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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bits & Briefs

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Winter Solstice

For all of you pagans out there, or for that matter, atheists looking for an excuse to have a Christmas Tree, tonight's the Winter Solstice, also known as the shortest day of the year. So late tonight if you see any good folks dancing naked, its probably not the Mayor, but instead some enthusiastic Solstice worshipers. Have a merry Winter Solstice everyone. Cheers


Bits & Briefs

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Presidents

The 25mc Blog has information on the Newport group's proposed tenth street development, two more mid-rise buildings to add to the list of ex-presidents which would be as follows:

The Grover Cleveland 6 Story
163 market rate rental Units

The Ulysses S. Grant 6 Story
163 market rate rental Units

This whole thing was from last week, but still there are some pictures of the renderings. These might be outdated now since, as a result of last weeks meeting, Newport Associates might be open to the idea of making adjustments.


Healy In '09

Jersey City voters may have found in the mail holiday cards from the Mayor. Careful observers would note the card was paid for from the election fund of Healy '09. We assume this means we can look forward to many more years of nakedness and drunkeness. Sounds like a regular night out for us.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Around the Blogosphere

With all the chatter created by New York Magazine's declaration of Jersey City's cool-ness, it was only a matter of time before people started cashing in on the city. Well, someone other than us, that is. And it seems that Murketing was one of the first to do that with a Jersey City Calendar. [via JCList]

Meanwhile, just as Jersey City is becoming too cool for you, Hoboken is over: "It's just so tarty and fratty and homogeneous." Maybe. But then again, Hoboken has a a certain something Jersey City never will.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Starbucks Rumors

A tipster tells us a rumor is circulating that Starbucks might be scouting locations on Grove Street or Columbus Drive. The tipster claimed a Newport Starbucks employee had made the claim that two new locations would soon be headed to the downtown area. We all know how untrustworthy baristas can be (like "oh yeah, that's totally a dupio" when clearly its only a single shot of espresso goodness), but we think that about the time New York Magazine declares a place "cool", that's probably about the time Starbucks begins to fully assimilate a neighborhood. A quick search of various job listing sites doesn't seem to turn up any results for more downtown Starbucks positions, but of course assuming a Starbucks was headed for Grove Pointe or Columbus Tower-- both likely corporate coffee chain locations-- those retail spaces are still months away from serving up any black gold.

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Metropolis Expansion Revealed?

Rumors have been circulating all over the internet ever since Metropolis Towers began to demolish the low-rise strip mall between the two towers. Yet, with all the other construction projects around the site-- Grove Pointe, Columbus Plaza, and Gulls Cove just to name a few-- its easy to forget the potential of this lot.

According to the online portfolio of DMR Architects though, there will be three phase construction at the complex. Phase I will include two 25 Story towers with 420 units of apartments. These two are towers are perhaps the most hyped-- sort of like the Apple iPod Phone. Based on our own perceptions of the area compared with the renderings, we're thinking these towers will run along Columbus Drive, directly across the street from Columbus Tower & Plaza.

But what gets interesting is Phase II and III. DMR architects has a fairly extensive portfolio when it comes to urban redevelopment and urban in fill projects. And that's exactly what Metropolis Towers needs-- an urban landscape instead of bare parking lots fenced off from a vibrant downtown. In either case, according to the DMR website, a low or mid rise apartment complex and a similar office tower will fill out the rest of the site-- and there is plenty of room, particularly along Warren Street.

In either case, we've taking into consideration the two renderings as well as our own observations and pieced together a rough map of the planned construction.

Metropolis Expansion Map

Demolition Photos


A Room With a View: Not So Much

Blogger Crazy Fingers points out an obvious flaw with New Jersey's soon to be tallest residential towers: there are no views.

Indeed, for one thing, the two tower design of the Jersey City Trump builing means that the western tower units are going to be blocked by the eastern tower. But never mind that since the bigger issue will probably be the empty parking lots across the street from the tower. No doubt these holdovers from a more suburban era in Jersey City will soon be replaced with something taller. Like Harborside Financial Plaza 6 or Harborside 7, both planned for lots between Trump and the river, and neither of which have yet been built.

And of course, check out this week's Trump Tower construction porn.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Park At Grove Street PATH Opens, Sort Of

The long closed "park" at the corner of Christopher Columbus and Grove Street opened today, sort of. The park is quite obviously not finished, and not too obviously a park yet either. The developers of Grove Pointe agreed to rebuild the park while constructing the tower.

Astute observers may be asking themselves what exactly was changed. All the old brick and concrete were replaced with new brick and concrete. The big twist though is instead of squared off corners, the new park features a curved bench like wall. And as for the brick, the park now has red pavers (below) instead of the bluish gray that was once there. The crazy homeless guy who lives in the park was unavailable for comment.

As usual, larger photos here

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Regular Programming: Bits & Briefs

A news of the week wrap up that includes a good ol' reach around to just about everyone who writes about the sixth borough.

Time For Developers to Start Playing Ball
Jersey Journal

A Hoboken View
Hudson Current

SW Redevelopment Plan Continues

Plans on Hold for 10th Street Buildings

Jersey City Trump Not a Sex Act

Drawings Out For Pencil Factory

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Verizon: The Comcast Alternative?

Verizon has been quietly laying fiber optic cables throughout New Jersey for the last few years or so. The intent, in the long run, is to offer higher speed internet and cable alternative television. You can read more at The New York Times. That being said there are two things that need to happen for Verizon to start offering television services:

First, Verizon needs to know there is interest in the service. Fiber is being laid in the dense suburbs first, for cost reasons. But if demand is high enough, they'll also look to Jersey City. By filling out their request form for Fiber Optic Service here, you can help let them know you want a cable alternative.

The second thing that needs to happen is for Verizon to gain municipal approval. In New Jersey, every town controls access to their own residents' cable services. So the best place to start is the downtown's favorite councilman. Tell him you want an alternative to Comcast, so if and when Verizon approaches municipal government, the council will understand residents want more than a cable monopoly.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ads Begin Infecting Jersey City Comcast Customers

Normally we like to keep rants on our personal blog. But since we aren't the only Comcast cable customers in Hudson County, we figured this little problem might be interfering with a number of people's enjoyment of their favorite reality television show.

Comcast it seems, decided that paying for cable service wasn't enough. Instead, forcing people to view ads on their guide menu to supplement the cost of customers. Take a look if you're confused about what we're talking about.

In either case, the service technician woman, who probably was actually a robot programmed to sound human, made mention of the fact that "only a few reports" of this "problem" had been reported "in your area." So since we'd like to think this is a technical malfunction rather than an attempt by Comcast to add one more level of annoyance to our lives, we recommend any other Jersey City or Hoboken Comcast customer experience this "feature" to contact customer service immediately. Or call 1.800.Comcast. Or call the local Comcast office directly 201.432.1234.

Or even better, if you are pissed off about seeing viral ads on your DVR menu, call their corporate office in Philadelphia and complain to them directly: 215.665.1700

Until then, we'd recommend everyone stick to satellite providers.

We contacted customer service about the issue and this is the response from John at

"Thank you for your message. They are paid advertisements that can not be removed. They were added on 12-14-06. If you need further assistance, please feel free to respond directly to this email. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. Thank you for choosing Comcast."

So if you are as upset about this as we are, we'd recomend emailing John and his friends at


Also, there is the online petition

A JCList user suggested contacting the Board of Public Utilities using this online complaint form. The BPU may not have the power to regulate this, but there really is no harm in getting the BPU to take a closer look at Comcast for whatever else they might be doing.


Newport Expansion Revealed

Well its not exactly fresh news that Newport will be getting a few more towers. Both the Aqua and the Ellipse were announced months ago, and The Shore Club is well under construction. However, we took the time to build a map of where the Aqua and the Ellipse will be going up in relation to the rest of Newport, just in case it was unclear, and it was to us, for quite a while.

Keep in mind nothing is certain until the concrete is dry, but its fairly likely that this is the future layout of the northern end of Newport. The Aqua will be 32 stories and have 363 units. The Ellipse will have 325 units.

As usual, a larger map is available on the PhotoBlog.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bits & Briefs

Planning Board tells developers: Meet with residents
Newport Group's plan to build two structures on the Tenth Street embankment meets opposition.

Music to their ears
A twelve story tower gets approved for lot across from Shoprite.

Rescue Plan for Hospital
New Jersey's oldest hospital is about to be bankrupted.

361 Newark Ave to Triple in Height
Rumors on JCList indicate a stalled construction project could go higher.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Google Map Tools We Love

We came across WikiMapia, a hybrid between Google Satelite images, Wikipedia, and Flickr. Users can enter data on hot zones on the satelite images-- for instance, the empty lot that now is the site of the new Trump Towers. Like all sites relying on user generated content though, we've come across a few mistakes. But in either case, Jersey City and Hoboken both have extensive entries.

And meanwhile, Hoboken411 pointed out the GMaps Pedometer, a service that calculates the distance of a walking trip using Google maps. We've found this a most useful tool after gathering construction site photographs.

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Metropolis Towers: 3 Times The Fun?

The Metropolis Towers' complex has had some recent demolition of the low rise section connecting the two existing towers. We came across a few bits and peices about two new towers going in along Christopher Columbus Blvd. But it seems that Emporis has listed four new towers for the complex.

The first two towers are listed as Expansion Phase 1 East and Expansion Phase 1 West-- we assumed this would mean a western tower at the corner of Marin and Christopher Columbus and an eastern tower at the corner of Warren and Christopher Columbus. There would be plenty of room along Montgomery Street for the proposed phase II and III towers.

More Photos

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where's the Books?

As promised, there was magic at the opening of Jersey City's first bookstore, the slight of hand that one gets when one hires a professional magician. Unfortunately, there was very little magic coming from the books, that sort of sensation that creeps over you when you see there on the shelf the very book you've spent the last six months searching for, and not only is it there, ready for you to buy, but its been severely discounted. No, there was none of that sort of magic.

Indeed, there were hardly any books at all. We found two shelves of literature-- Dover Thrift editions of the classics and the complete Tom Robbins. Beyond that there was genre fiction and a few books covering specialty topics like Breast Feeding and the benefits of vegetarianism. We're neither a vegetarian nor do we have kids. The other half of the store was filled with assorted gifts-- board games, postcards, bath salts-- the sorts of things tourists pick up on day out to Cape May or New Hope or Williamsburg-- but not really the sorts of things normal people buy at their neighborhood store.

Of course, there are a few occasions we might see ourselves buying another copy of Harry Potter or one of those science oriented board games smart people give to kids thinking that it will make the kids smarter. For birthdays and holidays-- particularly those that we forgot about-- we might very well go down there. But there simply aren't enough books to keep us interested week after week.

There is of course a chance that this was just the first round, the hasty opening before the end of the holiday season. We're hoping in the future there will be used books in more than just the science-fiction genre. Frankly, we're hoping to see some actual books of the new variety too. We'd like to see some magazines and literary journals and art zines-- the sort of timely material that makes us want to show up more than once every six months.

In short, the Imagine Atrium is a store that sells books, not a bookstore. Perhaps our expectations were too high. We weren't expecting The Strand, but we were expecting some books. We won't be giving up on the place just yet though. There is room to grow, room for books, and we'll be back, if for no other reason then to check in on their progress.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Construction Project Map

With all the fun new development going on in Downtown Jersey City, keeping track of everything has never been more difficult. So we put together our very own Construction Map.

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Newark Avenue Needs Plan, Money

The name Newark doesn't exactly conjure up images of a pretty, downtown main street. Newark Avenue, much like its namesake city, is in need of a facelift. The city of Newark might have Cory Booker, but the Avenue has Steven Fulop. The Ward E councilman has a plan to clean up the former retail center of the downtown with new sidewalks, streetscape accessories, and fancy old lights.

Yet, the effort might need more than a few benches and trash cans -- though that would be a nice place to start. Take for example the empty lot at 209 Newark Avenue. You may not have heard of it, but you've probably seen it. Just west of Jersey Avenue, the site has been approved for apartments. But the current owner it seems has more interest in selling the land than actually building anything. And for a cool $6.3 million, you could be a part of redevelopment efforts. A few facts for you, just in case you have more money than we do:

209 - 217 Neawrk Ave
Lot Size: 95,000 SF
Price: $6,300,000
Price/Acre: $2,888,715.67

Anyway, the point is that at the moment, a block long empty lot is doing little to clean up the last downtown frontier. The other empty store fronts aren't much of a help either. Considering there is only one restaurant in restaurant row, we think Newark Avenue needs a little more than pretty benches and cobblestone pavers. But that's just us.


Opening Tonight

The Basement, a new bar in Hoboken with 75 Martinis opening their doors tonight. Hobokn411 has a full write up.

Imagine Atrium, the new independent bookstore in Jersey City is ready to open tonight at 7pm with "Music, Merriment, & Magic!" The only magic we want to see is a shelf of books for less than the cover price.

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News Roundup

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stairs, Landscaping for Montgomery Street Condo

The little project we've been following for a while now is progressing quickly again. The stairs have been poured and topped off, and it seems landscaping has filled in what had been the driveway. No word as to whether the basement still floodds or not, but we assume windows and doors probably have fixed this problem.

More Photos


Bits & Briefs

Renovations of the A&P are well under way, bringing this store up to par with its suburban counterparts, and easily making it the best in the downtown area.

Imagine Atrium, the bookstore set to open on Friday at 7pm, may yet be a let down. Peeking through a hole in the window covering newspaper revealed that at least the first third of the store will not, it appears, actually have books. It did appear though that most of the rear of the store was indeed lined with bookshelves.

The Van Vorst Park Dog Run was having fencing isntalled last night, meaning we assume, that the dog run itself is nearing completion.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

One Frame, Seven Construction Sites

Ever since we read about the Greenpoint Challenge on Curbed, we've been thinking that their record holding photograph with five construction sites really isn't all that impressive. After nearly four weeks of trying to find a ground level site that captured Jersey City rising in all its glory, we finally present our 7 Site Construction Photo:

1. Powerhouse
2. Trump Towers
3. Washington Commons
4. 111 First Street
5. Athena Tower
6. Westin Hotel
7. Grove Pointe

We have a full size photo over on the Photoblog


Monday, December 04, 2006

Jersey City: NEW, Cool

New York Magazine has a bit about how cool we are. Since its New York Magazine and not New Jersey Magazine, we'll basically take this as confirmation that we were totally right when decided not to call this blog New Jersey's First, but instead New York's Sixth. Meanwhile, we'll use this opportunity to point out NEW magazine, a new publication about how cool Jersey City has become. If JC is cool, than the people here are probably hip, making them hipsters, which really means the end is near, or that we've actually finally arrived. Take your pick.


Construction-porn Wrap Up

We were pretty busy this weekend criss-crossing Hudson County. On Foot. But don't cry for us, Jersey City. Just enjoy the construction-porn we collected. Below we have a nice little summary of most of what we came across over the last forty-eight hours:


W Hotel
Observer Lofts
700 Grove
The Cliffs

Jersey City

Columbus Tower
77 Hudson Street
Grove Pointe
Gulls Cove
Trump Towers
The Shore Club
Schroeder Lofts

Friday, December 01, 2006

Jersey Avenue Shopping Map

Just in time for your weekend shopping needs, we present to you the Jersey Avenue Shopping Guide. We've included the shops and restaurants between Newark Ave and Grand Street and conviently categorized them for you. And in case you missed it, check out the Grove Street Guide we put together earlier in the week.

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Majestic II

Exeter Properties, the developers of The Majestic Theater Condominiums have recently received approval for a sequel project across the street. Exeter is responsible for the renovation of the historic Majestic Theater, directly across Grove Street from City Hall, and subsequent addition of a number of apartments along Montgomery Street, as seen below.

Majestic Theater Condos

Yet, on the southeast corner of the same block will rise Majestic II, replacing a parking lot, a vacant carpet store and an old church along York Street.

Below, the southeast corner of Grove and Montgomery. In the background rises Gulls Cove I.

Looking North along Grove Street, City Hall sits in the background.

Looking East along Montgomery Street; the Majestic II will incorporate the existing Brownstones to keep the development contextual with the existing streetscape.

Finally, looking east along York Street, the southern corner of the development.

JCVibe, as usual, has excellent coverageon the building plans and site drawings.


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New York's Sixth is a blog for the forgotten, de facto borough across the river featuring original content, commentary, and information relevant to living in Downtown Jersey City / Hoboken.


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