While waiting for the light rail at Exchange Place in Jersey City earlier this month, I looked down at the platform decorated with a map commissioned by New Jersey Transit. Notable historic dates and places in Jersey City and Hudson County dotted the public art piece. Suddenly, I saw a very familiar name: Lorillard Tobacco Company.
To my knowledge, this map stands as the only physical evidence or memorial to the former P. Lorillard Tobacco Company at 111 1st Street. The inclusion of the company on the map attests to its importance in local and regional history, once more begging the question why the Jersey City government authorized the demolition of 111 1st Street in 2007. (A central argument in my book, Left Bank of the Hudson.)
How many commuters distractedly study this map while counting the minutes to the next train? Do they dream of the past surrounding them and the history lost in the name progress?