JERSEY CITY, NJ – This week the Journal Square Special Improvement District (JSSID), in partnership with the City of Jersey City, installed a public seating area that provides extra outdoor seating for local restaurants and other businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the associated state mandated limitations placed on indoor activity.

The seating area replaces what was once a “right turn only” lane along Bergen Avenue that was notorious for being used for all-day illegal, and double-parking. Similar to other areas around the city, local officials utilized the pedestrian mall mechanism to establish a “pedestrian only” area within the lane.

Recent visitors to Journal Square enjoying lunch at the Bergen Avenue Pedestrian Mall.

Jordan Galatz, President of the JSSID and local property owner said, “When the City presented this idea a few weeks ago, we felt it was important to act on it—businesses need this support to meet the challenges of limited indoor capacity.”

Likewise, Ahmed Shedeed, also a local business owner as well as a JSSID Board member said he “loves” the new space. “I stop by every day and always run into someone I know, we need more spaces like this where people can properly socially distance themselves and enjoy the outdoors.”

The space along Bergen Avenue is the second location where supplemental outdoor seating has been added in the Square—recently the Journal Square Lounge, in partnership with the City of Jersey City/Loew’s Theatre, and with support from the JSSID, established a public seating area within Esposito Way, a popular mid-block passage that connects JFK Boulevard with Magnolia Avenue and the western side of Journal Square.

Supplemental seating inside Esposito Way, a mid-block passage that connects the west side of Journal Square with the plaza and transportation hub.

Tory Aunspach, owner of the Journal Square Lounge, lauded his local neighbors and community partners saying that the initiative has been a “real lift up”, adding his praise for the Loew’s Theatre and JSSID who he called “extremely cooperative” in helping to put it together.

“This is a true public/private partnership, if you look at the initiative that the City has taken on permitting and establishing supplemental seating around the City and the support being provided by local Special Improvement Districts, it’s clear that Jersey City has established a model that other municipalities can draw from,” Chris Bernardo, Administrator for the JSSID, concluded.

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