoned, but many immigrants came right from Ellis Island through the train station before embarking on other parts of the US!
White Mana Diner – If you are a foodie then you have to make it over to White Mana. Located on Route 1-9 White Mana’s other NJ location has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Also, it was considered the “diner of the future” when it debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair.
Jersey City Mural Arts Program – Location: all over the City — just look around. The program was launched in 2013. It was launched not only to beautify neighborhoods and promote personal connection to the city but also to mitigate graffiti, which the initiative has done very successfully. There are over 100 murals throughout Jersey City including ones by local and international artists. A few favorites below:
Corto – A tiny, authentic Italian BYO restaurant in the Heights that serves fresh, homemade pasta and other Italian comfort dishes. The smell of fresh garlic and herbs when you walk in just makes your mouth water and they also have a beautiful back patio where you can crack open your own wine and enjoy the fresh cooking. Prepare to come hungry, because nothing is short of amazing — and I am very particular about my Italian food. The menu also changes weekly, so just another reason to keep going back.
Corgi Spirits – Corgi spirits is an LGBTQ-owned and operated distillery in the Bergen-Lafayette district of Jersey City. They make hand-crafted gins, vodkas, and whiskeys and have recently become one of my favorite places for a drink. Whether you choose the Saddlecoat Vodka or the Bee Blossom Gin, you can’t go wrong. Also, they have an amazing patio area where you can listen to live music or shop when they have vendor events. It is a great place to bring your pets to hang out and chill too.
Thanks Sara! If you’ve fallen in love with Jersey City, or are just interested in discovering what it could be like to call it home, you need to check out The Nest by Common. Located in Journal Square, The Nest by Common offers the best of Jersey City living with great amenities at an attainable price. Book a tour today.