Friday, November 5, 2010


Yes, what a silly name for a city, but that's where we live, and it's better than our Northern neighbor, Weehawken. I thought ya'll might like a little info about our new city. (By the way, I'm having a very hard time not saying, "ya'll," but I'll have to stop because I'm getting pretty tired of repeating myself. One "ya'll" in a sentence and everyone acts like they didn't understand a thing I just said.)

Hoboken has about 40,000 people stuffed into one square mile, right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The streets are fairly wide, room enough for four cars across, but most of the streets are one-way. So, there are two lanes of parking on the outsides, one lane of double-parking (which can be on either side and sometimes causes problems), and hopefully one lane is left open for moving cars. The major two-way street in town, Washington, can fit six lanes of cars, so each side has parking, double-parking, and hopefully some moving traffic.

Theoretically, Hoboken is easy to navigate. All streets are in a grid, and the numbered streets (1-14) run East-West. Unfortunately, all the one-ways and buildings that take up 2-3 blocks make it a bit of a maze. So, we've started to opt more and more for walking, but we'll see how long we hold out, since the winter weather will probably make the car increasingly tempting.

The first officially recorded game of baseball in US history was in Hoboken in 1846 between the New York Nine and the Knickerbocker Club. (Guys, seriously? You're just asking to get your pansy knickerbockers knocked off. I don't know who won, though.)

Frank Sinatra is from Hoboken, and every year, there is a sound-a-like competition in Sinatra Park.

Carlo's Bakery of the Cake Boss TV show is in Hoboken, and on the weekends, there's a line 2 blocks long to get into the tiny shop.

In the Northern part of town, I've even seen a warehouse full of giant plaster animals and vegetation, which I assume will either be part of the Macy's Day parade or a giant's lawn decoration collection. --In fact, I just looked up Hoboken in Wikipedia, and yes, Hoboken is home to the Macy's Day Parade Studio! Because why would Manhattan waste space on plaster sculptures bigger than a $800,000 condo? Send those things to New Jersey.--

As late as the 1960s, though, Hoboken was actually a cruddy industrial port with slum-like housing. In the 1970s, NJ built a new port in Newark and an Interstate that connected NJ to NY, bypassing Hoboken and leaving the little town obsolete. It wasn't really until the 1990s that NJ started to reclaim the waterfront, build open park spaces facing the NYC skyline, and encourage commercial real estate. Now, Hoboken is considered a "bedroom community" of Manhattan, since most of its residents sleep here but basically live in Manhattan. You can get to Manhattan by subway (called the PATH train), ferry, or bus in 25-45 minutes.

I will say that Hoboken is growing a bit of its own downtown entertainment, though. It has a cute main street, lined with small shops, Italian restaurants, and a few Starbucks. There are even a couple bars that do live music and such. And there is a brand new movie theater! Five screens, that's right.

I hope you all (ugh, takes too long to type) enjoyed getting to know more about Hoboken.