One activity that I enjoy doing is people watching.
At work, our outside walls are large glass windows which give us a panoramic view of the city and the street. Some days, when I take my break, I just watch the people walking below, and think about each of their stories. Everyone has a story.
I have found that other Hobokenites, like myself, also enjoy checking out the hot bodies walking down the street. It starts when the weather is warm, the clothes are less and the outdoor seating becomes available. People gather after work with friends, outside, with a cool drink and watch the people getting off the PATH trains, walking home. A few years back I started to call it, "The Parade". I would see a group of girl friends on my way home from work, and laugh saying "Oh, watching the parade of guys coming home from work, hmmm?" They would laugh it off or come out right and agree. Hey, we all do it.
I had off this week, and decided to introduce my newest protege, Jon, to The Parade last Thursday.
Jon is off this summer from teaching school, and works at The GAP part-time for some extra money. I was off last week, and Jon and I were playing some ferocious games of darts on Thursday when I looked at the clock at 4pm and said with glee, "Oh man - The Parade is starting!"
Jon, perplexed, fell into my trap and said, "What parade?"
"Not, what - THE Parade.", I corrected.
"What is THE PARADE?", he asked patiently.
"I can't put it into words, you will just have to see. Follow me young jedi. We go to Texas Arizona!", I proclaimed with mock sincerity.
Fortunately Jon is one of those easy going kind of guys that I have yet to witness in a bad mood. He was up for my shenanigans and since a bar was involved - he was up for it at 4pm on a Thursday. It's not like we had anything else to really do.
We walked down to Texas Arizona, a bar/restaurant which is directly across the street to the PATH train entrance - the subway train that connects Hoboken to Manhattan and Jersey City - and a perfect spot to set up for people watching.
The entire outside was full of people, enjoying the outside air, the cool drinks and the throngs of young Hobokenites exiting the trains from a hard days work in Manhattan or Jersey City.
"So this is it? You watch people getting off the trains and then what?", he asked sipping his Miller Lite.
"You watch people and...", I started to say and then lowered my voice, "Ok, check out the blonde haired girl in the black!"
Jon, being a jackass, whips his head around and stares. He hasn't learned the fine art of casually scanning a crowd of people without looking like you are scanning a crowd of people. The young padawan will learn.
"Mmmmm! She's cute. I like the parade so far.", he agreed.
As the hour progressed, I did get to see some people I knew well. The first was Brian, a homeowner and seasoned veteran of the parade even called me out on it as he walked up to shake my hand, "Got prime seats, huh?"
"Of course. I finally get to be on this side of the parade route instead of everyone watching me get off the train.", I said.
I took some snapshots of the people I knew crossing the street and stopping at our table. I even saw Joe Concha, in his brown suit, walking across the street towards my table - but didn't say anything. I don't know him personally except through the chatboard and a few emails we have sent to each other. If you haven't checked out his co-owned site, you really should, he is a very creative and interesting writer.
Jon and I watched the procession of residents exit the train, and even got Matt to join us. Kristen and Sarah arrived fresh off the train after Matt had to leave and meet some clients in the city. Soon after Tremaine, Matt's fiance and recent Philadelphia transplant, also decided to have a few drinks with us. We watched the people come up the steps, and would wonder amongst ourselves about the people that stood out - some were beautiful, some were oddly dressed, some were friends and some weren't. Since I lived in Hoboken for about 10 years, I knew my fair share of people, and would point them out to the people at the table, and add a comment or two...
"See that guy? He is a black belt. You wouldn't know it would you? Looks like a regular guy, right? He fights in tournaments. Too bad he is a jerk."
"Hey - I know her from the chatboard. She got flowers, I wonder who sent them to her at work? Must be her boyfriend. She is really nice and bartends in town."
"That girl I was just talking to - it was her fiance that beat me at the Hold Em game last night. I've known both of them a long time."
We remained outside Texas Arizona until about 7pm, and then went our seperate ways.
"So, what did you think?", I said to Jon as we were leaving.
"That was cool, when we doing it next?", he asked.
"Well unlike some people - I don't have a whole summer vacation. So it will have to wait until my next week-long vacation at the end of August.", I said, "Oh wait. I have off tomorrow - you free?"
"No, i'm working! Dammit!", he said disapointingly.
"Looks like you are out. I'll introduce my cousin to it next - another disciple to learn about The Parade.", I smirked.
Here are a few pictures of friends I saw on Thursday...