by Christopher Halleron
It has long been maintained that there are two main groups in Hoboken—the Bn’Rs (Born n’ Raised) and the Yuppies (young urban professionals). The classifications have absolutely nothing to do with how long a “resident” has actually resided here.
Hoboken is the kind of place where people can live most their lives but never be “from” here. Unless you were born in Hoboken, there’s always an inherent need to explain yourself when it comes to the town you call home — no matter how long you stay, how many kids you raise here, or how much you pay in taxes.
In my case, I’ve spent almost as much time in Hoboken as Frank Sinatra, but I’m still seen as an interloper. That said, I don’t take too kindly to the Yuppie label. I worked behind the bar in this town for well over a decade, and trust me—bartenders are not yuppies. During that time I was probably on par with a plumber or an exterminator, considering the amount of sh!t and vermin I had to deal with. And I don’t think you’d consider a plumber to be a yuppie—because even if he does drive a BMW, he probably did something gauche like paid cash for it.
Now that I’ve hung up the apron and taken a desk job in Manhattan, I guess I DO technically qualify as a yuppie. Throw in the wife, the kid and the dog, and I end up looking like goddamn Subaru ad. But it still doesn’t sit right.
I suppose that’s because I’ve actually used a stroller, but I didn’t drag it through the corner bodega like a snowplow, or park it on top of the table next to me at a crowded restaurant during brunch. Sure, I take my son all sorts of places, but I don’t take him to Louise & Jerry’s for Happy Hour and then ask them to turn the music down so that he can watch “Yo Gabba Gabba!” on his iPad. Yeah, I own a dog, but I pick up after him when he sh!ts on the sidewalk and I’ve never once organized a “playdate” for him.
Fact is, I’ve been here long enough to witness first-hand the fever-pitch gentrification battles in Hoboken, and I’m usually disappointed with who wins. Of course I know enough about Hoboken politics to understand the reason they won, but seemingly I don’t know enough to have an opinion that matters because I “ain’t from here.”
Here and Loathing
Somewhere between the stroller mafia and the actual mafia, amidst the boorish BnR’s and the vapid Yuppies, I’d argue that there is an ever-shrinking pocket of third-class citizens—the Self-Loathing Yuppies (SLYs)—yearning to have their place in the sun, and really hoping some ironically named adult co-ed dodgeball team isn’t already occupying that space. Hoboken’s SLYs are of the opinion that there is a happy medium to be found between a burned-out urban shooting gallery and a homogenized suburban strip mall—we just don’t know how to maintain it.
We like children and puppies, but we don’t think they should be the sole driving force of a social agenda. We desire a certain quality of life, without having to use the phrase “quality of life” ad nauseam. We don’t call the cops with noise complaints—we remember the fact that the bar next door was there before we were, and we realize that if Hoboken is to remain culturally relevant, there should be an atmosphere that fosters creativity. We choose not to live in the suburbs because we think they suck, and we wonder why people will go to such lengths to try and recreate such boring sterility here.
We’ll tolerate your brats, your bros, your frats, your hos, your longboards, your short skirts, your beer pong, your Journey song — because if we left we’d miss our Leo’s, our Piccolo’s, our Truglio’s, our Giorgio’s, our Biggie’s, our Fiore’s and our Dom’s. Hoboken’s SLYs moved here because they enjoy the opportunity and anonymity of urban life. We’ve done our time, and we just want to be left alone to enjoy the good that still remains. For the love of God, please don’t make us move to Jersey City—it’s not like we’re a pack of goddamn hipsters…
Christopher M. Halleron is the Publisher/Editor of hMAG.
As a columnist and journalist, he has covered various aspects of life here in the ‘greater Hoboken area’ and beyond for the past two decades.
His opinions are his own.