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A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Jersey City
Part 1

Millions of people carelessly regard JERSEY CITY (60 alt., 316,715 pop.) as a necessary rail and motor approach to Manhattan, but Jersey City advertises that it has Everything for Industry. The daily commuters and motorists never see enough of the community to realize the accuracy of Jersey City's self-description. The propitious location of the city, close to the tremendous financial and consumer markets of New York City and metropolitan New Jersey, is an advantage equaled by its geographical position on upper New York Bay. This favorable situation has furnished Jersey City with shipping facilities which, in turn, have drawn motor routes and rail lines.

Hardly evident to autoists and bus passengers are hundreds of freight 270 sidings and main line tracks, the wharfs and piers of the water front, the barges and the freighters that carry heavy cargoes from the factories.

The concrete and glass bulk of the American Can Company plant beside the ramp that descends from the Pulaski Skyway and the warehouses along the Holland Tunnel approach are the industrial samples that the city shows to the pounding stream of motor traffic that flows from the heights to the depths. The train passengers see equally little-fleeting glimpses from the windows of the Erie, Jersey Central, Lackawanna, or Pennsylvania coaches form a blurred and incomplete picture-while the commuters who use the Hudson Tubes view the city from its basement, hewn out of the tough rock of the Palisades.

Thus relatively few outsiders are familiar with the surface of this city, spread upon a peninsula between the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers, directly west of Manhattan.

Although many of the residents work in New York or in nearby communities, Jersey City is their home town as well as their home. Of primary interest is politics. In city and county employees and in their families has been instilled a political awareness that transcends interest in other civic and cultural problems. An elaborate framework of political clubs provides a social outlet for voters of all leading nationalities. Nonpolitical recreation is found in the motion picture houses and in sports, since dance halls and night clubs are prohibited. Nearby New York City provides other cultural and amusement channels.


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