Jersey City is the state of New Jersey’s second most populous city. It is the site of the state’s first permanent settlement, and the first place to be occupied by the Revolution. Jersey City boasts a number of other significant firsts as well: the first automobile tunnel under a river has one end in Jersey City; the first woman to elected to the House of Representatives in the eastern United States and the first native-born American to fly a hot aim balloon in the continental United States both hail from Jersey City; the first professional heavyweight boxing match to $1 million in gate receipts and the first mass production of a modern wood and graphite pencil took place in Jersey City.
The city developed as a manufacturing and transportation center regardless and some sense of its former prosperity can be seen in the abundance of its extravagant architecture.
Jersey City suffered through an economic decline, as did so many other cities, but in the 1970s, New Yorkers rediscovered Jersey City as a very desirable place in which to live. Many of Jersey City’s brownstone and row houses are being restored to their original beauty and its commercial buildings are being converted into condominiums. There are also current plans to covert the National Guard Armory into a studio, in hopes that Jersey city will become known as a major center for the filming industry.
Liberty State park, Encompassing some 800 acres, including 2 ½ miles of shoreline; this same area was industrial wasteland in the early 1970's. The park was opened in 1976 and is a tribute to the perseverance of Morris Pesin, a native of Jersey City who fought to save trees along John F. Kennedy Boulevard and to save the county courthouse from demolition. Pesin also spearheaded the drive to create Liberty State Park, being disturbed by how long it took people to travel to the Statue of Liberty, so he looked for an alternative destination.
Lincoln Park, Hudson County’s largest, oldest and the most popular park, has an estimated 25,000 people use it each weekend during the summer months. The main entrance, located on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, is a formal plaza with a statue of Lincoln, designed by James Earl Farmer. The plaza is the highest point in the park, provides panoramic views to the west and is lovely in the spring when all the flowers are in full bloom.
Jersey City has and will continue to be an important center for transportation, dating to 1834 when the first railroad was erected. Its economy, which was once based on manufacturing, is now growing in the other areas, especially the financial, insurance and real estate sectors. Since the late 1980's, Jersey City’s waterfront has been transformed by the construction of the new upscale residential and retail buildings, as well as by the appearance of new financial office space.