It’s been an incredible year!! ChicpeaJC is now a year and a half old and published over 590 articles to date!! Which is pretty insane. To celebrate the New Year, I wanted to roundup the top 10 most viewed articles on the blog this year as well as tell you guys some fun behind the scenes tid-bits about your favorite posts. These articles got the most views based on our Google Analytics. Did you have a favorite article?! You guys love the food posts that’s for sure!!
Not surprised Renato’s made it to the top 10 list as it is a Jersey City staple and local favorite. Around 100 people we’ve interviewed mentioned this was their favorite restaurant. I made a lunch date with David Diaz the Central Ave. District Manager to meet me here for lunch. I was planning on ordering one or two dishes and call it a day…
Well the owners son was there and basically served us approximately 10 different dishes for us to try….People think that David and I shared everything but the truth is David barely ate anything!! he took a bite or two from each dish and that was it. It was all on me. I was full for days. Gained a few LBS for sure… but it was worth it!! and with the thousands of views this post got (and the other food posts in this list) I am guessing my readers enjoy seeing me stuff my face… #goodtimes
This one was a surprise! A real estate post making it to the most viewed articles of 2015! Ever since the SILVERMAN’s started construction on Charles & Co people have been dying to see inside the building so when the post went up it went viral.
The SILVERMAN’s are also so loved in the Jersey City community that everyone is so happy to support them, they are good people.
Touring this building was a blast and I loved getting to know Eric Silverman, him and Paul his brother are so friendly sometimes I wonder if they are drinking some sort of happy juice… but they aren’t! that’s just how they are!!
During the tour, I kept knocking on the walls making sure they were solid and the SILVERMAN’s sure know how to make quality apartments. Since the post went up they rented out all the apartments!!
8. The 5th Annual All About Downtown Street Fair Recap
I can’t believe this one. This year not only were we covering and promoting the event we were also vendors!! It was basically impossible but we pulled through and did it. The day was so intense, I have a new found respect for vendors who do this multiple times a year. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. Within an hour, I told Crystal “Remind me next year not do to this”. FYI- I already signed up for next year.
Otherwise, it was an amazing day. The HDSID outdid themselves! The Street Fair gets bigger and better every year.
Special thanks to the ChicpeaJC crew for helping out and for NVRland productions for producing a kick-ass recap video.
Here is a never before released video of the ChicpeaJC booth!! So fun.
Prosper opened it’s doors and I rushed to interview them just a few short weeks later. I had a feeling that I needed to get the scoop before everyone else did (I beat the Jersey Journal!!).
During this time I was also dealing with some not so fun online criticism/bullying and almost considered leaving the blogging world. I was in a real crisis, I was actually pretty depressed. I sat down with owner/entrepeneur and creative genius Peter Koytroulis, and he opened my eyes to my purpose. He doesn’t know this, but meeting him and seeing his passion and excitement renewed mine. It also made me grateful to have a job where I get to meet people like him.
At the end of his interview, Peter gave me a Prosper t-shirt that said “Hating is not a sport” it was so perfect. I called up my friend and talented photographer Nabil, to take some pictures of me in my Prosper gear and lets just say it was extremely therapeutic! I hope you aren’t offended of this gesture…. I needed it. I felt better after. Thank you Prosper!
Tom Parisi aka Tommy 2 Scoops is one of the most loved people in Jersey City. He is probably the friendliest person in town and he know’s everyones name. When I met him at the Brightside Tavern, I didn’t feel like it was an interview… it felt like we were two old friends catching up. I knew the post would do well, but had no clue it would be shared so many times, it got a record amount of “likes” on social media! Like I said, everyone loves Tommy!!
Shot by Greg Pallante
If you follow this blog, you know I have a thing for our local firefighters. When I found out O’Leary’s Publik House, a hangout spot in the Bergen-Lafayette area was owned by a firefighter and new father Kevin Hennessey and frequented by other firefighters, cops and teachers… I had to go. I called up photog Greg Pallante and we went over there for lunch and drinks (obviously).
I had a blast getting to know Kevin and I got to reunite with the Engine 9 crew. I couldn’t ask for a better day. When the article went up, I think every firefighter in Jersey City shared it! I went to an event the following month and was excited to meet new firefighters that read the post! It’s not a bad thing being friends with a bunch of firefighters!
Shot by Greg Pallante
Heather Kumer, a Facebook friend and bad ass chick who works for the redevelopment agency, invited me for a tour of Berry Lane Park which is currently under construction. We had to go through City Hall to get approval for me to visit the site. At the time I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into….
The scoop of a lifetime! I was the first “journalist” to get a full tour of the park. I got to speak to everyone involved! Even former recreation director Ryan Strother was there to give me the background on all the recreational activities that are being planned for the park….
Including a skate park!! Who’s excited?
The Mayor shared the post which also helped it propel this article to number 4. Thanks bud!
3. Top 3 Burgers in Jersey City
Seriously guys? Burgers? Top 3? When I pulled the google analytics I couldn’t believe that this post got the third spot!! So quick background, I teamed up with Dave “Rev” Ciancio, a burger pro for national burger month and we asked our readers/followers to vote for their favorite Jersey City Burger. We tallied the votes and made a lunch date to hit up all three places in one afternoon.
I figured since I am going to eat a lot, that I would bike to all these places (bad idea). First spot was Park Tavern, I was starving and felt courageous so I went all out….ordered a beer, the burger with fries. Dave even looked at me and asked “are you sure?”. Amateur move.
After Park Tavern, I had to bike back downtown to Left Bank Burger, full and slightly tipsy (don’t drink and drive kids). Like I said… bad idea. At Left Bank Burger we ate the winning burger, and a few bites into it, I started getting really really full. We still had one more burger to go.
Park and Sixth was the last spot, and of course the most intense burger I’ve ever seen. Dave is such a pro, at this point he ordered the beer and fries while I was holding my stomach and calling my mom asking her if I was going to die from eating to much meat. Fun fact. Before ChicpeaJC I was attempting to keep a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet.
I do this for you.
Another food post where I stuff myself! Surprise!! Basically what this tells me is there is no chance in hell I am getting rid of those pesky blogging lbs!! I digress.
I’ve known Michael, the owner and chef of Broa an adorable Portuguese eatery and his sister Liz owner of Feena Boutique even before anyone knew who the hell I was. They were one of the first people who believed in me and I will never forget that. Throughout the whole time Michael was under construtcion and starting out, I harassed him on a daily basis “I better be the first person to interview you”. Broa opened it’s doors and I got the scoop.
We had an amazing lunch, it was more like a discussion than an interview, we drank wine, laughed and I again ate way too much. After the article went up, it went VIRAL. It was shared a gazillion times!! Michael and I joked that every Portuguese person in the United States shared the post! It is actually one of the only articles that gets views almost on a daily basis. It’s the post that keeps on giving… and Broa is still tha shit. If you haven’t eaten there… well it’s time you did.
Shot by Greg Pallante.
It’s not surprising that my interview with Mayor Steven Fulop got the top spot for most viewed post of 2015. We all knew who he is, but we didn’t really “know” him.
The day after he got elected as Mayor, I was walking to catch the PATH train to go to my old corporate job (pre-chicpeajc) and I remember seeing him standing by a news van waiting to get interviewed. I waved, said congrats, he waved back and smiled. The newly elected Mayor looked nervous but excited and happy. He looked sincere, I liked him from that point.
Ever since I started blogging about Jersey City, I wanted to interview Mayor Fulop. I just thought it would be fun to see a different side to him, a less serious side… like what Netflix shows does he binge on? Where does he like to hang out? How does he handle stress… shit like that.
A month before the ChicpeaJC one year anniversary, a friend of mine convinced me to email him and ask for an interview, so I did. He responded right away and said “I would love to”. I did the running man.
A few days before the interview, I put up a post on Social Media asking people if they had questions for the Mayor. I was hoping these questions would be “fun” but people took things to the next level and asked some really difficult questions. Things I do not really write about, negative things. I was torn, part of me wanted to keep things light and positive, but then the other part felt like I owed it to my readers to atleast present the questions to the Mayor.
I asked many people for advice on the matter, and barely slept leading up to the interview.
The day came, and of course photog Greg Pallante joined me on what was my most important interview of my life to take really good pictures because he is the best! I love you G!
We arrived to City Hall at 9:30am, and we were escorted to the Mayor’s conference room. He came in, sat down and I started recording the interview. It honestly went better than I expected, frankly, he was awesome. The conversation flowed, it wasn’t awkward and I managed to not swear and embarrass myself. When I told him about the tough questions he did not hesitate one bit. He said he would answer any questions I had. Which he did.
The Mayor also opened up about his personal life…. Well you can read the post if you haven’t!!
The article went up on May 8th, which was the 1st anniversary of ChicpeaJC. It was the perfect article to commemorate a year of writing this blog. It was a present to myself in a way. A huge accomplishment that I was extremely proud of (so were my parents).
The post did really well, it was probably one of my best pieces. Many people shared it and the feedback was awesome. The Mayor shared it as well and called me “Jersey City’s largest blogger”!!!! which is pretty amazing after a year of being around!! HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND.
The Jersey Journal wrote an article about the interview as well which was pretty cool!
Also, the Mayor joined Instagram thanks to me and now is up to over 5,000 followers. I take full credit for that!! Follow him @stevenfulopjc
What a year. How am I going to top it? I just might have a few ideas :)
Happy New Year dolls!!
Wonderfully written & great pictures. Oh and btw Tommy 2 Scoops Parisi is the friendliest & one of the funniest men I know!!!!!