A homeowner on the Southside for the past few years, 30-year-old Lauren Grabowski took a leap and is now one of Downtown’s newest residents. As a tenant of the recently opened 220 Riverside, Grabowski is loving her new city life in Downtown’s bustling Brooklyn neighborhood. Read our chat with Grabowski below, where she shares why she enjoys calling #DTJax home.
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Jacksonville?
I’m originally from upstate New York. My dad was transferred for a job when I was 2 ½. The plan was to be in Jax for two years and then go back to New York. Since life never goes according to plan, my family has now been here for more than 25 years and have made it home.
Why did you choose to live Downtown?
I was looking for a lifestyle change. I realized suburbia wasn’t the place for me, so I sold my Southside home and took the plunge into something different. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, when I joined Downtown Rotaract Jax, that I even became familiar with this side of town. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of people in this city don’t venture out of their own neighborhood.
Why did you choose 220 Riverside in Brooklyn, specifically? What’s the coolest part about living there?
I first heard about the community when Jen Jones came to speak at a Rotaract meeting about the plans for Unity Plaza. It sounded like an exciting place to live – restaurants, bars, an amphitheater, an urban park – all attached to the community. My balcony overlooks the plaza, so I’m really excited to hear about all of the upcoming events.
While we know you just moved in, what do you love most about living Downtown so far?
I’m really enjoying the urban lifestyle. It’s so different from living in other areas of Jax. Downtown just has a totally different feel about it. I enjoy being able to walk my dog along the Riverwalk and head to the Riverside Arts Market on the weekend. And I know it sounds funny, but I love the smell of roasting coffee coming from Maxwell House!
What do you think is the biggest myth about Downtown?
Probably that Downtown is a scary place. A lot of people have a negative view of Downtown Jax, and I don’t understand why. It’s great to see the effort that people are putting into revitalizing our city center.
What are your favorite things to do Downtown?
I’m still learning my way around, but I love all of the restaurant and bar options. My New Year’s resolution this year is to go to every restaurant on Jacksonville Magazine’s list of top 50 restaurants. So many of the restaurants on that list are in this area. Only a few months and a lot more restaurants to go!