Showing posts with label semi-city life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label semi-city life. Show all posts

Thursday, August 7, 2014

an evening stroll

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photos via @beyondthestoop on instagram

sometimes i have to pinch myself to know that i live in such a place that i can walk 10 minutes from my house and see views like this.  last night i couldn't make it to kickboxing class because of an eye appointment.  i took that as an opportunity to get some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood (literally, i walked the entire waterfront).  while i knew i'd be out for at least an hour, i decided to forget the headphones, and just take it all in from all senses.  i wish i would have taken some videos just so you could hear the water crashing against the piers and the kids running around and playing.  there's nearly nothing that could take the smile off my face last night...

with couples snuggling on the bike path benches
the sound of kids chasing each other with their tiny giggles
the outdoor bootcamp class being held at the end of the pier
the sunset reflecting on the skyscrapers of manhattan's southern end
the endless different languages being spoken around me
the friends i pass and stop by to say hi
the runners and bikers zooming past me
the old couple slowly strolling hand in hand
the family climbing out of their boat in the marina after an evening boat ride
the sailboats scattered in new york harbor at sunset
the dogs diving into the river water to fetch a ball at the dog park
the music coming from the bar with the bistro lights that you can drive your jet ski up to
the party going on at the square at the train station

sometimes, this city life just can't be beat. i love you, jersey city !


Thursday, July 31, 2014

biking at governor's island

we've owned our bikes for a while now.  like 2 years or something like that.  but we've only rode the bikes a few times! maybe it's the fact that the first 3 times we blew a tire, no big deal.  i vowed to make this year different.  now that our bikes sit in the landing of our building stairway that leads up to our apartment, we have to pass the bikes every time we leave and enter the house.  it's like a constant reminder that, yeah, maybe we should take them out.

one weekend we decided to do it.  we took the bikes down to grove street bicycles , got good tune-ups (and a new tire for hung's tire that kept breaking every time he rode it), and just did it.  we rode the bikes down to the exchange place ferry pier, and got ourselves over to manhattan.  did you know that the ferry is just $2.50 to ride on the weekends now that the world trade center path train is down on the weekends?  it's so nice! the ride is super quick, more comfortable (helllloooo personal space!), and while it does cost an extra dollar to bring your bike with you, the ferry drops you off at a prime bike-riding spot anyways.

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we, however, did not use the bike path.  instead we wanted to go to governor's island , a small island south of manhattan that's a part of new york city .  with all of the tourists and construction going on in battery park, it was mild chaos getting over there.  once we got to the governor's island ferry terminal (the small one next to the staten island ferry terminal) though, a $2 round-trip ticket got us over to the adorable, doesn't-feel-like-your-in-the-city island.  there's very few cars on the island, and bikers everywhere .  big grassy areas make it perfect for picnics, and the coastline wraps around the entire island (well that was an obvious comment, it's an island after all!). while food vendors fill up one corner of the island, the open space on the rest of the island is amazing.  it almost feels like a college campus in the summer time, with its big grassy open fields, plenty of art sculptures scattered around, and beautiful old buildings and houses. 

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for those of you without your own bikes, you can rent them on the island, and they even have those "family" style ones where everyone hops in to the buggy and everyone pedals!  also, you can rent the bikes for free for 1 hour any weekday morning from 10am-noon! it's like one of the few things in new york city that's free.

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it's definitely a good place to see if you want to get away for the day.  the island is SO small though, we were only over there for MAYBE 2 hours.  if we wanted to relax with a blanket and a picnic though with some music and rood reading material, i could have stayed all day.  instead we just packed sammiches and cherries in the backpack, ate on a park bench, and biked.

besides the hotdog that hung got as we passed through the food vendors (he's such a sucker for hot dogs!!) the trip was such a cheap outing: $2.50/ride and $1/bike on the exchange place ferry, $2/round-trip on the governor's island ferry = $18.  for less than $20, i'd call it a pretty good day (with some exercise thrown in too.  i gotta at least  try to look good before i become mrs. phan :P)

from that day, we decided that we should take out the bikes at least once a week (or weekend). besides the trip to the farmer's market a few weeks ago, they haven't seen the sun again.  meh, we tried.  maybe this weekend.  maybe.


Monday, July 21, 2014

hamilton park picnic

"if i didn't move here, i would probably never do anything like this."
      - the words of my fiancé, who repeatedly tells me that he's so grateful to live such a fulfilling life in a smile-worthy place. 

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yesterday we set out for a picnic in hamilton park, casually organized by napoleon and belinda of e.tittlemouse and marinell and chadner of eighty magazine.  we packed up the picnic basket, filled with dinnerware, cloth napkins, box wine, seltzer water, and (of course) some homemade goodies.  we packed the blanket, the camera, and walked a whole 5 blocks to the picnic!

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our well-received contribution to the food spread was corn, goat cheese, and quinoa hand pies! as much as we would like to take credit for the final product, it was just a mix of the filling from the sween corn and goat cheese stuffed peppers recipe from and the pie crust from the infinite kitchen sink hand pie from lady and pups .

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a surprise visit from milk sugar love and a generous hand-delivered bucket of ice cream, and everyone went crazy.  phones and cameras came out like paparazzi, everyone cheered.  i guess that's the sort of entrance you live for when you own an ice cream business ;)

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when we got there, we were greeted with wine, endless food options (mostly filipino), and a community of jersey-city-loving new friends.  what a group to get you inspired! a lot of the people there were entrepreneurs, designers, and creatives, all with a passion for their business and art.  nearly every sunday lately we've spent meals with friends, but this was a new and fun idea of bringing together those with a common bond (food) in a place we love (hamilton park) to form new friendships (and put faces to instagrammers i already stalk) and have a great time.

while living in such an urban environment, especially so close to big, scary new york city, i never would have thought that i would have found such neighborhood pride, so many local connections, such a small-town feel.  it's events like this that really make us feel like we made the right choice to plant our roots in jersey city.  we felt honored to even be invited to such an event with so many talented people, and can't wait for the next one!

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cheers to monday!

p.s. go check out these new-to-me local artists/entrepreneurs/creatives from jersey city:

caviar noir
e.tittlemouse (not-so-new to us :P)
joan michel
eat and be mary
downtown natch
modest mind clothing
deen boutique
chadner navarro

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

urban sanctuary

have you found your urban sanctuary?

is it that big patch of grass in a park where no pets are allowed?

is it that spot that says "no trespassing" but you do anyways and you get away with it?

is it that cliff that's so high that the sounds of city life disappear?

is it smack in the middle of times square where the sounds are so loud, but strangely comforting?

last weekend we found "our spot". and it's just a short bike ride away.  we rode our bikes up (and up and up, literally) to the jersey city heights neighborhood where there's a sunday morning farmers market in riverview fisk park .  while the ride to get there was pretty intense with the steep hill and the incredibly hot and humid weather, the destination was worth it.  we picked up some cold brew iced coffees from mod cup coffee , perused the vendors at the farmers market in the park, picked up fresh vegetables for the week (including the biggest bunch of basil i've seen, purchased for just $2), snagged some stuffed croissants and perched ourselves up on a weird concrete platform overlooking the NYC skyline. 

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when scouting for a spot to eat our goods, we spotted what looked like the remnants of a really cool building. there's nothing left but just the foundation a few steps up from ground level.  do we go up there? it's so cool, why isn't anyone up there if we're allowed up there? is it going to fall apart if we go up there? my engineer mind said "lets do it! if its been here this long, 2 people aren't going to break it!"  in reality, just the edges were a bit worn out, and it was quite the nice hideaway.  hung likes sitting in the grass, but hates the bugs.  this was the perfect compromise! a picnic on the concrete :P  we had the best views though, so it really was a great spot.  it was quiet, there was a breeze, we felt alone.

yeah, we'll be heading back.  if not for the spot, definitely for the coffee , THE BASIL, and the spinach-and-cheese-stuffed croissants.

jersey city, you win my heart again.


Friday, July 11, 2014

city lights

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some of our best summer nights are those where we make dinner at home and go for an evening stroll.  lots of times we're too busy caught up in what feels like a race during the week.  there's rarely an evening that we relax and slow down.  if we're not going to kickboxing, we're going to dinner with friends, we're working late, we're making plans with friends we never get to see enough.  if we've got a half hour to spare, it's enough time to walk to the bodega to pick up those two things we need.  it's sort of our "thing" that we're on the go with no looking back.

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but when these two came to visit,

Friday, January 31, 2014

20 (good) reasons jersey city is the "semi-city" life

it's friday, my friends!  i still haven't met a super bowl football player , but last night we did meet " Captain Morgan " at Park and Sixth , got our photos with him, and scored 8 free drinks all because he was promoting the new "white rum".  honestly i don't care what kind of rum it is, as long as it's free, right? haha

with the new layout and header, i decided to brand this space with the "tagline":

beyond the stoop  ...and the semi-city life

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living in jersey city VERY MUCH gives us that "city life" feeling.

here are 10 reasons why:
  1. we live in a "walk-up"/ brownstone /townhouse/rowhouse/whatever-you-call-it-in-your-city.
  2. mr p takes the train to work and works on park ave amongst some of the top businesses in the nation.
  3. we frequently meet friends for happy hour at the staple neighborhood spots, all "just around the corner".
  4. we have our favorite bodega , our favorite brunch spot , our favorite wine store , and favorite place to pick up a good vintage find .
  5. we do our laundry at the laundromat (hey, getting 5 loads done in 2 hours has its perks)
  6. we sometimes sneak to the rooftop for a quiet get-away with cheese and wine and debate whether what we see in the sky is a star or an airplane.
  7. it's normal to see bikers with baby seats, skateboarders, strollers, and scooters (for kids AND adults )
  8. we never have to worry about "who's going to drive home" after a night of drinking, because there's always a way home on a train, on a bus, or in a taxi.
  9. we spend the summertime attending street fairs and dining on the sidewalks.
  10. most of the stores in the neighborhood are locally-owned and operated.

but really... it's just a "semi-city" life, and there are some perks to living just outside of "THE city".

here are 10 reasons why:
  1. i work in suburbia new jersey, so i have a car and drive to work (ok i admit, being able to have a car is 75% of the reason why it's the "semi"-city life, and it's awesome)
  2. i still park on the street, but i can actually find parking.
  3. we're seconds from most of the major highways in the area, so getting around and getting out to that beautiful green part of new jersey is fast and easy (despite what the media claims, it really is called "the garden state" for a good reason)
  4. though most of the stores are small businesses, we still have a few big box staples like BJ's, target, McD's, and starbucks.
  5. we have a huge park just a few minutes away (via walking, biking, or driving) called Liberty State Park that lets you feel like you've truly escaped the urban life.
  6. "going to the beach " in the summer is as simple as packing a bag and driving a half hour.
  7. rent and real estate is cheap (or, at least cheap-ER than manhattan)
  8. gas stations are easily found.
  9. "going to the grocery store" is a pleasant experience that happens often, almost everyday (you'll know what i mean if you ask a manhattan-ite about shopping for groceries )
  10. did i mention i have a car and can find parking?

jersey city is truly the best of both worlds!! if you're truly not convinced yet, read this article from to see all the fabulous buzz about jersey city in 2013.  it was pretty impressive.... (p.s. that's where we got our super cool shirts in the photo too)


p.s. don't for get to follow me on the T the P the IG and the FB ;)