Sunday, June 17, 2007

Okay, Hoboken: Freeze!

June 17, 2007

Freeze, Hoboken! Don’t let the developers in to tear down your glorious old buildings on Washington Street and put up something cheaper and tackier. Stay as sweetly raffish and wise as you are today, with Italian restaurants, bakeries, and row houses all over. The casual observer sees Catholic churches everywhere, and a beautiful Tudor style Episcopal church (with an announcement on its board outside of a celebration of the history of Gay Pride Week) as the main street becomes residential and trees crop up.

The Hoboken "attitude" is well-known. The surprise after actually visiting is how small-town nice the place is. One short shot on the train and you're in the West Village, in New York itself, but ignoring that, the small city of Hoboken (pop. 38,000, one mile square and so tightly bound by Newark on one side and Jersey City on the other, unable to grow) has a personality all its own.

Hoboken abounds with websites and blogs. Just Google it. There is an annual Italian Festival, a reknowned Music Festival, and Saints' Festivals galore. There are three theatre companies, one producing Shakespeare (de Vere) in the park. The Hoboken Library is said to have a special section of CD's of its favorite son, Frank Sinatra.

The view of Manhattan from Sinatra Park is spectacular. Sidewalk cafés flank the fancy apartment buildings that face the river and the park. Beautiful people sip pretty drinks and see the mommies with with strollers across the way.

Stay this way, Hoboken. I can't stand to see one more important little American town lose its heart and soul.


sinjap said...

don't tease me...i yearn for the northeast also...baltimore, d.c., and philly are more my neck of the woods but hoboken and dumbo seem nice too...and this time of year can't be beat...i know, it gets just as hot up there as down south but just not for as's more a novelty than a way of life...enjoy!

and eat a cheesesteak and some crab cakes for me!

Mary Lois said...

Baltimore is crab cakes; Philadelphia the home of cheese steaks; New York is the place for everything else. As for Hoboken, I think Italian food is the choice.

So far on the trip I've had Portuguese, Greek (Newark), Thai, French, Ecuadorian (New York), and lots of Starbuck's while I tend my laptop.

Tonight (Monday) I'll be back home and have some grits. I'm looking forward to it.

Doug said...

Well, if you're the adventurous type (seems like you are), I would make the suggestion that you must try some portuguese food in the Ironbound district of Newark... Yes, Newark can be a nasty place, but the Ironbound is incredible... It's a short walk from the Newark PATH station (get on in Hoboken, and switch at Exchange Place), and you will get some of the best (and hard to find) Portuguese food you can imagine...

Finding Fair Hope said...

I know the Ironbound -- actually have friends who live there and did a little househunting in the nabe when I was there in June. I expect to do a lot of eating in the Ironbound, but Newark just didn't impress me as a place I want to live.

Hoboken has the advantage of being a city on its own, of manageable size, and really close to Manhattan.