July 5, 2007
I've still got one foot in Fairhope, but I've got the big toe of the other in Hoboken. I check Craigslist every day to see what's for rent there -- even though it will be months before I'll have any need to follow up; we all have our little compulsions -- and I go to the official Hoboken website and many of the blogs serving the area to get a feel for the place.
I get the distinct sense that there's a lot of testosterone in Hoboken. There is an air of conflict and aggression about the place, an atmosphere not prevalent in small cities in the South. I've visited a couple of Hoboken blogs and made comments there. I've gotten responses. One of them even posted about my plans to move and that elicited a few advice comments.
The writer of that blog, Jeff Fario, wondered if my attraction to Hoboken was a mistaken association with New Orleans. Hadn't thought of that at all -- it seemed sort of European to me, with that wide main street, and all the shops and neighborhood bakeries (and Catholic churches), which New Orleans does, but more distinctly Italian-American. It had more diversity than Fairhope, and more youth. It had a lot more bars, but my days of hanging out in bars for any period of time are pretty much behind me. (Thank God and AA I survived!)
The shop above, with Xmas tree lights and hanging pots, plus its very American sign above the door, spoke to me of Hoboken. You wouldn't see that around here in Lower Alabama. It had a blatant tackiness that was charming without trying. It didn't look like somebody's idea of Art, but it got my attention. There are lots more picturesque views of Hoboken, more elegant ones and more upscale ones. But here and there are touches of a simple bygone day, like the sign in shape of a hand pointing to "The Clam Broth House," which is no longer there. I hope they leave the sign up forever. (If I were running an Italian restaurant, what would make me think to celebrate clam broth anyway? What's so great about clam broth, in the galaxy of tasty Italian food? Maybe somebody in Hoboken will be able to tell me.)
There's a chance I won't meet any of the guys who write Hoboken blogs. Or that if we do we won't particularly hit it off. I just like knowing they're there, and I like their feisty, macho Hoboken take on things.
And the fact that they're in cyberspace lets me visit my own virtual reality of Hoboken while still living amid the spectacular sunsets and painted pelicans.