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InstaBlog: Sometimes, you just have to admit you were wrong.

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Sometimes, you just have to admit you were wrong.

For the past few years, I've watched this hotel—a Holiday Inn—being built in the Garment District, at 39th & 8th Ave. The developers clearly received a height bonus for including a public plaza, one of New York City's many so-called privately-owned public places (or POPS). POPS have a sad history: not only have they more often than not been dead, lifeless afterthoughts, but developers had an incentive to make them that way—after all, they had no desire for non-tenants to hang out on their property.

Given that history and this space, which is tightly tucked between two buildings, I was fairly sure it was going to be a failure. As late as 2016, it looked like the plaza was going to be a lightless, empty disaster, a space devoid of people where no one wanted to be. I was even ready to take pictures of the legally mandated "Public Space" signs and snark about how only the best public spaces require signs to inform you of their nature.

Well, I'm glad to admit that I was totally wrong. The Garment District is a region almost devoid of public space, and this one is almost always full of a variety of people doing different things, including simply enjoying the city. There are many reasons it has worked: it is a relatively humanistic design with plenty of seating and plants, it is often bustling with hotel guests which in turn makes it more comfortable & interesting for other people to use, and it is not overly policed (in my experience, no one who isn't overtly begging is asked to leave). Whatever the exact reasons however, this space is working, and it has turned into a great addition to a neighborhood that desperately needed one.

In other words, sometimes it is a good thing to be wrong.

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Author's Notes: This post combines many more images & stories! Make sure to click read more!
Also: Warning—these are blog-style posts originally from social media. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Exchange Place

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InstaBlog: Houston on the Hudson™

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

While there is a lot to love in Jersey City, its relatively new, booming waterfront is truly "Houston on the Hudson"™...

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Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

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InstaBlog: Newark Avenue

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

A walk down Newark Avenue, the heart of urban Jersey City's historic downtown.

InstaBlog: Grove Street

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Continuing north in Jersey City, I found myself at the surface of PATH's Grove Street station. Here, the intersection of Newark Avenue & Christopher Columbus Drive makes a small, triangular space, which has been converted to a public square. A farmers market—the Downtown Jersey City Farmers Market—was just closing up shop, and people were everywhere, especially for a cold winter's day.

InstaBlog: Snowy Binghamton, NY

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Something different: this past Friday, I was returning from a family member's funeral in upstate New York when I got stuck in the midst of the major storm hitting the East Coast. In the Catskills, that meant snow, and when I say stuck, I mean it literally. I was trapped on I-81 miles behind an accident that shut the entire road for over 2 1/2 hours before having to back off the highway. Fun times (see the last image for that)! After a white-knuckle drive on snow-covered back roads, I got back to the city of Binghamton, New York to spend the night.

InstaBlog: Jersey City's Victorian Masterpiece

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

All of the sudden, as I continued to walk inland in Jersey City, the neighborhood changed, almost as if with an audible clunk. The broad highways, glass towers, and parking lots of the 20th Century had suddenly disappeared, and, as if by magic, a 19th Century, truly urban city took their place. The contrast of this— part of Jersey City’s traditional downtown— and its modern counterpart could not have been starker.

InstaBlog: Islands of Urbanity in Jersey City

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Walking down Montgomery Street away from the waterfront and deeper into Jersey City reveals a strange environment: islands of urbanity floating in a sea of roads and parking lots.

InstaBlog: Exchange Place, Jersey City

Author's note: Warning—this is a blog-style post based on a social media post. Beware typos and poorly elucidated thoughts. For more polish, perhaps try an article!

Over the past few decades, Jersey City has exploded, sprouting towers far into the air which, especially from a distance, rival those of lower Manhattan. Once you are on the ground, though, it becomes clear that things are quite a bit uglier.

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