This spring and summer, Jersey City celebrates its citizens' diverse heritage with more than a dozen ethnic festivals that sample the sights, sounds and tastes of the Irish, West Indian, Italian, Hispanic, Korean and many others who came to Jersey City to find a new home.
But for some in the past, Jersey City was an entirely different type of destination. Before the Civil War, the city was an integral stop on the Underground Railroad, the secret trail of safe houses that helped runaway slaves reach the north. No fewer than four main routes converged in Jersey City, and thousands of slaves passed through here on their way to freedom.
It was Jersey City's location across the Hudson River from New York that helped the fugitive slaves escape, and it originally helped the city itself grow prosperous. Now, many people still come here as an alternative to living in the big city across the Hudson.
New business owners in particular have found Jersey City attractive for many reasons. Some, like Steve Panayiotou of Pro Golf, came here to take advantage of its tax benefits and convenient location.
Others set up shop here for pure love of the city. In fact, many small business owners live just around the corner from their stores. Mark Dalzell of Metropolis Music avoided Manhattan's exorbitant rents by finding a home in the same neighborhood as his store, and Hala Schlub of Hala Vintage lives right above her shop!
For many young entrepreneurs in Jersey City, running a business is a family affair. Megan O'Sullivan's aunt and mother refinish furniture pieces that become clothing display racks in Tia's Place, and Yvonne and Nilsa Rodriguez opened Subia's Market and Café on the site of a bodega once owned by their parents.
In fact, strong familial bonds are a hallmark of Jersey City's residents. The city has created many types of schools to cater to different families' educational needs. From charter, private and parochial schools to McNair Academic - New Jersey's number one-ranked public school - and the acclaimed St. Peter's Prep, Jersey City families find that they have plenty of education alternatives open to them.
Additional family activities can be discovered in one of Jersey City's many parks or summer programs. From the breathtaking views of Liberty State Park to the sports fields in Lincoln Park and Pershing Field, the warm-weather months offer a chance to appreciate the best green spaces nestled in the heart of the city.
So take a look through Jersey City Magazine to learn more about the cultures, leisure activities, businesses or educational options that drew you to Jersey City. You can rest assured that the city can provide you with anything you need, and Jersey City Magazine is your guide to the best the city has to offer.