Over The River: A Peek Into Downtown Jersey City

By Izzy's Mama

Why Jersey City? Well as my husband so aptly put it when we were looking to leave our one-bedroom in midtown, “It’s the closest you’ll get to a brownstone in the West Village.”

Indeed he had a point. Jersey City boasts streets lined with beautiful 19th century brick row houses and brownstones, far more affordable than those in the West Village. What many people don’t realize is that Jersey City is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the city and in many cases is closer than either Brooklyn or Queens. Not only that, but most areas in downtown Jersey City are not more than a 10 minute walk from the Path and then an eight minute ride to the Christopher Street stop.

Neighborhood Vibe

The Hamilton Park area has a Sesame Street like quality about it. Neighbors are friends and people chat from front stoops and backyards. Families and dog people congregate at the nearby park and playground which is slated for major renovation this year. Soon there will be a water park and a brand-new playground to the great delight of all of us.


There is a thriving art scene in Jersey City, with many events that welcome children. The Pro Arts Organization is a great way to become more familiar with all the artist community has to offer.

There are boutique health clubs, yoga classes and even a fabulous Pilates studio , with more options opening on a regular basis.


Schools are an issue but things are definitely looking up. There are a few decent public schools in the area and private school options are increasing with demand. The Hamilton Park Montessori School is one great option and The Ethical Culture School has plans to open a charter school in a nearby neighborhood.

Food (What really matters)

The bustling downtown area boasts several wonderful restaurants, including Marco and Pepe, Ox, Soul Flavors, Taqueria and Saigon Café.

As for staple food shopping, Shoprite and A&P are nearby and if you have a car, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are easily accessible in Edgewater As an added bonus, Jersey City boasts a wealth of small, old-time food shops, from Café Europa Polish Market for homemade kielbasa and pierogi, to Pecoraro’s Bakery, the place to go for wonderful Italian loaves. . There are a few small farmers’ markets which are getting better all the time and two CSAs, one of which I run out of my home. If you still can’t satisfy your cravings in JC, just grab your granny cart and hop on the Path like I do and go shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket (Path stop is at 14th and 6th avenue).

Just across the river with its own scene, downtown Jersey City offers a quieter pace yet is still close enough to Manhattan to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

Izzy's Mama blogs at Izzy Eats: Raising a gourmand, one bite at a time