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Living in Jersey City

A comprehensive guide about living well in Jersey City

Jersey City may lie in the shadow of its illustrious neighbor New York City, but it was still home to over 250,000 people in 2014, with its population currently on the rise. The city’s closeness to the Big Apple, with lower property prices and a thriving economy, makes it a popular place for expats.

Life in Jersey City

Jersey City has one of the largest downtown office markets in the United States and the redevelopment of the Jersey City waterfront has played a huge role in the area’s renaissance.

In fact, Jersey City has even earned the nickname Wall Street West as companies are increasingly selecting it as a base.

Transportation in Jersey City

Jersey City was once one of the most important transportation hubs in the United States and while that may no longer quite be the case, the city still benefits from truly outstanding transport links.

Jersey City is served by Newark Liberty International Airport, which is the busiest airport in the New York-New Jersey area in terms of the number of flights it offers. This means Jersey City can easily be reached from almost anywhere in the world — the airport is just 15 minutes out of the city by road. New York City’s two airports, LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), are not too far away — a cab to Jersey City costs around 100 USD.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is perhaps the most popular form of transportation for both locals and foreigners living in Jersey City. With 13 stations in Jersey City alone, the system makes it easy to get around the area. There are a further four stations for the PATH: a 24-hour rapid transit system that reaches Manhattan in 15 minutes. It is also easy to reach Newark Penn Station within half an hour from Jersey City, opening up the rest of the United States by rail.

There is a local bus system, but a lot of locals get around on jitneys, also known as dollar vans. These are privately owned buses that offer a very low-priced transportation option around the city. Jersey City’s road links are good but there is a street parking problem in the local area. Almost half of the people living in Jersey City use public transportation to get to and from work.

Jersey City’s waterfront location means it is possible to catch a ferry to Manhattan, although this is not the fastest way to cross the Hudson River. Service to and between Ellis Island and Liberty Island are also operated by Statue Cruises and there is a water taxi service between Dock M of Liberty State Park and the Battery Park City.

Culture and Leisure in Jersey City

Jersey City is the perfect base for seeing the Statue of Liberty National Monument, as well as Ellis Island and Liberty Island. The city is also home to the Liberty Science Center, along with the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, which shows classic films and hosts live performances. The Atlantic magazine has described Jersey City as the most artistic city in the US.

Some of the most popular local cultural sites include the Jersey City Museum, Mana Contemporary and the Museum of Russian Art, while public art exhibitions are also showcased at some of the city’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stations. Around four million people a year visit Liberty State Park, which is often described as New Jersey’s answer to Central Park.

In terms of sports, Jersey City does not itself have a major team, but foreigners living in Jersey City can easily travel to New York City to watch NBA basketball (Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks), MLB baseball (the Yankees and the Mets) and the new MLS club New York City FC. Fellow MLS side the New York Red Bulls play in Harrison, New Jersey, while both NFL sides, New York Giants and the New York Jets, play at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Jersey City’s position just across the Hudson River from New York City makes it a great place for expats who want top-class culture and leisure without living in the Big Apple itself.

Views of Manhattan and New York City are stunning on walks along the increasingly developed waterfront. Hoboken is also a short PATH ride away and is home to a large concentration of bars and nightlife.

Safety and Security in Jersey City

The recent gentrification of Jersey City has seen crime levels fall and the city is now considered to be a mostly safe place for both locals and expatriates living in Jersey City.

Lower-income neighborhoods tend to be in the south of the city and there can be some problems with drug abuse and crime in this part of the city. Greenville in particular is a place to avoid, while Martin Luther King Drive and Ocean Avenue are both criminal hotspots. Muggings in these parts of the city are relatively common and low-level crime also often takes place around the light rail stations in this area, especially at night.

As with any large city, foreigners living in Jersey City should be careful when walking alone at night and ensure they do not flash their valuables around.

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Updated on: December 06, 2018
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