Bergen-Lafayatte, Jersey City, NJ

Overpass

Welcome to Bergen-Lafayette, one of the six major neighborhoods in Jersey City and home to a number of mix-used residential complexes. The neighborhood used to be home to many industrial facilities but has seen a lot of renovation projects to make it what it is today. Bergen-Lafayette even went through a few name changes, during the early 1800’s it was called Bergen, then Bergen City. It wasn’t until about 1870 where the neighborhood would officially be incorporated into Jersey City. The merger with Jersey City would lead to a massive renovation project that would take years to finally settle. Today, the city is filled with malls and shopping centers for visitors to enjoy, so if you’re planning on Visiting Jersey City, take a taxi down to Bergen-Lafayette.

North of Bergen-Lafayette is Journal Square, a multi-use business and residential area that is currently being redeveloped. New high-rises are allowing for wealthier residents to move in. Don’t be surprised if you see a few residents having a driver in their limo.

Journal Square used to be home to many farmhouses and manors, most of which were passed down from the previous residents of the “square”. During the early 1900’s many of these houses were demolished to make way for more modern buildings. Many of Journal Square‘s current buildings were constructed around this time, including the Public Service building and the Labor Bank Building. The Square itself was built in 1923, and was named after the Jersey Journal, who had their original building demolished to make way for Journal Square. From the 1920’s to the 1960’s Journal Square became a hub for vibrant culture and arts within the city. It was known as the “crown jewel” of the city, with many commercial and entertainment districts located in the area. Many of Journal Squares buildings would be constructed during this time, some of the buildings being built as far back as before WWII. The mayor of Jersey City has made it clear that he is looking to change the area. Journal Square is now looking to develop high rise buildings made for commercial and residential use.

Many urban planners and architects are beginning to flock to the square, most famous of which being the Kushner Real Estate Group. Redevelopment on the square hasn’t begun yet but with residential demand going up so will high rise buildings.

Bergen-Lafayette has a number of roads that run from north to south through the neighborhood, many of these roads being built along the Hudson Palisades.

The Hudson Palisades is a strip of land well known for its steep cliffside that stretches about 20 miles north of New Jersey. The cliffside is one of New York City’s most famous natural landmarks and is a popular destination for hikers and campers. You’ll often find many New York residents taking transportation to the cliffside around spring times. Whether that be through New York’s extensive rail network or taking a car service to the cliffside.

The cliff also helped map out many road patterns used today. The Palisades first documentation would be around 1541, where it would appear on a European map of the new world. Giovanni Da Verrazzano would describe the cliffside as a “fence of stakes”.

During the American Revolution the cliffside would aid in buying time for general George Washington to regroup his men in Englewood. Then from 1798 to 1845 the cliffside would be the site of many duels, most famous of which being a duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. During the 19th century there was heavy lobbying to preserve the Palisades. This was in response to many railroad companies looking to the cliffside for heavy quarrying. For 20 years there would be many unsuccessful motions to preserve the park until about 1909, where the Palisades Interstate Park Commission was created. For a while, the Palisades would be scouted for multiple building and relocation projects, however each time companies would be met with strong resistance from conservationists. In addition, many powerful people would join in the efforts to keep the Palisades a natural landmark, such as Mary Williamson Averell and even John D. Rockefeller Jr. Thousands of acres of land would be donated to the Palisades in order to keep them safe. One of the only additions made to the cliffside is the addition of George Washington Bridge, which opened in 1931. The bridge would help connect New Jersey with Upper Manhattan, and the palisades would help developers design the city.

Most of these roads make up the Bergen section of the neighborhood. A residential district lined with old Victorian mansions, row houses, and some impressive art deco designs. Some of the buildings here where remodeled for residential use.

Most famous of which being The Beacon, a mixed-use development that went through major changes in the early 2000’s. The building itself was designed during the great depression as a medical center, but after many years it was redeveloped into what is now known as The Beacon. There’s also a shopping district filled with old storefronts located within the area on Monticello Avenue. Bergen has a few buildings that are considered landmarks in the neighborhood, such the YMCA’s Renaissance Revival building and the Fairmount Apartments.

The Fairmount Apartments are an example of early 20th century architectural design. it was designed by the Newman and Harris firm and was built around the 1910’s. The Fairmount Apartments would be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 and would be renovated in the same year.

Today Bergen is filled with shopping districts and early 20th century buildings however not all of them stood the test of time. Some sections of Bergen-Lafayette have been around since the earliest settlements of North America. Such is the case with Communipaw, a historic district in Bergen-Lafayette that merged with New Jersey around the 1860’s. Communipaw was urbanized at the end of the 19th century, however most of its buildings were constructed during different time periods.

Whitlock Cordage is an old industrial complex built in the early 1900’s that has been repurposed. Originally, Whitlock Cordage was a rope factory that spanned more than 7 acres of land. The factory would operate from about 1909 to 2003 before a judge ruled for its demolition and resale. Whitlock Cordage was then purchased and renovated into over 200 affordable residential apartments. Whitlock Cordage is not the only industry building that was converted into a residential complex. Ficken’s Warehouse was built in 1910 and was used as a stable until being renovated for residential use around the 2000’s.

Berry Lane Park is another example of a former industrial ground being converted into a residential area. The area was formerly filled with auto shops, warehouses, rail yards, and plenty of industrial facilities. Some of those factories were major contributors to metal contamination throughout the local environment. The former industrial district was renovated from 2012 to 2016 and was opened for public use in June 2016.

Bergen-Lafayette is being reshaped and remodeled into a brand new residential and commercial district. Its commercial districts are going through high rise booms leading to an influx of visitors looking to get some shopping done in the area. If you are coming down to visit you’ll be glad to know that Bergen-Lafayette is filled with coffee shops and restaurants, you can even get Caribbean food in the city. Some New York residents already take a limo service down to Atlantic City so its no surprise that they’re stopping by Bergen-Lafayette to do some sight seeing.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Ariel view of Atlantic City coast line

Welcome to Atlantic City! with a population of just under 40,000 the city itself is best known for its casinos and beaches, while also have some of the best restaurants going alongside its boardwalk. The city is actually located on Absecon Island, located south of New Jersey. its also known by neighboring states around New Jersey as a hotspot during the summer. Atlantic City has gone through many remodeling and rebuilding phases, however it now stands as one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast. So if you’re planning a vacation, don’t hesitate to take a taxi down to Atlantic City for a visit.

The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City region was originally the home of the Lenape people, an indigenous tribe in the area. It wasn’t until early 1780’s were Jeremiah Leeds constructed their first home in the neighborhood. Leed’s had actually bought the land from previous owner Thomas Budd, who actually believed the land was worthless. Thomas Budd was a navy veteran who led multiple expeditions around the globe, including some in the South Pole. Budd’s multiple expeditions earned several features to be named after him, one of which being Budd Coast located in Antarctica.

It wasn’t until the 1850’s where the idea for a resort town would come to fruition. Shortly after in 1853, the name Atlantic City was given to the town. soon after developers would move into the area in hopes of building up the city as quickly as possible.

Atlantic City is located in Southern New Jersey which made it prime real estate for anyone looking to build there. Hotels became eager to open their doors, some of which would house guest before the building was even finished with construction. Atlantic City’s first set of hotels would go up the same year the town was named. Then a year later the first railway would begin to bring visitors over.

Train service was provided by the Camden and Atlantic Railroad, which helped connect Atlantic City with Philadelphia.

The first boardwalk was officially built in the 1870’s and it was actually built along the beach in order to keep sand out of hotels. After a while the boardwalk would slowly be removed and replaced and overtime it was made wider and longer in order to make it more comfortable for visitors. In the same year the first road that connected Atlantic City to the rest of the mainland was built. The road itself was tolled, visitors would have to pay a 30 cent fee to pass. Eventually, a new road would be built, this one being toll free.

Dr. Jonathan Pitney and Samuel Richards are typically seen as the fathers of Atlantic City, as they were some of the first to build in the town. Dr. Pitney was a Columbia university graduate, who helped push Atlantic City by promoting it as a medical retreat. He would often go to Absecon Island in order to treat patients.

Dr. Pitney would often go by rowboat, and during these times he got an idea to start a retreat. After getting help from Richard Osborne, a civil engineer born in London. they began to create designs for a large-scale resort. The designs intrigued local landowner Samuel Richards, who was a prominent figure in South Jersey at the time. Samuel Richards helped Jonathan Pitney reach investors for the project and even donated towards the creation himself. Samuels also secured the charter needed to transport people to Atlantic City and even invested in the Camden-Atlantic Railroad. Once the Camden-Atlantic Railroad was built Atlantic City would begin to bring in guests. The first group to stay at Atlantic City were carefully selected by both Dr. Jonathan Pitney and Samuel Richards.

The Absecon Lighthouse is a lighthouse located north of Atlantic City, and is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey. Construction of Absecon Lighthouse began in 1854 and first lit up in 1857. The lighthouse was also heavily lobbied by Dr. Pitney after the wreck of Powhattan. The Powhattan sank after encountering a storm off the coast of New Jersey, it was carrying 200 migrants before going down in April 1854. This event led to the creation of the Absecon Lighthouse.

The Absecon Lighthouse ran for more than 75 years before being deactivated. The lighthouse is no longer used for navigational purposes and instead has been turned to a visitation center with an indoor museum. The Absecon Lighthouse also offers several programs to scouts and group tours, including an overnight program. The overturning of the lighthouse was overseen by Jack E. Boucher, an American photographer who made a career of preserving historic sights. Recently, the lighthouse went through an extensive renovation program, going as far as to replicate the living quarters of the lightkeeper’s dwelling. Nowadays visitors can climb the 228 steps to the top of the lighthouse if they so please!

One of the first supermassive  luxury hotels to open up in Atlantic City was the United States Hotel. The hotel took up an entire city block and featured up to date amenities at the time. The hotel was known for being one of the most luxurious stays in the nation, even attracting the eye of presidents. The United States Hotel would open up on July 4th, 1854, however it wasn’t fully completed when it first opened its doors. The owners actually tried hiding the unfinished construction by restricting the visitors to only one wing of the hotel. The United States Hotel would operate until about 1900, where it would be demolished.

In 1944 a hurricane hit the city and completely destroyed the boardwalk, the entire length would have to be reconstructed. Atlantic City saw its biggest explosion in popularity during the early 20th century. During the prohibition tourism was at its peak, this was because prohibitions was never actually enforced in Atlantic City. While people would still go into backrooms and hide the fact they where drinking, it was largely ignored due to the nature of the city.

During this time a conference was called where major organized crime figures had come to create the National Crime Syndicate. This conference was actually attended by Al Capone and numerous other crime families.

After which from the 1930’s to the 1960’s it was an economic heyday as the city began to move into its nightclub era. Keep in mind that during this time segregation was still very strong and it was definitely seen in Atlantic City. In the white-populated side of the city, this being the south side and included places like The 500 Club, The Clicquot Club, and The Jockey Club. On the other end of the spectrum you would have the north side of the city which was home to many different African Americans, and many different entertainment in the segregated city through mainly Kentucky Avenue. Some of the most popular entertainment include four major nightclubs, Club Harlem, The Paradise Club, Grace’s Little Belmont, and Wonder Gardens. These four major clubs had actually drawn in every type of people whether black or white, and during the summer season, tourist enjoy jazz and R&B music along with soul food throughout the avenue.

During World War II Atlantic City became riddled with crime and poverty, it would unfortunately follow the trend of struggling east coast cities at the time. Interestingly enough it was the creation of the automobile that caused Atlantic City to fall into a state of crime and over crowdedness. The automobile allowed any person to be able to drive to Atlantic City. This meant that even taking a taxi would seem old fashioned, This led to the city being known as a playground for criminals and the typical person who would come daily. This eventually led to the vacancy of many hotels in Atlantic City, this lead to an economic decline in the city and forced the city to demolish hotels.

Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City 1930’s.

In 1976 New Jersey passed a law to legalize gambling in casinos, this was done in an effort to revive Atlantic City. Funny enough, moments after this law was passed, The Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel was converted into the Resorts international. it became the first legal casino in the eastern United States and opened on May 26. Donald Trump had actually helped Atlantic City gain popularity by bringing in big names, Mike Tyson being one of these people. Mike Tyson had numerous fights in Atlantic City during the 1980’s, this helped the city become famous not just around the area but throughout the entire nation. This was followed up by the legalization of sports betting in Atlantic City, this made New Jersey the third state to legalize sports betting. New Jersey is now a great destination spot for anyone planning a weekend vacation, some of its guest even opt to take limos to Atlantic City due to its perception.

Transportation to Atlantic City has always been important to the city and its development, while before people would rely on the trains coming in and out of the city now most people can just drive there or even order a car. Though some of the more well off tourist will probably opt into taking a limo service just for the extra experience. Though you shouldn’t let the name car service deter you, most car services now a days contain more then the basic transport. There are certain situations however where a person might live too far from Atlantic City and find it difficult to go there. Luckily, now a days most car companies make long distance trips for your convenience, this is assuming you can afford it of course. Most car companies can take you to or from any area around Atlantic City, this including New York, New Jersey, and possibly Pennsylvania. However, there are some car companies that may go even further than that. Some car companies will take from places like Rhode Island to Atlantic City, or even Washington D.C. to Atlantic City. If you happen to live further out and don’t want to take a train or plane then some limo companies can take you even further out. Some Black Car services will bring you from Connecticut to Atlantic City, and from Massachusetts to Atlantic City.

Coast Line view of Atlantic City.

Atlantic City has 9 current casinos that have been up and running since the late 1970’s, the most recent one being opened in 2018. Resorts, the oldest casino, it was opened in 1978 and was located in the uptown section of Atlantic City, it is also features a Roaring Twenties theme. Caesars, opened in 1979 and is located in the Midtown section of Atlantic City, like the name suggest it is based off a Roman Empire theme. Bally’s, this was the last one to open in 1979 and is also located in the Midtown section of Atlantic City, its theme is modern based. Harrah’s is the first of three to be opened in the 1980’s, it is located in the Marina section of Atlantic City and features a Marina Waterfront theme. Tropicana was opened in 1981 and is located in the Downbeach section of Atlantic City, this casino has a Old Havana theme. Golden Nugget, opened in the 1985 and like its name suggest its based off the Gold Rush Era, this casino is located in the Marian section of Atlantic City. Borgata is the first casino to be opened in the 2000’s, it is also set in the Marina section of the city and has a Tuscany Theme for its design. The Hard Rock casino is one of the two opened in 2018 and is located in the uptown section of the city, like its name suggest it has a Rock and Roll theme. Finally, Ocean and like its name suggest it has a Ocean theme and was the other casino to open up in 2018 and is located in the uptown section of Atlantic City.

Overall, Atlantic City has slowly built itself up multiple times and has proven that its perseverance throughout the times leads to success. Atlantic City is now considering a hot vacation and gambling spot for tourist and locals of the East Coast. With its perfect blend of Casinos, Resorts, Shopping Malls, and Exhibits there’s something for everyone in this tourist city. If you plan on going there anytime soon then be sure to book the perfect car transportation company and get there safely and comfortably.