May is a day away, and the change in weather seems to brush up a new tide of residents to the Hudson. Soon movers will arrive with trucks and vans full of new neighbors, and for some, this issue will be the first edition read of The Hudson Reporter
weekend newspapers. So welcome to a place where the grass is just a little bit greener than New York, the parking is harsh, and the politics are always interesting. And no, new residents won't find a welcome wagon at their front door, but as a kind gesture, a few long-term residents have taken the time to advise their new neighbors on what to expect from their local towns. Jersey City
One of the greatest problems in the city seems to be parking. "It's horrible," said Parking Authority Director Carmine Venezia. "It's as bad as Hoboken." And residents and officials attest to the fact that tickets, towings and bootings have been on the rise lately. "They're strict about parking, and they're quick to put on a boot," said Jersey City resident and mail carrier Rashidah Young. "If you park illegally or have too many tickets, they will boot your car. They're also quick to ticket. If you run in somewhere and don't pay the meter, it's like they're just waiting to ticket you." But Venezia said that the city has resorted to ticketing and towing as a "self-defense mechanism" to protect residents. "We're trying to be very strict," said Venezia. "The residents are screaming that there is no parking in the neighborhood, because non-residents are taking all their spaces. We scanned 190 cars the other day and found out that 98 of them were not from Jersey City. People rather drive to Jersey City from wherever to take the bus to Manhattan, and pay the $29 ticket for parking without a permit than pay for parking in New York." But Parking Authority officials said that the $26 alternate side of the street parking tickets for street sweeping are the tickets issued the most. "More than half of our tickets are alternate parking tickets," said Venezia. "People don't care. They're lazy or forget to move their cars. But after you receive a certain amount of tickets and don't pay, you will get booted." Parking permits are $5 and can be obtained at the Parking Authority building located at 394 Central Ave. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To remove a boot from a car costs $50, and to obtain a car that's been towed costs $80. But parking officials say that these expensive inconveniences can be avoided by new residents. "Please come to get a permit," said Venezia. "We don't want to ticket, boot, or tow you. We just want to serve you." Resident Ashley Maikranz said that she avoids tickets simply by not driving. "The best way to get around town are on the local $1 shuttles," said Maikranz. "They're always around, and anybody can use them. It's better than using a car, because I see them ticket like crazy." Jersey City Heights resident Gregory Cox said he doesn't travel much because Heights residents live in the best section of city. "The Heights are the safest place in Jersey City, because it's usually quiet," said Cox. "Downtown is never quiet, but the Heights is pretty good. But you have to be careful at night and on weekends, because you see people selling and smoking [marijuana] up and down Palisade Ave. It's not big-time drugs, but people should be aware. You see less in the Heights, though." Another Heights resident, Javier Gomez, said he spends most of his time in New York and Hoboken. "There's nothing here," said Gomez. "I work in New York, I go to the gym in New York and I like to go out to bars in Hoboken or New York. But it's hard to hang out in this area, because the bars close at 2 a.m. during the week and the liquor stores close at 10 p.m. Sometimes I don't get home from work till 10 p.m." However, Gomez did say that the transportation in Jersey City is frequent and on time. "The buses are just as regular here as they are in Hoboken or New York," said Gomez. "But if you work late or stay out late and you're in Hoboken, good luck getting a cab if you don't live in Hoboken. You have to call and wait forever to get one. But the PATH runs every half-hour late at night, so that's not too bad." Hoboken
Parking in Jersey City may seem bad, but Hoboken residents and workers swear that their parking problems are worse. "Parking stinks," said Hoboken dog walker Maggie Riscoe of local pet service In-Home Critter Care. "Rent a garage, or sell your car and walk, because you cannot find parking. Forget about parking on Washington Street. You can drive for hours at night looking for a spot by your house." Residents say that permits are strictly enforced in the city. "They will ticket and tow in a flash," said two-year resident Brian Thomas. "If you double park, bang! A $45 ticket appears before you can return a movie. If you don't have a permit and park for more than four hours, you're car is gone in two minutes after the four-hour limit an you're stuck with a $90 towing fee." Hoboken dog walker Jay Prins was born and raised in Hoboken, but recently moved to Jersey City because he said the parking was crazy, the rent was too high and the city was just getting too crowded. "Hoboken is very convenient because a small mile-square city, but there are too many people here and too many people who want to be here," said Prins. "There are so many bars and restaurants, so there's always people here. This is a nice town to live in for a couple of years, but you get tired of it. It's a party town." As infamous as Hoboken is for its parking, the city seems to be as equally famous for its scores of bars. But as popular as Hoboken is for its nightlife, Prins said that the best place for people to meet a mate is at the dog run at Church Square Park on Fourth and Willow. "If you move to Hoboken and want to meet someone, don't go to a bar, get a dog," said Prins. "I've seen more couples meet here, even people who got married, just by bringing their dogs to the dog run. It's the best meet market in town." Prins did caution that Board of Health officials do check dogs all around town for license and rabies tags and will ticket dog owners without valid tags. Parking permits, dog licenses and other city permits can be purchased on weekdays at City Hall, located at 94 Washington St. from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weehawken
One of the quaintest places in Hudson County is Weehawken, home of Alexander Hamilton's famous last duel on the long and winding strip of Boulevard East. "This is a quiet, clean family town with lots of recreation for kids and seniors," said 74-year resident Joe Bradley. "The police are always driving around, and we have guys who sweep on the Boulevard rather than big sweeper machines. And we have the greatest view in Hudson County. Boulevard East is crowded for blocks and blocks with people watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July." Parking in Weehawken isn't as severe as Hoboken or Jersey City, but Parking Authority employee William Urspruch said it's getting harder for residents to park. "You can't park in Weehawken without a permit from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., or you'll get a $48 ticket," said Urspruch. "People are parking here from out-of-town and going to New York, so we need to enforce the permits. The permits are free at Town Hall, but if you just moved in and got a ticket, you can bring it down when you get your permit and the judge will let it go." A popular feature in Weehawken that appeals to all Hudson residents is their supermarket. "The Pathmark on Palisade Ave. is the only one that's open 24 hours a day," said Bradley. "It's the only supermarket around here open all night." Thirteen-year resident Margo Bruton said she likes Weehawken because it's small and safe. "I not only know my neighbors on this block, but I know my neighbors on the next block too," said Bruton. "It's nice, but at the same time you have to be realistic. You can't forget to lock your doors and cars, because you always have to be cautious." Bruton said the worst part about living in Weehawken is the traffic. "It's such a lovely little town that you forget you're in the midst of a bigger urban area until you try to get to the other side of town," said Bruton. "There are so many cars near the Route 495 entrance that it can take half a day to get across Weehawken or onto the highway." But Bruton said that the public transportation to New York and Hoboken is a quick ride. "It's so easy to catch a bus," said Bruton. "No one waits around long; they're always around." Weehawken parking permits can be obtained at Town Hall located at 400 Park Avenue from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.