According to a recent Gawker piece, New York City has officially become unliveable: apartments are full, rents are obscene, and only the very rich survive. Even Brooklyn, that bastion of artists and writers and the people who love them, has priced out its own biggest fans. So what’s a Brooklyn girl (or boy) to do?
Luckily for all of us displaced, rent-poor types, who still value a bit of community mixed in with our city, there is a little town across the Hudson, just visible from a Brooklyn rooftop on a clear night… an oasis in a parched landscape of hard city living… a place called Hoboken, New Jersey.
Move from Brooklyn to Hoboken? you scoff. Move to New Jersey on purpose? Why would a person do such a thing?
Well, aside from the fact that the rent won’t crush you, and that you’ll never have to wait on another F platform at 2 AM (only to discover that the F is running on the A/C line), here are a couple ways that Hoboken may just have an edge on Brooklyn.
Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the über-hip types cluttering the streets of Brooklyn. These days, you can’t throw a fixed-gear bike on Bedford Avenue without hitting a hipster’s beard. Hoboken is mercifully hipster-free. The folks here are unashamed to fist-bump at sports bars, drink cheap beer, and head out on a Friday night in that classic combo of an untucked button-down shirt and baggy jeans. There is not a skinny jean in sight—unless you count the ones the ladies pair with their heels and sexy tops. In Hoboken, it’s not fashion that counts; it’s good, old-fashioned hotness.
On the other hand, if you are not a hipster-hater but a proud fashionista yourself, just think how much attention you’ll get on the streets of Hoboken! It’s nearly impossible to stand out on the runways of Brooklyn, but your carefully curated outfit will make you the belle of the ball around here.
It’s true that Hoboken’s cultural scene is a bit harder to find: you’ll have to do some leg work to discover the poetry readings, classic film screenings, and Shakespeare productions in the neighborhood. But you may stumble upon something that is growing thin in Brooklyn: authenticity. The guy who makes the fresh mozzarella at the corner deli has been making it since his uncle taught him how. In other words, there are still people in Hoboken who actually speak Italian. Enough said.
Have you ever noticed that the minute something cool appears in Brooklyn, it gets overrun? Chuko Ramen on Vanderbilt Ave.? Three-hour wait. Free summer kayaking off the pier in DUMBO? Ditto. It always sounds so groovy, until you get there and find yourself herded like so much urban cattle. The food in Hoboken restaurants may not all be locally sourced and grass-fed, but it’s tasty, and you can almost always get a seat. And on the relatively rare occasion when something cool does happen in Hoboken—an Irish folk band playing on the waterfront, for instance—you can mosey on over in your own sweet time.
Speaking of space and time, if you’re a freelancer or creative type (read: unemployed), you will find that you own this town on weekdays, when all the finance heads board the World Trade Center PATH train and are whisked away to their soulless office jobs. You will be left behind with your choice of quiet, spacious locales—cafes, parks, grassy knolls—in which to spend the day writing your novel (read: uploading pictures of your lunch to Instagram).
But the best thing about Hoboken may be that it will restore your love for New York. Have you seen how good the city looks from here? Far from the smell of melting garbage and the sound of the crazy person yelling at you on the subway, New York regains its lost romance and grandeur. Other people may get to live in the city, but you get the view, all for the price of your (just barely) affordable Hoboken rent.
Affordable, that is, until so many city kids have crossed the pond that this place starts looking a lot like, well, Brooklyn. You know what, on second thought, have you checked out Crown Heights? I hear it’s an up-and-coming neighborhood!