Jersey City – Does The Heights Have An Image Problem?

Last week I visited a local business in the Heights section of Jersey City and struck up a conversation with a realtor. We started talking about the current economic situation and it’s effect on The Heights.

I’ve been here on Central Avenue for 5 years now and have seen this street continue it’s nose dive.  When I first moved up here from Hoboken, there were many more businesses and a livelier hustle and bustle of shoppers. But with the economy plummeting from 2008  through 2010, so many businesses closed and the stores remain vacant.

As we talked about this, and she asked me if I were to tell her the racial demographics of The Heights, what would I assume they are? So I said, 50% Spanish and Italian, 25% African American and 25% white. WRONG!… she says.

The racial demographics are actually:  50% Asian/Indian, 25% Spanish, 25% White.

Well this is fascinating to discover, why you might ask? Because this explains why business has not been good on Central Avenue and why so many stores remain vacant. The stores that should open would be ones that the highest demographic would shop at or eat in, but the landlords aren’t renting the spaces to the right businesses. So, no one eats or shops in the ones that do open, and then of course they close.

So I’m asking you, what can The Heights do to improve business on Central Avenue and does The Heights have an image awareness problem?

Artist painting a mural just off Central Avenue that says, "Welcome to Central Avenue"

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