Just 12 minutes away from the Big Apple, is the bustling yet tranquil Jersey City. Heymama, Keren Vered, is the go-to expert who knows the ins and outs of “Chilltown”. She has spent the last 12 years helping Luxury fashion brands like Alexander McQueen, Nili Lotan and Brunello Cucinelli with distribution, brand positioning, pricing strategy and marketing. When she isn’t being a rockstar brand strategist, she is bridging the gap between city-life and small-town living by connecting visitors and families through simple conversations through her company Finally Home JC.
Tell us what was the inspiration behind your organization Finally Home JC. Why is it so important to the Jersey City community?
Finally Home JC is a community social group focused on fostering community through engagement, connectivity and purpose. It was born out of the knowledge that supporting and engaging with each other and local organizations is the most effective way to further community growth.
Finally Home JC started from the emotional pull to protect and support the aspects that make Jersey City feel like a small town: mom-pop shops, local business owners who genuinely care about their customers and developers who spend more time on building neighborhoods than they do on building new luxury units. Many of my NYC transplant friends were missing out on the beauty of the Jersey City neighborhood comaraderie, they were too busy commuting to and from their hectic NYC lives to discover all the amazing things Jersey City had to offer.
What do you absolutely love about your city?
There is a balance of the peaceful townhouse and backyard living with the hectic NYC scene just 12 minutes away. I get to have the best of both worlds; the fast, exciting pace of the city and the relaxing, quiet quality of life.
The sense of community is unparalleled. Old school Jersey City is still preserved and thriving with the amazing influx of great families looking to settle in and create a well-balanced, grounded life for their little ones. It’s a diversified community of great-hearted people all committed to making Jersey City the best it can be!
We know that you’re a mom of two adorable tiny tots! Where do you love to take them for a fun day out on the town?
Liberty State Park‘s waterfront has the most amazing views of NYC. In addition, the park has an expansive green space. It’s nice to visit to all the great parks we have in town that are never overcrowded. We frequently spend afternoons walking the beautiful tree-lined streets of historic townhouses and brownstones. Then, we visit the spots with amazing street art.
Name some undiscovered hot spots that someone visiting Jersey City would love to know about.
While there are new and trendy restaurants & bars opening every week, there are many places in town that have been thriving for generations that are the true heart and soul of the city. They bring together people from all walks of life regardless of age, background or economic status – just the commonality of a deep-seated appreciation for Jersey City. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most incredible people with amazing stories and personal accounts of the city at restaurants like Laicos, Park Tavern and Edward’s Steakhouse. I consider these restaurants the true hidden gems in town; a real-life Cheers.
If you had a free weekend alone to do anything your heart desired, what would you do?
An in-depth art exploration at Mana Contemporary, one of the amazing jewels of Jersey City.
Also, taking a book and sitting by the waterfront to watch the boats. I see people do it all the time and I’ve never had a chance to feel that type of relaxation with our crazy lives!
Where is the best place to grab a cup of hot coffee?
Jersey City is not lacking in artisanal coffee shops but Chocopain is by far the best!
You mentioned, if you had a weekend alone you would read a book by the waterfront. Where do you go to pick up a good book?
The public libraries in town are wonderful, I personally prefer to spend time there. The buildings themselves have so much history. The library usually has a section dedicated to historic pictures of the city with city records that span hundreds of years. I love experiencing the evolution of the city I live in through images. I found a picture of our house from the 1930’s which I cherish!