You already know that Hudson County is a great place to live and that Jersey City and Hoboken are the two happening towns that draw new homeowners, small businesses—and yes, folks from Manhattan who want to have a good time across the river. This past spring, Re-Invention TV let the rest of the world know. Its “Best Places to Live in New Jersey” series won an Emmy for the episode, “The Gold Coast,” featuring Jersey City and Hoboken. The episode originally aired on July 11, 2012 on NJTV and was re-broadcast in April 2013 to coincide with the Emmys.
The show is hosted by award-winning New York Daily News real-estate writer Jason Sheftell, who died unexpectedly in June at the age of 46.
Sheftell was excited about all the sights he visited. Though well travelled, he approached local venues with just as much enthusiasm as exotic destinations. He’s the good friend you always want at your dinner table for great conversation and passion for food. It’s fun to see your hometown on national television, celebrated with the kind of ardor that Sheftell bestows on his chosen locales.
But while it gives you the feel of an engaging travel program with beautiful scenery, savory food from local restaurants, and the personalities that make the community feel like home, for those of us in the know, the episode just scratches the surface.
For the most part, there’s not much of the hidden treasures or best-kept secrets. Sheftell goes for the grand and the obvious: The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Liberty State Park, the Liberty Science Center, the Liberty House, and in Hoboken, Carlo’s Bakery, and the Erie Lackawanna railroad station.
Still, it will be an eye-opener for folks who don’t know the territory, and Sheftell’s obvious pleasure in what he refers to as the Gold Coast makes for a fun 30 minutes. You can view the Gold Coast episode at re-inventiontv.com.
“The star of the show is Hoboken and Jersey City, and that’s why it won the Emmy,” Sheftell said. His enthusiasm for neighborhoods and the people who live in them is what makes the show. He wasn’t just a host; he was a travel writer. “I love places, people, and the communities that we live in,” he said. “Hoboken and Jersey City have character and emotion. There’s a good sense of balance and that makes them work.”
Alan Goldsher is CEO of Re-Invention TV and executive producer of “The Best Places to Live” series. “Jason has an easy on-camera style,” he said. “He really is an expert in real estate, neighborhoods, and people. Jason connected to the personalities of the people in the show. We set out to do great shows, telling great stories, starring a great newspaper writer. It was important that we make a great first impression.”
The series of six episodes is sponsored by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, K. Hovnanian, and Union Center National Bank.
The episode begins by telling the history of the Jersey coast communities in the shadow of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Hoboken’s historic Lackawanna railroad station. “Hoboken and Jersey City came from the very people who came off these boats,” Sheftell says, while viewing the Statue of Liberty from the river. “Writing about this for the 10-plus years I have been doing this, you get a handle on where you are in the world. You feel the history, the drive, and emotion. You feel why people live there. Jersey City has pockets of real beauty, real urban nature, and commercial growth that are fantastic. When you look at Hamilton Park, the waterfront, and the magnificent views of New York City you can’t help but get excited.”
Jersey City’s new residents often remark on how the town “grows on you.” Indeed, the Gold Coast episode reached a wider audience that was unaware of JC’s charms, history, attractions, and fabulous views. “They have no idea of what it’s like to live in these areas, which is why we do this,” Golsher said. He said the episode elicited responses, such as “I never knew.” They also didn’t know about Jersey City’s historic downtown, our thriving art scene, or outdoor concerts series Groove on Grove, festivals, and farmers’ markets.
The episode also highlighted Jersey City’s easy access to Manhattan and the Manhattanites who often favor the posh highrises, such as 77 Hudson, on our ever-expanding waterfront.
To give just the slightest taste of Jersey City’s vast diversity, in the episode Sheftell interviews Nick Vazquez of Azucar who shares the Cuban history and food traditions that have transformed this family establishment into a four-star restaurant that was awarded 2012 Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Goldsher says, “People familiar with the area say, ‘Thank you for doing this. It’s great to see the place I’m from honored this way.’”—JCM