By Jeff Maurer
I just moved to New York. Not New York, actually…Jersey City. I wanted the prestige of a Jersey City address.
I like Jersey City. There’s a lot going on, including a couple things that I can afford to do. I like the PATH train. I like never being more than 20 feet from a pizza restaurant. But probably the thing I like most is Liberty Park.
Liberty Park is a 1,200-acre park that runs along the Hudson River in Jersey City. It’s got spectacular views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. If you remember the skyline in front of which Little Mac jogs in the cutaway scenes of Mike Tyson’s Punchout…that’s more or less the view from Liberty Park. Presidential candidates used to launch their campaigns there, presumably because they like the way “liberty” is subtly invoked by the 225-ton bronze statue behind them. I like Liberty Park because it’s a very welcome green space in a sea of concrete.
Liberty Park demonstrates the value of green space: I probably would have chosen to live somewhere else if it wasn’t there. Green spaces make a more liveable, breathable city, which makes them great for property values. Just look at the way apartments are advertised – anyone with half an excuse to write “next to the park!” or “steps from the park!” in their ad will do so (although be warned: “steps” is not a distance. Anything can be measured in steps. As I write this I am technically “steps” from the Strait of Magellan). Obviously, no city can be 100 percent parks – you need a mix of commercial and residential zoning, too – but smart zoning boards and city planners will recognize the value of preserving green space.
About the Author: Jeff is a speechwriter and public affairs specialist. He started in EPA’s Washington, DC office in 2005 and moved to EPA’s Region 2 office in New York in 2011. Before joining EPA, Jeff served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. He is an avid soccer fan and part-time standup comedian, and can periodically be found performing at clubs around New York.