In the year 2004, the Mars Rover landed on the Red Planet. A whale exploded in Tainan City, Taiwan. Facebook was launched. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Ground was broken for the Freedom Tower. The Statue of Liberty reopened. Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Julia Child, Johnny Ramone, and Christopher Reeve died.
And Jersey City Magazine was born.
If we were talking marriage it would be our tin anniversary. OK, not my first choice for a birthday bauble, but we have a lot to look forward to: crystal, china, silver, pearl, ruby, gold—and if we are still around in the year 2074—diamond.
When our first issue debuted, Glenn D. Cunningham was mayor, Steven Fulop was running (unsuccessfully) for a seat in Congress, the tallest building in New Jersey had just opened on the Jersey City waterfront, and the Jersey City Medical Center was newly operating on Grand Street.
When you publish a semi-annual publication, you are bound to make unavoidable errors. Here are a few from our debut issue: Headline: “9/11 Memorial Statue on the Way.” Oops, not exactly. The infamous “Tear Drop” statue by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli was rejected by former Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, reportedly because he didn’t like it. The monument to the “Struggle Against World Terrorism” finally found a home on the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor.
Here’s another one: “Parks Will Showcase Area History.” Really? We reported that construction was beginning on a series of “History Parks” or “History Gardens.” These “outdoor museums” would tell the story of areas such as Lafayette, Downtown, Journal Square, the Heights, and Greenville. The first park was to be located on the corner of Monitor and Maple. Hmmm, that’s my hood and I have yet to see a history park.
Of course, much has changed in the last decade. But the old saw that the more things change, the more they stay the same is also true. In the debut issue, writer Ricardo Kaulessar wrote about JC’s ethnic communities. We reprised that story in our Spring/Summer 2013 issue with a story titled “Tower of Babel: That melodious cacophony? It’s Jersey City talking,” in which we note that 69 languages are spoken in the city. Jersey City’s diversity was on display in the mid-1600s when English, Dutch, Native Americans, and indeed other cultures as well crossed paths in the Bergen and Paulus Hook sections of Jersey City. Immigrants from one part of the world or another may be ascendant at any given time, but the Golden Door is always wide open. Our food is the best exemplar of our diversity. Recently, I was in need of a Korean translator and had to go no further than the nearest Korean restaurant.
Ricardo also wrote a story about our four theaters: the Loew’s, the Stanley, the State, and the Majestic. Today, the Loew’s is thriving as an entertainment venue. The Majestic has been made into condominiums. The State was torn down to make way for an apartment building known as State Square. We wrote about the Stanley in our Fall/Winter, 2011/12 issue. It is now an assembly hall for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In our debut issue, there was a feature titled “Meet the (New) Neighbors,” which profiled new families who had moved to JC. We probably wouldn’t do that now because Jersey City is absolutely erupting with new families, and we just wouldn’t know where to begin.
A feature titled “Take This Job” profiled folks with “not-so-normal” occupations. One of them was the ever-important job of crossing guard. We instituted a department called “On the Job With—” and in our Fall/Winter 2012/13 issue, we did a spread on crossing guards. There was a feature on fitness in our premier issue. Again, today there are too many fitness, health, and sports clubs; yoga, Zumba, and Pilates studios, to mention.
In our 2004 debut issue, our publishers, Dave Unger and Lucha Malato, who have owned the Hudson Reporter since 1983, penned a Letter from the Publishers. They wrote, “It is our hope that you will discover some of the magic that has drawn thousands of companies and individuals together on New Jersey’s Gold Coast … We hope you enjoy reading through the pages of Jersey City Magazine and find the stories uplifting and interesting and the information we have provided to be useful.”
Now Dave and Lucha have 10 years of experience to draw on. “We’ve learned that there is a real appetite in Jersey City for a glossy lifestyle magazine,” Lucha said. “The magazine is bigger, the photos are stellar, and the stories reflect the changes in Jersey City. Without the endlessly fascinating people who live and work in this town, there would be no magazine.”
“And about those changes,” Dave said. “The city has seen tremendous development—from new high rises to renovations of landmark properties. Young people and families with kids have integrated seamlessly into the town’s well-established neighborhoods. While new restaurants, small businesses, and arts venues are thriving, the city has managed to maintain its character, traditions, and sense of history.”
Diamond Jubilee anyone?—JCM