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Friday, October 17, 2008

Sixth Street Light Rail Recommended in Regional Transit Plan

The independent, non-profit Regional Plan Association has released a report (PDF) making recommendations for a unified regional transit plan for the tri-state area. The Observer breaks down recommendations for additional services in Manhattan, including subway extensions and free cross town buses.

In Jersey City, the report recommends extending the existing light rail line to route 440 and to 8th Street in Bayonne, both plans currently under consideration. In addition, the organization recommends constructing a new light rail line along Sixth Street through the Bergen arches, at least as far as the western slope of the Heights.

Other notable recommendations include extending Newark's light rail subway line, connecting Staten Island via light rail, and building a new light rail station in Hoboken. Missing from the plan is any suggestion of additional trans-Hudson subway lines; we have long advocated connecting the future Second Avenue subway to a new trans-Hudson connection that would service the southern side of Jersey City, Bayonne, and link up with Staten Island's North Shore Line.

While the independent agency has no authority in making policy, the recommendations are not without merit. The report bases conclusions on recommendations "informed by two brainstorming sessions and interviews with 25 transit experts, by existing studies and by the analysis depicted in the tables and figures of the report."

The full report is loaded with plenty of charts and graphs for readers who enjoy that sort of thing.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Concorde to Visit Jersey City

A British Airways Concorde will be making a stop in Jersey City this weekend before heading back to the Intrepid, reports the NY Times. Pulled by a tugboat, the aircraft will arrive this afternoon and spend a weekend at a Jersey City boatyard.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Housing Projects Slated for Demolition

The NY Times reports that Montgomery Gardens, a six tower housing project, will be demolished within two years. Rumors of their demise first appeared in March of 2007.

The nearly sixty year old towers have long been seen as an obstacle to the western expansion of gentrification. Sitting prominently on Montgomery Street a few blocks from the elevated Turnpike extension, the projects lay between the McGinley Square area and historic Van Vorst Park. More recently, luxury condominiums began opening in the Beacon, the former Jersey City Medical Center redevelopment that borders the Montgomery Gardens projects.

Crime has plagued the towers, with the city installing CCTV cameras in the buildings, hoping to thwart violent acts. The projects are also a lightening rod whenever downtown residents become crime victims.

Committing to the demolition of the structures leaves the city with a once in a generation opportunity to reinvent affordable housing. Various proposals under consideration -- submitted by four developers -- have the chance to integrate modern urban planning concepts including the integration of mixed incomes, easy access to employment and necessities.

One amenity seen as a must in the new development is a grocery store. Access to fresh food and grocery stores is one of the greatest problems facing the urban poor; transportation between housing and a grocery store is costly, and often leads to an unhealthy diet of high fat processed foods which are readily available. Metrovest Equities, one of the four developers under consideration and the developer behind the Beacon, insists there will be a “superduper supermarket” if their proposal is selected.

One side effect of the demolition of the housing projects may be fewer residents in need of affordable housing. Current residents will need to find temporary housing during the demolition and construction of new housing. Often the process leads many residents moving onto different communities.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

CNN Jumps on Sixth Borough Party

CNNMoney writes about the Jersey City residential construction boom. Having never come across this blog, the author writes "Jersey City sits on the cusp of becoming New York City's sixth borough."

More importantly, the article offers some insight on future plans. The second Trump Tower might "break ground in several months." The Toll Brothers Powerhouse District towers are "at least a year" away, and 77 Hudson will still be ready by spring.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Councilman Leads Fight for PATH Service Improvements, Overlooks WTC Service Changes

Downtown Councilman Steven Fulop is looking to lead a crusade against the Port Authority, railing against already poor weekend and late night PATH Service and demanding an expansion of the Pavonia/Newport Station. Hoboken councilwoman Beth Mason is joining the fight. The pair is involved with, a site that encourages residents to contact the governors of New York and New Jersey, as well as the Port Authority.

The site allows users to generate, automatically, emails to the governors and the appropriate members of the Port Authority. Unfortunately, the site over emphasizes the importance of expanding the Pavonia/Newport Station while failing to address last week's proposed suspensions of weekend service to the World Trade Center.

PATH riders concerned about proposals to sacrifice weekend World Trade Center PATH service in order to allow a faster construction schedule in Manhattan should consider contact the governor of New Jersey directly by phone: 609.292.6000. Corzine will be seeking re-election next year.


77 Hudson Street

77 Hudson Street and 70 Greene Street, a pair of Siamese twins rising on Jersey City's waterfront

Condo tower 77 Hudson Street and rental tower 70 Greene Street are connected to each other by large parking deck.

The parking deck of 77 Hudson Street connecting the two towers

77 Hudson Street

77 Hudson Street is the condo tower
The front of 77 Hudson Street

The colored glass masks the parking garage of 77 Hudson Street.

70 Greene Street

The Greene Street tower is a rental building


The Belfuse

The Belfuse, or 198 Van Vorst Street in downtown Jersey City, is finally moving forward

The Belfuse was undergoing soil remediation for eighteen months. Recently, work began again on the site, with heavy equipment digging up the lot. Still, a strong chemical smell is prevalent around the area.


Westin Hotel Nearly Finished

The Westin Hotel Tower in Jersey City is slated to open in November

Jersey City's Westin Hotel appears ready to open as scheduled in November. The tower suffered during construction with a small fire, possibly arson. Construction of the west side of the building also interrupted light rail service multiple times.

The tinted windows on the tower make the hotel appear dated to a decade earlier.

The under construction Westin Hotel in Jersey City is nearly finished


Third Street Project

This small project that spans the narrow block between Third Street and Newark Avenue has been progressing at a snail's pace. A concrete slab has finally been poured.


Grand Street Tower

Pilings have been driven into the ground for a new residential tower on the corner of Grand and Marin Blvd. Behind the property is the recently completed Gulls Cove.

Based on the location of pilings, the footprint of the building will be massive, encompassing the entire block.

Above, the site from Marin Blvd looking west with the Liberty Harbor North buildings in the background.


Monday, October 06, 2008

PATH Service Changes Could Decimate Condo Sales, Rental Market

Condo developments in Jersey City may be the first victims of the Port Authority's announcement that weekend PATH service to the World Trade Center will be suspended most weekends until 2011. Many new high rise developments have been attempting to lure Manhattanites to glitzy glass towers on the waterfront with the promise of a shorter trip to Lower Manhattan than many similar neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens.

New projects like Crystal Point, 77 Hudson Street, and Trump Plaza have marketed their properties to New Yorkers. The towers, located near Exchange Place, should all have a six minute ride into Lower Manhattan, but suspension of service on weekends will mean travelers will have at least a twenty-minute ride into the city along with a transfer and an extra two dollar fare collected by the MTA. Suddenly the extra square footage and stunning views in the new towers seem a lot less appealing.

More importantly, the service changes are scheduled to begin in the summer months shortly after the summer buying season has begun. Many city dwellers house hunting on the weekends will come face to face with the service changes as they begin viewing properties, as though convincing a Manhattanite to come to Jersey City wasn't hard enough already.

For the more transient renter population, lower rents may not be enough to keep Jersey City residents here with the service changes being threatened. A poster on JCList sums up sentiments of many: "my lease is up this month and not having weekend trains to WTC is making me think about wanting to move to brooklyn instead, last week I was sure I was staying in Jersey City."

Jersey City has positioned itself in recent years as direct competitor with trendy Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, vying for younger residents and young professionals. They are ideal residents, using fewer city services than families with children in the schools and having more disposable income to spend at local businesses. But with a nascent nightlife in the downtown neighborhoods, Jersey City's younger crowds often play in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens. Disconnecting these residents from lower Manhattan on weekends will likely drive many out of Jersey City to the New York boroughs.

The redevelopment of Jersey City's waterfront owes plenty to the PATH, but with the economic downturn already slowing construction, the repercussions of suspending weekend PATH service could worsen an already poor situation. The effects are unlikely to be temporary either, with the long term consequence being a dramatic slowdown in growth.

All hope is not lost. Property owners and residents alike can call the Office of the Governor of New Jersey, 609.292.6000, and explain to him how suspending weekend service will effect them. Coincidentally, governor Jon Corzine is up for re-election next year.


Crystal Point

Crystal Point from Second Street in downtown Jersey City

Crystal Point continues to make a mad dash towards completion. The glass tower on the tip of Second Street has some of the highest asking prices per square foot, even as the economy tanks.

Glass windows have begun to be installed on the lower floors of Crystal Point.

Luxury condo tower Crystal Point on the Jersey City Waterfront


Liberty Habor North

Liberty Harbor North in Jersey City

Liberty Harbor construction crews were on site Saturday morning continuing to plug away at the mammoth development. This summer, the developer note that new buildings in the development would not break ground for at least another year, but that the current projects would be seen to completion.


Crescent Court

Crescent Court, under construction in downtown Jersey City

A sign on the sales office claims 40% of units have sold though sales started long before construction. Larges portions of the foundation have been poured.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

PATH to be Screwed by Port Authority Efforts to Meet Deadlines

The Port Authority released a revised schedule for the new World Trade Center site. In order to make their deadlines, PATH service to the World Trade Center will be suspended weekends beginning in 2009 and lasting through 2011. PATH riders have already taken a beating by the Port Authorities weekend service changes.

As recently as two years ago, the Port Authority operated a normal weekday schedule between 7am and 7pm on Saturday and Sundays. In order to accommodate construction at the World Trade Center site, that schedule was replaced with inferior service, sending all 33rd street trains through Hoboken, and removing Hoboken to World Trade Center service from Friday at midnight until Monday morning. While the Port Authority promises to "mitigate the impact," that probably means they simply will expect PATH riders to crowd into 33rd Street bound trains like cattle into boxcars.

Meanwhile, the new PATH terminal at the World Trade Center won't open until 2014, and will cost $3.2 billion, or $100 million more than the 1,776 foot tall Freedom Tower. Curbed provides an excellent time line for the site.

PA Press Release


Clinton, Schumer Not Amused by Sixth Borough Analogies

The New York Senators secured $18 million for a New York reservist training facility, to be built in Staten Island. But Gothamist reports that the Army Corp of Engineers thinks a better location will be in Caven Point, in Jersey City. The New York Senators are none too thrilled, having never come across this blog.


About New York's Sixth

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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