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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hamilton Park: Remediation vs. Capping

During the renovations of Hamilton Park, soil samples revealed lead and other contaminants in parts of the park. Before renovations are completed, the contaminants need to either be capped under a protective layer of clean soil or entirely removed. The Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association is holding a meeting tonight to discuss the issue.

Capping is faster and cheaper, and will preserve many more trees. Remediation on the other hand means the removal of the contaminants, but cause delays and come with higher costs.

7:45 Wednesday
September 2nd
Cordero Elementary School
158 Erie Street


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bodega Takes Up Former Pharmacy Location

Hamilton Park's Newport Pharmacy moved across the street earlier this year into the new Hamilton Square development. A new bodega is replacing the vacated space on 9th and Erie Streets.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovations

The Hamilton Park renovations continue to progress. Seen above is the landing port for flying saucers. Actually though, that labyrinthine pile of concrete should eventually become a community garden. The Park plans are available here (PDF).


Friday, July 17, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovations

The Hamilton Park renovation has been ongoing for a few months now. Mostly the project has been working on an irrigation system so far, including around the perimeter sidewalks. Unfortunately, a few sample tests of soil have found lead contamination, and the remainder of the park will now need to be tested.

A temporary playground has been set up on property adjacent to the park. The temporary park is being provided by the developers of Hamilton Square.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Newport Pharmacy Moving Across the Street, Still Not in Newport

Newport Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy on the corner of 9th and Erie, is moving to 9th and Erie. The pharmacy is crossing the street into a corner space in the Hamilton Square development. Exeter Properties has said they prefer independent local businesses to fill their retail spaces.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Park Renovation Slaying Trees

Renovations have begun at Hamilton Park, just in time to close it for summer. Construction crews have slashed a half dozen large trees with 18 inch diameters, casualties of low bid contracts.

The renovated park will include an expanded playground, two dog runs, and renovated ball courts. In addition, the historic pathways will be reinstalled and Victorian style lighting. About half the park will remain grassy fields.

The dog runs caused a controversy among residents. For several years, dog owners have been illegally allowing their dogs off leash on the grassy areas of the park. Not only did many park goers feel the illegal activity was unsafe, but the dogs also destroyed the grass. As plans for the renovation were drawn up, two dog runs were included in the design, one for large dogs and one for small dogs. Four final plans were drawn up and community residents voted on the plans; the selected plan included a smaller allotted space for the dog runs. Moreover, the selected plan divided the dog run space in half, with two roughly equal sized runs for small and large dogs. Large dog owners pointed out that larger dogs needed more space than smaller dogs.

Part of the controversy stemmed from the way the the park's plans were voted on. The final vote was suppose to only be about the layout of the park renovation, not the amenities. However, one of the designs included a small putting green, while another design did not; both these designs were otherwise identical, and both were the only design where the two dog runs abutted against each other. Proponents of the dog run claim the two virtually identical designs split votes allowing the chosen design to win.

Meanwhile, the park was originally to remain at least partially open during renovation. However, the contractor insisted on closing the entirety of the park during renovations, meaning the park will be closed for much of the summer. However, local developer Exeter Property has volunteered a lot adjacent to the park to serve as a temporary playground. The playground should be open by June.

Hamilton Park was closed in early May for renovations; residents look forward to the park reopening on a cold January day

The informal dog run / unused tennis court has been stripped of fencing

The old playground has been crushed

Exeter Property, developer Hamilton Square, a project adjacent to the park, has promised a temporary playground on land that will one day be a small residential building.

The Exeter Property temporary playground lot with Hamilton Park in the background

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Embattled Embankment

Sixth Street Embankment file photo

The Sixth Street Embankment, a target of preservationists and developers alike has had some problems in recent weeks. Yesterday chunks of the stone wall began falling from the section west of Erie Street. The fire department cordoned off the corner to protect pedestrians.

Several weeks earlier the embankment, the section of the Embankment at Marin Blvd caught fire.

The Sixth Street embankment once supported eight elevated rail lines connecting the Jersey City waterfront with rail cuts through the Palisades Cliffs and served as one of several conduits for goods coming and going from the port and industrial complexes along the river. The tracks have long since been abandoned.

In more recent years, developer Steve Hyman has been attempting to gain approval to construct housing either on top of the embankment or on the property after removing the structure. Local preservationists would like the embankment converted to an elevated park, similar to New York's High Line Park, now under construction and set to open this summer.

The main point of contention in the struggle has been an illegal sale of the property by Conrail to Hyman; railroad properties, particularly right of ways, must follow a specific process before being sold off as private property.

In addition to Hyman's plan to construct housing on the property, Mayor Healy has floated using the property for an extension of the light rail system, connecting the waterfront to the Secaucus Transfer station via the Bergen Arches. The plan would provide mass transit access to the Heights neighborhood.

In an attempt to appease Healy's administration, Hyman then floated a plan to construct both housing and a light rail line connected to Journal Square.

Preservation groups insist on building a park and no light rail line.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Retail Happenings

Duane Reade Now Hiring
The long awaited Duane Reade planned for retail space in the Grove Pointe apartment tower may soon be opening its doors. The retail space along Newark Avenue, just west of the condominium entrance, is now donning the tell tale "Duane Reade Red" trim on interior walls and columns. And of course, there is this posted sign declaring the new location is seeking new hires.

Vintage Store Replaces Tea House
Local vintage store Another Man's Treasure is set to move in April from its current Brunswick Street location to 353 Grove Street. Janam Tea House, the former tenant of the Grove Street location, packed up and moved to the Pacific Northwest in February.

The Embankment Opens In Schroeder Lofts
A new restaurant and bar opened over the weekend in the corner retail space of the Schroeder Lofts. The Embankment is from the same folks who run The Merchant, a Grove Street establishment. Menus are online; the restaurant is located at Erie and 10th.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Hamilton Square "Selling Well"

Hamilton Square, the redevelopment of the old Saint Francis Hospital adjacent to Hamilton Park is "selling well" according to a press release from Exeter Property, the developer, with twenty percent of units sold.

The most interesting bit of information though is that the 28,000 square feet of retail space is nearly leased out. While specific retailers were not named, Exeter has said in the past they intend to lease to local businesses, not national chains. So far, the retail includes "an Equinox style gym, restaurant and bar, noodle shop, bakery, wine shop, ice cream parlor, bike store, pharmacy and a bank branch." Certainly the bank branch probably fails the test of "local business," but local restaurants will llikely be welcomed additions to the neighborhood.

For recent construction updates, visit the photoblog.


Monday, November 26, 2007

New Embankment Plan Promises Compromise, 1,000 Units

Long a rallying cry for preservationists in the downtown, the Sixth Street Embankment has been the focus of a legal fight since developer Steve Hyman set his eye on the site. Advocates looking to save historic Jersey City have been fighting to preserve the structure and convert it to a park; others want the structure removed, and the land converted to open space, and then of course Hyman wants to build residential apartments on the property, and lets not forget Mayor Healy's plan to restore rail service-- adding a light rail line from Newport to Secaucus.

Complicating the issue is the land's status as former railroad right away. The federal government regulates railroads and right aways cannot simply be sold. A recent federal ruling declared the original sale to Hyman invalid, but that does not entirely prevent a future sale. Preservation activists want the city to buy the land or seize it through eminent domain. Either method would incur huge expenses for the city.

Mayor Healy last year announced his intentions to pursue a plan to build a light rail connection from the waterfront to the Secaucus transfer station. The line would improve transportation alternatives for many parts of Jersey City. Parts of Hamilton Park and western portions of the downtown are more than a half mile from a train station and Healy's proposed route through the arches could also allow access to residents along 139. The line would also provide another alternative route between NJ Transit trains and the Hudson waterfront; now commuter rail connects via the PATH at Newark Penn or heavy rail to Hoboken. NJTransit's stance is that they have no plans to build this spur.

Original plans by the developer sought to remove the embankment entirely and build low rise town homes along the entire length of the embankment from Marin Blvd to Brunswick. Immediately this plan faced opposition with critics citing density, lack of preservation, and general outrage at proposed changes. Activists sought to landmark the embankment, and the follow up plan included simply building the town homes on top of the wall.

Now the Jersey Journal is reporting a new plan being put forth by Hyman as a compromise. In essence, the new plan leverages activists' desire for preserving the embankment for higher density zoning. The new plan calls for a total of five buildings with 1,100 units of housing. Four of the buildings would be erected atop the embankment and a fifth on the block west of Brunswick Street. Yet three quarters of the embankment would end up as open space, and for Healy, Hyman including plans to connect a light rail line to Journal Square.

Local activists have already declared the new plan unacceptable, which means in all likelihood, the only definite is plenty more litigation.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Globe St. Confuses "Breaking Ground" with "Almost Finished"

Last week, reported work was set to begin on the Schroeder Lofts, a six story, 58 unit building on Tenth and Erie. Schroeder Lofts however is nearly complete. Only the retail space on the eastern corner of the building is yet to be finished; this space is to be The Embankment bar and lounge, as we reported in October. Congratulations to on their excellent reporting.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Embankment Comes to Schroeder Lofts

Tenth Street condominium building Schroeder Lofts is pretty much completed except for a small retail space on the corner of Erie. It seems this space will soon be The Embankment bar, lounge and restaurant. The Embankment will likely be similar to The Merchant, a Grove Street bar and restaurant by the same folks. The Embankment is one block east of neighborhood bar Hamilton Park Ale House.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Hamilton Square Going to the Dogs

Over the weekend, at least one, but possibly two dogs were seen hanging around the Hamilton Square Development. The mutts were likely left left there purposely by developer Exeter Property to thwart thieving. However, we're left wondering how responsible this is with Saturday's high temperature reaching 89 degrees and a children's playground just a few hundred feet from the site.

Below, a canine taking shelter in the shade of a construction vehicle on Sunday, when the high temperature hit 79 degrees before heavy rains deluged the city.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hamilton Park Renovation Might Finally Be Real

Hamilton Park's long overdue renovation may finally move forward after a vote on June 9th. The finalized plans are viewable online. Voting is to take place from 11AM to 5PM in Hamilton Park on June 9 during the park festival. Coincidentally, there is a park festival on June 9th that includes music and food.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Community Garden Sabotaged By Activist

After seven years of planting flowers and vegetables in the downtown of Jersey City, the Brunswick Street Community Garden may be coming to a bitter end. In identical posts on JCList and Wired JC, community activist Janet Allen is accused of spitefully terminating the garden group's lease for the plot of land. The city, believing the group was no longer interested in maintaining the garden, began the process of accepting new bids for the property, according to the online post.

Allen has been active in Hamilton Park neighborhood group for a number of years, most recently squabbling with local officials and community members over renovation plans for Hamilton Park. Those much needed renovations have been delayed after a March meeting. She was also instrumental in the posting of signs banning ball playing.

Since the accusations were levied against Allen, the only response has been through yet another online message board. The unofficial response comes from Newport Waterfront Association / Newport Neighborhood Association leader Sonia Maldonado claims Allen "no longer wishes to continue doing any work with the New Brunswick Community Garden."

There is likely more here than meets the eye, and some suspect Allen is attempting to seize control of the property through another organization which she controls. In either case, we doubt this is the last we've heard of the community garden saga.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thousands Flock to Hamilton Park as Ball Ban Lifted

Lovers of croquet, jarts, and whiffle ball can rejoice as it seems the previous ban on ball playing and other flying objects in Hamilton Park has been lifted. Whether this is an official act, or the result of vigilante members of the community, we can't be certain. But the signs have been removed:

Hamilton Park, Jersey City

In February, signs went up near the entrances of the park declaring that ball playing was prohibited, except in designated areas.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hamilton Park Renovation Meeting

With Hamilton Park's long overdue renovation finally becoming a reality, final decisions about layout and design are becoming increasingly contentious. YouTuber lifefood has posted videos of the most recent meeting (and other important civic meetings). Take a look if you missed the in person event, and even if you didn't, watch the crowd give a smack down to Janet Allen who seems to think a park best serves the people with pretty flowers rather than active recreation. Ball playing still prohibited.

Part 2


Monday, March 26, 2007

Hamilton Park Plans

Hamilton Park has been waiting for a renovation for almost three decades. After a round of surveys conducted last year to identify the community's desired amenities, three plans have been presented for the new layout of park. Ever watchful Councilman Steven Fulop has the three possible plans available on his website. The three designs will be voted on by the community before being submitted for Council approval, tentatively scheduled for April 21. Ball playing is still prohibited.


Bits & Briefs

Yellow Cabs Turning Green
At this year's New York International Automobile Show, the iconic yellow cab will be getting a green makeover. Showcased at the event will be a number of potential variants for the next generation taxi with emphasis on alternative fuels.

Hamilton Park's makeover: More active or passive?
Hamilton Park will soon have a long overdue refurbishment. Engineering firm Schoor DePalma presented three possible alternatives. Ball playing still prohibited.

R2D2 Mailboxes
Hobhoke411 reports that first of the Star Wars themed mailboxes began popping up in Hoboken, with photo goodness.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Hamilton Square Renderings, Offerings

The 300 residential units at the old Saint Francis hospital will soon be a reality. We've been watching the progress for a while now. is reporting that the first 126 units will be delivered by the end of the year, and will be offered up in April.

Meanwhile the architectural firm has a few more renderings on their site. [Flash site, select ".02 Projects" => Projects in Development "St. Francis Hospital"]. And of course, the development website, has been updated, with a few more renderings. [Flash site, select "Hamilton Square" => "Renderings" on the left side]


Friday, February 16, 2007

8 Towers, Park, Retail Planned for Metro Plaza

The architectural firm Arquitectonica has posted new renderings of the Metropolitan, the 67 story tower planned for the northeast corner of the Metro Plaza shopping center where Pep Boys is now. Included with the renderings on the architect's website is a short description:

"A total of eight residential buildings are planned, which surround a newly developed park... Retail lines the park and the newly created boulevard, offering both boutique and big box options"

Via Wired Forums

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Park Posts Signs Banning Balls, Fun

Hamilton Park's ball regulations now have the full force of posted signs. The activists who lobbied for the signs cite safety as main issue here since balls are hazardous. Think of the children after all.

As you can see below, the park is far too dangerous for anyone to play with balls in the park.

Citing safety concerns sunbathing, hand holding, and book reading may also be banned. Magic the Gathering still okay.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Presidents

The 25mc Blog has information on the Newport group's proposed tenth street development, two more mid-rise buildings to add to the list of ex-presidents which would be as follows:

The Grover Cleveland 6 Story
163 market rate rental Units

The Ulysses S. Grant 6 Story
163 market rate rental Units

This whole thing was from last week, but still there are some pictures of the renderings. These might be outdated now since, as a result of last weeks meeting, Newport Associates might be open to the idea of making adjustments.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Regular Programming: Bits & Briefs

A news of the week wrap up that includes a good ol' reach around to just about everyone who writes about the sixth borough.

Time For Developers to Start Playing Ball
Jersey Journal

A Hoboken View
Hudson Current

SW Redevelopment Plan Continues

Plans on Hold for 10th Street Buildings

Jersey City Trump Not a Sex Act

Drawings Out For Pencil Factory

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bits & Briefs

Planning Board tells developers: Meet with residents
Newport Group's plan to build two structures on the Tenth Street embankment meets opposition.

Music to their ears
A twelve story tower gets approved for lot across from Shoprite.

Rescue Plan for Hospital
New Jersey's oldest hospital is about to be bankrupted.

361 Newark Ave to Triple in Height
Rumors on JCList indicate a stalled construction project could go higher.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sixth Street Condos

While we're still waiting to find out the fate of the embankment, a small construction project is now offering up condos. 204 Sixth Street is just a few blocks from Hamilton park, but with killer views of an old elevated rail line with a fate yet to be decided, who wouldn't want to live two blocks from the mall?

More Photos
Realtors Site

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hamilton Park For Sale

BubbleTrack has noted an exceptional number of "for sale" signs posted across the street from Hamilton Park. Is this the end as we know it, or is brown just so last season?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Condo Proposal Energizes Activists

Taking a look over on JCList this morning, we came across an urgent post regarding a proposed condo development three blocks west of Hamilton Park.

Outside of the historic district, the 7 story proposal would include 171 units, as well as a covered parking space for each unit. Variances are apparently required for the height, density, and covered parking.

Without having seen renderings of the proposal, we have to wonder just how awful this proposal will be. Indeed, a seven story building in an area of primarily two and three story brownstones may seem out of place. But then again, as the popularity of the downtown increases, demand for housing in the area will increase. This of course means either rents will rise or new housing stock is needed. Since the proposal also provides one parking spot for each unit, parking shortages are less likely to occur than if the lots were filled at the current zoing levels but without off street parking. In essence, even though there are more units, because off street parking is provided, less street parking will be used then if the lots were used as zoned without offstreet parking.

Whether you are for or against the proposal, the zoning board meeting is Tonight, Thursday, January 19 2006, 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 2nd floor, City
Hall, 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, New Jersey.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Schroeder Lofts

On the very northern edge of the Hamilton Park neighborhood, an empty lot under construction for the last few months recently recieved a promotional banner attached to the fence. The Schroeder Lofts is another midrise building going up between the Holland Tunnel and Hamilton Park. The website is claiming an eco-friendly design and "essential elements for urban living." Sadly, at the present time, floorplans are not available.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Embankment Meetings

For those of you concerned about the fate of the 6th Street embankment, Jersey City Vibe has listed serveral key meeting dates. Whether you want to see a park, parking lot, or condos on the site of the embankment, it might do you well to attend.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Sixth Street Still In the News, Lawsuits Promised

By now, everyone should be aware that developer Steve Hyman wants to turn Sixth Street in housing. The City has promised it can stop the development if they want, and Hyman has promised lawsuits for the next three centuries. Jersey City Vibe has drawn comparisons to the 111 controversy.

All this talk of the embankment leaves us wondering if we couldn't come up with some ideas of our own:

Elevated Housing
Since the embankment is historic, the develper could restore the structure and build his houses along the top. Since most of the surrounding neighborhoods are only three and four stories tall, these elevated houses would have a great view of the city.

Car Park
Lots of people have mentioned tearing down the embankment and building a park. Why not build parking instead? Demand for parking in the downtown has only increased, and we're certain many of the area residents would be happy to have a gauranteed parking space when they came home at night.

Cross Town Freeway
Traffic has been increasing in downtown too, so its probably long overdue to build another highway. A spur could be dropped from the Turnpike and run over the existing sixth street embankment directly to the Newport Mall, there by relieving congestion of weekend shoppers who flock there hoping to buy socks and scented candles.

Before you post your nasty comments, let us say our suggestions are in jest. Can you blame us for having a little fun?

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