Open the Arches Fundraiser in Journal Square May 9

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Open The Arches Fundraiser Journal Square Jersey City
The Erie Cut and Bergen Arches as a park imagined by Jersey City artist Richard La Rovere.

The Journal Square Community Association in partnership with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will be hosting a fundraiser for the Bergen Arches on May 9, 2019. Called Open the Arches, the event will raise funds for the transformation of the 17-acre historic railway cut near Journal Square into a park inspired by The High Line in NYC.

The Erie Cut runs between Tonnelle and Palisade Avenues and was excavated to provide an open-air route for coal-burning passenger steam engines on their way to the Hoboken and Pavonia train stations. To keep city streets crossing the cut intact, six arched bridges — aka the Bergen Arches — were constructed.

The last passenger train traveled along the Erie Cut and through the Bergen Arches in 1957 and the railway bed has been abandoned ever since, becoming an all-but-forgotten overgrown woodland area in the heart of Journal Square.

Open the Arches will be held at the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Journal Square and will feature musical guests Eldad Tamu and the Flying South Latin Jazz Ensemble, a silent art auction, and a food festival — the Taste of Journal Square. BikeJC will also provide bicycle valet service.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets are $25. Sponsors of the event include Whealth, BikeJC, The Journal Square Special Improvement District, Studio B9 Photography, Sustainable JC, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, Titanium Realty Group, and Jersey City artist Richard La Rovere.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit openthearches.com.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This looks like it could make for a pretty great park but I don’t see any specifics of how the JSCA plans to do this. Who currently owns the property? How do they intend to pay for it? The site photos and illustrations are pretty much a nothing burger. Why not use a drone and make a post a proper video. I realize one has to start someplace but a $25 fundraiser is a drop in the bucket for a project that is going to cost tens of millions of dollars, if not upwards of $100 million. I can’t see the private sector contributing that kind of money as was done for the Highline in NY, or paying to maintain it.

    As for the Highline itself I don’t see the connection. The Erie Cut would be a subterranean park with no expansive view of anything save for the sky. The Highline was built on a cast iron Art Deco structure which was a work of art itself. It was a huge success for a number of reasons including bringing in world class architects like Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel to build along side of it. I don’t see something similar happening in JC.

    • The High Line is a former rail cut turned into a linear park, we find the Bergen Arches similar in that regard. Our immediate goal is to figure out a way to secure public access. Right now the property is owned by NJTransit and it needs to be sold, leased, or given an easement to the State, County, or City. Our role is to advocate for the public to obtain rights to access the property.

      The project can be phased in a way at reduces start up capital. We would like to focus a on opening a small section first, and then build off that. The Bergen Arches is basically a park today and with with a small amount of capital you could probably get one section opened to the public, excluding acquisition costs.

  2. As someone who has been following the potential Bergen Arches projects, I think this post needs some clarity. For simplicity’s sake there is a clear distinction between Open The Arches and Bergen Arches.

    1. Open The Arches was founded by an architect focused on developer work and believes opening the arches quickly as its own park would better benefit the ongoing development above the arches.

    2. Bergen Arches (bergenarches.com) is the preservation project which is a non-profit and is aimed at a much larger strategy that will benefit Jersey City (and the environment) as a whole. For more information, you should attend the exhibit which showcases how Jersey City could be a global leader in green infrastructure. It is absolutely not associated with Open The Arches and doesn’t ask for donations.

  3. Not a ‘High Line’ project at all. Looks like a great place for drugs, crime, squatting and whatever to happen. In short order, no on in their right mind would go ‘down there’ to enjoy anything.

    • Interesting analysis…would love to see your sources. Since from what I have gathered speaking to people most would be excited about this project and just from the traction this proposal is getting, it completely contradicts what you just stated. The problem I have seen is unfortunately we have some very negative people in our community that see any kind of change as detrimental. They also never have any alternative plans or any sort of plan, they just trash others ideas. These people generally just live in the past and don’t have the ability to look into the future.

      • What exactly is this proposal? Bergen Arches at least has some interesting studies. Open the Arches has nothing. Open it as a park as soon as possible? The excavation, stairwells, security features, public toilets, guards, etc, etc would cost a bundle. How do they intend to pay for this? Just donate money to their website? Where’s the accounting? Where’s the oversight? The NY Highline had backers like Diane von Furstenberg and M. Bloomberg. There’s no plan, no blueprint, no models, nothing of substance. Great to have pie in the sky fantasies but show me how you intend to do this. I think one ought to be very skeptical indeed.

    • This would also eventually connect to the 6th St Embankment. So yes part of it would have a “High Line” component. Oh the lack of imagination some people have.

  4. I’m in support of reclaiming the Bergen Arches. I reported on this space more than a decade ago. For some long-time residents this was already a park (“Deadman’s tunnel” was a popular feature) but that’s another story. The skeptics here have a point, though. This fundraiser suggests that money will go to reclaiming the area and building the park. Organizers and sponsors (Mayor Fulop included) must know better than that. The cost of acquisition alone couldn’t be covered by a hundred, or a thousand, such fundraisers. Organizers should explain that the fundraiser would help “advocacy” efforts, if that’s what they’re planning. I’m surprised the mayor is on board with this somewhat shady event.

    • We have a full business plan that was adopted by the board of the Journal Square Community Association. In it it specifies how the money can be used. Mostly it is reserved for research, such a documenting all the plant life, or understanding storm-water issues as well as advocacy. We believe that more understanding about the Bergen Arches and how it can be used to benefit the community will help the case for making it a park.

  5. From the fine print: *Any remaining funds at the conclusion of this initiative will be credited to the general fund of the Journal Square Community Association to facilitate its mission of creating a clean, green and safe Journal Square.

    Remaining funds??

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