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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hoboken, Downtown Foreclosures on Par with Manhattan

The New York Times has mapped foreclosures in the region with all sorts of pretty colors. Downtown Jersey City and Hoboken are fairing well, particularly compared to the outer boroughs. A high rate of foreclosures lowers home values in neighborhoods by flooding saturated housing markets with additional stock. The real lesson gleaned from the Time's map however is the further from the island a neighborhood is, the higher rate of foreclosure.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Newport Pharmacy Moving Across the Street, Still Not in Newport

Newport Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy on the corner of 9th and Erie, is moving to 9th and Erie. The pharmacy is crossing the street into a corner space in the Hamilton Square development. Exeter Properties has said they prefer independent local businesses to fill their retail spaces.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Park Renovation Slaying Trees

Renovations have begun at Hamilton Park, just in time to close it for summer. Construction crews have slashed a half dozen large trees with 18 inch diameters, casualties of low bid contracts.

The renovated park will include an expanded playground, two dog runs, and renovated ball courts. In addition, the historic pathways will be reinstalled and Victorian style lighting. About half the park will remain grassy fields.

The dog runs caused a controversy among residents. For several years, dog owners have been illegally allowing their dogs off leash on the grassy areas of the park. Not only did many park goers feel the illegal activity was unsafe, but the dogs also destroyed the grass. As plans for the renovation were drawn up, two dog runs were included in the design, one for large dogs and one for small dogs. Four final plans were drawn up and community residents voted on the plans; the selected plan included a smaller allotted space for the dog runs. Moreover, the selected plan divided the dog run space in half, with two roughly equal sized runs for small and large dogs. Large dog owners pointed out that larger dogs needed more space than smaller dogs.

Part of the controversy stemmed from the way the the park's plans were voted on. The final vote was suppose to only be about the layout of the park renovation, not the amenities. However, one of the designs included a small putting green, while another design did not; both these designs were otherwise identical, and both were the only design where the two dog runs abutted against each other. Proponents of the dog run claim the two virtually identical designs split votes allowing the chosen design to win.

Meanwhile, the park was originally to remain at least partially open during renovation. However, the contractor insisted on closing the entirety of the park during renovations, meaning the park will be closed for much of the summer. However, local developer Exeter Property has volunteered a lot adjacent to the park to serve as a temporary playground. The playground should be open by June.

Hamilton Park was closed in early May for renovations; residents look forward to the park reopening on a cold January day

The informal dog run / unused tennis court has been stripped of fencing

The old playground has been crushed

Exeter Property, developer Hamilton Square, a project adjacent to the park, has promised a temporary playground on land that will one day be a small residential building.

The Exeter Property temporary playground lot with Hamilton Park in the background

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NJ Transit Bridge Nearing Completion

The footbridge connecting Jersey City's waterfront with Hoboken is nearly complete. The bridge will create an important link in the waterfront walkway and connect the Newport development in Jersey City directly to the Hoboken Terminal.

The project was long talked about and much delayed by the transit agency. A small, unused canal separates Jersey City from the Hoboken rail yards adding to the expense of completing the walkway. The bridge is mostly built with railings, pavers and lighting yet to be installed. The project, scheduled to be finished in June, will provide a more direct route for pedestrians between the two cities.

For now, the pathway will route through the Hoboken Terminal. Eventually the walkway will extend around the exterior of the station though these tentative plans are not finalized.

The Lefrak organization completed a final segment of the waterfront walkway between the Aqua tower and the new bridge last year. When the bridge opens, the waterfront park will extend from Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken south to the Colgate Clock in Paulus Hook, minus a short segment in Newport where the Lefraks built an office building up to the waterline. One day, the hope is to connect waterfront parks from the George Washington Bridge to Liberty State Park.

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Election Day Madness

Smith and Healy supporters congregating outside the polling place at Grace Van Vorst Church.

Fulop and Healy supporters doing their part to prevent traffic accidents on Erie Street.

The Grove Street PATH station serves as the center of Ward E election day festivities.


Healy Wins Mayor's Race Spending $185 per Vote

Mayor Healy avoided a runoff election yesterday by garnering 53 percent of the vote, or 16,231 votes. Healy spent more than $3 million on the campaign, costing him $185 a vote and besting Mike Bloomberg's $92 a vote and surpassing Corzine's 2000 Senate race cost per vote. Don't worry though, Healy contributors, you'll earn that back through patronage jobs and no bid contracts in no time.

Also fairing well was Steve Fulop, the Ward E councilman who won his race with 60 percent of the vote.

In Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cammarano will face a runoff election, each getting about 35 percent of the vote.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vote Today, 6AM to 8PM

Today is election day in Jersey City and in Hoboken, the one day in four years to replace local politicians without indictments. We've endorsed Dan Levin for Mayor and Steve Fulop for Ward E. The Jersey Journal endorsed Lou Manzo for Mayor and Steve Fulop for Ward E. If that's not enough information for you, The Jersey City Independent has a full section on the issues.

Over in Hoboken, the Jersey Journal endorsed Peter Cammarano. Hoboken411 has a summary of who else is running.

Meanwhile, Tris McCall counted up the campaign signs around the city.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Vote Tomorrow, Vote Levin, Vote Fulop

Municipal elections will be held tomorrow for city offices in Jersey City, Hoboken, and other non-partisan municipal elections around the state. In Jersey City, this means the Mayor and Council all have the chance to get unelected. Candidates must win a majority of cast votes, or face a run off election.

Vote Levin
Civic activist Dan Levin might be the underdog in a race against a sitting mayor and a former assemblyman and a former councilman/acting mayor, but Jersey City's electorate has always been unpredictable.

Mayor Healy is relying on his $3 million war chest to carry him to victory, and its no wonder that as head of the Hudson county machine he was able to raise so much cash, and its no wonder looking around the city why he needs to spend the money. As the incumbent, this election is a referendum on Healy, and its his legacy that will either bolster support or require him to defend.

Healy has flooded cable television and mailboxes across the city with propaganda telling voters the great things he's done. He's taking a cue from the Karl Rove playbook: repeat a lie enough times and maybe people will begin to believe it. Sure, Jersey City's skyline is rising, but it was growing before Healy showed up, and will continue to grow after he is gone. The real challenge is whether city life will continue to improve. Municipal services take their direction from the top; Healy's government is unresponsive, self-serving, and indolent, so its no wonder he's had to spend so much to tell people otherwise.

Some pundits have chosen Lou Manzo as the Healy alternative. Manzo has served Jersey City admirably in Trenton in the past, but he didn't get into the assembly without playing along with the Hudson county machine, even if he has turned his back on them in recent years. He's also the perpetual candidate for mayor, having been rejected by voters four or five times already, not to mention during one of those races he was up against his brother.

Dan Levin is a civic activist, not a machine insider. While we may not agree with him all the time, he's not dismissive and we'd trust in him to have a responsive city government open to the new ideas needed in facing the challenges of a growing city. His quiet demeanor is not that of the typical politician, and let's face it, Jersey City has too many typical politicians. Unlike his opponents, he's not looking simply to get his hand in the city coffers. Dan Levin promises the city government we all want and deserve.

Vote Fulop
The Ward E councilman is the one elected official Jersey City residents don't have to be ashamed of. He and his office are responsive to his constituents. He's an independent voice on the council, not a machine hack. He active seeks input from community groups and has pushed for government reform. Healy doesn't need another crony assisting in the distribution of patronage checks; Steve Fulop is the right choice for Jersey City and more importantly, the right choice for Ward E voters.

255 Wsahington Street

Across the Street from the Main Post Office in Jersey City, this little lot went from demolition to six story building in a matter of months. JC Construction lists the address as 255 Washington Street.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

April Showers Bring Grand Street Tower

The Grand Street Tower should have reached its full height. The center of the structure is still empty, but will likely be filled in as construction continues.

The South side of the tower, with a street shared with Gulls Cove

From Liberty Harbor North with Gulls Cove on the Right

The tower looking east from Bright Street

The Two towers from the light rail tracks


213 Newark Avenue

213 Newark Avenue continues along with bricks along the facade. The side of the building, a stucco-like finish appears to be complete.

The back side of the building


Monaco Mud Puddle

Monaco Towers in Jersey City

The construction at Monaco Towers continues at a snail's pace; the giant mud puddle has become an even big mud puddle.


Camille's Cafe to be Replaced by Muscle Maker Grill

A Muscle Maker Grill is set to replace Camille's cafe in the base of Harborside 4A, next to the Fat Burger.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Fireworks to Return to Hudson

NewYorkology discovered Macy's has moved the Independence Day fireworks display to the Hudson River, sinking plans for an East River barge. Brooklyn's loss is Hudson County's gain, with five barges planned for the Hudson River. Hoboken will have a better view than Jersey City; in fact, the barges will begin at 24th Street and work north towards 50th Street, once again snubbing viewers in Liberty State Park. After several years of positioning a barge off of lower Manhattan, Macy's up and shut down the downtown barge, and then convinced the New York Fire Department to prohibit Jersey City from launching their own barge. It seems New York maintains dominion over the Hudson River. For the last two years, a fireworks display has been launched from the ground at Liberty State Park.

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Construction Begins at Wayne and Barrow

A long time parking lot at the corner of Wayne and Barrow Streets is now under construction.

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Grove Street Bicycle Shop Opens

Grove Street Bicycles in downtown Jersey City

A new bicycle shop opened on Grove Street at First Street. The store is stuffed with bicycles and accessories.

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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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