Getaway New JerseyAccess
To do the route explained in the post, you have to rent a car or use an Uber.
New Jersey (United States)
If I'm honest, I shouldn't name this post "New Jersey." New Jersey is a huge US state and I was only in Newark, Bayonne and Weehawken; the eastern part, which is the area closest to New York.
- The star visit of Newark is, without a doubt, the New Hope Baptist Church. It is the church where Whitney Houston began to sing and where her funeral was held. At the time, I read it in the press and I really wanted to visit it. I didn't know the name of the church; but I finally found it and I understood why it was difficult for me to locate it. It is a neighborhood church, not too big and nothing spectacular from the outside. It is modern in style and brickwork. There is an assembly hall on the ground floor and the church is on the first floor. The benches are made of wood and red velvet. If you go there, search for the bank that was Whitney's donation, there is a plate that specifies it. The first day I went they recommended to come back on Sunday because there was a sung ceremony and I did it. It was awesome! It is true that I had already been to a similar mass with Gospel in Harlem, but the one in Newark was more genuine. Just think that Whitney had been there gave me goose bumps. It was one of those unforgettable moments. I was pleasantly surprised that they don't use this claim to attract visitors. Nowhere do they explain her relationship with the famous singer: neither on the web, nor in the church itself. I had to watch the funeral footage repeatedly to make sure I wasn't wrong. Probably, thanks to this behavior, the church and the people who attend it have managed to maintain its authenticity.
- I was lucky to meet Inés and Toni. They are two Venezuelans who live in Newark and who helped me to know the area. They took me to breakfast at "Pao da Terra". It is a Portuguese bakery with a wide range of typical Portuguese pastries. It is located on Ferry Street in North Ironbound, which is the prettiest part (by far) of Newark. Streets with lots of life with small buildings filled with shops on the ground floors. It is also known as the Portuguese quarter.
- On the same Ferry Street is the "Mompou Tapas Bar". I have gone twice on two different trips. It is a Spanish tapas restaurant with very good value for money and with an informal atmosphere. The place is modern and Spanish music plays in the background. They are very friendly. I felt very comfortable.
Bayonne is one of the areas of New Jersey that borders New York. To go from North Ironbound (Newark) to Bayonne, you must cross the bridge that passes over Newark Bay.
- Stephen R. Gregg Park is a large park where people go fishing, playing sports, or just relaxing. From here you can enjoy views of the Port of Newark, Newark Bay and the Vincent R. Casciano Memorial Bridge. It's a peaceful place.
- Dennis P. Collins Park has two things that I really liked. On the one hand, the Bayonne Bridge is amazing for me. Much more awesome than the previous one. On the other hand, I loved the wonderful and majestic American-style houses on the other side. In fact, the other side of the river (southbound) already belongs to New York and not to New Jersey.
- Motby Park is probably the best of the three parks. I visited them in this order and it was perfect for the intensity to grow. What I liked the most is the views of the Bayonne Golf Country Club. Doesn't it happen to you that, sometimes, there are destinations or places that reach you more than others? I had a good time taking pictures of it. The building is huge and beautiful. It is located in the middle of the green golf courses and stands out for its majesty. Further afield is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which is the entry point for cargo ships entering and leaving New York.
- Tear Drop Memorial. Really amazing. I had not read it anywhere and was unaware of its existence. The Tear Drop Memorial is a sculpture that Russia gave to the USA for the fight against world terrorism. It is a 4-ton nickel tear that represents not only sadness and grief over the loss of life on September 11, but also hope for a future without terror. Within the same space there is a piece of steel from the World Trade Center and the names of the deceased are written on the base of the sculpture. The proof that they have not disclosed it too much is that we made the visit completely alone. From here you can see the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
Weehawken is next to Hoboken, which is one of the liveliest areas with shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. I will never be able to thank Inés and Toni for taking me here! Hamilton Park is where the best views of the New York skyline are. I went day and night to enjoy both scenarios. You see everything: from Upper Manhattan to Downtown passing through Midtown. You have to go early to be able to observe all the details. You can get to see the illuminated signs in Times Square! Seriously, it is a must and there is no one there!
Thanks Inés and Toni for showing me these nooks so far from mass tourism.
A good guide of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania is Lonely Planet Regional Guides [English Edition].
In one day, well spent, you can see everything.