Happy New Year Jersey City!

New Year 2016Jersey City: We’ve had many years of transformation, but 2015 seemed particularly poignant in that it marked an increasingly rapid pace of evolvement.

It’s as if everyone finally realized that Jersey City IS the place to live. We’ve had lots of new businesses with high hopes and big dreams, many of which have been shattered by shuttering or postponment in 2015. Some highly anticipated local venues didn’t even get the chance to open their doors this year, their brick-and-mortar spaces left unfinished and for sale. There were others that did open but couldn’t stay afloat, and many more that will soon open their doors and pray to be vital for more than half of 2016. There are many high-rises in construction in place of condiminium complexes that failed, and other big buildings filling wastleands of rotting, forgotten land. We are in a turbulent flux. Projects started and unifinished, or able to rise only to fall quickly.

In a thriving artist and creative community, it’s such a buzzkill to see beloved businesses or buildings fail, to see “replacement.” Everything is about hurdles and politics and money. Certain talents do not have the opportunity to reach their potential even with hard work and exhaustive effort. Others succeed that are less talented. Education is of particular concern to me. We are living in a bleak bubble that I hope we can break in the years to come.

I want to see our citizens investing their time, their minds and their hard-earned dollars into what truly matters to our rapidly changing community. What does Jersey City mean to you? And how are you contributing to make your home a better place? We have real issues here, and our uniqueness is being squandered by the ever-increasing rich/poor divide. A VIP police officer casually mentioned to me a few months ago that “Crime is at one of its peaks and it’s only getting worse,” a comment I was surprised by considering I had just been mugged outside of my front door and authority figures usually try to be reassuring. No, our officers have been cracking down on major gang crimes, and they are overwhelmed. The media glosses over this, and a lot of us choose to be uninformed because it is, well, overwhelming.

In our diverse community, we need to focus on the things that bring us together, not those that separate us. Let’s get back to our roots. Make an effort to be inclusive to those around you, not just those in your neighborhood or demographic. Jersey City is about inclusivity. It is also about diversity. We are a significant part of America’s history: where immigrants arrived and many settled. We have generations of wealth in terms of history. We are…

Step outside of your box: This is a huge, huge city with many people and so much to see and explore. Expand your mind. “Make it yours,” yes, but contribute to make it a greater “ours.”

On a lighter note, here are my best hangover tips for those who choose to indulge. And my current and previous workout playlists.

Have a Happy & Inspired New Year,
JCG

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