Jersey City 1983 and 2015, Dramatic Changes and Comparisons in Time and Place.

(for those viewing via Facebook or other sites, you’ll need to click the link to Tracking the Light for the full effect.)

Then and Now, I think.

Back in 1983, I was fascinated by the Pennsylvania Railroad’s waterfront operations in Jersey City, especially at Exchange Place.

On a family trip, we spent an hour or so exploring the decay around Jersey City so that I could make photos that I’d ultimately planned to use to build a diorama/model railroad.

23 years previously, my father had made photos at the old Exchange Place Terminal. We had difficulties locating anything definable at the site of the once massive station, but made a few photos around the Conrail former PRR yards.

Conrail_9212_and_7546_at_Exchange_Place_Jersey_City_NY_Feb1983©Richard_Solomon_664473
In February 1983, my father exposed this view of Conrail locomotives at Jersey City on Kodachrome 64 using his Leica. I made some similar views that are less impressive as stand alone photographs, by proved useful in trying to relocate this place last week.

Over the last year, I’ve taken a few trips through Jersey City on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and found the place totally transformed from my mental images of the place stemming from the early 1980s.

So, I decided to try to recreate some of our 1983 angles, and  last week armed with maps and photos in-hand I went exploring.

This USGS topo map shows the way Jersey City would have been c1950. I've placed a blue arrow to show my photo location. (Manhattan Island is located at the far right).
This USGS topo map shows the way Jersey City would have been c1950. I’ve placed a blue arrow to show my photo location. (Manhattan Island is located at the far right).

When a cityscape changes beyond recognition, it can be difficult to produce practical ‘now and then images.

These photos are part my work in progress.

I made some cheap copies of the 1983 photos and started exploring Jersey City. While I'd expected to find the 1983 site covered with modern development, I was surprise that the location of our locomotive photo remained undeveloped, albeit surrounded by modern buildings.
I made some cheap copies of the 1983 photos and started exploring Jersey City. While I’d expected to find the 1983 site covered with modern development, I was surprise that the nearest location of our locomotive photo remained undeveloped, albeit surrounded by modern buildings.
Is this the exact spot where we made our photos in 1983. I'm not sure, but one I climbed up the embankment, it seemed very familiar, although the setting has been transformed. Sorry, no vintage EMD NW2 switchers in December 2015! Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Is this the exact spot where we made our photos in 1983? I’m not sure, but when I climbed up the embankment it seemed very familiar, although the setting has been transformed. Sorry, no vintage EMD NW2 switchers in December 2015! Exposed with my Lumix LX7.

Tracking the Light Re-explores Old Locations!

One thought on “Jersey City 1983 and 2015, Dramatic Changes and Comparisons in Time and Place.”

  1. Great stuff I grew up in Conn a few us made regular trips to northern NJ I did them from 1973 – 1979 After leaving always went back thru app 1985. Then didnt go again until 1996. Wasnt much left by then couldnt find much especially around CNJ and
    Elizport

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