hidden gems in jersey city, nj

Jersey City’s Hidden Gems

Every city has a story to tell. Some of those stories are obvious and well known. However, sometimes visitors and tourists must dig a little deeper to learn about a location. Jersey City is home to several hidden gems, from the scientific to the dark. There are some lesser-known places to enjoy a meal or a drink after work, and there’s even a manufactured structure reclaimed by nature.

Reclaimed by Nature

Commuters travel in and out of the area daily but don’t use the original train station anymore because it has been reclaimed by nature. The original Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is in Liberty State Park. The full address is 1 Audrey Zapp Drive. It first came to life in 1889 and served the people of Jersey City and the surrounding area as they commuted throughout the state and into New York. It also serviced immigrants making their way from Ellis Island. Travelers from Northeast Pennsylvania often used the station to travel to Wilkes Barre, Easton, and Bethlehem.

The station closed after 78 years of service in 1967, but you can still visit the abandoned structure. If you plan to visit the station in its current condition, closed-toed shoes, a camera, and gloves are good to bring along. There are several monuments in the station. You can also get some spectacular waterfront pictures before exploring the rest of the park.

Lesser-Known Memorials and Cemeteries

Along with the old train station, the area is home to several lesser-known but interesting memorials and cemeteries. 

Do you want to know how the Statue of Liberty was permanently scarred during World War I? Visit the Black Tom Explosion Memorial between 402 Morris Pesin Drive and 120 Sussex St. The explosion happened in the early hours of July 30, 1916. German agents caused the blast to support the war effort in Europe. They were determined to keep American ammunition from leaving the port. The resulting shrapnel made its way into the harbor and struck the Statue of Liberty. Three adults and a baby were killed in the explosion. 

Katyń Massacre Memorial

This solemn and thought-proving piece is meant to honor Polish victims of a Soviet attack. The assault occurred in April 1943. The memorial is located along the Hudson River walkway at 300 Exchange Place. It depicts a soldier forced down by another soldier during an attack. It was dedicated in June 1991. 

Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery

If you ever wonder why you see a herd of goats in the city every year, they’re there to eat and work. Goats are the hungry caretakers of the Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery at 435 Newark Ave. If you plan to visit this unique destination, remember it’s still an active cemetery. There are a few notable locations to check out, including the goat statue. You may even see the resident cat wandering around as you look for the old boundary wall. You’ll need closed-toed shoes and good weather to enjoy this location.

Food With a Past

White Mana Diner

In a state known for its diners, White Mana Diner stands alone. This unique location was meant to represent the diner of the future and was part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair held across the river in Queens. While it was built in the 1930s, it didn’t open for business until 1946 at 470 Tonnelle Ave. They’re open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Their most famous dishes are their regular and slider-sized hamburgers. Keep in mind they only accept cash. Leave your credit cards and checkbook at home when you eat here.

Public Health History

If you’re intrigued by the roots of America, there’s a unique location waiting for you to explore. The site of the former Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital on Ellis Island. It’s just a short ferry ride away from the mainland. The hospital was constructed in two separate buildings. One was for the sick and injured, which acted like a general hospital. The other building was a maternity ward as well as a mental health facility. Whether you have previously visited the island or not, you can always learn something new with each trip. 

The hospital, the first public health facility, served immigrants from around the world until 1930 when it was shut down due to budget restrictions and a lack of use. The other building was specifically for contiguous diseases. People were separated here to keep anything suspicious from entering the country and potentially creating a large-scale health emergency. Neither structure was decorated beyond bleak walls, as many patients didn’t survive. The ones who did faced new challenges adjusting to the new world. It wasn’t an inspiring place, which often hindered recovery times. 

If you’re curious about exploring the site of these former buildings, you can look into the special Hard Hat Tours offered on Ellis Island. These tours are provided by Save Ellis Island and focus on the hospital complex. They last for 90 minutes and will take you through specific sections of the complex so you can see life through a patient’s eyes.

Whether you’re exploring a natural reclamation or stopping for food, New Jersey State Auto Used Car’s staff is willing to answer any questions you have about our vehicles. We look forward to seeing you while you’re out and about enjoying the unique gems that are only found in Jersey City.