About Jersey City
Jersey City, the second-largest city in New Jersey, is located on the west shore of the Hudson River directly across from Manhattan. According to the 2020 census, the population is slightly less than 300,000. Jersey City is within the New York City Metro Area. The city is a major manufacturing center and distribution hub for the Port of New York and New Jersey. The port of entry has sophisticated rail infrastructure and connectivity along 31 miles of the waterfront.
The city has become known as the rival financial and banking center to Manhattan. This was made possible by the redevelopment of the waterfront district. In the early 1800s, it was Alexander Hamilton’s vision to increase manufacturing in New York City in present-day Jersey City. It was not until 1834 that New York ceded control and ownership of the western waterfront to New Jersey.
Jersey City was one of the routes of the Underground Railroad leading runaway slaves Northward. By the 1880s, there were three passenger rail stations through Jersey City. Millions of immigrants processed on Ellis Island passed through these stations making their way westward to varying areas of the US.
It was the redevelopment of these rail yards that transformed the waterfront into Wall Street West. The former freight lines are now light-rail commuter lines connecting to other modes of public transit in the city and into Manhattan. The production space locations offered in Jersey City include residential and commercial, from the artsy to the traditional.
Production Space Options in Jersey City
The production spaces in Jersey City are as diverse as the outdoor locations. The spaces made available by the host owners range from the traditional sound stages to residential and commercial spaces. The options do not speak to the scenery of the outdoor venues that front the Manhattan skyline, Liberty Island, and the redeveloped waterfront. The ancillary services necessary for production are available in Jersey City and in the New York City area.
The labor, products, and services to complete a production are the crews for lighting and technical support, furniture and fixture rental, and all that is involved with pre-and post-production. The vendors for these ancillary services will bring local knowledge to the set and can assist with the scouting of locations. The scope within a rental agreement can be expanded to include the turnkey install and the breakdown of the equipment.
The food services are the most scrutinized and the most remembered by those served. Catering to a production set, whether a sound stage or a remote location, the caterers need a specific serving detail and must react to any variations in the time schedule. The rival to traditional catering is the trendy food trucks. In addition to the attention to the schedule and the efficiencies of serving, the food truck style adds the 24-hour clock and menu flexibility.
A permit is necessary for any commercial or educational film project. There are additional requirements and permits if the project has a cast or crew member under the age of 18. Any coordination between other City departments to support and secure the location is part of the permit application process. A permit is not required for any filming on behalf of a public entity, local university, or the city’s economic development department.
Production Space Companies in Jersey City
The pool is deep when it comes to choices of ancillary businesses supporting the production industry. Please keep in mind that the choices of vendors extend beyond Jersey City and into the New York side of the Hudson River. The contracting of local vendors will strengthen the merits of an application for tax incentives and bring local knowledge into the decision for the production space and the economies of scale.
- Jersey City Film Collective
The Collective is a database of local resources for filmmakers to identify and contact the service providers for staff, crews, and equipment for production. Jersey City has become a recognized artistic and cultural center of which filmmaking is a part. Both local and out-of-town producers and directors have become aware of this solution-based collective.
- ARRI Rental
This international rental company has a location in Secaucus, New Jersey. In addition to the rental of lighting, camera, and grip equipment, ARRI Rental provides logistic services to the set. These services include delivery, the rental of location trucks and generators as well as the setup and teardown of it all.
- Roadhouse Catering
Based in Manhattan, this catering company specializes in food services to film and production sets. The choices of service styles are boxed, buffet style, appetizer, and more. All recipes are prepared by professional chefs using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Roadhouse Catering serves a vast array of cuisines as well from barbecue buffets to seated five-course meals.
Pros and Cons of Production Spaces in Jersey City
Both patience and an open mind are necessary to make an informed decision. When considering the pros and the cons of anything, one must have the patience to analyze the big picture and an open mind to do so. All aspects of the flexibility of the crew within the context project must be considered. Check it all out before you pack for your production space in Jersey City.
- New Jersey tax incentives
There is the potential for a 30%-35% tax credit, plus a 2% credit for diversity within the cast and the crew, under the New Jersey Film and Digital Medial Tax Credit Program. All commercial production projects qualify to apply. There is also an exemption to sales tax on the rentals and purchases required for the set.
- New York City MSA
Any production space located in Jersey City will have the support of ancillary services located in the city and in the New York MSA. It is very likely that some of the support services may be located on the New York side of the Hudson River.
Jersey City is proud to show its attributes, both historic and present day. The distinctive neighborhoods, the redeveloped waterfront, and the historic and art districts are all in the foreground of the Manhattan skyline and Liberty Island.
- Cost of doing business
Jersey City and the State of New Jersey have generous and progressive tax incentive programs in place for the film industry and other commercial businesses. When taxes and prices are high, the net effect of these incentives must be comparable to the project costs in other states.
If a winter scene is not a part of your production, then the time of year for filming must be considered. Although the Hudson River and the nearby Atlantic do have a moderating effect on the climate, it is not unusual for most winter days to be below freezing.
The generous tax incentives offered will attract other production companies to Jersey City. Although the timing of any filming of non-winter shoots will be shortened, the Manhattan skyline, Liberty Island, and the attributes of Jersey City will always be there. Higher prices and a tight market are the results of the competition.
Famous Locations in Jersey City
- Liberty State Park
This park is the State’s most dramatic public space. From the bank of the Hudson River, one can view the Manhattan skyline, the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. The park also houses the historic Central Railroad Terminal, the Liberty Landing Marina, and the newly expanded Science Center.
- White Eagle Hall
This recently restored theater is in Downtown Jersey City and is a vital part of the thriving nightlife. Food and drinks are served during performances of live theater, concerts, and films. White Eagle Hall was constructed in 1910, and many of the original building features remain in place.
- Newport Center
The Center is the leading regional shopping destination in the waterfront community. The three levels comprising four department stores, 130 specialty shops, and the 11-screen cinema drive popularity. Newport Center features tax-free shopping on apparel and a reduced sales tax rate of 3.5% in participating stores.