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.
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.