November 1, 2007
My mind is occupied with too many things to blog these days, little personal things like buying a round-trip ticket with intentions of using only one half of it, filling the house with packing cartons and coaxing friends to buy the bulk of my furniture before I move. Then this afternoon there's the matter of having a toenail removed, perhaps permanently, and curiosity as to how debilitated I'll be, and for how long. The doctor's office people say I'll be able to drive home. Hope I'm able to get to the drugstore, too, for those prescription painkillers.
The movie On the Waterfront was filmed in Hoboken,
the old Hoboken that still had a dock, stevedores, Unions, bosses, and a visible presence of the mob. In the film, Marlon Brando, playing a boxer down on his luck, accused his brother who was also his manager of buying him "a one-way ticket to Palookaville." Hoboken itself has wrongly been accused of being the "Palookaville" of which the magnetic young actor spoke so disparagingly.
I have my one-way ticket now, to the new Hoboken, full of high-earning young investment bankers, many artists, writers, displaced Manhattanites and a few old New Jersey diehards, and I'm here to say, if it ever was Palookaville, it isn't any more. And it never was, by the way. Palooka was the old word for run-of-the-mill prizefighters, and Terry Malloy, the Brando character, was talking about his being denied the big time because his manager made him take a dive. Palookaville was never a place, but a state of mind.
Hoboken may be a state of mind, but it's not for losers or the world-weary. It's almost Manhattan now, maybe not quite, but a small, upscale town near enough for a round trip ticket to the big time.