Several people also told me that community events in J. Still, my 28-year-old host, Will Clarke, says that “dating-wise, Jersey City leaves a bit to be desired,” a sentiment echoed by Bunbury and a couple of others.
Clarke, who helps manage the Riverview Farmers’ Market and does a variety of side jobs, points out that many of the Millennials he knows in J. are on the older side and “moved here with their boyfriend or girlfriend.” Jersey City’s share of young people under 35 is actually 10 percent higher than the national average, but the consensus seems to be that it’s an ideal place for young urban-minded couples who crave things like yards, quieter streets, and pressure-free weekends.
“I kept hearing all this buzz about Jersey City, how it was changing, how people were investing a lot here,” he says.
Even though Bunbury’s mom was “super weirded-out” by his return, he’s thriving here and has no plans to leave.
Greenpoint “is going through such rapid gentrification, and the neighborhood is totally bipolar,” he says.
In the Heights, “you can come and just be part of the neighborhood.
The modest prices are a big part of what keeps Laryssa Wirstiuk, 28, a Montville, New Jersey native, in the Heights.
Another dive called Rolon’s Bar, nicknamed The Keyhole, had low ceilings and served a diverse, intergenerational crowd. “I think it’s easier to get people to show up to something,” said a young woman I met dressed as a Swiss milkmaid at a pre-Halloween costume party in Harsimus Cove Cemetery, hosted by local radio station WFMU.“[In New York] you meet someone, and you never see them again.Here, it’s a small enough environment that you can see people with some regularity and develop a sense of neighborhood.” Bunbury also pays 5 in rent to live in a modern apartment with a roommate that’s “luxury compared to that price in New York.” A year ago, he was living in another spacious apartment with a roommate for 0 a month, including utilities.He attended a public high school, graduated from Penn State, then went on to law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.He’s now an ambitious, gregarious labor attorney, with disposable income to burn.He volunteered to campaign for newly elected Mayor Steve Fulop, the 36-year-old who rose to prominence after an unlikely city council election victory at the age of 28.Bunbury is also on the board of the Riverview Farmers’ Market in the Heights (where he lives) and the president of a young professional group called Jersey City Ties.One Jersey City twentysomething described the Heights as having the melting pot feel of Queens—except maybe closer to your downtown job.Bunbury loves the influence he can wield in his hometown.Still, despite some expectations from family and peers, he never went across the river to New York.Instead, he carved out a niche in his hometown at the urging of a few friends who stayed.