Sunday, 13 February 2011

Crazy Patchwork of a City

Saint Peter's College is located in Jersey City, New Jersey--just a stone's throw across a thin section of the Hudson River from majestic Manhattan, the center of New York City. Jersey City has been known in recent decades as an economically-depressed area, but over the past ten years or so much of the city, especially the business center and 19th-century "brownstone" homes near the waterfront, have been significantly renovated. Close to the river and in the historical district of the city, new and interesting restaurants and shops continually open; Saint Peter's College itself is a notable cultural center which continues to grow and improve.

Other areas of the city, however, remain a run-down hodgepodge of buildings of various styles, in various states of disrepair. Streets are narrow, drivers are aggressive; now, in February, mounds of dirty snow make parking virtually impossible.

However, Jersey City is also vibrant: its population is extremely diverse, with residents from Egypt, India, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and many different states across the US. People who want to be near New York City can live in Jersey City when they cannot afford NYC prices--and it's a quick subway ride from JC into the heart of Manhattan. Our shops reflect our diversity, from hookah cafes to Indian jewelers to Halal butchers. This optimistic, bright-yellow meat market: "Lucky 4," which also purports to sell "coffee, chocolate, and vegetables," reflects to me the crazy patchwork which is Jersey City.

Rachel Wifall
St. Peter's College

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