There’s so much going on in this district, and it gets so much press that we almost forgot it’s a neighborhood and not a news item. The area’s signature landmark is the iconic Powerhouse. The structure, built in the early 1900s, housed the electrical transformers that powered the PATH system. The deteriorating building is in the process of being stabilized, and in our last issue, we reported that her smokestacks will have to come down. Nevertheless, future plans call for the powerhouse to anchor an eight-block arts district with retail shops, galleries, restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment options, much like New York City’s South Street Seaport, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor or Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
But right now, it’s an edgy warehouse district with cobblestone streets, lofts, artists’ studios, and galleries—a stone’s throw from the waterfront, and just about every transportation option in Jersey City. Its borders are roughly Washington, Marin, Second, Morgan, and Steuben.
Stacy Nusbaum Woods is the past president of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association (PADNA).
“I really enjoy the feel of the warehouses and the sense of history,” Woods says. “I like the industrial grittiness of the neighborhood.”
Kathryn Moore, who moved to the neighborhood in 2005, was on the board of PADNA. Her day job kept her from going to meetings, but she was very active on her own. “There were no street signs, and people parked wherever they wanted,” she says. “There were no trash receptacles, no street cleaning. It was like the Wild West.”
Moore took notes while walking her dog and worked with the Mayor’s Action Bureau, along with officials in the Incinerator Authority, Parking Authority, and Engineering. “They did a pretty good job,” she says. “Absentee owners are keeping lots cleaner.”
Kevin Pollack, who was also active in PADNA, says, “I love it, there are great new buildings, great people in the neighborhood, and it’s not really crowded yet.”
Places to visit include the Warehouse Café at 140 Bay, the Powerhouse Lounge at 360 Marin, and the Panepinto Galleries at 371 Warren.
Bottom line? The Powerhouse Arts District is a ’tween hood: A still-charming enclave but not fully built.—JCM