Jersey City, NJ, Guide (7/52)

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Jersey City Guide featuring Weehawken, Hoboken and Liberty Park

“Where are you off to this weekend?” asked a colleague. “Jersey City” we answered. “Ewwww, why?” came the rejoinder. Well, let the haters hate. Grab a bike and head across the river for some eye popping views of Manhattan, sculpted water front parks, edgy shopping, and delicious eats. This summer day trip was full of pleasant surprises, and left us considering a permanent move across the river.

8:30am Ferry Across the Hudson to Hamilton’s last

Catch the New York Waterway Hudson Ferry from West 39th Street (or downtown) to Port Imperial, Weehawken taking in the views on the 7minute crossing. From the terminal climb Pershing Road up to JFK Boulevard and turn left until you reach Hamilton Park. Full disclosure, it’s a painfully steep 10minute ride, that unless you’re Lance Armstrong, will likely result in you pushing your bike up the hill. What awaits you at the top is totally worth the pain. Having been in the city for 5 years, this was easily the most spectacular and unique view of Manhattan that we’ve come across.

And it gets cooler still for all you history nerds/Hamilton fans. Hamilton Park sits above the infamous dueling grounds, where in the wee hours of 11 July, 1804, Hamilton’s long-standing feud with Aaron Burr culminated in a duel that claimed Hamilton’s life. Take in the spot and then loop around King Avenue and Bonn Place to take in the historic clifftop mansions like Highwood house which played host to such luminaries as Charles Dickens, Washington Irving and Daniel Webster.

10am Breakfast in Hoboken

Coast back down Pershing road onto the waterfront bike path with those Manhattan skyline views for company until you pass the Lipton Tea Factory turned condos at you enter Hoboken. The neighborhood favorite, Anthony David’s is a great brunch stop. Otherwise pick up some sandwiches from Vito’s Deli  or Fiore Deli (closed Sundays) and a coffee from BWE to enjoy beside the water.  Lock up your bike and wander a few blocks along this section of Hoboken’s pleasant high street. Baseball junkies might enjoy the spot marking where the first officially recorded game of baseball took place in 1846, while Sinatra fans might enjoy the Hoboken Historical Museum to learn more about Hoboken’s most famous son.

11:30am Shopping in Hoboken

Cycle some more along the Hudson River Waterway bike path, dismounting to take in the view from the sculpted park on Pier C and wherever else your eyes take you. Continue until you hit the glorious Eerie-Lackawanna terminal and then turn right onto Newark Street to hit Hoboken’s main shopping drag. Start out on 1st street at Brower Club a newly opened and impossibly hip men’s store come coffee shop; then visit Town House Shops and Mint Market for women’s fashion; Aara for delicate and well priced jewelry, and Washington General Store for everything in between. For the foodies, the original Carlo’s Bakery of Cake Boss fame might be worth a visit too, otherwise pick up some artisanal French baked goods from choc-o-pan.

1:30pm Vintage and Galleries

A short ride from Carlo’s down Newark Street and then a left onto Willow Ave will bring you to Proto, a tiny gallery housed in an old industrial building showcasing showing modern art installations. Another 5minutes along Newark and a right onto Harrison will bring you to Barsky Gallery with modern art for sale. Next door Revival Vintage Boutique sells excellent condition vintage dating from the 1920s onward.  Items are dry cleaned and restored, to ensure excellent condition – but don’t expect to find any bargains. Around the corner, Urban Consign one of the most aesthetically gorgeous stores we’ve visited, is worth a look if you’re considering how to furnish your next warehouse loft conversion. From here cycle along the somewhat less picturesque grove street into Jersey City.

3:30pm Jersey City Vintage

The area around the intersection of Montgommery and Grove Street is a vintage shoppers paradise. See Feena Boutique for indie accessories, Love Liesel for vintage inspired jewelry, Kanibal & Co. next door for vintage finds and inspired homeware and Another Man’s Treasure for more of the same down the street. Short Grain serves up delicious Vietnamese inspired cuisine and coffee that will prepare you for the next part of your ride.

5pm Liberty State Park and 9/11 Memorial

Pick up Jersey Avenue and cycle until you hit Liberty State Park. Turn left and into the park along Audrey Zapp drive and then ride along Freedom Way until you hit Flag Plaza. If that doesn’t swell your patriotic pride nothing well. The views of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and Lady Liberty are nothing short of spectacular. Loop back along the boardwalk that runs above the water with view on your ride until you reach the historic  Central Railroad of New Jersey train station (which is worth exploring briefly) before paying your respects at the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial.

6:30pm Refueling in Jersey City

Retrace your route back along Jersey Ave, turning right and Grand Street and then right again on Hudson Street to reach the famous Colgate clock. Then cycle along the riverfront checking out the Katyn memorial. Then head into Jersey City on Montgommery, bear right on Greene Street, and a left on Bay Street will bring you to the Powerhouse District. Craft beer at Departed Soles and craft gelato at Bucket and Bay await. As do many more formal dining options.

7:30pm New York Sunset

Head back toward the river and cycle back to Weehawken with the sunset casting a glow over Manhattan. As night falls watch the city lights shimmer against the Hudson as the view takes on another spectacular form. The view from the ferry back to NYC will live long in your memory. Jersey City……“Ewwwww, why?”

 

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