Jersey City is a hardcore town with a tough reputation. There are pockets of high wealth in Jersey City and they are located downtown along the waterfront where views out the window frame the
Hudson River and the magnificent New York City skyline. Many say the best place to view the majesty of Manhattan is from the shores of New Jersey.
Jersey City was famous for being a big city
without many neighborhood parks and no golf course. The urban parks are
still missing, but over the last couple of years Jersey City’s first
golf course, the obnoxiously named — Liberty National — is set to
open on July 4.
If you want to play a round of golf at Liberty National with its view
of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty it will cost you. Liberty
National isn’t free and it is not a public space. Your initiation
fees alone will run you $400,000.00 USD. Former New York City Mayor
Rudy Giuliani and National Football League New England Patriots owner
Robert Kraft are already signed up as charter members.
Liberty National Facts:
Liberty National is the most expensive golf course ever built. Here’s
the official blurp from the designers on what you get for a $130 million course spanning of 7,400 yards and a par 70:
Applied Development Company, in partnership with Willowbend
Development Company, will create a one of a kind golf course on the
western shore of the New York Bay overlooking the Statue of Liberty and
the Manhattan skyline. This 18 hole championship caliber golf course,
designed by Tom Kite and Bob Cupp, will have a 12-minute launch service
to/from Manhattan to the Club, with an onboard concierge.
National will have extensive golf practice facilities including
double-ended grass tee practice range, putting and chipping greens, and
indoor/outdoor teaching studio. The clubhouse will offer: a
grille/lounge; banquet facilities; private meeting rooms; men’s and
women’s locker room facilities; golf shop; spa and more.
Are you swooning yet?
Here’s why Liberty National is really costing $130 million as reported by the
Wall Street Journal:
Toxic-waste sites, it turns out, are popular places for
golf courses. Golfers spend less time on the land than workers or
homeowners, and their turf doesn’t weigh as much as office towers —
which can squeeze toxins out into the surrounding area. Over the past
40 years, more than 70 courses have been built on such land — many of
them former landfills and eight are under way in New Jersey.
But underground, the state of New Jersey says, much of the land harbors
toxic lead, arsenic, beryllium, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
petroleum residues, chromium and other leavings from the defunct oil
refineries, factories and U.S. Army training facility that all once
operated on the site.
Before Mr. Fireman took over the land [for Liberty National], previous
owners spent $29 million on cleaning up the site. Remediation included
layering two feet of soil over 120 of the 170 acres planned for the
course, and covering 15 acres of some of the more potent stuff with a
half-inch thick polyethylene blanket.
As part of a new “brownfields to greenfields” program for reclaiming
some of the state’s 10,000 Superfund sites, toxic-waste dumps and
contaminated landfills, New Jersey has given its blessing and aid to
the Liberty National project and about a half-dozen other golf course
developments on toxic sites.
Golf and parks are favored for sites like Liberty’s because
they are too dirty for residences or offices. It takes only about four
hours to play a game of golf. So the exposure to potentially hazardous
fumes is much less than a resident or office worker would get.
lot of times the land is not compacted enough to withstand the weight
of a building,” says Linda Garczynski, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency’s brownfields director.
In a number of cases, golf courses on polluted grounds have erupted.
Bowling balls, car bumpers and old newspapers have mysteriously
appeared on some courses as the soil used to cap the contaminants
shifted and eroded.
There’s a Jimmy Hoffa joke begging to erupt in there somewhere but I’ll let you write your own punch line.
As a citizen of Jersey City I am concerned when big money is spent to
privately serve a moneyed few even if the wealthy will be paying a
$400,000.00 initiation fee to poison their bodies on a Superfund site
posing as a golf course.
When beautiful spaces are created on public land — even contaminated
public land — everyone in the community should still have equal access
to the experience even if it risks illness due to extended exposure to
The poor have an equal right to lead poisoning playing golf
instead of getting poisoned the old-fashioned way by eating paint chips
from their windowsills!
New Jersey should have helped clean up the site harboring Liberty
National and then offered the land for extended public use.
To close off such a large tract of the earth for private purposes only
serves to increase the tension between the “haves and the “have nots” in the core of a tough, urban, city.
citizens of Jersey City are left with yearning eyes for a glassy
glimpse of Lady Liberty beyond the land that, while once contaminated
and uninhabitable, still belonged to them in spirit and to the soul of
the city proper.
On July 4, Jersey City will shrivel a little tenser and the dreams of
its commoners will become even more compressed as Rudy Giuliani and
Robert Kraft stroll onto the Liberty National green and aim a shot at
Lady Liberty’s left armpit in a celebration of freedom and independence
that only $400,000.00 can buy.