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.
Illustration of the famous Weehawken duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804; via Wikimedia
From grounds for duels to waterfront dwellings
Weehawken is found just north of Hoboken, south of West New York, at the Lincoln Tunnel entrance/exit and across the river from Hudson Yards. It sits on the southern end of the 180-foot-high cliffs known as the Palisades. The actual original Algonquin translation of the name Weehawken has been debated but it either means “maize land,” “place of gull,” or “rocks that look like trees.” There are many gulls due to its extensive river frontage but the maize and trees made of rocks are long gone. Weehawken’s waterfront development, its historic buildings on Boulevard East in the Upper Weehawken and the stunning, unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline make the town a destination worth visiting.
During its time of dueling men, Weehawken was mostly just cliffs and marshland. After that, it transitioned into a mass of railroad tracks and industrial junkyards. Now, that land has been cleaned and reclaimed and new residential buildings are rising in their place.
Low-density real estate
Weehawken has been named the “hottest real estate market in New Jersey,” twice. Weehawken stands out from its neighbors because of its lack of super high rise buildings and most locals agree that Weehawken benefits from its low-density approach to development.
Martin D. Brady, executive vice president of the Marketing Directors, describes Weehawken as having a “suburban feel to it even though it is directly across the river from Manhattan.” He continued: “Weehawken is a great little town nestled in the middle of the Gold Coast. It’s where the Gold Coast starts to mature a little.”
Gabe Pasquale, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Landsea Homes, believes Weehawken is “a destination for those looking for a luxury condominium lifestyle.” Pasquale highlighted three major reasons for his positive growth prospects for Weehawken: the amenities, the transit ease and the recent tax reduction.
The town of Weehawken has a number of parks and open spaces and remains committed to providing amenities for its residences through public and private partnerships. The zoning rule that keeps the buildings low, “allows for much more open light and air space, which makes everyone happy,” Brady said.
The New York Times reported in the 1980s, “Residents have long opposed high-rise buildings. Last year, the town’s Planning Board blocked Arcorp – a development company that owns 158 acres of the waterfront – from constructing four 40-story office buildings that would have towered above the edge of the Palisades.”
Additionally, despite the private waterfront development, all buildings must make way for public walkways in order to not cut the public off from the water. Therefore, its waterfront provides a quieter setting than most urban areas and at the same time offers great commuter convenience to New York City.
Photo of the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal via Avora
Plenty of transit options
Weehawken also has multiple transportation options to New York City and New Jersey. The town is serviced by the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, ferry service to Midtown and Lower Manhattan, it is adjacent the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel and has an NJ Transit bus stop with frequent service to Manhattan. The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway connects residents from the George Washington Bridge to Hoboken and Liberty State Park, Jersey City. The ferry commute across the river to Midtown takes eight minutes.
And the biggest news for those investing in Weehawken is the recent tax reduction. Weehawken Township recently announced a reduction in its property taxes, lowering the rate from 2.23% to just 1.49% which makes it one of the lowest among the New Jersey Gold Coast.
Pasquale points out, “this is not an abatement, it is a reduction. New Jersey has a tough reputation when it comes to taxes but when you look at Weehawken’s recent tax reduction, now we’re really competitively priced especially based on amenities and transit orientation of this community.”
Weehawken’s September 11th Memorial along Hudson River Walk; photo via Wikimedia
Parks, memorials & recreation
The Weehawken Waterfront Park offers amazing views of the NYC skyline with running and biking trails, tennis courts, dog parks and softball fields.
The emotionally powerful 9/11 Memorial consists of two trident-shaped beams which were supports for the twin towers and were salvaged from the World Trade Center site. Those beams were two of the 13 that survived the attacks. They stand eight feet wide, 30 feet long, and weigh 50,000 pounds each. The memorial also includes a lawn, infinity pool and fountain.
In December, Mayor Richard F. Turner announced a major expansion of Weehawken Recreational Park, which is located just south of Avora along Port Imperial Drive and currently consists of several ball fields, a running track, tennis courts, playgrounds and other facilities spread throughout 12 acres that beckon outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the waterfront. The 3.5-acre expansion will include a recreational pool with a slide and whirlpool area, and an adjacent 6-lane lap pool built with bleachers for spectators. A third pool will entertain infants, including a splash park area.
The swimming section will also feature changing rooms, a guard house, ticket areas, and tables with umbrellas, as well as a publicly-accessible waterfront walkway. Rounding out the expansion will be a basketball court, sand volleyball court, and a multi-purpose pavilion that will be utilized as an ice skating rink seasonally. There will also be a “Great Lawn” which will slope towards the Hudson River, showcasing the dramatic New York City views. The pool portion of the complex is slated to be open by summer next year, while the entire facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Photo courtesy of the restaurant, Chart House
Dining with a view
Weehawken has your standard chain restaurants like Houlihan’s and Ruth Chris’ and some local favorites like Lusso’s American bar and grill, Jack Austin’s pub grub, Charrito’s for Oaxaca-inspired fare or the unbeatable views from the seafood restaurant on the pier, the Chart House.
A Whole Foods 365 will open this fall, a welcomed arrival for locals who commonly travel to Hoboken and Edgewater for groceries. Be sure to also check out Taste of Weehawken on April 24, which will benefit the neighborhood’s public library.
Lincoln Harbor sitemap via Hartz Mountain
1500 Harbor via Hartz Mountain
1500 Harbor Boulevard Apartments, scheduled to open this July, is a 234-unit rental building located on the waterfront. All but four of its units have water views.
Brady, who is in charge of sales of 1500 Harbor, enthusiastically believes “1500 Harbor is going to best building on the whole Gold Coast.” The building, which is on the 700-foot pier, was taken down to the studs and rebuilt. All of the units have floor to ceiling glass windows to take in the view. Fifty-two of the units also have set back terraces.
Brady says that the demographics of Weehawken are slightly older than the surrounding towns with most people in their 30s and 40s, “single professionals, couples, some young families and some empty nesters). 1500 Harbor contains 50 percent one-bedrooms, 25 percent studios and 25 percent 2-bedrooms, to match the demographics.
Some of the amenities offered include valet parking, 24-house attended lobby, bicycle and individual storage, conference room with video capabilities, game room, food and wine tasting room on the riverside, a fitness center with spin room and a yoga room. Plus there’s also a social lounge, a children’s playroom, a rentable party room, two decks, two BBQ areas, and two outdoor movie screens.
With one to three bedroom units priced between $800,000 and $4.4 million, developer Landsea Homes’ condominium development Avora will begin closings in May. Avora’s IBI Group’s contemporary design us LEED certified, boasting the latest in renewable energy technologies and progressive sustainable practices.
The building has concierge service, a private screening theater, elegant boardroom, an exclusive bar and catering kitchen, as well as a private dining room for entertaining. A state-of-the-art strength and cardio fitness center, on-site pet grooming, bike storage and all units come with a deeded parking space.
There is also a large sundeck with a pool, lounges, BBQ outdoor dining area, a viewing park, sundeck and firepit all overlooking a spectacular Manhattan skyline.
Photos of the Avenue Collection via Lennar
The Avenue Collection and Henley on Hudson
Developer Lennar is currently developing two new luxury condominium buildings on the Weehawken waterfront: The Avenue Collection and Henley on Hudson.
1200 Avenue is located in the heart of Port Imperial, which is a $2 billion master-planned two-mile stretch of Hudson River waterfront featuring shops, restaurants, parks and a riverfront promenade. 1200 is a luxury collection of 103 two- and three-bedroom condominium homes at prices starting from $1.399 million.
Residents at 1200 Avenue at Port Imperial have a full suite of private, hotel-style comforts and services available, including a grand salon lobby, library lounge, media screening room, children’s playroom, and state-of-the-art fitness center with men’s and women’s locker rooms with sauna and steam showers.
On the 7th floor, the Skyline Social Room features a lounge space, catering kitchen, bar, multiple gathering areas with a fireplace, sound system and televisions; an internet lounge and more — all set against the spectacular backdrop of the New York City skyline. Outside, a third-floor landscaped plaza offers an expansive open-air amenity space that includes a sun shelf swimming pool, a catering bar, garden spaces with multiple seating areas and a fire pit with motorized shade trellis.
At Henley on Hudson the remaining residences are priced from $875,000 and feature one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging in size from 1,165 to 1,998 square feet. Most of the single-level designs offer balconies or terraces. All homes include numerous upscale features such as home automation system that allows residents to control and automate lighting, temperature, entertainment and more.
Henley on Hudson residents also have private amenities including a cardio fitness room, children’s playroom, lobby lounge and an outdoor garden terrace. In addition, residents also have access to the Club at Henley, a private 6,000 square-foot clubhouse with a club room, theater room, billiards and gaming lounge, state-of-the-art fitness center, Yoga/Pilates room, children’s pay studio and an outdoor, resort-style infinity pool.
Gabe Pasquale believes there are big things on the horizon for Weehawken. He says the Hudson Yards development is going to have a massive, positive impact on the town.
“Combine all of this with the growth of Hudson Yards which will be its own economic engine. All of the retail and entertainment coming to Hudson Yards is extraordinary. There will be a ton of white collar upper management executive positions with all of the companies moving in. Weehawken is an 8-minute ferry ride and a one-block walk away from all of that.”
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