November 22, 2021: A Quick Dip in Jersey
The city of Hoboken, New Jersey is right across the Hudson River from Chelsea, Manhattan. Many young families that I know have moved to Hoboken and said nice things.
Hoboken is also exceedingly well-connected to my apartment in Herald Square via the PATH train system which connects Manhattan with New Jersey. I had 90 minutes off from work and decided to go on a quick exploration trip to Hoboken.
The 33rd Street PATH station lies just 1 block from my apartment in Herald Square. I walked down and purchased a ticket for $2.75. Even though it is attached to a subway station, PATH is its own transit system and requires a separate ticket. Perhaps for this reason, it is spotlessly clean and devoid of the homeless people that roam the tunnels of the subway.
The ride took 15 minutes and without fanfare, I was in Hoboken!
New Jersey is known for being either suburban or industrial. However, Hoboken is neither. The century-old 3-5 story brick buildings are well-kept and remind me of a cleaner Brooklyn.
I walked 15 minutes over to the 400-block of Monroe Street to see a plaque marking the spot where Frank Sinatra was born. Sinatra actually hated Hoboken with a passion and could not be happier to move across the river once he became famous. Sinatra would probably be pleased to know that the original building was torn down and in its place is a sleek modern apartment building.
Just a couple blocks east is one of the Tri-State-Area´s oldest Italian delis, Fiore´s House of Quality. Founded in 1913, Fiore´s is known for its homemade mozzarella or “muzz” as they call it. Cash only obviously. There is no printed menu- you have to name a sandwich and hope they can make it for you. They do have a daily special- the day I was there it was Virginia ham, “muzz” and gravy. The staff was that unique Northeastern blend of friendly but very direct. In the backroom, the boss, an older Italian-American man sat silently by himself on a leather chair looking out at space. What a funny sight.
My sandwich lived up to the hype and stands in my mind as the best in the region.
For dessert, I visited Hoboken´s most famous institution Carlo´s Bakery. Carlo´s has been around since 1910 but has gained national fame for the reality show Cake Boss. Typically the line to get a cake here is long, but luckily there was nobody here Monday at 12:30. The cake slices were outrageously expensive, so I got two cupcakes, a vanilla and cinnamon. While very beautiful, I did not think that they were anything special. Perhaps I should have gotten a real cake.
With that, it was time to head back to New York, so I hopped onto the PATH and 15 minutes later was back at my desk.
Hoboken is a beautiful and cool town. It is not just a suburb of New York- rather, it has a unique vibe. Therefore, I would recommend a visit. 2-3 hours is probably enough time to see everything. Besides restaurants, the one thing I missed but would recommend is the riverfront walkway with views of the Manhattan skyline.