HOW WE LIVE
JCM
by Kate Rounds
Mar 21, 2014 | 771 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
How We Live
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
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DROYERS POINT

Droyers Point is a private gated waterfront community in Society Hill with newly constructed townhouses for sale or rent. OK, so that is the official description, but these charming homes are so much more. Just ask Kimberly and Raashan Williams and their five-year-old twin daughters who have lived in Society Hill since 2002.

Society Hill is off Route 440, across from The Home Depot on Bayonne Bay. The family moved to the Droyers Point section about two years ago. “We were living in Society Hill and saw these houses going up,” Kimberly says.

The new homes seemed perfect for them. Raashan C. Williams, M.D., is the director of the cardiac catheterization lab center at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, and Kimberly is a physician’s assistant at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

“We knew we wanted to stay in Jersey City,” Kimberly says. “Raashan practices here, and the house had to be close and very convenient for him. And it’s an easy shot through the Holland Tunnel to get to the city.”

They live in what is known as an “end” house. They don’t have a view of the water but through one of the windows they can see the Bayonne Bridge. The house has three bedrooms, two full baths, two half baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, play area for the kids, and—get this—a man cave.

That’s right, even prominent physicians need their man caves. This one has a wet bar and a 65-inch flat-screen plasma TV. Raashan is a serious Yankees and Giants fan. The walls are painted Yankees blue, and there is lots of sports paraphernalia, including items signed by stars like Eli Manning.

The couple always admired the kind of spa-like bathrooms that you see in fine hotels. They said they’d like one of those in their home, and last year they made it a reality. Among other amenities, the master bath has a five-foot hot tub.

The Williamses love the diversity in Jersey City. Kimberly, who is Filipino, grew up in Bergen County. “That was so the opposite of diverse,” she says. Raashan is half Puerto Rican and half African American. “We have so much invested in Jersey City,” Kimberly says. “It’s a great place to live and raise children.”

They frequent downtown restaurants “all the time,” and Kimberly is a member of the same Mom’s Night Out group as Tameka Alsop. We profiled the Alsop family and their home on Gifford Avenue in our Spring/Summer 2013 issue.

“We did a lot of work to make the house our own,” Kimberly says. “Raashan works crazy hours, and he often says, ‘I love being home.’”

BRIGHT STREET

If you’ve ever been on Bright Street, you can’t miss a building with the words “LUKER BROS.” etched into its stone façade. Legend has it that the former stable once housed props for the Metropolitan Opera, and that urban legend turns out to be largely true.

Now converted into condos, the building is simply called “The Opera House.”

Nureen Neelum Kumar is a satisfied owner. She’d been living in Manhattan and purchased the unit in January 2007. She couldn’t afford Manhattan properties, needed room for a car, and liked Jersey City because it had not been completely gentrified, and there was a lot of waterfront.

“I needed a place with a dining room because I like to cook, and I also needed office space because I work from home,” she says. The unit occupies 1,508 square feet.

All the units in the building have a “lofty” feel with open spaces. In addition to the dining room, there is a kitchen, two bedrooms and two full baths.

But it was the “exposed big wide original beams” that really sold Kumar on the place. “They’re spectacular,” she says, “and it has super high ceilings—18 foot.”

Each unit has a detached fireplace, which gives it “a ski-lodge element. It looks like a chalet with sturdy wood and shiny beautiful wood floors,” she says. “It has a monster fireplace, and I use it religiously. I have the wood delivered from Upstate New York in a huge van.” She says she has all the fireplace gear but that it’s “taken some time to learn” how to make a good fire.

The unit has lot of things she’s collected over the years, including a “huge gorgeous granite dining table” that she grew up with. “That’s the starting point,” she says. She bought light fixtures, fans, and chandeliers, and the condo has a lot of Asian art, including East Indian and Philippine art.

Kumar, who is a native of South Florida, is a real out-of-towner but has become a Jersey City fan. “That was the surprise factor,” she says. A sailor, she loves being so close to Liberty State Park and the waterfront.

Kumar loves JC Fridays and frequents Skinner’s Loft, the Light Horse, Madame Claude’s and Port-O Lounge, among other JC favorites, including the Bright Side Tavern, where, she says, they have “crazy town hall meetings and fight about what’s coming into town.”

She has no regrets about her decision to come into town.

She says, “What I love about this town is there is so much to do.”—JCM

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