Bye-Bye Manhattan, Helloooo Jersey City!

See that view right there? That's our old home. We used to live just on the other side of the Holland Tunnel over yonder in Tribeca, until we left Manhattan for Jersey City. Like, less than a month ago.

Let's talk about how that sort of thing can happen.

We didn't follow any financial firm across the river or any swell in popularity that we were tuned into. In fact, there was no obvious reason why we would move to Jersey City. We work in Manhattan (well, I did until the World's Cutest Human decided to grow within and pop out of me last year. The Love of My Life still does), all of our friends live either in Manhattan or in Brooklyn, and the life we've built since we moved to NYC two years ago is in Manhattan.

Oh, and did I mention that we were still mid-lease? That's a fun fact, too: we broke our lease in Manhattan and paid a hefty price tag in the process to move to Jersey City, and it wasn't out of any form of necessity. Ha, life is funny!

So why Jersey City, and why right now?

Well, being quite literally across the Hudson River, I often used to watch the ferry scurry back and forth from Paulus Hook to the World Trade Center when I was running on the West Side Highway path or sitting in one of the parks along the way. "Huh, it's not that far," I would think to myself. It took the ferry less than five minutes to cross the river, and so I started to wonder what was on the other side and why more people weren't talking about it.

The Love of My Life and I had already decided to explore new horizons when our lease was up in the fall. We wanted to leave Manhattan for all the typical reasons a couple who suddenly finds a small human has joined their duo might reference. So we set out to explore one potential neighborhood each weekend.

Naturally, I assumed we'd end up in Brooklyn because that's the cool, expected thing for two people in the creative industries to do (it's cooler to be in Brooklyn than Manhattan among our artist, designer, creative, advertising friends). But here's what I found:

  • The apartments were barely cheaper in Brooklyn than Manhattan, if at all;
  • The apartments were small, just like in Manhattan;
  • Everybody and their mom, dog, brother's wife's sister-in-law's second cousin, and neighbor are moving to Brooklyn. So it feels crowded, like Manhattan;
  • We weren't falling in love with any of the neighborhoods we visited in Brooklyn;
  • Why's it gotta be so hard to get around Brooklyn, mayn?

Then there was this list of fun facts:

  • Jersey City is insanely cheaper than Manhattan. $30,000+-a-year-in-our-pocket cheaper.
  • We have more space. A lot more space. I'm talking three-times-as-much-space-with-a-patio-and-a-BBQ-grill-more-space.
  • It's not a "hot spot." Yet.
  • Yet, it's so hot. It's family-friendly, with cute, yummy little restaurants and coffee shops, and a select few supercool boutiques, shops and bars. It's pretty and it's calm. There are parks and accessible libraries. And it seems like a lot of really cool people do already know about it. It's like a well-known secret - do those exist? Yes, and it's called Jersey City.

It all added up to a no-brainer for us, and off we went.

The first question people ask is, "Why would you move there?" Or better yet, we find ourselves on the receiving end of a pitying nod that says, "I understand, things aren't going too well these days. We've all gotta do what we've gotta do in times of need."

But they're wrong. Each day I discover another reason why it was 150% the smartest thing we've ever done (perhaps a wee exaggeration, but you get the point) to move here. Every day since we've moved, one or the other of us exclaims, "it's as though this place was designed for us!" An amazing teeny-weeny authentic (BYOB-but-across-from-a-liquor-store) French restaurant, endless farmer's markets and art markets, a gym two blocks away with babysitting, parks, libraries, waterfront, delicious coffee shops, music in the streets...

I could go on and on. And it's week three. So that's what I plan to share; the best thing I've discovered as I discover it. If you, too, are new to Jersey City and that piques your curiosity, bookmark this page. Or perhaps you're considering a move to Jersey City and are looking to understand what it's like for a young family. We didn't find very adequate resources about life in Jersey City when we were moving over but leaped out on the limb anyway. We've landed on our feet and I hope that BURBS + A BBQ can help you capitalize on the best in Jersey City for kids, parents and families.

I can't wait to share tips, ideas and news with you all! See you on the playground.