Jersey City is separated from New York City by the Hudson River and offers stunning views of Manhattan from the downtown waterfront area. Historic locations in Jersey City include the Apple Tree House, so named because Generals Washington and Lafayette once dined under the apple tree in the backyard. The oldest standing building in Jersey City is the Van Vorst House. It was built in 1740 and today is a private residence. Many homes of prominent and powerful 19th and early 20th century businessmen have been restored, standing proudly along the cobblestone streets that wind through the city. Located in Journal Square is the historic and ornately beautiful Loew's Theater. The First Baptist Church of Jersey City celebrated its 165th anniversary in 2003. The Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse, built in 1906, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This building is one of the few remaining in the city from the Gilded and Industrial Ages and is one of the most awe-inspiring architectural landmarks in the metropolitan area.
Engineering marvels can be found throughout Jersey City. The Bergen Arches and Erie Cut structure was built by the Erie Railroad to reduce train traffic. The Cut, a 5,000-foot long canyon, accommodated four tracks, while the Arches carried the roads that crossed above the Cut. The area under the Arches, inside the Cut, feels and looks like a rain forest. At 85 feet below the road surface, the city cannot be seen or heard. Reservoir #3, which provided water to Jersey City and to Liberty and Ellis islands, is the last remaining of three gigantic stone reservoirs built in 1851 to provide drinking water to the growing population. Reservoir #3 has Egyptian walls, curved ledges, two pump houses, and interior stone steps reminiscent of a stone temple.
Construction on the man-made Morris Canal started in 1824. The Canal was built to bring coal from Pennsylvania to the Hudson River at the Jersey City waterfront. Crude locks controlled the tides and the boats were pulled by mules. In Jersey City, the canal passed under 100 bridges. The Morris Canal was also used by escaping slaves who hid under the coal as the boats were pulled north to freedom. At the end of the canal, near the Sugar House at the waterfront, the slaves hid in the underground brick tunnels that can still be seen today.
Liberty State Park provides more than just a view of Ellis Island and a place to catch the ferry for a visit to Lady Liberty. The park has a swimming pool and tennis courts that are enjoyed by downtown residents. The Interpretive Center has an exhibit area, an auditorium and classrooms. Adjacent to the Interpretive Center is a 60-acre salt marsh with trails and observation points. Liberty Walk, located along the eastern edge of Liberty State Park, is a one-mile stroll from the Statue of Liberty overlook to the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.
The Liberation Monument, designed as an inspiration for freedom, is located at the park's south overlook. Picnic tables at the southern end of the park provide magnificent views of the harbor and skyline. Bird watchers come to Liberty State Park from all over the world to see the Mallard ducks, Canadian geese, herons, and egrets that make their homes along the river and in the marshes. Hawks, eagles, and owls also fly overhead, while doves, robins, bluejays and cardinals can be seen in the trees and bushes. Squirrels, rabbits, skunks, opossums, and raccoons are also found in the park.