On the other side of the Hudson, I try, in vain to explain why Hoboken is a great town to live in. Most of the reactions I get vary from feigned amusement to outright derision for anything associated with New Jersey.
I know where that is coming from. I lived outside Philadelphia and we used to think the same think about "people from Jersey". Making fun of a Jersey resident was like an Englishman making fun of someone from Poland - there was always a good joke waiting to make fun of those people because of some air of superiority that is assumed.
If you talk to anyone from New York City, especially Manhattan, there is a chip on their shoulder attitude that most have. They could be from Topeka, Kansas and lived in Manhattan for 2 years, but they were a "New Yorker" now because they saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in concert before anyone else and go to Magnolia Bakery on Saturdays, while walking their puggle in the West Village, plus talking on their black RAZR cell phone, and pushing their Peg Perego Pliko P3 Classico Stroller with their colorful "garden boots".
Can Hoboken be compared to Manhattan? Of course not. Manhattan is enormous, with so many different neighborhoods, from the likes of the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, The Village, SoHo, NoHo, Murray Hill and Hell's Kitchen. I wouldn't even dare to throw Hoboken to the wolves and think we contend.
There are plenty of negatives about Hoboken, but i'm here to list a few positives, that are things I like...
1. I like being able to go into New York and then come home to Hoboken. It is just "less busy" to me. I feel like when I walk around the New York sidewalks I need to be going somewhere.
2. I like the girls around here. Plain and simple. Every day I take the PATH train to work, go to the bars around town, or workout at the gym (ok, to be honest my gym time has been bad as of late) I constantly see beautiful women that are "my type".
3. One of my past times before the blog was writing restaurant reviews for Hobokeni. I would go to the restaurant, have a meal, pay for it and then interview the owners afterwards for a "guy on the street" perspective of their establishment. I wasn't trying to come off with phony pretenses or false airs, I was just a regular guy writing a review. I love the restaurants we have in town, there are so many great places to choose from Japanese to Italian to Indian to Chinese to classic American. Aside from Frankie and Jonnie's - I think Hoboken could use a quality steakhouse (Arthur's is very average), I dream of the day "Peter Luger: Hoboken" opens.
4. I like my car. I may only use it twice a month for a weekend getaway, but I lived without a car for years and still missed having the freedom to go where I want when I wanted. Sure, its an added expense, but try renting a parking spot in New York City, it is about triple of what you would pay in Hoboken. Or you can just park on the street, as long as if you move the car every week and it costs $10 for a year long parking pass.
5. Festivals. I can't count them all but Hoboken has about 5-6 block parties a year. Arts & Music Festival is the most popular - and that is run twice a year in the summer. We have our own St. Patrick's Day Parade, and it's a blast.
6. The People. I like everyone I meet around here. There is a great community that Hoboken has, from people who have been long time residents to the newcomers who want to contribute to the town. More often than not I find myself using the term "down to earth" when describing someone who lives in Hoboken. We get a lot of down to earth people around here, and it seems that the snobby/class A types are over in Manhattan. They can stay there, thanks.
7. One of the best skylines across the water. Hey, I love New York City, too. I just like living in Hoboken and one of the best parts of my day is my walk home from the PATH station, along the Hudson, and looking at the New York City skyline. It's picturesque, and on certain nights when the moon is just right, almost magical. You really feel like you are living next to the seat of the civilized world, what it must have felt like to been living in or around Rome 2,000 years ago.
People always ask me, "Why don't you move into New York city?". My #1 reason is that my rent is fairly inexpensive, and i'd rather use the money I save renting to treat myself in whatever way I choose. I have a lot of purchase power every month by saving about $800-1,000 by not living in New York. I can do just about anything a New Yorker can do - I can go to the same shows, plays, bars, clubs and restaurants. I have the PATH train which runs all night to take me home, just like if I were living in Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx.
When I started this website, I was going to call it The Sixth Borough, thesixthborough.com - but the variations of that name were all taken by other sites. I really do feel like Hoboken is the real sixth borough to New York, but we are like the Rodney Dangerfield of boroughs - we get no respect.
Maybe the day will change when that happens. With the standard websites like Hobokeni.com and the latest one, RealHoboken.com, I think a lot of opinions about this town are slowly changing over the years. Sure, we aren't going to be in the same stratospehere as Manhattan, but we certainly just can't be considered "Jersey". We are more like New York Jersey.
Before anyone from New York reads this and says, "Wait, New York is so much better...". Yes, you win. But Hoboken certainly is a great little town for those of us who do like it around here.