The Ever-Expanding Appeal of Left-Bank Living

Garden State residents of all ages are soaking up the good life on the Gold Coast.

The model apartment at the brand new Avora, a sparkling new high-rise in Weehawken, offers sweeping Manhattan views. It is part of the Port Imperial master-plan development of residential living space, retail shops, public parks and transportation hubs, packed into two miles along the Hudson River. Courtesy of Travis Mark

For many years, the Gold Coast, New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront, has been a haven for young professionals seeking easy access to Manhattan. Lately, as building has boomed and amenities have blossomed, the Gold Coast—aka the Left Bank—has become an all-ages destination, attracting everyone from growing families to downsizers.

“We have experienced a huge transition,” says Jacqueline Urgo, president of the Marketing Directors, a New York-based residential marketing and sales advisory firm working with several Gold Coast properties. She says a number of factors have contributed to the Gold Coast’s widening appeal. Historically, says Urgo, “there were strong fundamentals in place, but the infrastructure wasn’t there. There weren’t supermarkets and restaurants….Now there are playgrounds and schools and music scenes.”

New amenities—restaurants, boutiques, gourmet markets—have developed as luxury buildings have elbowed their way onto the waterfront in places like Jersey City, Weehawken, Cliffside Park, Edgewater and Fort Lee. The primary attractions remain the proximity to Manhattan coupled with transportation options, from ferry service to the PATH and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. “Plus the views of Manhattan are amazing,” adds Urgo.

“This is a modern, urban lifestyle, without the Manhattan prices,” says Urgo, “and the amenities are comparable, either side of the river.” Manhattan purchase prices, she notes, are $2,500-$3,000 per square foot; Jersey’s are $1,100-$1,400.

The O’Learys—Linda, Richard and daughter Joan—rent a 13th-floor, two-bedroom apartment at the Quinn. The sleek, minimalist decor lets the city views be the star of the space.
Photo by Laura Moss

Consider Avora, a soaring glass tower in Weehawken. “Avora attracts everyone,” says Jill Preschel, vice president of sales and marketing for the New York Metro Division of Landsea Green, which developed Avora. “They want to be near the city life, but come home and have more serenity.” The 11-story, 184-unit condo is approximately 50 percent sold, six months after entering the market. Aesthetically striking, Avora is walking distance to the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal and the light rail. Each unit includes a parking spot. 

Gold Coast newcomers are pleased to see that fellow buyers and renters come from all walks of life. “It’s a nice mix of people here,” says Linda O’Leary. Last September, O’Leary and her husband, Richard, rented a two-bedroom apartment in the Quinn, a 16-story, 153-unit building in Jersey City. “It’s families, empty-nesters, young professionals. There’s not one type of person.” O’Leary, a Weehawken native, and Richard made the move from Lake Placid, New York, to be closer to family. They share the apartment with their eldest daughter, Joan, who has embarked on a new career in Manhattan. The Quinn is located in Jersey City’s charming Paulus Hook section. “It’s incredibly comfortable and feels very safe,” says O’Leary.

The Gold Coast’s newest buildings leave little to covet. Typical features include hardwood flooring; floor-to-ceiling windows; energy-efficient, stainless-steel appliances; quartz countertops; modern cabinetry; recessed LED lighting; walk-in closets; travertine tile; and extra-large showers with rain showerheads.

Most new Gold Coast buildings have luxurious amenities and amazing Manhattan views. The outdoor pool at the Avora is especially appealing.
Courtesy of Don Pearse Photographers Inc.

Then there are the common spaces, featuring pools, cabanas, grilling stations and home theaters. Many buildings feature gyms with yoga rooms, saunas and steam rooms; 24-hour concierge service; Amazon lockers for deliveries; children’s playrooms; and public gathering spaces. There are parking garages and free shuttles to the ferry terminals. 

Larry Salinas, who moved in October with his wife, Rosalind, to One Park in Cliffside Park, appreciates the level of service at the 14-floor condo building. “There’s a website to write a ticket for maintenance,” he says, “and the service people will be here in an hour.” 

Muriel Leyner moved into a spacious one-bedroom at the Duchess, in North Bergen, a year ago. Leyner, an interior designer, says, “All of the materials are design decisions I would have made. It immediately felt like home.”
Photo by Laura Moss

Muriel Leyner wanted to be close to her daughter in Weehawken and her son in Hoboken, so the Gold Coast was a natural place to look. Her priorities: a pleasing aesthetic, top-notch amenities and a helpful building staff. She found all that at the Duchess, a deluxe rental building in North Bergen. “Everything seemed to come together to make it a comfortable, warm, homelike place from the moment I looked at it.” Leyner rented a spacious one-bedroom with “an enormous master bath” and moved in last February.

Of course, the Gold Coast has a few drawbacks, especially the traffic along River Road. “It can be brutal,” Salinas says. 

The fix? Walk. “We really don’t get in the car very often,” says O’Leary. “We can walk everywhere.” 

“This area is convenient to virtually anything that I need to do,” adds Leyner. “Then I walk into my apartment, and it’s home with a capital H.”  

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