We’ve been getting a lot of press lately—even outside the pages of this magazine. For years, Hoboken had been very much an afterthought of the Metro Area. Gothamites refused to take “that train ride,” never mind the fact that it was only 15 minutes. The Hudson was the Rubicon, and few were willing to cross.
Steadily, however, Hoboken has gone from a punchline in a Bugs Bunny cartoon to one of the most desirable property markets in the nation.
Of course there’s a condescending sense of surprise when the regional media note our existence. For a recent article in the New York Post, titled “From bro bars to chic strollers, Hoboken (finally) grows up,” writer Wesley Yiin still manages to paint a pretty accurate picture of Hoboken’s contemporary demographics, and how they are shaping the current real estate landscape in what, “has become an attractive home for residents of all ages, from infants to empty nesters.”
Says Katherine Bindley in The New York Times, “Ask recent transplants to Hoboken, N.J., what they thought of this city on the Hudson River before they moved here, and you are likely to hear variations on a theme of partying 20-somethings, noise late into weekend nights and lines out the doors of bars on St. Patrick’s Day.”
It seems they can’t avoid rubbing our nose in it, as though Hoboken is the only town in the region with a bar scene. Yet for decades Hoboken was defined to many by its nightlife. Bindley’s article, titled “Hoboken, N.J.: Where Families Also Feel at Home” discusses how one new resident’s, “impressions of Hoboken revolved around a handful of visits in his 20s that left him thinking, ‘I’m too old for this.’”
While the Post and the Times seem to ignore the positive impact, Hoboken’s nightlife still draws young people into the town—there’s no disputing that. Some of them unfortunately come in notoriously hell-bent on making a mess of themselves. Others enjoy their time here and recognize the benefits of having such a vibrant, accessible community in such proximity to NYC. So they move here. Although the family scene is grabbing the headlines, the singles scene here in town is still very much alive.
“I think that the attraction of Hoboken as a destination for singles is that it is an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants—perfect for meeting new people while partaking in fun experiences,” says Jennifer Casson, of HobokenGirl.com. “The city is made for the dater; it’s virtually impossible not to find a great restaurant within a few blocks with a casual (or even formal, if you’re more inclined) atmosphere.
Casson adds, “In a sea of almost 60,000 people, split 50/50, you’re bound to find someone that you can share common interests with (and likely happens to be your neighbor). Sitting down for coffee, grabbing a drink, eating dinner, and other quick and easy meet-ups are the norm, and it’s a great way to get know someone quickly without investing too much time or energy every night.”
Obviously fans of the nightlife scene, the folks at HobokenHappyHours.com point out that, “With the ability to walk anywhere, people feel comfortable staying out late and having a great night. It’s a community of like-minded, success-driven individuals, so you can definitely meet someone of the opposite sex who is serious about their career, but also likes to have a good time.”
According to Seán Miller, of Hoboken-Bar.net, “Hoboken’s hospitality industry is now, as it always has been, integral to the culture of Hoboken—accommodating soldiers and longshoreman throughout the 20th century, nourishing the arts and music scene in the 80’s and 90’s, drawing recent college graduates in the 2000’s, and flourishing with the young families of today.” says Miller.
In the face of significant demographic changes, Miller asserts that, “Hoboken’s hospitality industry is not only embracing the changes, but helping to guide them. Just as Maxwell’s brought the artists and fans, today’s restaurants and bars are making it possible for families to have a home in Hoboken,” he says. “Kid’s menus were virtually non-existent in the 90’s. Today you’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant without one.”
Those in the hospitality industry aren’t the only ones feeling a need to adapt in a once-familiar environment. Yesenia has lived in Hoboken her entire life, witnessing Hoboken’s dramatic changes first-hand.
(READ MORE ON PAGE 2…)