Over the last 12 months there have been seven murders within a one block radius of where I live in the Jersey City Heights neighborhood. These killings, I have discovered, are an unfortunate part of the fabric of living in Jersey City.
The deaths are cause for concern and hope. The concern is that someone innocent will be killed in the crossfire. The hope is that these irrevocable and violent neighborhood performances are a natural reaction to the gentrification of the Heights neighborhood.
Donald Trump is coming to the Heights. He is buying up land and houses all along Palisade Avenue. The low-income and land-poor residents of the Heights are, of course, angry and resentful their apartments are being sold out from under them. Jersey City must have a plan in place to take care of these misplaced people and abandoned families.
My landlord says our neighborhood will be “the new Hoboken” in three years and I believe him. When we arrived in the Heights a month before the World Trade Center fell the neighborhood was on an upward spring with lots of young and sharp Manhattan refugees.
After 9/11 all new development stopped and the forward progress in the Heights was halted because of the Twin Towers aftershock in the economy. The “new Hoboken” moniker cannot come soon enough as I peer out my window and see a pair of undercover Jersey City leap out of their red Jeep to block traffic while they do an impromptu drugs search of vehicles and unlucky sidewalk passersby.
This is no way to live but, in the past year in the Jersey City Heights, it has been the place to die.