Gloucester City, New Jersey: Old timers recognize its proud heritage as a thriving port city—a city that grew and prospered from the importation of cotton and textiles that clothed thousands of families throughout New Jersey in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But younger generations might scoff in distaste at the mention of the hamlet whose west end is sliced in half by the dominating structure that is the Walt Whitman Bridge.
PHOTO: cargo containers are being unloaded off a ship docked at Holt Marine Terminal in Gloucester City. In the foreground is the Walt Whitman Bridge.
These generations, too, know Gloucester City. But their mind's image is of an old working-class town that's losing population and offers outside pleasure seekers no incentive to visit.
It's not that no one comes to Gloucester City. In fact, up to 500 workers pour through Gloucester's borders every day during peak shipping season to perform their jobs operating South Jersey's busiest private general cargo port, located just north of the bridge. But now the city's largest source of jobs is also favored to become a source for a fresh influx of tourists.
In an effort to restore Gloucester's lost luster, elected officials will soon capitalize on the port as somewhat of a marketing tool to lure residents and visitors to a developing live-work-play waterfront promenade that offers an opportunity not found anywhere else in South Jersey: a chance to pass a leisurely afternoon shopping and relaxing while watching those 500 port workers relieve dozens of ships of their exotic cargo—grapes, plums, peaches and berries from Chile, citrus from South Africa, plywood from Brazil.
(For full story see Sunday's "Notebook")