One usually thinks of a grey, dreary industrial complex when Jersey City is brought up in casual conversation. While that might have been true a decade ago, it is not so today - at least, not entirely.
A walk through the modern Newport district reminds us that, like people, cities’ personalities do also change with time. As enthusiasts of anything hockey-related, we were delighted to find a refrigerated open-ice rink tucked neatly in one of the neighborhood’s posh residential complexes. Roughly half the size of an NHL rink, the sheet of ice is surrounded by see-through boards. When the on-site Zamboni is not in use, it resides in a large tarp tent which looks like a larger version of the “abris tempo”, popular with many Montreal home owners during the winter months. We were quite disappointed not to have had the time to go for a skate. After all, a sheet of ice this pristine just begs to be shredded up by a pair of freshly-sharpened skate blades. Still, for the benefit of this blog, we urged ourselves to move along to our next destination.
Later, we did a quintessentially Jersey thing: taking a cab and crossing into New York City to grab a bite to eat. We did this via the Holland Tunnel, which got us reminiscing about Sylvester Stallone’s not-so-classic disaster movie Daylight
(which we actually watched during a recent trek to D.C.). For the uninitiated, the Holland Tunnel is a rather narrower and far more congested counterpart of our Lafontaine Tunnel. While it is not a bad option during rush hour, traveling through it comes at a price: a cool $9 in toll fees.
Looking for a place to grab a bite in Manhattan, we stumbled upon Warren 77, a restaurant/pub owned by ex-NHLer Sean Avery. While the flamboyant agitator left few indifferent during his whirlwind professional journey, his presence in his own establishment was rather more low-key. On a small section of the varnished wood mural honoring New York sports icons, we saw Avery’s #16 (which he wore with the Rangers) along with what we presumed to be his favourite saying: “Haters gonna hate.” We were left wondering what type of atmosphere the pub would have during heated Rangers-Devils or Rangers-Islanders games. It’s something worth taking in another time, perhaps. In any case, Warren 77 wouldn’t be hard to find; the address is in the name.