It’s been an interesting year. After sitting on my ass for almost three months and then trying to get my professional feet back under me earlier this year, I moved out of an area I knew like the back of my hand, into an area I had a passing acquaintance with.
Hudson County was my home for 38 years. I knew where to buy gas. I knew where to eat the best food. I knew where to buy my groceries. My doctor was only seven minutes away. My kids were ten minutes away. But I always knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay in Hudson County.
Gentrification started in Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. Once those places became too expensive for even the NYC transplants, gentrification started climbing the Palisades, slithered across the plateau, and infiltrated my Western Slope neighborhood. The neighborhood is known as the Western Slope because it’s actually on the western slope of the palisades that characterize northern Hudson County.
It’s an area full of one and two family homes all of which have a front seat view to the most awesome sunsets created by God. And I enjoyed every single one of them.
I traded all of that for lower rent, off street parking, and a laundry room. No longer will I have to leave a family gathering or a party early in order to park my car. No longer do I have to check the weather report before planning a laundry day. And guess what? Despite being further away from NYC, it’s actually easier to get into the city via public transportation from where I am now. Hot damn! No more three block hill to get to the bus to NYC.
The left side of my car carries the scars of the hit and runs she experienced on the mean streets of Jersey City. Yes, I still put the club on her when I get home (I ain’t stupid) but nobody will be hitting her anytime soon. And we all know that a thirteen year old car will need replacing so the lower rent will make this a reality.
It took a hot minute to make a “place” into a “home” but that’s exactly what I’ve done. Was there ever a doubt? After purging junk and furniture I knew wouldn’t fit into my new apartment, I found the perfect movers (seriously perfect).
I’ve now learned why 973 residents use the Garden State Parkway. It’s closer, although I still like the NJ Turnpike better. I don’t have to listen to the traffic reports before going to work anymore. I’m only 3.7 miles from my job, although it takes me just as long to get there. The nine miles from Jersey City to Newark were all highway, although the Pulaski Skyway is a crap shoot sometimes. My commute to work takes me through Branch Brook Park, some of the most beautiful miles in Essex County. There’s no way you could exceed the speed limit (yes, I’ve tried) on the winding roads through the park.
I’m now looking forward to Cherry Blossom season, because while I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve never experienced it for myself. I now live in the capitol of Cherry Blossom trees. While Washington DC brings in tourists when the trees are blooming, it’s actually Branch Brook Park that has more trees than anywhere in the U.S.
So here I am, living in the Silver Lake district of Belleville, NJ. Two blocks one way and you’re in Newark. Two blocks the other way and you’re in Bloomfield. Gentrification has passed over this area, in favor of nearby Montclair, so I may be safe from exorbitant rent increases. I’ve already found supermarkets that sell what I need, an awesome carwash, and a place to buy my wine. What else do I need?