This month’s issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine names Jersey City’s Downtown as their pick for “Favorite Downtown”.
Tammy La Gorce reports on the cultural revival of Jersey’s 2nd most populous city.
Anthony ”Dancing Tony” Susco has lived in Jersey City for 20 years. As the organizer of a pair of the city’s best-known cultural events, Groove on Grove, a free downtown block party and music series every summer Friday, and Ghost of Uncle Joe’s, the annual Halloween party at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery, he’s a familiar figure around town. Lately, Dancing Tony has observed that his city—New Jersey’s second most populous, with 265,000 residents—is in the midst of a painful but promising adolescence.
“It’s almost like the kind of growth spurt where your voice is changing and you get this uncomfortable moustache starting to come in,” he explains. “Every other street, there’s some construction happening. There’s so much new stuff nobody can keep up with it.”
That is not to say Jersey City is a Wild West of urban development. Mayor Steve Fulop and the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District are keeping an eye on things. Fulop says franchises and chain stores have been capped at 30 percent of total businesses. The intention: “To highlight the great restaurants and artistic businesses we’re known for,” Fulop says.
The revived downtown area—where dining and shopping options seem to increase daily—radiates out from the Grove Street PATH station and east to the historic Hudson riverfront neighborhood, Paulus Hook.