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Fort Lee, N.J.: ‘Like Being within the City Without Being within the City’

High within the New Jersey Palisades and residential to the world’s busiest bridge, Fort Lee, NJ sits on the fence between urban and suburban areas.

“It’s like being in the town without being in the town,” said Andrew Sloan, who paid $130,000 for a one-bedroom cooperative in Fort Lee in 2018. Mr. Sloan, 34, desired to be near Brooklyn, where he works as a construction project manager, and likewise near his parents’ home in New Milford, NJ, about quarter-hour northwest.

When Jacqueline and Michael Kates downsized a four-bedroom home in Teaneck, New Jersey, they selected Fort Lee not just for its proximity to the town, but additionally for its large choice of condominiums and cooperatives. Since Kates, 80, a near-retired lawyer, and Kates, 77, the previous mayor of Teaneck, bought a two-bedroom co-op there in 2014 for $410,000, they’ve adapted to life within the denser environment.

“You don’t see the identical type of green space as in Teaneck,” Ms Kates said. However, she added that the municipality has tried to create small parks that protect a chunk of nature and loves the views of New York.

Empty nesters from nearby suburbs just like the Kates “are a consistently strong market” for Fort Lee, said Nelson Chen, real estate broker and president of the Chen Agency in Fort Lee. The borough can be appealing to commuters, including many returning to their New York City offices after working remotely throughout the pandemic, Mr. Chen said.

For all residents of the borough, the George Washington Bridge, which is crossed by 4 million vehicles every month, is the centerpiece of life in Fort Lee. “It has brought us incredible prosperity,” said Mark J. Sokolich, a mayor who grew up in Fort Lee. “But it also gave us a headache; brought us movement.”

In 2013, traffic in Fort Lee became the middle of one among New Jersey’s more odd political scandals when allies of the then-governor. Chris Christie took revenge on Mr. Sokolich for not supporting the governor’s re-election bid by closing the lanes resulting in the bridge, causing 4 days of traffic jams. Mr Sokolich said he had no hard feelings, but had a message for those involved: “Never, ever consider doing something like this again.”

The borough’s downtown landscape has been radically transformed in recent times. After lying empty for greater than 4 many years as various redevelopment proposals failed, the 16-hectare property near the bridge has been redeveloped right into a mixed-use development with 1,225 apartments, restaurants and shops. The redevelopment revitalizes downtown by increasing foot traffic, Sokolich said, “It’s the brand new downtown of Fort Lee.”

Another redevelopment project near the bridge is to create 310 small rental apartments. The developer, UNLMTD Real Estate of Fort Lee, has demolished the old hotel and is refurbishing the previous office constructing for the project. “We wish to attract a younger demographic to Fort Lee,” said Gabriella LoConte, owner of the corporate. (Currently, nearly 25 percent of the population is 65 or older.)

Fort Lee covers 2.5 square miles and has a population of roughly 40,000—42 percent discover as Asian, 41 percent as non-Hispanic white, 12 percent as Hispanic, and a couple of.4 percent as black.

The housing stock is dominated by condominiums and co-operatives, in addition to many high-rise buildings – excess of is typical of most Bergen County municipalities. According to information from the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, condominiums and cooperatives accounted for greater than 88 percent of Fort Lee home sales in each of the last two years.

Recently, developers have replaced a number of the older single-family homes with side-by-side semi-detached houses, Chen said.

According to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, there have been 159 homes available on the market in Fort Lee in early January, starting from a one-bedroom cooperative for $105,000 to a six-bedroom home overlooking the Manhattan skyline for $3.5 million.

Sales of single-family homes and apartments fell within the 12 months ending December 1, but sales of cooperatives rose. According to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, 282 apartments were sold during this era, down 16 percent from the identical period a yr earlier; 72 single-family houses were sold, a decrease of 17%; and 344 cooperatives sold, a rise of 13 percent.

The median home selling price was $430,000, up 2.6 percent over the 12-month period; for the cooperative it was $170,000, a rise of three percent; and for single-family homes it was $925,000, a rise of seven.6 percent.

Fort Lee’s thriving Asian community reflects the dramatic expansion of New Jersey’s Asian population, which, in line with census data, grew 44 percent to 1.05 million between 2010 and 2020.

The community has its roots within the Seventies, when Japanese corporate executives working from their corporations’ offices in New York and New Jersey moved to Fort Lee and neighboring cities searching for a more suburban lifestyle near Manhattan, Chen said. As Asian markets and restaurants began to open, there was a wave of Korean immigrants starting within the Eighties. Many moved from Queens, attracted by respectable schools.

“Koreans are at all times on the lookout for one of the best education system,” said Peter J. Suh, 49, a Korean-born Fort Lee councilman whose family moved to Fort Lee within the late Seventies.

More recently, Chinese immigrants have been moving to Fort Lee. For all these communities, the encompassing Asian churches, markets, and restaurants—including dumplings, ramen, and sushi along Main Street and in several strip malls—are a robust draw. convenient.”

The exclusive Ventanas restaurant was opened in 2019 within the Modern apartment buildings, that are a part of the downtown redevelopment. If you are on the lookout for something more old-school, there’s Hiram’s, an area institution where Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and journalist who died in 2018, on his CNN show “Parts Unknown”, is understood for his deep-fried hot dogs and chili – cheese dogs

The 33-acre Fort Lee Historic Park, overseen by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, features views of the Hudson River and reproductions of buildings utilized by Continental Army soldiers stationed there throughout the Revolutionary War. The Ross Dock picnic area, which is positioned on the Hudson River within the foothills of the Palisades, features a boat launch.

Fort Lee Public Schools serve roughly 4,000 students in 4 elementary schools, one middle school, and Fort Lee High School. For the 2020-21 school yr, the common highschool SAT scores were 623 in reading and writing, in comparison with the state average of 557, and 656 in math, in comparison with the state average of 560.

Private school options in the world include Christ the Teacher Academy, a Catholic elementary school in Fort Lee; Moriah School, a Jewish elementary school in Englewood, serving students from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade; Elisabeth Morrow School, a primary school in Englewood; and the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, serving students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

From Fort Lee you possibly can walk to Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge promenade. If you like to save lots of your feet, many buses and personal jitneys converge at Bridge Plaza before heading to the George Washington Bridge bus station in Washington Heights, where commuters can catch the subway to Midtown Manhattan. The trip from Bridge Plaza to Washington Heights on the New Jersey Transit #182 bus takes about five minutes and the one-way fare is $1.85. (From elsewhere in Fort Lee, the fee is $3.50).

New Jersey Transit Bus #158 leaves Fort Lee and travels south along the Hudson River through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. The ride takes roughly 40 minutes and the fare is $4.50 a method.

The drive to New York over the George Washington Bridge takes only just a few minutes, although the journey is longer during rush hour. The toll is $16 money or $11.75 (off-peak) and $13.75 (peak) for E-ZPass holders.

Fort Lee’s Revolutionary War history is already within the name. In 1776, about 2,700 Continental Army troops camped at Fort Lee, delivering men and equipment to Fort Washington across the Hudson River.

In the early twentieth century, Fort Lee became the birthplace of an exciting latest industry as film corporations – including Universal and Fox – began opening studios within the district. The Marx Brothers, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and members of the Barrymore family were among the many film pioneers working there. The Barrymore Film Center, a latest museum and theater in downtown Fort Lee, pays homage to the borough’s place in cinema history.

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