In just 70 minutes, you can drive from Manhattan to Asbury Park, New Jersey, and escape to one of the state’s most up-and-coming areas (think Williamsburg meets Bruce Springsteen-land meets Venice Beach). And if you want to do this pretty regularly, the town’s mega-developer, iStar, thinks it has found the perfect balance of urban luxury and beachfront living at their new condo/hotel the Asbury Ocean Club. Ranging from $900,000 one-bedrooms to two $6 million penthouses, the pricing is certainly more NYC, but on a recent visit, it was clear that the artsy vibe, live music scene, and booming foodie culture is uniquely Jersey Shore.
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Photo: Lapeg Photo
Symbolic of the future-happy post-war era, Bell Labs, the research and development center for telecom giant AT&T, was one of Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen’s architectural masterpieces, though his iconic TWA Flight Center may be better known. The two-million-square-foot modernist cube, built in 1962–the architect passed away in 1961 before it was completed—made a statement in the quiet suburban scenery. Within, scientists made famous discoveries and won Nobel Prizes. As the centuries changed, 2007 saw the end of era when Bell Labs shuttered. After American ambitions shifted from science to snacking, a seasoned culinary squad was tapped by RBC Hospitality Group, Eater reports, to bring the winning formula of sushi, pizza, sandwiches, pastries and grain bowls to the historic building in the ‘burbs.
Less than 50 miles from NYC, a piece of history is for sale for $1,175,000 in Hackettstown, New Jersey (h/t CIRCA). The landmark Beattystown Stone Mill, built around 1750, was redesigned, reconstructed, and renovated by Yale architect/owner Charles Buckley, in the 1980s. Sitting above the Musconetcong River in Warren County on over 1,500 feet of river frontage, this incredibly unique home with four bedrooms has almost 6,000 square feet of open concept, loft-style living space with exposed hewn ceiling beams and structural and sculptural beams, stone walls, an entire wall of glass, and even the original millrace that still flows under the living room!
Just over an hour’s drive west of Midtown, in Lebanon Township, NJ, this three-story, three bedroom house is asking just $347,000 (h/t CIRCA). And though it’s priced much less than most Manhattan studios, it sits on nearly nine acres of land. For sale for the first time in 35 years, the circa 1810 Bank House has a modern kitchen and baths and a third-floor addition, but retains its vintage charm with preserved interior period details such as hand-hewn beamed ceilings, wide-plank pine floors, deep window wells, a wood-burning fireplace, and Jersey winder stairs.
Photo of Weehawken via Michel G’s Flickr
Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musical phenom Hamilton, tweeted in January that he changed three lyrics for the show’s London opening: John Adams, the Potomac River and Weehawken. According to Miranda, those words were too specific to America. According to Broadway Buzz, “Burr’s proposal of a duel in ‘Your Obedient Servant’ now specifically points to New Jersey rather than the town of Weehawken. The Broadway lyric “Weehawken, dawn, guns drawn” has become ‘New Jersey, dawn, guns drawn.’”
In July 1804, Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded during a duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken and died the following day in New York City. Tragically, Hamilton’s son was killed on the same spot three years earlier. One of the plaques in Alexander Hamilton Park describes many of the other unknown “duelists” who “all came to Weehawken to defend their honor according to the custom of the day. Located on the Hudson River, Weehawken does have a very “American” history but it should be highlighted, not diminished. Ahead, learn the ins and outs of Weehawken, from its historic waterfront parks and duel grounds to its burgeoning real estate scene.
Eli Manning’s patience trying to offload his Hoboken condo certainly paid off, as the Post reports that it’s sold for $3.55 million–the biggest condo sale in the city’s history. The Giants quarterback first listed the waterfront spread at the Hudson Tea Building three years ago for $5.2 million, but after failing to find any takers, he put it up as an $18,000/month rental the following spring. Manning currently lives with his wife, Abby McGrew, and their three daughters in the more suburban Summit, NJ. He also dropped $8.5 million on a beachfront Hamptons mansion last year.
Via ORG Permanent Modernity/Regional Plan Association
Released last fall, the Regional Plan Association’s (RPA) Fourth Plan includes 61 recommendations focused on improving and expanding the area’s deteriorating infrastructure, transportation, and affordability, much of which revolves around climate change and its transformation of the region. According to the report, more than one million people and 650,000 jobs are at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. In the plan, the RPA ambitiously recommends that the New Jersey Meadowlands, 21,000 acres of low-lying wetlands, becomes a national park as a way to mitigate impacts of climate change (h/t Curbed). Designating the region’s largest wetland as a national park would restore the natural habits, protect nearby communities, and create a recreational space, becoming, the report says, a “Climate Change National Park.” The Meadowlands National Park would adapt and grow with climate change by drawing and redrawing the boundaries of the park as coastlines change.
One of the most expensive residential listings in New Jersey recently hit the market at an asking price of $48 million. The 100-year-old, nearly 50,000-square-foot mansion sits on 12.5 acres in Mahwah with views of the Ramapo Mountains (h/t Wall Street Journal). The enormous house, originally built in 1907 by George Crocker, son of railroad tycoon Charles Crocker, was modeled after a Jacobean-style English castle and today boasts a 45-foot-tall organ, 29 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms, and two full kitchens, one equipped to serve an impressive 250 meals at a time.
This unique listing should definitely get the attention of modern house lovers and math geeks. One of three remaining New Jersey homes (a fourth was moved to Arkansas in 2014) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is up for sale for $995,000. The home was purchased by the current owners in 1996 and restored to “purists’ standards” in 2006. The house follows the architect’s “Usonian” plan which incorporates native materials and strong visual connections between interiors and the exterior landscape.
New York City is full of incredible properties, but it’s not known for its castles. You have to go to New Jersey for that. Over near Bernardsville Mountain, in northern New Jersey, is the Stronghold Castle—probably one of the most impressive homes in the entire state. It’s the work of the architect George B. Post, who purchased 104 acres around the mountain in 1871. Soon after, in 1886, Post was commissioned to design a house for James Coleman Drayton, a New York banker and the son-in-law of William Backhouse Astor on one of the highest points in the area. The result? A two-story, stone villa with a tower commanding views of the estate’s 128 acres. Over the years, different owners added to the home and it evolved into this modern-day castle. Between 1940 and 1995, it served as a private girl’s school. The latest owner, who bought in 2004, restored the castle in all its grandeur while adding modern additions to make it a cozy home. (Or, as cozy as a castle can be.)