Trenton, the capital of New Jersey, is a very diverse city nestled forty-five minutes from Philadelphia and an hour away from New York City. Downtown Trenton is very historic and has seen many renovations throughout the last few years. For example, the New Jersey State House, located on 125 W St Street, is the state capitol building for the U.S. state of NJ. It started construction in 1792 and was completed more than a century later in 1911. Since then, a plan to renovate the building began in 1982 and in 2017 a complete restoration of the building began and is expected to be completed in 2020. The building itself is designed as the alphabetical letter H with its long side along W St Street and a rotunda dome connects the building to its other half. The public is permitted inside on tours Monday thru Saturday. I like that the building itself blends well in the urban setting and historic state street alongside other legislative buildings. There are also multiple public squares. It is a shame that the renovations have taken decades to complete.
Mill Hill is a historic neighborhood which is still considered to be a part of Downtown Trenton (5 min. Drive from state house). It is just a few minutes walk from Trenton Transit Center which is perfect for commuter citizens. Furthermore, the Mill Hill District spans only 10 linear blocks and was almost destroyed by redevelopment in the 1960s. The historic row houses are better for the environment and heating costs due to the fact that less of the building is exposed to outside elements (Levy).
I appreciate this area in particular because of the design of the houses and the calm and quiet feel of the neighborhood. Most do not know that mill hill acquired its name after a mill was flooded out almost two centuries before. The area is purely residential and very welcoming. Since the given economic decline of Trenton due to the closing of many industrial factories, and the American dream to find a suburban rather than urban lifestyle of the 1950s, the decline of Mill Hill was almost inevitable. By this time most people owned cars, therefore urban planning almost destroyed, “Trenton’s urban fabric (e.g.the Trenton Freeway, surface lots for state workers), cut off access to the Delaware River (Rt. 29), and much more (Trentonmillhill.org).”
Although these developments greatly facilitated the movement of people and goods, it changed homeownership of predominantly single-family to more multi-family dwellings. Many properties in Mill Hill became vacant from 3% in 1952 to 17% in 1970.
The only thing I do not like about this neighborhood is that it is hard to find parking as all the parking is on the street and permitted. Also, not all of the houses have attached garages or come with a place to park multiple cars so when a Nor’easter blows through not much can be done as with any city.
Finally, the town is a cultural hub; therefore, many people come to the area to eat. Thomasena’s is Trenton’s favorite soul food restaurant. It is also located within walking distance of the capitol building that I mentioned above. If you are looking for other cuisines, such as Jamaican food, The Hummingbird is a great place to stop in at. Again both of these restaurants are located in downtown Trenton so there is not much parking as the nearby streets are categorized as T-4 and T-5 areas with living quarters above Thomasena’s. All in all, downtown Trenton is a walkable neighborhood with very diverse eateries.
In conclusion, it seems as if the The Town (Trenton) is making large improvements and restorations to not only its legislative buildings but its historic districts. Focusing in on the good in Trenton may be the right mindset to bring back more innovation and technology into the state’s capital.