The Daniel Boone of Jersey City


| January 17, 2001


The Daniel Boone of Jersey City, Nick Mamatas, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood
The horror! In this amusing account of how quickly one can change from victim to perpetrator, Nick Mamatas traces his journey west--from the lower east side of Manhattan, pushed by the 'invisible hand' of gentrification across the Hudson River to working class Jersey City, where he himself became part of a new wave of gentrification. Writing in the quirky Manhattan-based webzine Mr. Beller's Neighborhood, Mamatas recounts how he settled in Jersey City after losing rent control on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Then, like Daniel Boone spying chimney smoke, Mamatas noticed after a few years that 'the big boys of finance capital have caught wind of this smallish city on the wrong side of the river.' In the next few years, wherever he went, it seemed, 'revitalization' followed. It wasn't long, however, before he realized he was clearing the path, hacking away the urban jungle and helping his friends from the city move in, to boot. 'Ew, Jersey, I can hear them all say,' writes Mamatas, 'but they'll follow me eventually, and I'll have played my part in the destruction of another working class neighborhood.'
--Amanda Luker
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