New Proposal Hopes to Restrict Downtown Jersey City Nightlife

Downtown Jersey City Entertainment Licenses Ordiance
Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Since first being installed in 2015, the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza has continued to develop into one of Jersey City’s major nightlife spots. While some argue that the street’s evolution is one of the city’s great success stories, others have noted some unintended consequences related to quality of life in the neighborhood.

That debate is being brought front and center by two new proposed ordinances that could both address noise issues and limit the number of clubs in the city’s Historic Downtown Special Improvement District. Both ordinances are sponsored by Ward E Councilman James Solomon and the most significant change would involve limiting the number of entertainment licenses that could be issued along Newark Avenue.

“A large number of businesses established and planned along the [Newark Avenue Pedestrian] Mall have applied for entertainment licenses to play live music or to play recorded music for group entertainment,” the first ordinance reads. “This large concentration of businesses with entertainment licenses along the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall has the potential to alter the original intent of the mall as a place for pedestrians to gather and turn it into a primarily night-club driven entertainment district.”

The legislation notes that police calls in the neighborhood around the mall have increased dramatically since 2013, as complaints about interpersonal conflicts are up 194%. Calls regarding loud music increased 450% and complaints about street fights were up 177% during the same time.

To combat the issue, the proposed ordinance would place some restrictions on entertainment licenses, which need to be acquired for any establishment featuring live music, dancers, floor-shows, or a DJ. Within the Newark Avenue Special Improvement District, entertainment licenses could not be issued to establishments that are within 250 feet of another business that already has an entertainment license.

The new regulations wouldn’t place any limit on the number of entertainment licenses the neighborhood could have but would require they be separated by at least 250 feet. Under the proposal, all entertainment licenses obtained before September 1 of this year would be grandfathered in. The ordinance contains a few other regulations that aim to curb noise, as any establishment with a license would be restricted from placing the entertainment within 10 feet of any entrance door or open window.

A second ordinance proposed by Solomon would strengthen the city’s existing Peace and Good Order article of their code. It states that no person shall “operate non-vehicular music or sound production devices where sound from such devices may be heard on any public street, sidewalk, park or place, in such a manner as to be Plainly Audible.” Both ordinances were tabled at the city council’s July 17 meeting so an informal committee consisting of Councilmen Solomon, Daniel Rivera and Jermaine Robinson will meet to review the ordinance, which could be brought up again sometime later this year.

The proposed regulations are being discussed about a year after new restrictions were placed on bars along the pedestrian plaza, which decreed that all rooftop sections must close to the public by midnight. Restaurants along Newark Avenue’s green paint corridor continue to be popular; just last week, we reported on another proposed rooftop restaurant that could open at the building that’s currently under construction at 143 Newark Avenue.



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  1. The most dumbest proposal ever! This is a city, not a small village or town! As larger and more populated the city becomes, the more demand there is. To curb nightlife is to make this city a sleep town… The opposite or live, work, play concept the city has been trying to build for years…

  2. Beyond stupid proposal. I moved to Jersey City for “city life” if I wanted a sleepy village I could move to South Orange or Montclair

    • See a lot of comments against the ordinances. I guess its more important for folks to be entertained than others to have a normal quality of life without excessive noise and crime. A bit self centered perhaps and not thinking of other’s rights? Glad I don’t live downtown in frat boy heaven.

  3. I lived in jc for 45 years I just moved out last year this place sucks I have to come here every day to go to work.You could not give me a free apt or a house to live here again. Everyone here is living on top of each other’s back u got no room to breathe. I will never live here again

    • Sounds like you like living in the suburbs… Have you seen Manhattan or Brooklyn? It’s far more cramped, but that’s the city life, one I love! And one the city(Jersey City) was trying to create, hence people that like suburban life such as yourself, moved to their liking, while others like myself embrace it! Clearly Jersey City population has grown, so I’m not alone…

  4. This proposal is utterly stupid. If you see how thriving bars/shops/ entertainment has help Jersey city evolve into a prominent fixture for new jerseyans to stimulate our state economy instead of going across the bridge you wouldn’t even think to propose this bs.

  5. Government overreach at its worst. James Solomon, Ward E Councilperson, just like your absurd, unfair, and likely to be overturned AirBnB regulations; this will damage small businesses and ruin the allure of Jersey City to young professionals (with money). Not sure where you get your information from, but those on Grove Street/Newark avenue like the good jobs and fun that come with modern and innovative bars/restaurants. Haven’t seen you out on Newark Avenue much James Solomon, Ward E Councilperson, if you were, you’d clearly see that your seemingly insatiable need for over-regulation will irreparably damage a bustling area with plenty of room for additional growth.

  6. I live on the pedestrian strip downtown. I was born and raised in NJ + use to live in Brooklyn, then Manhattan, and moved here to JC in 2013. My partner moved up here a few years ago from DC. We are city people. My first reaction to this was that it could stifle the artsy + unique city that JC is and continues to become more of but I do think something needs to be put in place to help protect JC from becoming Hoboken. I love that I can go outside at 7pm and see kids riding their bikes, the Puertorican community blasting salsa creating their own dance party in the street, a few harmless homeless men I’ve come to know by first name hanging on the benches. I wondered how this new bill would impact the vibrant community that hustle, bustles, and makes the area their own? How can we limit sports bars and encourage more unique, diverse + organic entertainment? 250 feet … idk much about how and why this came to be but I think this only will encourage entertainment to continue to spread to other parts beyond the pedestrian strip which isn’t a bad thing.

    • Personally I’m not ok with PRs blasting salsa or any other genre for that matter. It’s an an invasion of my space and a violation of the City Code thats bars amplified sound without a permit. The street is public property not an extension of one’s living room. I doubt very much if the citizenry would ok with people dressed in black goth attire playing Black Sabbath and Pallbearer at 110 Dbs. As for the “few” homeless bums you do realize they’re homeless?

        • Not a gentrifier. There is not one set of rules for you and your ilk and another set of rules for everyone else. “Blasting” obnoxiously loud music without a permit is a violation of the JC Municipal Code, Chapter 222, sec 1- 5. Don’t invade my space.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with the other commenters: another Solomon policy designed for the new condo crowd downtown many of whom don’t want to live in a city and will move to the burbs in a year or two.

  8. I’m not familiar will all of the politics and ordinances being proposed or discussed at city hall, but I think this ordinance solves a problem that does not exist or at least reduce the quality of life for the nearby residents. Just as the ordinance looking to outlaw AirBnB, this ordinance is recognizes the voices of a few loud complaints but does not look out for the greater good of the population. It protects the licenses of the businesses already with the entertainment licenses by reducing competition, it reduced revenue the city and local business can earn, it stifles the quality of the entertainment scene in JC, among many other issues.

    I see percentage increases in complaints, but what are the numbers? Did the 450% increase calls about loud music go from 2 to 9 or 200 to 900? If the former, than this ordinance is complete nonsense. Percentages don’t tell the whole story. Seems like Ward E Councilman James Solomon is overreaching and looking to make a name for himself ahead of an upcoming election.

  9. So people are complaining that this is designed to improve the lives of people actually living in downtown, as opposed to just playing or working downtown. What kind of horrible politician would do such a thing as improve the lives of people living in his Ward!?

  10. oh yeah, let’s destroy everything that’s successful in Jersey City… I’ve been living downtown since 2001 and the renewal of Newark avenue is one of the best things that happened here. I remember the sorry state of the avenue just a few years back, desolate, scary and filled only with sad 99 cents stores and pawn shops for stolen goods and please, let’s not go back there…

  11. Yes, let’s go back to Newark Ave being nothing but homeless people(i do miss Paco and Taco tho) and dollar stores because that was amazing. Downtown Jersey City is pretty quiet outside of this like 3 block area. Come to the the West side in the summer and then please complain about loud music to me. I am from the the area, lived downtown for almost 10 years, and have been in JC for 13. Newark Ave is the area for these clubs, bars, and restaurants. The growth downtown took FOREVER please don’t stifle it. We need the money in our local economy and it’s creates a great place to live with actual things to do. If you don’t like the noise move like 4 blocks further from the path station… it’s really not that difficult.


  13. Downtown JC is insanely quiet with the exception of this small strip. I don’t understand why we’re looking at ordinances to keep Downtown JC from growing into a vibrant, welcoming community when there are other actionable ways to affect change that can both positively impact the shops/bars/restaurants and the residents of this area.


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