Blog: Stroll Through The Hood

Come, take a virtual stroll through the hood with me!

I thought you would like seeing the recording of my Jersey City Art and Studio Tour – A Stroll Through the Hood. Let me take you on a virtual stroll with some narrative and paintings in context.

Nathalie Kalbach – JCAST 2020 from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

It was a lot of fun putting it together- although making it work for 8 minutes was a tough one as you know – I am not good in keeping myself short LOL. Let me know what you think – I would love to hear from you!

Comments (2)

  • Susu Ko

    |

    Hi! Ich finde es super, wie du dich für die Geschichte deiner neuen Nachbarschaft interessierst! Und dein “kleines” Art Journal – ich wünschte, wir könnten hier auch an solche Schätze rankommen! Bis bald und alles Gute!

    Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – October 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

hehehe what can I say? Mingus is the worst thief ever- here he is after we caught him stealing frothed milk ….but he is pretty funny no?

I loved this picture at the Secret Beach – the Family was running around in the sun and I thought it was cute how they had lined up their shoes on those tiny horseshoe crab shells.

this view from the beach to Lady Liberty gets never old for me.

Funny flying critters :) I love how all construction plywood is always instantly turned into something colorful in this city.

Weird orange car- I wonder what this was …like a little electric car or so? I feel this car could be a model for a comic and should speak :)

We got a mini portable fire pit and have been enjoying it in our little garden on the cooler nights already.

A new bakery opened in my neighborhood and I love their decoration and the baked goods are also very good :)

I voted. And I am not actually giving you a stink eye (not sure what is going on there) but if you haven’t voted yet I might ;) This is my first presidential election as a U.S. citizen.

This house looks like it should be in some Bavarian forest LOL.

These are the judging faces of cats when you left the house for a long period and they are not used to you being outside for a long time anymore. I wonder how they look if we travel some day again.

Still enjoying the weekend jam sessions – and this little guy is the cutest. He was so fascinated by the drums and could not stop looking at them. I think he will ask for a drum set. I saw him again two weekends later and he is still as entranced.

I must have walked past this little window on the side of a corner a couple times but never noticed it until now- I also love the brick inlay – so cool!

We got a new handrail and I am so excited about the little rosettes we picked out as they are very similar to the ones that are in our banister

Comments (4)

  • Harriet

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    ah, I know how that little boy feels about the drums. I’ve always had rhythm and even played the middle eastern Dumbec for a few years (during my Belly Dance years). When I met a guy who played guitar, I knew I wanted to play rock and roll drums, so one day I got out the pots and pans and started playing them. When he came home and heard what I was doing, he said ‘you need a drum set’. Sure enough, we went out and bought a set; I was thrilled. (I was in my 40’s) Now I’m 75 and need a hip replacement, but I bet I could still play a mean beat if I still had the drums!!
    Love your walks around the hood….my neighborhood isn’t so interesting! Keep up the good work. (oh, are you doing Creative Jumpstart for 2021? I really enjoy those workshops)

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Love that you played drums!!! maybe you need a small set? and yes…watch this place soon for CJS :)

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Is Mingus AKA Bobby Pretzel or is that a different cat?
    Love the pic of the shoes at the beach.
    Gorgeous view of Lady Liberty from your beach.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Sue, that is a different cat- Mingus came to us in December and is Bobby Pretzel’s little nightmare and playmate LOL

      Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – September 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

One of the mornings when I took my bike into the park I spied this little fox looking for at the waterfront – with Manhattan in the background. Apparently now that less visitors are frequenting Liberty State Park they are out more and visible. The Park Rangers are aware of them and taking care but it was still a kind of sad and interesting sight at the same time.

Another park another view- this fountain at Lincoln Park has been repainted and repaired and it gives a little bit of a European vibe off :)

A Mural I discovered while biking through a different part of the city. I love taking my bicycle around – you get to see a lot of areas of a city but are still able to hop on and off real quick to snap photos.

The famous Colgate Clock near the former Colgate side – was build in 1924. It used to be at some time the biggest clock in the world and was located on top of the factory building so workers would show up on time. When Colgate left Jersey city the buildings were razed and the clock was more towards the waterfront.

How beautiful are those eggplants. I got them in my CSA box and learned that there are actually read eggplants …wow- that was something I never knew. They were quite delicious :)

Bike ride along a train track. Whenever I am here I feel like I am in a different world.

David never gets old – I love this mural. Makes me want to do a transfer with his photos on some geographic colorful background.

We got a new fire pit and are having a good time using it now that the nights get a bit chillier.

Ghost signs – Individual Fireproof Vaults- still trying to find out what was actually in the building – but the sign on the side is fun.

Pretzel discovered this lady passing through our garden and he has been sitting in front ever since he did. LOL- he either is not amused or he fell in love … I am not sure ;)

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Wonderful to see your stroll this month. I adore your sitting area with the fire pit. Nice.
    The mural/street art around you is fantastic (especially David Bowie).
    We have fox and many animals here in NH, but they don’t usually have legs as long as that one that you posted.
    Fall is upon us…the trees have started to change. Peace.

    Reply

  • VIVIAN ZELLERS

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    Your strolls through the hood are always SO interesting. The objects you choose to photograph
    are inspirational and unusual. Your perspective, both visual and thoughtful, are thought provoking
    and not ‘just ordinary’. You give us a small glimpse of your personal life without invading your
    privacy.
    I specially liked the mural of David Bowie and the last photo toward the city was AWESOME.

    Your strools are never LOOONG enough!
    Thanks much, Vivian

    Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – August 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

This is a gorgeous statue on the waterfront of Jersey City.

For the first time in a long time the train station on Liberty State Park was open again . This is where the immigrants that came through Ellis Island would set out to their new homes all over the U.S. Unfortunately this historic landmark has been hit hard by Sandy – but I still love all the lines and shadows when I walk through.

Low tide and a wonderful view of Jersey City to the left, Manhattan and Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty – it was a wonderful early morning bike ride with my hubs.

Lady Liberty and some really big Hibiscus flowers – gosh red and green – speaking of natures color scream :)

I still love love love this gorgeous sign of this old store front in Jersey City’s little India – I put this building on my list of “paint some day”

Fabulous mural!

Got a new mirror for the entrance which also leads to my studio. Love the cool shape. I think it is time to repaint our old radiators. The things you notice when you take pictures LOL- Old houses – never a dull moment.

Mural down town – it is one of the things I love most about street art and murals – how they are a reflections of the time we live.

This guy showed up recently on relay boxes.

Big storm knocked out a lot of trees and branches in New Jersey – we also lost power for about 6 hours which is nothing in comparison to some other areas of New Jersey. Of course my nifty husband took the opportunity to get some fire wood – LOL- we just bought a little fire pit for the garden and I cannot wait to sit in front of it in the fall.

I looooovee this brick cornice- usually the cornices around in my neighborhood are made of wood and it is the first time I noticed on those houses that they are made with brick- and how beautiful it looks.

you might remember from a former stroll this really cool building that I also painted – now it is right next to a Black Lives Matter Street Mural. I have to go back now that the artists are finished with it .

Definitely tomato season – I am loving it. Lots of roasted tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, tomato salads …well …they call Jersey City the Garden State and we do have for sure amazing tomatoes.

Love our city coming a little bit back to live. One section of this street has been closed off to traffic on Saturday afternoons and there is a jam session with a lot of amazing jazz musicians. Mary, who is in the red t-shirt singing, is a Jersey City institution and boy it was so wonderful listening to music an seeing them all.

This last shot is a weird one- it is an old power plant and we drove by on a bike tour – I had never really noticed this place- took a picture and two days later I – along with thousands of other Jersey City peeps woke up at 5.30 am because of a huge implosion of the place. A little warning for us would have been nice. Anyway- it is gone now – not really a loss- although the structure was interesting.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll through the hood. Until next month :)

Comments (1)

  • Diane

    |

    I always love these strolls. Thank you so much for providing a peak into your neighborhood.

    Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – July 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks – as New Jersey and New York are slowly going to Phase 4 after the lockdown.

What a heat wave week – wowsers. Early mornings are the best for bike rides and stroll through the hood right now for sure :) The picture above is showing an old Cigar Factory – the Parodi Company. The Parodi’s were a brand of cigars made in Jersey City up until 1929. The company was started in 1913 in New York City, in the Village by three Italian immigrants who came from a wealthy family in Northern Italy. In 1916, they built this factory here in Jersey City.  

We spent a nice time at the Deep Space Gallery– now open again – appointments only. The painting above by Rebecca Johnson was very touching.

If I Die Too Young , or the Gunmen Come, I’m Full of Love, 2020

Acrylic, lime wash and mirror on linen

Mazunte – also by Rebecca Johnson – this is a close up of a wonderful painting. Love the usage of little mirror pieces.

Interesting facade – the little balconies are funny- and nothing seems to fit together.

A wild style of architectural fun back then :)

X-actly. Dog Poop is after parking the most discussed issue in this neighborhood.

This was a walk bye poster project with artwork and poems written by school kids in Jersey City.

Very powerful – and it seems as if it is now moving from park to park throughout Jersey City.

Oh my oh my- I cannot stop taking photos of this magnificent Art Deco Entrance …Swoon.

Speaking of ..I love those Art Deco Fire Escapes – It is funny because the building itself is a bit plain and boring but those curved escapes – so awesome.

Another Stunning Art Deco Building in my neighborhood.

I see this sign every time I go to drop of packages at the postoffice and it makes me laugh ! I think this neighborhood is boom box free since 1983 …LOL.

This guy visited me one afternoon on the deck – pretty pretty big and apparently had a little fight in his live as the right wing shows. Made my day.

I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.

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Stroll Through the Hood – June 2020

DISCLAIMER: This Blog Post contains images that will show you that I am a supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  Some might think of it as totally inappropriate to post, hate me for it, think this has no place on an art related blog or social media. If you have a problem with this, you might be better off looking at something else . Don’t email me to complain, don’t visit my blog or facebook anymore because I might post things like this again and that might get you in a grumpy mood..

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks – as New Jersey and New York are slowly going to Phase one and now to Phase 2 after the lockdown.

The first time I walked from uptown to downtown again after months of lockdown was weird and felt as if I would see things anew. I noticed all those “Give Up” graffitis and love how different versions of “never” appeared on top of them.

This spoke “untold story” to me.

I love all those little messages on the stoops – I wish we had a stoop – our house apparently used to have one as we could see from old tax pictures but in the 40s it was taken down from most of the houses in our streets.

On our bike rides during the lockdown my friends Cindy, Paula and I had discussed how going back to using the Path and Subway to go to NYC for work and other things made us quite nervous and so we decided to actually do it while things were still very quiet to ease ourselves back into it. It was good to figure out how much you actually touch etc. before everything is cramped again. It took about half an hour before I could find my subway card as I had totally forgotten which bag I had carried 3 months ago when I last rode the subway.

This is the WTC station – which is usually packed on a Monday at 10 am …pretty eerie. Now I am sure it is way fuller again as Phase 2 is of the reopening in NYC started and a lot of people from Jersey City as well are going back to work. I am not using the Path or subway unless I absolutely have to …like for a doctor’s appointment but at least I have thought about how to tackle this.

Just a couple days after the horrible the murder of George Floyd by Policemen this mural popped up in my neighborhood. It is really powerful.

I have thought long about breaking with the lockdown to go to the protests here in Jersey City, but I have made up my mind that and decided I would make sure to stay on the edges, distanced, with a mask and go if it would get too crowded.

After the protests I made sure to get tested each time and stay home until I received the test results.

The protests in Jersey City and all over New Jersey were peaceful and businesses would hand out masks, hand sanitizer and water. One of the protests to which 4000 people came, was organized by a local High School. It was amazing to hear the young organizers speak for hours about the issues. It made me hopeful for our future.

And they have a lot of humor too ;)

One of our little cafes , Crema, in the neighborhood created this clever booth in front of their window. It makes it easy to order and receive pastries, ice cream and coffee contactless . So clever. We are hoping that most of the small businesses here will make it …what a tough time this was and still is.

New Kicks – I thought I would have some custom made with my painting for my Stroll through the Hoods :)

Mingus has a new hangout spot …lol- he cracks us up.

Loved this message and the font on the plywood of a construction side.

Two beautiful houses – the one on the left beautifully restored, the one on the right falling apart and abandoned.

I love this building – it is also empty.

This is the original wallpaper in a dessert place that just opened up , all these storefronts that haven*t been used for ages, have amazing hidden treasures. I am so happy that the new place kept this.

Detail of a beautiful Art Deco Entrance – love the weathered colors that are still visible and isn’t it just amazing?

Little bike ride along this mural.

I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.

Comments (5)

  • susan

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    Nathalie,
    i always enjoy your strolls and it is great that you share them with us. some of us don’t get much scenery on our own strolls. i adore your brutally honest disclaimer! the birthday balloons and flowers made me tear up … great grief comes from great love. i love the chalk messages on the steps. someone has chalked loving and supportive messages in our grocery store parking lot. i enjoy your architecture and kitty pictures. your shoes! your shoes!!! i do believe this is my favorite stroll yet.
    many thanks!!!

    Reply

  • Vee Zellers

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    I love your strolls through your hood. you have made me much more aware
    of the beautiful architecture around in ‘my hood’. Your view of the surrounding is
    so interesting and makes me THINK!

    LOVE you shoes!!

    Please continue being safe and keep STROLLING.

    Reply

  • Rebecca

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    I always enjoy your ‘stroll through the hood’ photos, but today’s post really touched my heart. Thank you for marching! And thank you for your care to test, etc. after each one (a testament to your care for others)–it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, too, for sharing about the UnMuted series on Instagram–still checking out all of those amazing artists. Last, but not least, always love seeing pictures of sweet Mingus. Wishing you many, many more happy and safe strolls!

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Great new kicks!
    The “we can’t breathe” is incredible and beyond sad into angry for sure!
    The pics of the two houses is sad, yet hopeful. I wish that the house on the right would get redone as well.
    I wonder if it was hard for the owners of the house on
    the left to make the decision to fix their home when the one next door is falling down? I wonder if that reflects on humankind.
    Peace and wishing you well Nat.

    Reply

  • Deb

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    Loved your post. Really poignant. Really enjoyed the photos. Loved Mingus and your new shoes are Amazing! Enjoy many more strolls in them!
    Deb

    Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – May 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks – while we are still on lock down, I started on some nicer days to venture out very early in the morning on my bike and with a mask. Not the most pleasant task but it feels good to get some fresh air and exercise.

This warehouse has been abandoned for as long I as I live here- I am not sure what is going to happen here. It is an interesting building for sure.

This made me laugh – in the middle of marina at Liberty State park . Love the rust and the font.

So glad I caught a glimpse – even though at the end of the cherry blossom – so pretty.

There was a sense of grieve and joy upon seeing the so familiar scenery … for an hour I felt as if everything will be ok … we all need a little bit of social distanced escape once in a while

A paste up by Dylon Egon at the Jersey City Medical Center. It was weird to have no cars and no people around on those intersections that are usually bustling.

Definitely kept my distance from those very protective parents taking their cute kids out for a stroll.

At Lincoln Park – they reopened the parks and it has been such a nice way to get out. Walking in the city with people has not been fun- but the bike really gives a sense of freedom and normality and the possibility to get away from people.

These gorgeous daisies that open up in the morning and close in the evening make me very happy.

I painted these pots a while ago and finally put them up- a nice little colorful spread on the fence.

Kim gave me a bunch of Allium bulbs last fall as a gift and since I am such a sucker for those gorgeous flowers – I am super super excited to see them grow. This one is going up to my chest now.

Another early morning bike ride.

Went all the way to Hoboken and went through the usually totally crowded train station. No -one there – the waiting room is closed off and while there are still trains leaving there were maybe two people in the traing station waiting. The positive thing about this was that for the first time I was able to take some pictures without being elbowed out of the way.

It is an impressive and beautiful building.

Another view from Lincoln park – I think this factory used to be a paint factory but I am not sure. I think I might want to paint this one day.

Still baking bread …What a science LOL. I am not a big baker but something about tending to the dough and smelling fresh baked bread through the house gives a really nice and comforting feeling. Do you have a smell that makes you feel homey and feel comforted?

I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.

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Stroll Through the… House – April 2020

Strolls through my hood usually get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. But …there is not much strolling through the hood lately due to the Lock down and so I thought …I take you on a stroll through the house :)

This is what happens a lot of times in the morning – as soon as we are done with breakfast the cats climb on me ..I am not sure why and what this means …maybe they just see me as a living cat climbing tree.

This is Bobby Pretzel supervising the masks I sewed for us, family and neighbors. I think he did a good job.

Here are some that I made with the fabric I sun printed a while ago with my stencils.

And here are some of our neighbors, cleaning up the street – because it has been a while since street cleaning occurred, and some assholes think it is cool to just litter the streets with their rubber gloves…and yes I said assholes…there is no nicer word- sorry.

I wanted to show our new stained glass window too – I am sooo in love. We had it made by a local artist Keith, aka TF Dutchman– he makes amazing contemporary artwork with stained glass and a while ago he came and checked out our fireplaces and the other stained glass window we have to come up with this design for us.

The window makes me just so happy and the colors and light through it are different at any time of the day- it is the best thing :)

Like many people I have been baking more and more bread. Well …I am a German and I do love bread for breakfast-and since our artisanal bakery closed I knew I needed to get into this because that is also one of the things I miss a ton from Germany. This is still a no-knead bread as we were lucky enough to have yeast at home- but now I am out of flour and there is no flour …we shall see when my order online is ever going to arrive. Weird times my friends, weird times.

Easter was a bit sad without the usual family gatherings- but I put out some decoration – to make me feel happy. The tulips are fake …there are not tulips to get this year -but these are from my friend Birgit Koopsen in the Netherlands, and she brought them with her a while ago. They fake people out all the time thinking these are real LOL. The eggs are wood – aka also fake to make sure the cats are not destroying them…you see…lots of fake things going on this time hahahah.

Here are Bobby Pretzel and Mingus not really social distancing – LOL- They are bringing us so much joy!

I am so happy for our garden and I cannot wait for more flowers to show up and warmer weather to finally sit outside with a cup of coffee and breathe some fresh air.

We have been sitting outside some evenings after work with a lots of layers of jackets to just feel the air and listen to the birds. Every day there is a beautiful cardinal visiting- I assume he was there before but it is the first time I noticed him as a regular visitor. It is a beautiful sight and like a gift. You notice a lot of things to be grateful for that you usually take for granted in a time like that. That is a good thing. 

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll though the house and I hope you all are safe and sound. Until next month! 

Comments (5)

  • Gale Courtney

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    I am green with envy over the ledger pages.
    What a good friend you have.

    Reply

  • Michele Klausner

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    I love the Jersey City architecture and art, and miss being there.
    Would LOVE your bread recipe. Do you share?
    Be well,
    Michele

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Oh Nat, that window is just gorgeous!
    I love that little spot with the chair to sit outside and read a book and have a cup of tea.
    Bread is awesome and I have been baking some bread with kits that I buy at the store (beer bread and banana bread of two of my favs).
    Stay safe and create,
    Sue

    Reply

  • Deborah Pierro

    |

    Hi Nat. Love your new stained glass window and all of your other photos!

    Reply

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Stroll Through the Hood – March 2020

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Well a lot of those photos were taken before we all were practicing social distancing. And the more these inspire me – a good reminder to enjoy the little things like meeting with friends in a cafe or a stroll through the hood. Speaking of a cafe – I love the “fence art” by Norman Kirby above that made its way into this new-ish restaurant.

St. John’s Church – a gorgeous gorgeous historic landmark church – which is falling apart. I am reading a lot about this church and it’s history in this neighborhood. I will def. write a separate post about it – it is so fascinating and I will def. do a painting of this church.

This made me smile. Bentley Avenue also has the nickname of “Doctor’s Row” – there are a ton of beautiful victorian Mansions on this street and they have become unaffordable in the recent years (if you find one you could buy you would have to pay a ton of money to bring it back to livable status) – so this tiny Bentley house is pretty much all we could afford hahahah

Speaking of Social Distancing- those guys have no clue and boy they are soo cute. Here is Bobby Pretzel on his foster blanket on my letterpress- he loves that spot.

While Mingus loves to perch on the Banister – he is such a riot.

Speaking of beautiful churches- I can not believe that I was never before in Grace Church downtown – I lived there for 6 years and somehow never made it in until now when a friend of mine was singing there. So colorful!

Another row of beautiful brownstones – I love the balcony on the left!

This former victorian mansion looks really sad

I wonder if the scaffolding means restoration or stripping it down from it’s last architectural elements. I would be surprised if that house could be saved but you never know.

I loooooveee this building – I am not sure yet what used to be in there back in the golden days- but it is sooo cute. It has been abandoned for a long time – I hope someone buys it and revives it. A friend of mine who is actually a real estate agent said that a lot of those abandoned buildings in the neighborhood have been bought a long time ago by investors and they are now waiting for the perfect timing to sell those for a hefty price. It makes me angry as to what this does to this neighborhood.

A little bit of a sad Hope sign but at least hope :)

This beautiful house was once built by one of the richest men in Jersey City in 1860 – he died impoverished and the building is now an apartment building. Some of you might recognize it in one of my paintings ;)

Same street- more gorgeous apartment buildings!

These are Dutch Queen Anne Houses Row Houses. And yes that is a style as well – and reminds me indeed of Amsterdam.

and this little street with the small town brick townhouses makes me just happy- it is super cute and I cannot wait for the trees to be in bloom.

Hope you enjoyed the Stroll through my Hood! Hope you are all well and stay safe and healthy! Loves!


Join me today, March 27th at 2pm EST for a LIVE chat on Facebook – Let’s catch up and see how everyone is doing!

Comments (1)

  • Jean Goza

    |

    Always enjoy your photos from the hood. I love the architecture of that area. So very different from my home state of California. I did live in New Jersey for awhile many years ago. Was fascinated by it then as well. Stay well and sane during this difficult time.

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