Sunday, June 07, 2015

Mile Square

During World War I more than 3 million US soldiers passed through Hoboken, NJ on their way to Europe and their desire to come home soon led to General Pershing’s line “Heaven, Hell or Hoboken…by Christmas.”

I just finished my first week at my company’s new office in the Mile Square City and while you’d never mistake it for Heaven, it certainly isn’t the Hell I feared it would be.

Honestly, I like Hoboken. I like it a lot. And it ain’t even Christmas.

It’s true that I have a longer, more expensive commute, and I have to struggle through the waves of office lemmings who charge into Manhattan while I go against the flow of traffic.

However, once I take the short ride on the PATH train to the other side of the river, the pace slows down dramatically.

The streets are much less crowded here, so unlike the crushing mass of cars, trucks, and bodies that clog up Broadway. I feel like I’m a small town…which, of course, I am.

But it’s a small town in a great location--a kind of hip version of Mayberry, if such a thing is possible.

My office building is a just short walk up River Street from the train station. There’s a beautiful park right behind our building and we have a spectacular view of the river and the New York skyline from our office cafeteria.
And I like my new office. It’s cleaner, brighter, and newer than my last location and I’m seated around some pretty cool people. I’m also meeting new ones.

I Coulda Been A Contender…

Hoboken has a rich history that I’m only beginning to explore.

This is the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, William de Kooning, and Michael Chang to name a few. And this is also where On The Waterfront, one of my favorite films, was shot.

There are some fabulous old buildings in this town and the Hoboken Terminal is an absolute work of art.

Hoboken was one of the first greater New York areas to become gentrified. When I moved back to the city I actually looked for an apartment there, but they were too expensive.

My Uncle Joe in Los Angeles, who hasn’t seen Hoboken in decades, couldn’t believe it when I told him how the place has changed.

“There used to be an Irish bar on every corner,” he said.

Well, Hoboken still has plenty of bars and restaurants and I intend to do some serious reconnaissance of the local haunts.

Going against that tide of commuters each morning and evening can be a bit unnerving. But I’m trying to look at these encounters as a chance to be more mindful.

And I like being able to watch the throng of people from the other side of the escalator. I feel like an observer of the human condition and it’s pretty cool.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been dreading this move for all these months. There’s still a lot of turmoil in my life right now, so I’m quite happy to report some good news for a change.

Here’s hoping for more of the same.


Ron said...

Rob, I was eagerly anticipating an update on your new office, so I was happy to see this post in my reader! Glad to hear that you're adjusting and enjoying your new commute. And your office sounds great! What a terrific view! Whenever I take the bus into Manhattan, we drive past Hoboken before entering the Lincoln Tunnel. And I love that Hoboken is on a hill, that faces Manhattan.

It's funny you mentioned Frank Sinatra because I was going to say that he was from Hoboken.

And from how you've described it, Hoboken sounds a lot like Manayunk, which is a very cool town across the river from Philadelphia.

"Going against that tide of commuters each morning and evening can be a bit unnerving. But I’m trying to look at these encounters as a chance to be more mindful."

Good for you! I admire the way you've embraced this change and are looking for the good. BRAVO!

Thanks for the update and have a terrific week, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, what's up?

Yes, Hoboken turned out to be a pleasant surprise--one of the few pleasant experiences I've had in recent memory. Embracing the change and looking for the good sounds like a healthy way to approach life. And this Manayunk place sounds really cool. I'll have to check it out.

Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy, and for all your support. I really appreciate it.

Take care!

Bijoux said...

One of my favorite college professors was from Hoboken. He would add little tidbits like that to his lectures and then throw in bonus points on the exams if you could answer his questions (Name the birthplace I share with Frank Sinatra). I'm weird that I remember this crap! LOL

So glad to hear that the new commute isn't soooo bad and that you have a nice new office to call home.

Walaka said...

Y'know, I'm looking on Google maps and it seems that Hoboken is about as far from Bay Ridge as my campus is from my neighborhood - about 12 miles. (Look it up - use Roosevelt High School and Cascadia College.) I'm not sure what this comparison signifies, but I found it curious.

I usually walk a mile east to a bus line that takes me right into campus; with the walk, the wait, and the bus ride, it's about an hour. If I drive (which I don't), it's about a half-hour, maybe 45 mins to an hour if it's during a bad time of day.

Do you take the R to the PATH?

Rob K said...

It's amazing how these little details stay with us for so long. And thanks for the good wishes!

Rob K said...

@Walter--Strange coincidence, is it not? I actually take the Express Bus in because it stops right by my house and then I take the PATH. It's more expensive, but I get a seat and its much more comfortable.

CrystalChick said...

WELCOME to NJ!! :)
I can't be your tour guide, since you're still much closer to NY (I think we might actually be two states… North Jersey and South Jersey… lol) but, I did look up the #1 best place to eat, and Fiore Deli takes top honors, atleast on Trip Advisor anyway. ;) Where Adams St. is compared to your office location.. no idea.

I'm glad you like your new office. All good wishes for continued enjoyment here. Hope you meet lots more cool people and have fun exploring.

Rob K said...

Hey, Mary, thanks for the great welcome! I'm still finding my way around town, but I'll be sure to check out Fiore Dell. Take care!

Stephanie Faris said...

Nice! Is it an open-plan office? I LOVE the look of those offices and for certain professions, I could see how it would really work. As a crazy, introverted writer-type, though, I prefer to admire the pictures I see of it from the safety and solitude of my home office!

Rob K said...

Hey, Stephanie. The office is pretty much the traditional cube farm, but it's one of the nicer ones I've worked at. Of course I'd prefer the home office myself.

A Cuban In London said...

I'm glad to know that your new space is nice. And thanks for the history lesson. Knew nothing about the place.

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Hey, there! Yes, it was a pleasant surprise. And there's plenty more history just waiting to be discovered.