STAR SHOES, Jersey City

by Kevin Walsh

As far as I’m concerned,  and for my own nefarious purposes, the towns of New Jersey clustering by the Hudson River such as Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, et al. have all been annexed by New York City, and I’ll be treating them that way as the years continue to pass. The Five Boroughs continue to present endless surprises, but whenever I venture into these NJ towns, I find them quite similar to NYC but also somewhat different. They seem to be on a different clock, running a few years behind. While the Hoboken waterfront (where I’m working for  a few months in early to mid-2016) has been completely rebuilt with new office buildings and parks over the past decade the interior looks much as it did when I first encountered it in the mid-1980s.

I’m not quite as experienced with Jersey City and even less with Newark, and at age 58 in 2016, I may be getting onboard too late to really do as thorough a job as I’ve tried to do with New York City. Vast areas of these cities are unplumbed and unexplored by me. Take, for example, Newark Avenue in Jersey City in the Journal Square area.

The massive Brennan Courthouse dominates the area, with its satellite bail bonds and pawn shops. There are some thriving businesses but for every five there’s one like Star Shoes, whose golden era seems to have been in 1955. (Area residents, fill me in). Some of the neon is still in place, but most has fallen off.

I got some choice shots of Jersey City after ascending Mountain Road from Hoboken in the last week of May and you will see some of this stuff turn up on FNY pages.

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