Jersey City is proud to be one the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Originally it was home of the Lenape tribes, and was later settled by a large Dutch population in the 1600s. It has been a welcoming refuge for immigrants and slaves, and a hub for freedom and equality-seeking masses over the centuries ever since.
This modern multicultural city is the second largest and most populated in New Jersey. Its shoreline runs parallel to Manhattan on the other side of the river and residents share many of the same transportation systems and area resources.
One of my best friends lives nearby and she graciously took the afternoon off to show me around me during a six hour layover.
State Liberty Park
We met in State Liberty Park and walked along the river to Ellis Island, just behind the Statue of Liberty. The park holds over 1200 acres with an abundance of wild and cultivated plants along the Hudson River, making it a great place to watch birds and the boats cruising along the river.
New York looks so different from this side of the river.
Empty Sky Memorial
The New Jersey 9/11 Empty Sky Memorial stands to commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 Shanksville in September of 2001.
Empty Sky consists of two 30-feet high steel structures and uses a combination of lighting and depth illusion to draw your attention the void in the sky left by the attack. Between the structures is a list of names and other information about the victims.
The Jersey Devil
After a couple hours we were feeling somber, hot, and hungry, so my friend took me to City Diner for lunch. We split two different local specialties; the open-faced cheese-smothered corned beef/pastrami Reuben, and the infamous Jersey Devil Melt.
This fluffy croissant is loaded with spicy deviled egg salad, cheddar cheese, and New Jersey’s pride and joy, Taylor Ham. Also known simply as “pork roll,” Taylor Ham is a lot like thinly sliced bologna that is browned and slightly crisp on both sides.
Miles better than spam and grocery bologna, but still not real ham. The Reuben was delicious, of course.
Even after spending a summer in New York, I had never been on that side of the river. We took coffee at a place down the street and settled in for some people watching until it was time for me to return to the airport.
Follow me overseas to Munich.
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