Waterfront Over-development

Waterfront Over-development

There’s a reason or two why Manhattan (and NYC in general) “works,” despite being one of the most densely populated regions in the world: A first class (underground) public transit system – as well as strategically-placed high-speed freeways. It always puzzles me why waterfront over-development continues on the Jersey side – without those crucial components.

Some key stats:

  • Manhattan’s population density per square mile: 72,000 (around 23 sq. miles)
  • Hoboken’s population density per square mile: 42,000 (1.3 sq. miles)
  • All of New York City per square mile: 28,000 (around 300 sq. miles)

Hoboken has always been an interesting subject for analysis. It’s relatively square and a shade over a mile of area. Only one minor railway (the highly ineffective light rail far away from the center). An easy “walking” city (as well as bicycling). Major transportation hub (NJ Transit, PATH, Ferries). It works for the most part – but we feel it’s way beyond capacity.

Each new building that goes up just adds stress to a city that cannot handle more – for the infrastructure as well as the overall quality of life. But we’ve known that for a long time – and most sensible people are fully aware that no stop-gap solutions (i.e., bike sharing) will change the future crisis’s Hoboken will face. It’s just a matter of “who’s mess” it will be to remedy (if at all).

waterfront over-development in NJ

Not just Hoboken, but the entire “desirable” waterfront

But another good place to witness this waterfront over-development it in action is along the Hudson River waterfront to the north of Hoboken. Have you ever driven through Edgewater (as well as Weehawken, Fort Lee, etc.?) It’s a classic example of over-development on steroids.

Edgewater land area is listed at a smidge under one square mile (with a density of about 12,000 per) – but we’d suspect the real liveable space is between a half and three-quarters of a mile square due to that pesky steep cliff to the west.

And we think Edgewater is at even more of a disadvantage than Hoboken due to the layout. Not a walking city, despite the light rail and ferry access. You need a car.

Yet they keep on stuffing more cookie cutter condos along the Hudson. One after another for the past 15 years (and especially during the last five years).

Slow moving traffic even in the middle of a weekday – and insane during the peak hours. I’d hate to be in the center of Edgewater during an emergency.

But there is demand (mostly foreign), so you have capitalism at work.

I guess some of the important questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Who is following the dots? Asking who benefits?
  • Are there any shady dealings that can be uncovered?
  • Hardly any “politicians” in days past are ever held responsible for the “mess” they essentially created for today. Pointing the finger at decisions people made (or accepted) 20 or 30 years ago doesn’t seem to make a difference. Yet the same mistakes are made over and over for each new phase or generation. That would be a great starting point to put an end to short-term gains for long-term failures.

Frankly – we can go on and on about all the factors that have led to these circumstances in New Jersey – as well as other fashionable areas across the country. But there are many common denominators that pop up quite often. Greed. Short-sightedness. Manipulation. Pies in the sky. Marketing. Dog and Pony. Bait and switch. Suckers.

It’s just up to you to see the writing on the wall and take appropriate action (or non-action).

Photo Essay: Waterfront Over-development in New Jersey

Below is a photo essay (with captions) during a recent trip to the Asian market in Edgewater.

Despite the “design,” it’s just another cage of humans (with a view).

The tiny apartments and consumerism are the reason for the bevy of self-storage locations across the country!

Are these “living spaces” or just cells in an accountants spreadsheet? Something to ponder!

“Mixed use” is an interesting phrase for municipalities. Think about it for a minute.

“Density” is one of the top 10 most used words for developers.

The “Galaxy” was one of the first. I think NY Knicks Center Patrick Ewing once lived here.

Don’t you just love the “character?”

Parking is a requirement.

Such curb appeal. Feels like home!

So industrial. Maybe it doesn’t feel so homey when you see the process in whole?

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2 Comments on "Waterfront Over-development"

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bradski
Member
bradski

Good post. Many like to talk about the new projects and positive accoutrements but rarely see things for what they are in unison. Crap.

Evelyn
Member
Evelyn

We utilize the commerce in Edgewater and surrounding areas. That is all. Nice to have access to. Not sure we would be happy living there. It’s not that we love Hoboken necessarily either, but it is definitely more of a neighborhood than a commodity in many places. Those buildings are less homes one can root themselves and more financial investments for developers.

Marketed as ideal living.

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