Jersey City, New Jersey was founded in 1630. It’s an old and ancient East Coast metropolis. Jersey City is also, because of its geological terrain, a city that teeters in the past with no clear way into a stabilized future. Allow me to explain. Unlike most modern cities that bury their power lines and cable television lines and other communication cables, Jersey City still hangs all their municipal cabling from telephone poles hoisted along the streets.
The reason for this is simple: Jersey City is built on bedrock. In order to put the cables in the ground, you’d have to dig up massive boulders. You don’t dig precise trenches in Jersey City. You excavate pits. That Jersey City bedrock is both good and bad. It’s good because Jersey City is the definition of “rock solid” — the city core is incredibly sturdy — and it’s bad because your city looks like it’s stuck in the 1950’s with all sorts of wires and cables angling above your head every day. Another problem with telephone poles in your city is that they are made out of wood and they warp while in use and they need to be replaced. You can’t “bury it, and forget it” like you can with cables.
I’ve lived in Jersey City for over a decade and the first thing that struck me about the city all those years ago was the plethora of what I call — “Janky Poles” — telephone poles that look like they’re about to tip over and break from overuse. A few days ago, I took a half-hour walk on the streets of Jersey City to memorialize some of the sillier Janky Poles in my neighborhood and here are the best-of-the-worst for your perusal.
The first Janky Pole is the second pole in the distance. Every time I happen upon that particular Janky Pole, I always cross the street because I fear if someone sneezes too close to that chunk of wood, the whole thing will come toppling down.