Jersey City Explained: a Guide for Your Friends Who Have No Idea Where You Live


a guide to jersey city

Editor’s note: This article is meant as a very general overview of Jersey City for people who’ve never been here. As such, it doesn’t dive deep into all the intricacies and nuances of every Jersey City neighborhood.

We’ve all experienced it at some point. Someone in the City asks, Where do you live? You excitedly answer, Jersey City. Then there’s maybe some confusion. And then there are always lots of questions. We’ve also all experienced that great, told-you-so moment when someone says, Jersey City is so close! And fun! We know, but until everyone else knows, here’s a recap of all the reasons to love Jersey City right now and to combat all those questions coming at you from the five boroughs.

Where is Jersey City?

By train, exactly 11 minutes or less from The World Trade Center and 16 minutes or less from Christopher Street, depending on where you live.

Don’t you have to take NJ Transit? Doesn’t the train stop running at night?

Nope, and getting to Manhattan doesn’t get any easier than on the PATH Train. If you work in the Financial District or on the West Side, the commute from Jersey City is one of the fastest. And the PATH Train does in fact run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is punctual on a published schedule which is more than anyone can say for the MTA. Buses and ferries are also convenient options.

Is it expensive?

Rents are cheaper and you can still buy even if you’re not a millionaire. The rental or sale price per square foot is really where you see the difference. Even if you’re renting or buying at a price comparable to New York City, you’re getting more space. And because it is just across the other river, Jersey City has stunning and unobstructed views of New York City, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

mana contemporary art gallery studio jersey city
Mana Contemporary

What’s there to do?

The list goes on and on: a vibrant restaurant and bar scene (and usually no reservation required!), gorgeous green parks and the waterfront esplanade, outdoor farmers’ markets, Citi Bike, ice skating, art galleries, concerts, lots of local events, cultural destinations like Mana Contemporary and Liberty Science Center… Jersey City is also very close by car or train to both Red Bull Arena and MetLife Stadium, home of The Giants and The Jets.

Don’t you have to have a car?

You don’t have to have a car, but if you want one, it’s definitely easier to park on the street and cheaper to park in a lot or garage. And getting out of town doesn’t get any easier either because you’re already on your way by not having to drive through Manhattan. Newark Airport is also by far the most easily accessible airport by car or train in 30 minutes or less.

New Jersey is The Garden State?

It is The Garden State! Living in New Jersey gives you great access to hiking and biking trails and the beautiful beaches down the Jersey Shore.

Is it really cheaper than Queens or Brooklyn?

Maybe this is the most practical reason, but living in Jersey City and working in New York City equals more paycheck. NYC residents pay a personal income city tax rate upwards of 5% when very few cities, including Jersey City, do not assess an individual city income tax. This fact usually blows New Yorkers’ minds and is best saved for last.

We all know Jersey City is the sixth borough. JC even won the 2016 Curbed Cup, an annual contest for best neighborhood usually reserved for NYC ‘hoods! Still considered an underdog by many and completely mystifying by most, some in the know want to keep it the best-kept secret it still kind of is, but most of us just can’t help explaining how much cooler it is to live in Jersey City.

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