Jersey City’s Caven Point is one of my most favorite places in New Jersey and the world. If you’re not aware of Jersey City’s Caven Point, I will do my best to explain it to you accurately. But just know that there is a healthy amount of drama over legislation and development and it’s hard to keep up with the latest news.
Maybe it’s just difficult for me. The Friends of Liberty State Park do their best to make it NOT difficult to keep up so I don’t know why I have such a hard time. I think I just always feel like Jersey City’s Caven Point is in danger and I have to do my best to defend it at all costs and I’m always at a heightened state of alert to jump in and help. And you should be too.
There is a bill/act in the works to protect Jersey City’s Caven Point and Liberty State Park from excessive privatization and development; it’s called The Liberty State Park Protection Act. I’ll write about it a bit more later, but here is some info about who you can write to in support of the Act!: NJ Legislature contact info
It’s a good Act in need of support, TRUST ME GUYS.
the cool stuff.
Overall I’m pretty pumped that I can walk to a huge and beautiful state park and that there is also a NATIONAL PARK within walking distance of my life (LADY LIB Y’ALL). But I didn’t realize that Jersey City’s Caven Point was even “a thing” until I went to a screening of one of John’s wildlife videos at Low Fidelity Bar last year. AND THEN IT ALL CAME TOGETHER.
Then last year on my birthday I was lucky enough to go on a tour of Caven Point with the Friends of Liberty State Park and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.
So here are my thoughts, as far as what I recall from that tour. So if you know more about Caven Point or estuaries or NJ wildlife than I do, please let me know if there’s anything I got wrong. And I’ve also included some photos from that day.
Caven Point is within an estuary. Which you can learn more about at Liberty Science Center, but it’s where freshwater meets the sea, and it makes BRACKISH water. BRACKISH water is gross to me and smells weird but I’ll allow it because there is a ton of cool wildlife that likes to party in this particular environment. In Caven Point’s case, the freshwater of the Hudson River meets the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean in New York Harbor.
THIS RIVER GOES BOTH WAYS, BABY! HOT.
But seriously. It flows both ways. The BRACKISH water can extend as far as 153 miles north up the river. That’s what Google said and that is insane.
BRACKISH isn’t officially always in all caps according to grammar but I feel it’s a very strong word that belongs in all caps, for whatever reason.
One of my fav tales of Jersey City’s Caven Point and surrounding estuary neighborhoods is that of OYSTERS SAVING THE DAY. Apparently at one point the pollution got extra AF and the wildlife was like “Ahhhh!<keels over and dies>” but then oysters started making a comeback, and various environmental groups in the area assisted the oysters in making a comeback, and now the oysters naturally filter the water so it is safer for all beings.
I already really like oysters as an animal because they make pearls. It’s like, a piece of sand or a parasite or other irritant gets inside of them and they’re annoyed by it so they build a little shield around it and THAT MAKES A STRAIGHT UP PEARL. I mean, could you do that? Could I do that? I DON’T THINK EITHER OF US COULD.
So in addition to the very glamorous hobby of pearl-making, oysters have a real day job, just a casual 9 to 5, where they filter LITERAL POLLUTION out of water. Like what can they NOT do?!
I still don’t like to eat them though. Because they are pretty much garbage disposals if you think about it. Or Brita a filter at the end of the 2 month period when you have to throw it out and change it to a new one. Why would you want to eat that you guys?
I’m going to admit something super embarrassing but I DIDN’T KNOW WE HAD HARBOR SEALS IN NEW JERSEY UNTIL LIKE 3 YEARS AGO. There, I said it. Don’t hate me.
But I had never seen any! I still haven’t, in person. I had also never heard of anyone seeing one! It’s not my fault!
I got a little NJ wildlife guide from my dad for Xmas in 2016 and Harbor Seals were on it and I was SHOCKED so I set out to search for them. I went to Sandy Hook and they weren’t there, and I’ve looked around the Jersey City waterfront, including Caven Point, but we’ve sadly never crossed paths.
WELL GUESS WHAT? The time to really spot them is in the winter and THAT TIME IS NOW. Apparently New Jersey is “south” to them and they migrate here from New England in the colder months. I’M COMING FOR YA HARBOR SEALS. Again, you can see some badass NJ Harbor Seal content at @wildjerseycity
Duh, there are a ton of birds at Caven Point. Apparently it is a FAV STOP for migratory birds. Birds are gossips and they tell all of their friends and their kids and the dudes they work for and basically any other birds that will listen that Caven Point is the place to be during their seasonal travels. That’s just the way it is, you guys.
You may know that I love birdwatching. One of the MAIN reasons I love birdwatching is because URBAN birdwatching is easily available to everyone. You can see animals and watch them and share your day with them even in a big city because birds are everywhere. Pigeons, house sparrows, Canada geese, and gulls are the birds I see most, and I see them EVERY SINGLE DAY. There is a cardinal that lives on my street that I hear every morning and see flying around often.
It brings me happiness and comfort to think that I can still commune with my animal friends even though I live in a city. And Jersey City’s Caven Point really drives that…point…home because there are a ton of birds over there. OMG once I saw 6 swans over there all at once. That seemed like a lot because swans are huge.
say no to golf.
At the risk of sounding juvenile, I hate golf and it’s dumb, because I can’t play it properly but I also don’t care because competitive games have no value to me and bore me and I don’t want to waste my time with them.
BUT, golf and golfers and the interests of golfers and those that support and fund the interests of golfers have tried to infringe upon Caven Point for some time. I will admit that I’m only really informed on the anti-golf course side of this issue, but something tells me the pro-golf course side wouldn’t apply to me or speak to me in any way. That’s just an educated guess.
The Liberty State Park Protection Act would help keep extreme development and privatization from happening in the park, including development of Caven Point. Apparently the golf heads want to make 3 golf holes there. Are they called “golf holes”? I don’t care. BIRDS LIVE THERE. THERE SHOULD ONLY BE BIRD HOLES.
Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention in Social Studies class and I’m completely confused by how the NJ government works so it was difficult for me to find out where this particular act currently stands. I did a bit of Googling and as of 12/5/19, according to the internet, the bill was on its way to be voted on by the NJ Senate and Assembly. Then after that, on 12/24/19 I came across a Letter to the Editor from the Jersey Journal. The author was upset that one of the sponsors of the bill, State Senator Sandra Cunningham, made a statement that implied it might be okay to compromise a little with the golf heads.
Which like, I’m upset by that too. We can’t go compromising with golf heads! Where would the natural world be if we allowed the golf heads to take over?! It would be gone. That’s where it would be. Goodbye natural world.
So the bad news is that this bill appears to still be in a phase were it is still being discussed and debated and argued about and people are still trying to propose “compromises” and “reason with golf heads.” It would be great if they could just vote on it and GET IT DONE ALREADY.
There is apparently a lot of lobbying going on and I think we all know that is NOT good and also gross and slimy. At least in this instance. I wanted to give you some very visceral adjectives to adequately influence YOUR perception of “lobbying” to match MY perception of “lobbying” so there you go.
Once again, here is some info about who you can write to in support of the act!: NJ Legislature contact info
And as of today (12/26/19) there is still time to make your voice heard in this important conversation. The most definitive answer I found on the bill’s current status is that it is “awaiting a floor vote in the State House.” So it hasn’t happened yet.
I also came across some reports that there is a group called the “Enhance Liberty State Park Coalition” that is going around the town and trying to get people to sign a petition against the Act. “The town” being Jersey City. It seems they’re trying to be sneaky and tricky and convince JC residents that the whole golf head agenda is a positive thing and “supports urban youth” when it pretty much does not.
We need Liberty State Park and Caven Point and the whole shebang to stay public! It shouldn’t be wasted on golf nonsense. Not just because I dislike golf and it bores and annoys me, but because giving it to the golf heads would make it private and EVERYONE in the city, state, country, WORLD, wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Including the birds because there would be nowhere for them to safely hang out and have epic bird migration parties.
Caven Point’s brilliance and beauty shouldn’t be wasted on ANY private nonsense. Like go build condos somewhere else. Take your Whole Foods to a vacant lot somewhere. Etc, etc. I can’t think of any more “development humor” but you get it.
Friends of LSP are also having a rally to raise awareness and support for the billon Saturday January 11 at 11am at 200 Morris Pesin Drive in Jersey City. Let’s go!
You may have noticed that this flyer also includes mention of an “optional” GUIDED NATURE WALK TO CAVEN POINT and you MOST CERTAINLY should TAKE THE OPTION on that. You won’t be disappointed.
What are your thoughts on Jersey City’s Caven Point? Have you ever been there? Have you ever seen the Harbor Seals?! If so I’m very jealous and hate you. JK but I really need to see them soon.
*This is the first thing I’ve written in a while that I really had to fact check, so please let me know (in a kind and informative and constructive way so I don’t cry) if I blew it. I do have a Journalism degree but I am very out of practice. K thx.