SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF JERSEY CITY
About 10 years ago, my daughter moved to Jersey City. She’s always been adventurous. She fell in love with her now husband and four years ago had my grandson! I want to see my grandson grow up and I live in Michigan, so we Facetime a lot and I have my own video library of grandson as he discovers who he is. I visit every summer so I don’t miss too much. I explore the city each time I visit. I’m amazed at the diverse culture that can been seen as I walk through the neighborhoods. I can’t help but stop at the different restaurants along the way and read the menus that are posted outside, along with all the coffee shops and the sweets to go with my coffee. (My downfall, sweets). Most of the buildings are older, however, as you walk through the city there is a lot of renovation of buildings. If you don’t like crowds, you won’t like city life.
Now that my grandson is a little older, we hang out and both of us love to visit ice cream shops and parks. He loves the park, it’s filled with children of all ages, and parents and nannies watch the kids play. There are plenty of playground activities and socialization for kids and parents alike. There is no discrimination among the children, each appreciating a new friend to play with.
I stayed at the Holland Hotel, right across the street from the Holland tunnel. All I needed was a place to rest my head (Jersey City is very expensive) since I was going to spend as much time with my daughter and grandson as possible. The hotel was within walking distance to her apartment so I walked through the park every morning and, of course, stopped for a coffee along the way. The walk to New York wasn’t too far and I was able to visit the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. There were nearly 3,000 men, women and children killed in the attacks that day and each and every name is inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the twin Memorial pools. A somber moment for me as I read the names and envisioned the trauma experienced by the brave men and women who came to the aid of those injured and trapped. I remember exactly where I was that day, I was listening to the news in disbelief as it was announced.
I took a day to sight see in New York city. Think of a wall of people coming straight at you as you try to figure out which way to go on a very small sidewalk. My daughter kept pulling me to the side telling me I wasn’t in the country any more. No kicking my ruby red shoes three times to go home! You either move or you get pushed out of the way. I took a boat ride to Ellis Island and found the manifesto with the names and ages of my grandparents and the name of the vessel they arrived in. I saw their signatures and learned about my uncles and aunts and great grandparents. I could feel the energy from the past as I walked through the streets and imagined what life must have been like.
Apartments are being converted into condos throughout the city. They are no very big, maybe 600 to 800 square feet and rent runs over $1,000 a month. As I think about semi-retirement this year and how I miss my daughter and grandson, I thought about renting a little place in the city, maybe a condo or apartment, so I can spend a month or two in the summer. There is the hustle and bustle of city life with plenty of places to visit and things to do. I noticed a lot of older adults walking around the streets enjoying the sights and sounds and gathering with friends at restaurants for lunch or dinner. I think there are plenty of ways to make new friends, even if it’s just for a short while. The cafes are the best, they are owned by small businesses. I used to visit a cafe every day and got to the know the owner’s wife well. We had a lot of interesting conversations and found out we had a lot in common.
My second trip I opted to check out Airbnb. What an experience! I found an apartment a block away from my daughter’s apartment, and the night I arrived I found written instructions for my room assignment. I don’t like sharing bathrooms with strangers – I remembered the advertisement on the website didn’t mention that there would be more than one family. Here I am in an apartment with five rooms and two bathrooms and a bunch of strangers. There was one refrigerator, so food had to be labeled, and everybody was responsible to clean up after themselves. I don’t think I will ever rent from Airbnb again. The owner of the apartment came by one day and I we talked about the apartment and he told me that he makes a living buying up condos in and around the city and in turn rents them out on Airbnb. Very lucrative! I think I’m in the wrong line of business. Warning, if you decide to use Airbnb, do your due diligence and ask questions about the space you are going to stay; something like “do you actually live in the apartment”. Many apartment renters pretend they do and then, like me, you find out the night you arrive that it was misrepresented in the ad.
How many of our LA65 followers have had this experience? Feel free to comment and share….