Van Vorst Park

Downtown Jersey City
Jersey City, NJ

Submitted by: Johnny Coffey

A beautiful brownstone neighborhood surrounds this picturesque, community park.

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Why It Works

Situated in the middle of a beautiful brownstone neighborhood, the park is the focal point of the community. It stands on about two acres, is divided into sections by paved pathways, including lawn sections with mature deciduous trees, garden plots designed with wide variety of shrubs, and flowers and trees. There is a gazebo, a playground for older kids, and swings and a sandbox for younger kids. An ornate fountain and fencing around the park contain original details.

What Makes Van Vorst Park a Great Place?

Wide pavements and roadways surround the park. Deciduous trees (approx. 15 yrs old) line the surrounding pavements. It is the community breathing place where dog owners, kids, walkers, gardeners, theater groups, readers, joggers convene every day. During rush hour, it is a pleasant throughway for commuters walking to the local subway system to New York and to Jersey City business district.

When in the park, it is easy to be unaware of the traffic. The general area is reasonably quiet; traffic does not dominate or overwhelm. There are benches, picnic tables, and a gazebo where theater is performed. The area is clean despite the fact that there is occasional dog feces (a dog run is planned) though our dog owners are in general a civically minded group. The area is safe; in fourteen months of living here I have not heard of any incidents in or near the park. Both the local City services and a volunteer group maintain and look after the interests of the park. There is no security presence, as the need does not exist.

The park is in use until well after nightfall. It has become popular with dog owners. The balance between dogs and people will be better controlled in the near future (pending a vote) by a dog run. The least used spaces are on the less sunny side where the ground can tend to go bald due to constant use and lack of watering system. Individuals who join or greet others typically frequent the park. Those living on the park appear to know each other well. Sex and age ratios are quite balanced.

I frequently socialize in the park. It is a pleasure and even a surprise to be able to meet and socialize with strangers so close to Manhattan. Frequented by parents and kids, nannies, dog walkers, gardeners, and newspaper readers. There is always someone in this square. It is a very sociable place for many reasons, but principally because it is well kept, clean and an oasis of nature in an otherwise urban area. Shown with pride by local residents. Racially mixed.

Contact Info:

Friends Of Van Vorst Park: 201-433-5127

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