I am an international student at City Tech who came to the United States just about two years ago. Currently I live in Jersey City, New Jersey with my uncle and aunt. The place is called the Marion neighborhood and it is a part of the Hudson County. I would call this place somewhere in between urban and suburban. This blog will show why I consider my neighborhood to be a mix of both urban and suburban based on the elements of places, diversity, transportation and other facilities.
The place is always alive with fast food restaurants, 24-hour pharmacies, delis and grocery stores are at every corner and Aqui, a supermarket is about 90 seconds from my home. I believe the Guardian Spirit of the place is felt in some of the elements like the scale, proportion, sound, vegetation, color and texture. The neighborhood mostly has low rise two family wooden houses. The houses are either whitish or brownish in color – pretty mundane you could say. But the most important element, the people here are very lively. All the neighbors know each other at least by face if not by names and are always ready to help.
From what I have heard from my uncle and aunt, that the neighborhood was initially an Italian neighborhood. However, from what I have seen in these couple of years, the place is so diverse in nature. Our neighbors are from all over the world – Italy, Kenya, China, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, India, Pakistan and Morocco. The reason behind having such a diverse neighborhood, I guess goes back to money and investment. People here think buying a house is a good investment. So they are buying these houses in a relatively cheaper price and selling them after a few years in a much higher price. In the meantime have the houses for rent, especially to the software people who are mostly from India or China. Having the St. Peter’s University (one of a very few concrete buildings in the area) just minutes away from my home also contributes to the diversity of the community.
Speaking of diversity brings me to the number of different religious places in the area. We have three churches, a mosque, a Sikh Temple and another Hindu Temple (I’m not sure which deity it is dedicated to). The diversity is not only noticeable in the religious places, but also in the backyard. In the backyards of the Indians one could see vegetables like squash, pepper, tomatoes, etc. Italians would plant fruits like pears while that of the Pakistanis will have flowers like rose and some other hybrid flowers.
Not only are there temples and churches for social gatherings, but also parks. LaPointe Park is the nearest and a pretty small one. This is a must go place for all those kids from the day care centers around the neighborhood and also the kids from Liberty High School. The high school is just a block away from my home. The Lincoln Park is a big one; however, it takes about ten minutes to go there. The Marion Branch Library is another spot worth mentioning, although, I haven’t been to the library. Besides, the parks, the churches, the library, there’s one other thing of relevance which is the Holy Name Cemetery which is about 4 houses from mine. It is administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
Except for the height of the buildings, the description I have given so far mostly shows the urban nature of the neighborhood. But the reason I consider it to have a suburbia feel is the transportation. The nearest train station that offers a transit to the New York City is in Journal Square which is about twenty minutes walking from my home. And the worst part is, the road is uphill (No matter what dress I am wearing I always have to put on that sneaker!) However, thinking of it as a good exercise, I calm myself down and keep repeating it in my mind as I walk up the road, “This is saving your money from hitting the gym.” There aren’t too many buses either. There are only two bus services- one takes you from The Society Hill (a posh housing complex) to the Journal Square Path Station and the other one takes you to the Hudson Mall, the nearest shopping center. So, having a car and being able to drive is recommended.
No place on earth is perfect. No matter where you live and how beautiful it is, you will always want to have more- human nature! But I love the place I live in. This place provides us with most of the urban facilities and also we don’t face the hustle and bustle of the city-life. And this is what makes me love this place so much.