Home on the Hilltop
The neighborhood of Hilltop in Jersey City enjoys panoramic views of
Manhattan and Hudson County from its perch atop the sandstone cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades
at their southernmost point.
Hilltop is primarily a residential area
located directly east of Journal Square and approximately two aerial
miles west of Manhattan. It is home
to both lifelong residents and newer transplants, and is arguably one of the most
ethnically diverse communities in the greater New York City metropolitan area.
A variety of homes populate the area, from
brownstone-style townhouses over a hundred years old to newer apartment
Hilltop properties boast enviable views of the Manhattan skyline, some sit
cheek-by-jowl with bustling storefronts, while still others are tucked away in
quiet corners of the community. Gardening is popular and a number of
private planting spaces that provide sanctuary from the urban hubbub.
Visit the links in the left navigation bar
of this site to obtain information on
Hilltop organizations and to read
spotlight articles on neighborhood issues, home and gardening tips, resident-owned businesses
and other topics of interest.
About Jersey City
Incorporated in 1820, Jersey City has a rich history dating back to
early European settlers in the 1600s and, of course, Native American tribes
before that. While a vibrant city in its own right, Jersey City has
also functioned for many decades as a cost effective living alternative for
commuters working in Manhattan. It has become so integrated with the
metropolitan New York area that Jersey City is often referred to as the
"sixth borough" of New York City. After 9/11, when many Wall Street
firms moved some of their operations to the Jersey City waterfront (casually
referred to as Wall Street West), more Jersey City residents are now living
and working in the same area. This helps residents to save money on
commuting costs, income taxes, and even sales tax (over 80% of retail
establishments in Jersey City charge only 3% sales tax).
More information on Jersey City can be found here:
Hilltop anchors the eastern edge of Journal Square, which is home to the
Jersey Journal newspaper building and the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) commuter
train and bus transportation hub. Its primary commercial
through-streets are Newark and Pavonia Avenues, between Summit and Palisade.
The neighborhood extends north to State Highway and south to the area known
as the Island.
Hilltop's commercial area along Newark Ave boasts a variety of
locally-famous food establishments, among them the Philippine Bread House,
Moloney's Meats, Larry & Joe's Pizza and more. It is an easy trek to
nearby Newport and the waterfront for many other options as well, not to
mention the quick commute to Manhattan, the cuisine capital of the world.
The Hilltop area is home to several centers of worship, among them, St.
Joseph's Roman Catholic, St Demetrios Greek Orthodox, St Paul's Evangelical
Lutheran and the Swaminarayan World Organization (Hindu). More
churches and places of worship are within walking distance or a short drive
from Hilltop, in the communities nearby.
Schools include St. Joseph's Middle School and Dickinson High School.
One intriguing residential section of Hilltop is an area known as "the Island." This
tiny enclave occupies the southern end of Chestnut Ave, and has the most
suburban atmosphere in the Hilltop area. The Island
is a settlement sprouting from the top of a stand-alone chunk of rock, an
isolated portion of (and the southern tip end of) the New Jersey Palisades
cliffs. The area is only two streets wide, and its only access road is
Chestnut Ave. It rises
above the PATH train tracks that run from Journal Square to the tunnels
headed towards New York. In the early part of the 20th century, when
the trains from New Jersey to New York ran on steam, the Island was used as a roundabout of sorts.
The trains would steam around and around the circle of rock, gathering up
speed to head down into the tunnels. Once electricity replaced steam,
the trains no longer chugged around the Island before their city runs, but the area retains its quaint
name and historic reputation.
Hilltop Neighborhood Boundaries
The Gardens of Hilltop