Rutgers for Kids this Summer

Do you have an extraordinary child living in Hudson County  who would love to be engaged and challenged with summer enrichment? Perhaps your child would be elated to work with a prestigious NJ University that allows them to not only critically think, but explore a whole new world outside of the usual this summer, right in their own backyard.

If this remotely sounds like something your child would love to do, then look no further. RUTGERS University is partnering with MUA (Miftaahul Uloom Academy) in Union City, Hudson County, NJ to bring Summer Enrichment 2017 to all families across NY&NJ.

RUTGERS University and MUA understand the importance of keeping our children engaged throughout the summer using meaningful summer learning activities.

Sample Courses Offered:

Amusement Park STEM: Hear the clanking of the coaster as you chug up the hill, unsure of what will come next. How do engineers create these thrilling experiences in today’s amusement parks? Explore the scientific principles behind the rides and construct working Ferris wheel and roller coaster models.

Fantastic Fibonacci and other Math Mysteries: Did you know that the world of nature is full of numbers? In this course, we will explore the wonders of patterns, shapes, and numbers in nature. From Fibonacci and Escher, to the beehive and the pinecone, we will discover the beauty of math and the way we, as humans, have been inspired by it. Students will be surprised to learn of famous artists who have used these concepts in their masterpieces. We will explore these and create our own designs using mathematical concepts derived from our natural world.

Film Studies: This course would offer a perspective on film as art. Students would learn the basic concepts of cinematography: the purpose of different shots and the symbolism directors use in both the perspective and lighting in their filming. Students will learn the variety of angles in shooting footage on film, i.e. close-up, long shot, birds eye view, as well as cutting techniques. We will also investigate the various genres through the history of movies, silent films, experimental (Salvador Dali), Westerns, Science Fiction, Drama, Comedy, Documentary and Action. The course will ultimately end with students drawing out a storyboard of shot selections for a film idea of their own with captions for each shot selection. Students will work cooperatively to complete this task, working with a group to choose a genre, a story line, shot selections and developing captions for the their storyboard.

This partnership will be offering 6 weeks of Academic Enrichment and Creative Exploration. If you have any questions you may email the coordinator at [email protected]

Space is Limited. Deadline is February 28, 2017.

Complete Enrichment Application and email to [email protected]

Summer Enrichment Flyer

SEP Course Descriptions

SEP Instructor Biographies

Summer Enrichment Application 2017

Christine Goodman: Art House Owner and Jersey City Mom

I’ve known Christine Goodman since before either of us had kids. It’s been amazing to grow into motherhood with her. Her words are always inspiring.

JCFamilies: Tell us who you are, professionally.

Christine Goodman: I am the founder and executive director of the visual and performing arts center Art House Productions. Now in its 16th year, we present plays, art exhibitions, and a quarterly citywide arts festival – JC Fridays.

img_4201JCF: How did JC Fridays start?

CG: JC Fridays came about after the closing of 111 First Street, an artist enclave in Jersey City. When that building closed, a lot of our arts community felt really beaten down. Art House had a meeting with arts organizers, arts friendly businesses, and other community leaders, to see how we could move the arts forward in Jersey City.

The idea of JC Fridays came out of that meeting. Even to this day, it continues the spirit of the community coming together to support one another around the arts. There was a real need for that. I think that’s why it’s such a successful program.

JCF: How important are the arts to a community?

CG: The arts are an extremely valuable component of any healthy city, particularly in times where people feel like they don’t have a voice. The arts gives people a platform, a meeting place, a community. A vibrant arts scene makes people feel invested in the city and in the communities in which they live.

JCF: What’s a typical workday like for you?

CG: It starts at 6 am – but through no decision of my own.

JCF: Because of the kids?

CG: Yes. Should we talk about a work day, or about my family?

JCF: Both.

CG: So I have my predawn experience with my one year old. That’s how we roll into the rest of the morning. I have two kids. The day starts with them waking up pretty early. My husband and I get them to school, and then I’m at Art House. It’s a 24/7 job. As a founder, an organization like this is a third child. This is my teenager.

JCF: Why did you call it a teenager – what makes it a teenager?

CG: First because it’s 16 years old. But also because it has really has matured. It can stand on its own. It has its own identity. It’s wonderful to see that through all the growing pains, we have created an institution that means a lot to many people.


JCF: How do you balance your business and your family?

CG: That’s the million-dollar question. It’s evolving. It’s a balancing act. As professional mothers, we continually walk the line of making sure that we’re there for our kids, that they have what they need, and also that we’re taking care of what the businesses needs, which can mean that you are on call at the strangest hours.

There’s no easy answer or a magic pill for running a business and being a mother of two. We have these standards of excellence as professionals and mothers that we can handle everything. The short answer is that it’s really tough. I think the short answer is in continually making sure that your children know that you’re there for them and empowering other people around your business as well.

JCF: How do you do that?

CG: For me, it means making sure that my kids feel comfortable at my business. I don’t run a 9-5. They’re comfortable at Art House. They’re comfortable in the theatre. They have space here that’s their own. They’re welcomed when they walk in the door. At the times when there needs to be a lot of juggling, they can be in the space of my business and feel like they belong.

The other thing is being realistic about my timelines, about what is humanly possible for me to accomplish. I think that the Christine before kids would work all night if she needed to. Christine after kids needs to make sure that the timelines and support systems are in place. Which has been a wonderful change for me.

JCF: Do you ever work at night?

CG: Taking a meeting at 7 pm is tough. It means that there are other people who have to sacrifice in order for that to happen. Even for me to be at the shows that I produce – I’m continually figuring out how to navigate. The natural result is that I’ve had to not hold on so tightly to the idea that I need to do it all myself at Art House. And it’s been great. There’s a beautiful leadership team here that’s really wonderful and rocking it out. It takes a village on both ends.

img_4195JCF: What was it like going from one to two babies?

CG: Having my first child and the incorporation of motherhood into business ownership was overwhelming at first, and then manageable. We found our rhythm and knew that it wouldn’t last forever, but it was working.

But when the second baby came along, the juggling wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t possible. At that point, I needed to make sure that we had a theatre manager and a technical director who could be on site in the evenings and make sure that the shows went smoothly in my absence.

JCF: If you had to do it all again, what would change?

CG: Nothing. Through owning my own business, I was able to bring my kids to work with me for the first 10 months of their lives. I could pursue my love of the arts and keep the business going. It was a wonderful opportunity and for that I am extremely grateful. In an ideal world, I don’t even know how I would change it, because my kids are growing up in the theatre and I think that’s a unique experience for them too.

JCF: What is the best advice that you ever got?

CG: It wasn’t any specific thing. Having the influence of other mothers around me that were making it work, and knowing that it didn’t always have to be perfect, was amazing. Being able to see that we all mess up, and we’re all feeling our way through this – and that it’s possible to raise children who are kind, aware, intelligent human beings while still not always getting it right felt like such a relief. It shifted the focus from being supermom to being a human being and the best mom I could be. That gave me more confidence. It’s nice to know that we all drop the ball, and we all feel like we’re constantly playing catch up, and we forget the diapers, and we try to figure out a last minute dinner, and we forget the paperwork for the school, but at the end of the day, our kids are good people. And that says to me that I’m on the right track.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at

A Glance into Jersey City Farmers’ Markets

A Glance into Jersey City Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Markets In Jersey City

Our local JC Farmers’ Market season is rapidly coming to a close, but there is still time to capitalize on seasonal produce. Eating locally sourced food is not only environmentally friendly, helping to further reduce our carbon footprint, it also helps support local businesses. As an added incentive, late autumn tends to yield earthy, hardy root vegetables in abundance which are equally pleasant in the oven as they are on the purse strings!

Here is quick guide to the Jersey City Farmers’ Markets that are still open:

Historic Downtown

Location – Grove Street Plaza

Date/Hours – Open until 22 December, Mon/Tur, 4-8pm

What to get – fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, healthy prepared food (great for nights when you are low on time), snacks, nibbles, gluten free/sugar free options

*Holiday Market with seasonal gifts, decorations & Christmas trees 17 November until 22 December

**Don’t miss out on the holiday lighting ceremony and a photo op with Santa 8 December (5pm)

Hamilton Park

Location – 9th Street between McWilliams Place & West Hamilton

Date/Hours – Open until 25th December, Wed, 3-7pm

What to get – fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, healthy prepared food, pizza

*Special holiday treats and Christmas trees available 23 November until 7 December

**Occasional live music, check website details

Farmers’ Markets In Jersey City
Journal Square

Location – Journal Square Path Plaza

Date/Hours – Open until 23 December, Wed/Fri, 11am-8pm

What to get – Fresh produce, baked goodies, sweet treats, street food nibbles

*Market opens at 11am but things really get going after 3pm

Van Vorst Park

Location – Jersey Ave & Montgomery Street

Date/Hours – Open until 19 December, Sat, 8am-3:30pm

What to get – Fresh produce, baked goodies, sweet treats, fresh flowers

Paulus Hook Farm Stand (one stall seasonal produce)

Location – Washington Street riverfront

Date/Hours – Until 19 December, Sat, 11am-4pm

What to get – Fresh produce, baked goodies and prepared jams/preserves

Riverview Park

Location – Palisade Ave between Bowers Street & Griffith Street

Date/Hours – Until 22 November, Sun, 10am-3pm

What to get – fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, prepared food

Leonard Gordon Farm Stand (one stall seasonal produce)

Location – JFK Boulevard & Manhattan Avenue

Date/Hours – Until 28 November, Saturdays 8am-2:30pm

What to get – Fresh produce, baked goodies and prepared jams/preserves

Friends of Arlington Park

Location – Ocean Avenue & Arlington Avenue

Date/Hours – Until 21 November, Sat, 9am-2pm

What to get – Fresh produce, baked goodies, sweet treats

Farmers’ Markets In Jersey CitySo you ventured out to your nearest Farmers’ Market, now what?  Here’s a list of what to look out for that is seasonal NOW:

Beets, Broccoli/Broccoli Raab, Brussel Sprouts Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Cranberries, Fennel, Kale, Mushrooms, Parsley, Parsnips, Pears, Potatoes & Yams,Rutabaga, Squash.

Coming soon – what to do with all those Farmers’ Market ingredients – helpful tips and recipes for the holiday season.

About the author: ErinRose Baldry is an avid fitness enthusiast, personal trainer, fitness instructor and health food lover. She also thoroughly enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and sharing recipes & ideas on her food blog. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or feedback regarding fitness, food, health or otherwise, please reach her at – [email protected] FB/Instagram @ZellyBFitness



The holiday season is upon us, and all too often we can get caught up in the spectacle of gift giving (and receiving) that the holidays can bring. This season has put our focus on giving back on a larger scale to those in need.

Please see below upcoming volunteer opportunities for 2016 holiday season:

 T H A N K S G I V I N G


Angela CARES, Inc.

696 Ocean Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07305 – Phone: 201-685-7273

Will be delivering Thanksgiving meals to senior citizens and the home bound throughout Hudson County. If you know a senior citizen in Hudson County or would like to volunteer call 201-685-7273 or email [email protected]


Greater Deliverance Baptist Church

178 Monticello Ave., Jersey City, NJ  – Phone: 201-669-7608

Will host a meal giveaway from 11 am to 3 pm. To volunteer or more information on the event, call 201.669.7608 or 201.557.8844.


Fountain of Salvation Church

324 Communipaw Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306

Will host its Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 6 to 8 pm. To RSVP, volunteer or donate, call 201.435.0000


St. John the Baptist Church

3026 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07306 – Phone: 201-438-0741

Will be serving hot Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To volunteer or to have a meal delivered, call Jimmy King at 201-438-0741.




 Jersey Cares

Frosty’s Friends

About Frosty’s Friends: We don’t have to tell you that there are millions of children in need of joy and cheer all over the world – and so many here in our own New Jersey backyard. Each year, Jersey Cares receives more than 3,000 letters to Frosty from children who may not normally receive any gifts during the holidays. Help us spread some of that needed support and cheer by becoming one of Frosty’s Friends.

How the Program Works: Jersey Cares connects children in need with individual volunteers, corporate groups, and community groups throughout New Jersey. Each participating volunteer or group will receive letters written by children between the ages of 3-16 (pictures may be provided from children under the age of 5). Frosty’s Friends volunteers then purchase a gift by Wednesday, December 14, 2016 and mail or deliver it directly to the child via the nonprofit organization (vetted and approved by Jersey Cares) that serves the child. Click HERE to register to receive letters. We will begin distributing letters on November 5th.

Amazon Wish List: This year, Jersey Cares has created an Amazon Wish List through which volunteers who do not wish to receive letters can still provide gifts for children in need. To donate a gift online using our Amazon Wish List, click HERE.


Jersey Cares

21st Annual Jersey Cares Coat Drive

Children and Adults in Our NJ Community Need Coats – DONATE A NEW COAT TODAY!

Donating Coats: Coats may be dropped off between November 1, 2016 and December 7, 2016 at all public collection sites. Many collection sites are not prepared for bulk coat donations. If you have more than ten coats to donate, please call ahead or consider registering your own collection and scheduling a delivery to one of our central drop-off points. For a list of public collection sites, click HERE.

Online Drive: If you don’t have a used coat to donate, you can donate a coat online at

Collecting Coats: By forming your own collection site, you offer your friends, family, and neighbors a convenient location to donate their coats and ensure that more coats make it to people in need. You can establish a private or public collection site for the length of the coat drive or for a shorter period of time (i.e., two months, two weeks, a few days, or just one day). A public collection site is open to anyone to drop off coats and will be listed on the Jersey Cares website; a private collection site is open only to people whom you invite to drop off coats.  All collection sites need to register on the Jersey Cares website. After we receive your Collection Site Registration Form, Jersey Cares will send you a Collection Site Kit that includes posters, host site instructions, coat sorting instructions and directions to your nearest Jersey Cares central drop-off point for coat drop-offs. Please note that all collection sites need to deliver their coats directly to their local central drop-off point. We are not able to provide individual pick-ups due to the size of this program.

Sorting Coats: Volunteer sorting projects will be held from November through December for ages 4 and up. Please visit the Jersey Cares Volunteer Opportunity Calendar to register for an opportunity. On Saturday, December 10th, Jersey Cares will hold its annual Sort Off at each central drop-off point where volunteers will sort and distribute the last of the donated coats.

Jersey Cares volunteers will gather at Central Drop Off Points across the state. Together they will sort and distribute coats to partner agencies in the surrounding community. This event represents the culmination of a huge endeavor uniting individuals, companies and agencies throughout the state to keep our neighbors warm.



09:00am – 11:00am: Coat Sorting

11:00am – 01:00pm: Coat Distribution Sorting: Volunteers will sort thousands of coats from collections sites across the state.

COAT PREP: Volunteers will sort and bag donations as well as distribute donations to agencies upon their arrival Note: Volunteers will receive specific assignments upon arrival. Please wear comfortable clothing, DRESS VERY WARM and keep in mind there is no storage space for personal belongings.


Christmas Outreach Liquid Church

Jersey City location:

New City Kids , 240 Fairmount Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306

Join Liquid Church as they pack a record-breaking 500,000 meals. This will be a family-friendly outreach and volunteers of all ages and stages will be welcome. They will be gathering in 7 locations across 6 counties. Jersey City location is listed above. Event will take place December 3rd starting at 9am. There will be a photo booth and holiday treats for all!


York Street Project

89 York Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302 – Phone: 201.451.8225

The mission of the York Street Project is to weave innovative programs that shelter, feed, educate and promote the healing and independence of persons in need, especially women and their children.

(Please note due to health regulations they can only accept new, unopened items. Pajamas, T-shirts, socks and underwear must still have tags on.)

 Items needed:

Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, comb, note pad and pen, pajamas (sizes for children and adults) , t-shirts, socks, underwear, gallon size zip lock bags, small toys (for children’s kits)

For more ideas on what is needed, please visit York Streets Amazon Wish List:


Jersey Cares First Night Kit

290 West Mount Pleasant Ave., Suite #1320, Livingston, NJ 07039

Jersey Cares has established the First Night Kit Program. Throughout the year, Jersey Cares manages projects in which volunteers assemble kits for domestic violence shelters, transitional housing facilities, runaway safe havens, foster homes and other agencies with transitional populations in need of hygiene items on the “first night” of their stay. Once we receive a certain number of items, projects are scheduled in our calendar to assemble the kits, which are then donated to participating agencies in need.

Items to Collect: (This is an ongoing initiative; there is no deadline for collected items.

Please note that they can accept ONLY new, unopened items. Pajamas, T-shirts, socks and underwear must still have tags on. They cannot accept used clothing.

Items needed for First Night Kits include:

Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, comb, note pad and pen, pajamas (sizes for children and adults) , t-shirts, socks, underwear, gallon size zip lock bags, small toys (for children’s kits)

Delivery Information

Please deliver or ship all items directly to the Jersey Cares Office:

Attn: First Night Kit Program

Jersey Cares, 290 West Mount Pleasant Ave., Suite #1320, Livingston, NJ


Winter Classes in Jersey City

Winter Classes in Jersey City

Indoor Tennis Classes 

  • Kids group lessons offered at 2 locations – Grace Church & HOPES
  • Hurry! Some classes already SOLD OUT – few spots remain!
  • 4:1 child-to-coach ratio – (4) age groups from 3 – 8 years
  • All equipment is provided and beginners are welcome

Ask about their waiting list if the class you want is sold-out

Grace Church (JC) Schedule:
(12 sessions, starting Jan 5th)
Wed – Big Aces (7-8yrs), 530-630 PM
Thurs – Mini Aces (3yrs), 330-4 PM
Thurs – Tiny Aces (4yrs), 330-415 PM
Thurs – Tiny Aces (4yrs), 415-5 PM
Thurs – Little Aces (5yrs), 5-6 PM
Register HERE:

Location Details:
Grace Church Van Vorst
Parish Hall Gymnasium
39 Erie Street (b/w 2nd and 3rd on Erie)
Near the Grove Street PATH in “Downtown Jersey City”
Rue Gymnasium
301 Garden Street (b/w  3rd and 4th on Garden)
Near the Hoboken PATH in “Downtown Hoboken”


Winter Classes in Jersey CityYOU could win a FREE 3 month KIDS membership at CKO Kickboxing in Jersey City. To enter your child please register for a FREE kids class durning the month of November. CKO Kids classes are held from 4:15 – 5pm every MONDAY and WEDNESDAY. Please come in and mention JC FAMILIES PROMOTION. We will have gloves and you can watch and see how the class goes!

At the end of the month we will draw one winner from this group for a FREE 3 month membership for the months of DECEMBER, NOVEMBER, and JANUARY. OR Call: 201 360 3072


Winter Classes in Jersey CityTrue To Kids by Tanya True Playgroups, Parties and more!
True To Kids playgroups incorporate interactive music, rhythm play, yoga, dance, and many opportunities for support of language, fine and gross motor development. Tanya’s extensive knowledge of, and experience in early development coupled with her
Some groups like/need to rotate homes, but I have found that the same space each time can be supportive for the children. Mixed ages is fine.
In terms of scheduling, classes are held at the same time each week, for 12 consecutive weeks, with holidays off. Two free make up classes are included.
If you are interested in being part of a True To Kids playgroup but need help putting a group together, don’t hesitate to ask.
Private sessions and guitar lessons are also available.


Chitra Mittal: Innovator and Proprietor of Liberty Physical Therapy

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey City

Tell me about yourself.

I’m a physical therapist. I’ve been in Jersey City for 5 years. I was a travelling physical therapist for about 5 years before that, switching cities every 3-4 months. I got to see what’s out there.

Are Jersey City patients unique?

Jersey City has highly educated people who are motivated to do the right thing.

Be honest – You love it here, right?

Absolutely. Jersey City is home. And so is this office.Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey City

Do you have children? 

Not yet.

Want ‘em?

Maybe one. I don’t know. It’s tough.

Is your extended family in Jersey City?

My family is in India, so my husband is all I have here. And work keeps me too busy to visit more than once a year.

I understand. It’s tough. So your work has your heart.

Right. We started in November of 2011 in a small room. We’ve already expanded twice and now we’re the largest outpatient facility in Jersey City.

Why do you think you grew so quickly?

We treat each patient individually. It’s always one on one. I think patients see the value in that. We can make sure patients are doing the exercises the right way, which is important because if they’re not doing them correctly, it’s a waste of time. And there are no cookie cutter programs. They’re tailored to the patient’s specific needs. The services we offer here are very different, very cutting edge. They’re not offered anywhere else.

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CityReally? Like what?

Dry needling, for example.

Sounds scary.

(laughs) No no! There are trigger points in muscle. When muscles are in spasm, there are points that get activated. To alleviate that, you can either sustain pressure or use a needle. Patients love it. It’s very effective. And we also have the women’s health program.

I’m not sure what that means in terms of physical therapy.

One of the most common injuries for women is in the pelvic floor. So for example, during pregnancy, the body goes through significant changes. The hormones change but also certain muscles are overstretched, or a C-section is also traumatic to the body. The role of the pelvic floor is critical. Your bladder is there, your vagina is there, your bowels are there, the bone alignment is there, and the muscles are working hard to hold you up.

If a woman thought she had an injury in her pelvic floor, how would she know?

Is she having pain? Is there weakness-

Wait – you could fix that?? Isn’t that an…inside problem?

We do internal evaluations. We assess muscles internally. Depending on what has happened during pregnancy, women may be experiencing painful sex, spasms, weaknesses in the hips, or the problem might be that the pelvic muscles are simply working too hard. We assess which muscles are working and we create a plan to solve it.

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CitySo you can fix it. You’re saying these aren’t permanent damages?

It is definitely a fixable problem. I hear women say things like, “It’s ok to leak a little bit because I had a baby,” No! You don’t have to leak in any way. It’s completely fixable.

I feel like you might save some marriages doing this kind of work.

I’d love to. Actually a lot of spouses do call in for new (and busy!) moms.

So let’s say a mom has pain, like during sex. And two years later –

Don’t wait two years. Wait six weeks to eight weeks.

So this is completely normal to you.

Completely. Not just to me. In France, pelvic floor physical therapy is covered and routine. Dysfunctions develop when time passes. Avoid the limp, so to speak.

Tell me the signs. What are women looking for?

Is there pain? Are you not able to sit for longer than fifteen minutes? You mentioned painful sex – that’s very common. Or leakage of urine, or if the stream is slower or if you’re having trouble in any way, schedule a visit. Anything that’s different or painful.

This feels like it could be a difficult conversation to have.

Listen – pregnancy is a trauma to the body. There are changes that happen in your body due to the pregnancy. You can revert back. It is a taboo, sure. Women don’t want to tell their friends that they’re having trouble having sex with their husbands. But this is fixable.

Are there easy changes women can make on their own?

Yes. Start with simple things like breathing. Take the time to breathe correctly. Take five minutes to breathe all the way down to the pelvic floor. Your breath should reach all the way down. Uncross your fingers, close the door, and zen out. Close your eyes and imagine your breath is reaching all the way down to the floor and relaxing it. It makes a world of difference.

How can women get more comfortable with their bodies?

Remember that it’s your own body – don’t have such a disconnect. Your body will be there for you so be there for your body, take care of it!

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CityCan we talk about your work day? Do you talk about this stuff from sunrise to sunset?

Haha. Yes! I need to disconnect a bit from work my husband says! I usually get to work around 10, maybe 10:30. I do a little bit of work at home first and I’m usually here until 7:30. For the sake of my marriage I try to leave at 7:30. But we’re open until 8:30.

What does your husband do?

He works here!

For you?

With me! He manages the business aspect. Billing, finances – I can’t do it all. He’s better qualified than I am to do that. As an entrepreneur I have learned that you can’t be the best at everything. You have to build a really fantastic team. That’s the only way you can grow. I learned that the hard way. Now I delegate whatever someone else is better at than me.

Your advice is invaluable. What else you got?

As long as you’re honest with yourself about where you need to improve, you’re good. But know you own strengths and weaknesses. It’s critical.

Give us one more for the road.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, see a physical therapist before you go to the gym to avoid injury. That one’s for the men too.

Indiegrove Owner Zahra Amanpour Decodes Co-Working While Parenting

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey City

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, a shared office space located at 121 Newark Avenue – right by the Grove Street PATH.

Jersey City Families: Can you explain co-working?

Zahra Amanpour: Co-working is part of the shared economy movement. The idea is that if a lot of people work together in a shared space, they can get a community as well as a much nicer office. It provides a real advantage to a small businesses, freelancers, and people who are just getting started.

JCF: What advantages?

ZA: Well, the end result is that the consumer saves money, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about community and leveraging resources. It’s built on the concept that people can come together who are independent minded and trying to build something, or create something, and providing the space for collaboration. We’re tapping into each other’s resources and supporting local business at the same time. There’s marketing, accounting, lawyers…Every type of business you can imagine – it’s a very diverse environment.

JCF: It sounds like a great place to focus. It’s so hard to work from home.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey CityZA: Tell me about it. I’m a mom, I know what that feels like. This is an extremely positive and ambitious business to be in. When you’re a mom, your mind is in such a different place.

JCF: Like how?

ZA: Like, oh! My kid’s asleep! Now I’m going to sit at the computer for 2 hours and try to be an entrepreneur in my yoga pants. It’s so hard to switch back and forth.

JCF: I get that. I do that.

ZA: Indiegrove is flexible. You can get full time options, part time options, you can pick up your kids in the middle of the day when the school calls you – Lots of moms in particular enjoy that flexibility. At least 70% of people who work out of Indiegrove have small children.

JCF: You said you have a child?

ZA: I have a daughter, she’s almost 2.

JCF: But you’ve owned Indiegrove for four years.

ZA: The transition was shocking.

JCF: I bet.

ZA: I’ve always been the type of person who just stays at work until the work is done. I’ve been at every networking event… When you have a kid you miss things that you’re not even aware of. I had to learn how to leave work on time. I had to be much more disciplined with my schedule. I had to learn time management – how to make my time go further.

JCF: For me, there was an identity crisis component to becoming a mom too.

ZA: Yes. Me too. I’m not just a business person anymore, I’m a mom now. She’s a part of who I am. It’s much more intertwined.

JCF: Has it gotten easier? You said she’s two now?

ZA: Almost two. I’ve gotten much better at balancing everything. You start to build your confidence, but it’s only recently that I feel like I’m at peace with both. I don’t feel like one is taking from the other anymore. I stay home on Fridays.

JCF: True or False: Success in business isn’t typically congruent with motherhood.

ZA: Let’s say this – on a daily basis, in order to be successful as a business person, you can’t let the people that you’re dealing with know about all the things you’re dealing with, even if they’re important to you. I could get a call from the school, but then I have to go into a meeting and pretend nothing is happening.

JCF: Right. That’s so hard.

ZA: I know. I’m always trying to emotionally disconnect even though I don’t want to be disconnected.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey CityJCF: But are there other skills that you’re gained as a mom that are helpful in business?

ZA: Sure. Absolutely. When you’re a mom, you have to get out of bed no matter what. If you’re sick or whatever. So you get really good at pushing through things in your business too. Also I’m much more patient now.

JCF: Where is your daughter during the day?

ZA: I had her home with a nanny the first year, but she’s a very social kid, so she’s at a daycare center now.

JCF: Did you like the nanny option?

ZA: So my daughter was born in October, and the idea of shipping her outside in the middle of February was not something I wanted to do. I wanted her to be in a quiet environment the first year of life. I wanted it to be very peaceful. I prioritized that. It was expensive though, that was a drawback.

JCF: Got any advice for moms who want to be successful as entrepreneurs?

ZA: Carve out your time. Be very adamant about what you can be available for at what time. If you don’t have that, try to create that for yourself because you need to get a break to think. There’s no time to think, to strategize. When you’re an entrepreneur, everyone thinks you’re flexible. Like your business is your side thing. But you need to let people know this is your passion, your livelihood. You’re not available. This is not a side thing.

JCF: Zahra – you’re amazing.

Wait! Tell them this too: You shouldn’t feel guilty! If you had a job, your time away from your kids would be expected. You’re not choosing you business over your kids. You’re trying to put your mark in this world, and you can have that.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey City


VINE luxury building in Hoboken

Vine is a trendy, luxury building on the west side of Hoboken. Housing a total of 135 apartments and 90% leased, it is home to many already!

Located at 900 Monroe Street, this new development boasts many great conveniences for its residents. It’s refreshing to see a large supermarket chain (ShopRite), across the road, a new Daycare Center (The Learning Experience) in the building and the light rail station only a hop, skip and a jump away.

Vine, with its clean lines and sleek style, fits the needs of the chic urban dweller perfectly.  It also prides itself for being one of the few “Green Buildings” where environmentally responsible and resource efficient structures and processes are used.  With an automated on-site parking garage and full service concierge facilities, it also offers both convenience and security.

VINE luxury building in HobokenI was able to tour one of its largest rental units with the very patient and friendly staff of The Marketing Directors, exclusive leasing and marketing agent for Vine. This three bedroom and two bathroom luxury home was a sight for sore eyes. A lovely foyer greeted us followed by spacious, sun lit rooms. The sustainable bamboo wood flooring enhanced its sense of space, and brand new kitchen appliances complemented its sleek and modern look perfectly. One of my favorite features of the apartment was its spacious walk-in closet. If your clothes and accessories are works of art to you, this would fit your needs perfectly!

Vine’s outdoor space was equally impressive. As a mom with a toddler, I know how important this is.  Its outdoor playground is a valuable convenience for days where a trip to the park may just not be possible. Its pool and spacious rooftop terrace are much-needed luxuries for those gorgeous sunny months!

The Fitness Center seemed well suited for fitness conscious folks, and the Resident Club Room is a great communal space to socialize and entertain.

As an added convenience for its residents, Vine also runs a daily Shuttle Service to the Path Station.

The west side of Hoboken is not only home to many families, but also to the arts and business community. The Monroe Center in Hoboken, just a few blocks from Vine, houses new business, schools, creative and fitness centers, and more. For those seeking outdoor time, Columbus Park is a brisk walk away with its two gated playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts and lots of green grass space.VINE luxury building in Hoboken

VINE luxury building in Hoboken

If you are looking for a new home that is both convenient and stylish, look no further. Vine is a great new addition to the vibrant city of Hoboken. For more details and information you can contact the leasing gallery at the following contact details:



900 Monroe Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030

T: 201.386.VINE/ [email protected]


JCity Realty’s Natalie Miniard

JCity Realty’s Natalie Miniard

Natalie Miniard is the principal broker, co-owner of JCity Realty.

JCF: Tell me about yourself.

Natalie Miniard: I live in the Heights; I’m single. I moved here 20 years ago from Jacksonville, FL. Bright lights, big city, right? I got as far as I could afford and viola, I fell in love with Jersey City. Once I learned Jersey City, there was no way I was moving to the city.

JCF: Was real estate your first job in Jersey City then?

Natalie Miniard: I waitressed at Outback for like 2 months, they never should have hired me. I had no idea what I was doing. I worked at Frankie and Johnny’s for like 5 years.

JCF: How did you make the transition into real estate?

Natalie Miniard: I just took the course. The financial investment that you put into getting your license is so small compared to the return that you can make in this industry.

JCity Realty's Natalie MiniardJCF: What did you do with your first commission check?

Natalie Miniard: I bought my first piece of property in the Heights. My father thought I was nuts. It was a 700 square foot, 4-floor walk up. I thought I’d made it.

JCF: You definitely made it. Your office is beautiful!

Natalie Miniard: Thanks! Yes – A local developer came to me and presented the idea of opening an agency. Real estate is my passion, 100%. It’s a no-brainer.

JCF: What part do you love?

Natalie Miniard: I’m fascinated with development. My personal passion would be the preservation of really beautiful real estate.

JCF: What do you do for fun?

Natalie Miniard: I’m a little bit of a cliché I guess – I do work a lot. I’m fortunate to be in an industry that allows me to be in a community, a neighborhood that I love.

JCF: Do you work more than 12-hour days?

Natalie Miniard: (laughs) I guess it’s about 7 am-10 pm. Part of being in this industry is that you’re always on. When I go out, I always see people, which is part of what I love.

JCF: What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

Natalie Miniard: I push through it. Sometimes I cry. It’s hard to have a bad day right now. This company is becoming everything I could have hoped for. When I’m having a bad day I try to look at everything we’ve accomplished.

Which characteristics are most important to be successful?

Natalie Miniard: Patience. When you’re in real estate in general, you have to wear so many hats. You’re a designer, you’re a financial planner, you’re a developer, you’re in marketing… Sometimes you’re a psychologist! You have to have patience with your customers, which is fair enough, you should. Remember, this is their home.

JCity Realty's Natalie MiniardWhat vision do you have for the company?

Natalie Miniard: I didn’t open this agency to be mediocre. I have to be a bit nurturing in this role, I’m going to be successful if my agents are successful.

JCF: What challenges do homeowners have with Jersey City?

Natalie Miniard: Part of the problem is the lack of options to buy. Almost everything is built as rentals. The other concern is schools of course. Schools are not there yet. It’s a concern that many young couples have here.

JCF: It creates a transient population.

Natalie Miniard: It’s true. But it’s sad, because the desire to stay here is there. People would stay here. There are benefits to raising children in Jersey City with the culture and the community that is exposed to them… Also being so close to where so many parents work allows parents to spend more time with their kids as opposed to spending that hour and a half commuting to the suburbs.

JCF: It’s tough, right?

Natalie Miniard: It’s a struggle that many parents grapple with. It’s in every financial bracket.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at and has been living in Jersey City since 2003.