We’re doing it. Slowly but surely we’re getting there. We’re stepping foot in New Jersey for the first time so that’s enough reason for us to celebrate on this Sunday night.
Local: Sofia Tomé @sofiatome “I was born in Portugal, but moved to Newark, NJ when I was 2 years old. Though I've pretty much lived in Jersey my whole life, I've always been passionate about traveling and go away as often as I possibly can. I've been obsessed with photography since I was a little girl, but as a kid I thought that I'd become a pediatrician - in high school I came to my senses and eventually attended Parsons School of Design to major in photography. While I started my career in publishing, I've spent the last 7 years working in education and doing photography on the side. This year, I am focusing on my photography, full-time.
Jersey City has all the perks of a large city, while still maintaining some small town vibes. We have lots of amazing restaurants and bars, great small businesses, and awesome green spaces - the whole neighborhood is super walkable! Missing something in JC? NYC is a 10 minute train ride away and you can get to the beach or the mountains within an hour. It's the best!
There's a wonderful sense of community in Downtown Jersey City and although I'm not from here, I've never felt more connected to a place. Locals here are super diverse - from creatives who have moved here from the city to families who have been here for generations - but they're all equally proud of JC!”
good morning, friends! @sofiatome here and I'm super excited to share my favorite place on earth with you this week. Jersey City (lovingly referred to as JC by locals) is a huge city with tons of diverse neighborhoods, so I'll be focusing on downtown - my home!
now, I don't know about you guys, but my monday mornings (and most other ones, too) usually start with a cup of coffee. @modcupcoffee is easily the best cup in town and, I would argue, the best I've ever had, anywhere, ever! they have multiple locations around JC including the most amazing truck, Summer Love, that's parked down in Exchange Place (Monday - Friday). I know I'm gushing, but I love them so 😍
In downtown JC, we are super lucky to have farmer's markets 4 days a week. The first is on Monday, taking place in the Grove Street Plaza (two a week here + one in Van Vorst Park + one in Hamilton Park). And not only do we get the freshest produce from Jersey farms - hey, they don't call us the garden state for no reason - we also have some amazing local businesses selling awesome products. One of my favorite? @bangcookies - the sea salt chocolate chip cookie is delicious! 💕@sofiatome
What better way to start a Tuesday morning than with a great cup of coffee and delicious avocado toast? @shortgrainjc makes the best in town (the chili flakes and pickled onions make it extra special). Even though they haven't been around for long, they've quickly become one of my local go-to's. 💕@sofiatome
With so many amazing shops in JC, it was hard to decide where to start - so, I'm starting at the beginning... @amtvintage is a Jersey City institution. Meika (who is super sweet) and her husband, Warren, have been lovingly curating their beautiful collection since 2006. From old school denim to vintage beaded gowns, Another Man's Treasure is a dream of a boutique. If you're ever in town, check it out - and while you're at it, pop in to neighboring @shopkanibal (for awesome his/hers gifts and pretty home decor) and @hazelbabystore (for the best kids' stuff). 💕@sofiatome
Today, I'm bringing you all to historic Van Vorst Park in downtown Jersey City. Originally a separate township, the neighborhood was annexed by the city in 1851 and is named after a prominent family who arrived in the area in the 1630's. While it now occupies just a few blocks of downtown JC, the beautiful 19th century brownstones have been preserved for our admiration. In fact, I love these homes so much it was hard to pick just one photo - I'll be posting another on my page for those of you interested in seeing more. 💕@sofiatome
Lorelai Gilmore is my spirit animal; sometimes I like to imagine that I'm living in my very own, real-life version of Stars Hollow (minus the town troubadour and the kid). With a local farmer's market and regular summer movie nights, nothing indulges my Gilmore Girl fantasies more than Van Vorst Park (the gazebo in the middle helps, too). 💕@sofiatome
@thewarehousejc has been a long time favorite of mine, so when owner, Julius, opened @lackawannacoffee just a few blocks from my house I couldn't be more excited. The clean, white space, the tropical flowers (the outdoor ping pong table!!!)... you're bound to bump into some JC's local creatives in this beautiful respite from the city bustle. 💕@sofiatome
Sometimes, you're walking around your neighborhood and you stumble upon a car trunk full of the most beautiful flowers. I met Kristyn of @karmaflowers a few years back when she designed the flowers for my good friend's wedding. At the time, I didn't know it, but Kristyn's business is based out of JC. Since then, I've seen her flowers all around town - various shops have carried her bouquets in-store.
Kristyn is now sharing a space with @thehairroomjc and offering flower arranging classes on an ongoing basis. I love that so many JC business owners support each other in their endeavors and the strong sense of community that we've built here. 💕@sofiatome
As a Portuguese girl living in NJ, I've been spoiled with access to amazing Portuguese food all my life. You can imagine my excitement when Mike Casalinho brought @broacafe to Jersey City. Named after rustic Portuguese bread of the same name, Broa serves tapas-style dishes that change daily to incorporate the freshest seasonal ingredients. Want a little Portuguese souvenir to go? Check out @feenaboutique right upstairs (owned by Mike's lovely sister, Liz) for some Portugal-inspired gifts and accessories. 💕@sofiatome
The end of an exciting week calls for delicious cocktails. In Jersey City, some of my favorites are at @dullboybar! This bar is in a class of its own - the drinks are to die for, the decor is on point, and the food is great, too. No surprise! One of the owners happens to be the fabulous @cyndiramirez of @tastethestyle!
In NYC and don't feel like crossing the Hudson? Check out one of their other dope spots @thegarretbar and The Garret East for an equally awesome experience. Cheers to Friday and the beginning of a long weekend! 💕@sofiatome
Saturday's usually mean a veggie omelette (with a side of home fries) for me at @marcoandpepe - I love sitting at the bar and chatting it up with the sweet bartenders. The restaurant has been around forever, with good reason - the food is delicious at all times of the day. Pro-tip: get the lobster roll to go and enjoy it picnic style at one of the nearby parks! 💕@sofiatome
p.s. It might look closed (I may or may not have gotten here before they opened to avoid people in my shot) but rest assured that I'm currently sitting here, eating!
While I absolutely love Jersey City, in and of itself, I would be remiss not to mention that we have some of the most magnificent views of NYC. This one is from Exchange Place - the district of downtown JC directly across from lower Manhattan. Every single day ferries and trains shuttle vast amounts of people back and forth, across the river - I would argue we've got the better end of the deal! 💕@sofiatome
@irisrecords is a JC icon! Owner, Steve, is the coolest and the shop has been open for TWENTY years - a testament to its total awesomeness. Classic rock, soul, and everything in between...I have found some of my favorite vintage records here. It's every vinyl-lover's dream! 💕@sofiatome
It's been a great week, showing you all around Jersey City! And while my list of recommendations could go on and on, I knew it would be incomplete if I didn't include Taqueria. This place is the real deal - great tacos, perfect margaritas, and delicious guac. It's the best place to end the day (or start it, for that matter). Hope you enjoyed getting to know my favorite place on earth! Follow along with me for more JC scenes as well as travels around the world. And feel free to reach out, if you're ever looking for more local tips. 💕@sofiatome