May 2007 Archives

Top Five Pet Peeves of Bus Drivers

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On a rainy day last week I didn't have my umbrella, so I hopped on the 126 NJ Transit Bus (Clinton Street) to give me a quick ride from the PATH station to my condo, instead of being drenched by walking in the rain. I watched the bus pull out of the station, make a right on Hudson, another right on Observer Place, and wait at the light in front of Texas Arizona. A girl comes running up to the bus and slaps her palm against the bifold glass door, looking at the bus driver and shouting, "Let me on!"

The bus driver looks at her, and says, "Hey, calm down!"

The girl continues to slap the door as the bus pulls away and leaves her standing in the middle of traffic.

I was sitting in the front seat and said to the bus driver, "Doesn't that annoy you?"

She says, "Yea, I woulda let her on, but she was so rude!"

Watching this from my seat I was happy the bus driver didn't let the girl on the bus. Far too many people that live in Hoboken, who think the world revolves around them.

"So, what's your top 5 pet peeves when driving a bus?", I asked her. This is what she told me...

1. Standing next to her while she is trying to drive the bus. If you look, there is a line on the bus which you shouldn't stand past. If the bus is packed, don't be rude and stand there - wait for the next bus.

2. Having your money out & ready before the bus shows up. If you are standing at the bus stop, before the bus pulls up, dig into your wallet or pants and have the change ready, rather than getting on the bus, rummage through your wallet, and take a minute to find the money. She also added that when at a bus stop, don't jump out at the last second to wave down a bus. If you stand in a visible location and give a friendly wave when the bus is a 1/2 block away (like you are flagging a cab), that is helpful.

3. When the bus drops you off - don't jump in front of the bus to cross the street, make eye contact with the driver and then cross.

4. People who shout at her from the backseat - she can't hear you. Then, she says, people get all upset when they have to get up, walk to her, and explain what they want. Imagine that. Talking like a normal person to another person versus shouting at someone from a distance.

5. Cell Phone users - she can't stand people who sit near her and yap on the cell phone like its their job. I totally agree with that, I hate taking the bus and listening to people talk. There should be a ban for cell phones on public transportation - unless it is an emergency. No, an emergency isn't calling your special other to tell them you are on the bus and to decide what you are going to have for dinner.

Memorial Day Weekend

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Whew. What a weekend. More work than play, but i'm very happy.

Saturday morning I get a wake up phone call at 7:45am from the granite people from All Granite And Marble. A man with a polish accent informs me they will be at my condo in 30 minutes.

I get up, and wait.

Four guys show up. 052907 002.jpgThey are all needed to lift the granite slabs, and take the elevator to my home. At one or two times, it was very close to being dropped, but they came through. The granite was put into place, and they were very efficient. They also installed a new undermount sink, and drilled holes for the faucet. They left and I was woozy from the glue smell that filled my apartment. But I had a real countertop, and finally could unpack my kitchen boxes, which were sealed for the last month.

Thirty minutes after they leave I get the next phone call. It's the delivery guys with my leather couch and leather chair with ottoman. They come in, and quickly drop off my items and leave. I'm unpacking these when I get another phone call from Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct drops off my groceries, and I finally have my refrigerator stocked with something other than beer and seltzer.

The rest of the day is uneventful, and I bartend that night to a dead bar. It was nice to get back a few regulars of the bar who also read my blog.

Sunday morning my sister, mother, brother in law and two nephews (and two dogs!), show up. This was my mom's second visit, and she came bearing housewarming gifts, which was very nice of her. My brother-in-law is very handy, almost as handy as my contractor, Sammy. I had a few projects that I wanted him to help me with, but the foremost project was my air conditioning.

When I bought my condo, my home inspector found that of the three wall mounted PTAC (basically an air conditioner and heat-pump unit) one was working, one had A/C but no heat and a third was dead). The owner credited me $1,800 towards fixing the air conditioners, based on an estimate from a HVAC repair man. I called the repair man after the close, and he told me the following:

1. Yes, one could "possibily" be repaired for $1,800 by getting a special circuit board and having him swap it out.
2. One was dead and to get that existing model and replace it would cost $2,200.
3. My total cost would be $4,000.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I called at least five other HVAC people, asking for a second opinion. Most wanted to come to my condo, look the units over and give me a quote. I simply didn't have the time to do this, and with summer looming didn't want to be without A/C.

I then started to do my own research. I looked up the serial numbers of the unit, which were made by Carrier. The units were about 10 years old and the Carrier website gave me model numbers of compatible replacement units. Then, I searched for those replacement units and found that brand new PTAC cost about $700.

Hmm. I could just replace one unit for $700 and pay someone a few hundred to swap out my existing wall unit out. How much could that cost.

Again, I call multiple HVAC offices. Even with me purchasing the unit myself - they are all quoting me numbers that ranged from $800-2000 to replace my A/C. I was flabbergasted. Honestly it was like they were crooks and trying to steal from me. They were all claiming how hard it was to do and I am on the phone like, "Dude, you are taking an old unit out and slapping in a new unit. This will take you, at most, 20 minutes. No, no, no - you don't understand HVAC, sir. Blah, blah, blah.

I'm angry. Back when Dad was alive, i'd call him, he would know someone, and it gets figured out. Now with his passing it turns out that Mom is my new go-to person. Dad knew everyone in every field in Philly - from lawyers & doctors to HVAC guys & plumbers. My mother's contact list is basically the same, but smaller. She knew who to call right away - my brother in law, Dan.

Now Dan(*name changed) probably doesn't want me writing too much on here about him, but just to give you an idea about him - he's sort of like if McGuyver's and Bob Vila combined. Naval Academy graduate, Wharton MBA, and if you give him an instruction manual, tools, chewing gum, a felt tip pen, miscellaneous wires and time, he can basically construct most home projects.

Which was cool because as described above, I needed some A/C help and Mom knew who to call.

Just like that, he was on the phone assuring me it wouldn't be a problem to have him swap out the dead unit with a brand new unit. I went online, purchased a PTAC unit and it was shipped to me 7 days later.

Dan shows up, reads the manual, and before he does, I get an idea.

I may not know much about HVAC, but my 9-5 job does border on troubleshooting. I am good at directing techs on the phone, and eliminating failures, and isolating where "troubles" occur in technology. With Dan there, we start to work together, and we eventually figure out the following:

1. The PTAC that was "dead" is, in fact, working fine. We took a working thermostat, swapped it out with the other one, and found that out. So, I just needed a $50 thermostat to fix that problem.

2. The second PTAC, with the faulty heat, we swapped out with the third working unit. We took my new PTAC and put it where the old third working unit was located.

Problems solved...sort of. Turns out that the thermostat control for the new PTAC was for A/C, electric heat units and not PTAC heat-pump units. I have to get a new one, but its a $90 investment. That sort of put a damper on my joy, but considering that I spent about $840 ($700 PTAC, $90 thermostat connector, $50 thermostat) out of $1,800 I was credited by the seller, i'm still about $1,160 ahead.

Dan and I looked over the apartment, and he made me write a list of items we should get from Home Depot. We bought a garbage disposal, new hallway & kitchen lights, and some other odds and ends. He connects up everything, with me assisting as best I can. I finally have running water in my kitchen, and replaced my old fluorescent lights for incandescent ones in the hallway.

I actually learned a bit, too, about electric and wiring that I didn't know before. It wasn't too hard when you actually have someone there to show you how it's done. For example, I swapped out one of the hall lights myself, while Dan worked on the sink.

My family left Sunday and I thanked them for all their help. It was great to see them and especially great that Dan was so incredibly handy.

I cooked my first meal on Sunday night. I had prosciutto and melon appetizer, with chianti, 5 cheese tortellini, rag├╣ alla bolognese and topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese. I can't take credit for making the dish, it was from Fresh Direct, but delicious nonetheless. After that, I went to Moran's, met some friends and had a few drinks.

Monday was a relaxed day of me catching the last four episodes of "24", eating food, making a few red bulls and vodka, and napping on my new couch. I didn't step outside except to do my laundry, which were two washers and dryers down the hall and cost $1 per machine.

There are only a few remaining items for Sammy to fix at my apartment and the work will be complete. Chris the painter should be finishing up his work this week, too.

Next up - House Party!

Citizens Bank Park

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I went down to Citizens Bank Field Sunday, with Brad and "Veet", his cousin.052107 001.jpg

It was a beautiful spring day, with temperatures in the 70's, a good breeze and partly cloudy skies. My drive down there was simple, I made it to the ball park in 1 hour 25 minutes from Hoboken. I have been to Veteran's Stadium countless times with my father and brother as a kid. I remember just HATING that stadium for various reasons. It was cavernous, cold, the people were always belligerent, even to their own fans. It just wasn't the kind of place for a family, it was a stadium for angry drunks.

Hey, I know some of you reading it LOVED that.

Even as a single guy today that's something I still don't like in a stadium. I like a place with a good crowd, for families of all ages to enjoy. Sometimes you have to be a bit careful what you wish for, which I will explain later.

So the new place is great. Big, but not too big. Great sightlines to the field. Lots of variety with the shops and food. Still sky high prices on everything, but that's about what I expect at a ballpark. I had my chance to try a Schmitter, but wolfed down two hot dogs and tried a Rick's cheesesteak instead.

Mini review on the steak? Eh. Good, but not great. Certainly not on the same level as Pat's or Geno's but about the same i'd expect from a good pizza place that makes steaks in the suburbs. I wanted to try a Tony Luke's steak next time.

The ballpark was filled with fans, about 39,000 of them and it was MUCH different when compared to the Vet. In the Vet, when you had 39,000 fans, the place seemed dead because it held 62,382 fans. The CB can fit 43,647 max, so the place was just filled with fans, who cheered with every good play and boo'd when appropiate.

My seats weren't too bad. I just went online and ordered them from phillies.com. But I made a catastrophic mistake.

Now, I assumed i'd easily get 3 other people who would be interested in a Phillies game. It was on a Sunday afternoon during spring (not summer). I had lots of friends and family who would go to this.

I was just thinking i'd take Brad, Matt and another person to the game. Matt couldn't go, he had plans with his wife. Brad could go, so I told him to just get two of his cousins and we'd be set. He let me know Saturday night at the bar that he could only get 1 cousin. Yipes.

Sunday morning I called about 8 people. Got lots of voicemails and plenty of others who had other plans, which is understandable. Basically couldn't find another person to join us 3 and ate the last ticket. That sucked.

Another thing that sucked is that "family" thing I was talking about before. I only ran into two problems. You really can't say "Fuck" that often, because there are kids everywhere. I found myself saying things like "Wes Helms is sitting cause he can't get the fucking lumber off his shoulder..." then watching out of the corner of my eye a mom give me a dirty look. Ok, sorry. I guess i'm the angry drunk now. In this scenario, I shouldn't be cursing and I was able to re-train my brain by the 4th inning to replace my curse words with more acceptable replacement terms, like "Darn!" or "Freakin'". Yea, they don't have the same effect.

Somehow it has become acceptable to bring a two year old to the stadium. Next to me, in two seats, were a grandpa and a dad, and their two year old. Now you parents out there, lets have some sympathy. Think about this - a TWO year old at a baseball game who is expected to sit for 4 hours isn't going to happen. So he was a complete monster (yelling, squirming on his seat, changing laps from dad's to grandpa's each inning) for about three hours until he fell asleep in the 8th inning. That's just another example of a parent being selfish that irritates me. There was no reason to bring such a young child to the ballpark, except that the dad wanted to catch the game with his pop, and his wife couldn't/wouldn't watch their son. I personally think in a ballpark there should be a rule that you have to be 5 to 6 or older to enter with your parents. Otherwise, stay home. Part of me wanted to say something, but what could I say? "Hey thanks for Bubba yelling in my ear for the last 3 innings, that was great..."

Otherwise, the day was a lot of fun, and i'd like to go back again soon. My last complaint is the drive home. You know how I made it there in 1 hour 25 minutes? It took me 2 hours and 25 minutes to get home thanks to exit 5 through 8A on the NJ Turnpike. I was a complete idiot and should have taken 95 to Route 1, then Route 1 to exit 9. Learn from my mistakes!

Out With The Old

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Slowly but surely, we are gettin' there. New ceiling goes up soon, with high-hat lights, on a dimmer, and a crown moulding around the cabinets. Granite people coming on Saturday to measure countertop, and should have the granite in by sometime next week. New tile floor and a matching tile backsplash to follow. My brother in law coming by the end of the month to swap out the broken A/C unit.

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Bagel Smashery

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In Hoboken, one of the most popular activities with the populace is getting smashed. Kids getting smashed, their parents with them, too. Sometimes old people get smashed, sometimes young. There is no rhyme or reason, its just the thing to do in Hoboken - Get Smashed! Some people get lighly smashed, some get moderately smashed and some go to a full smashing, and enjoy every minute of it. 051407 005.jpg
I like to get smashed, and I just discovered how delightful it can be on a Saturday morning to get smashed.

Now don't get me wrong, i'm not talking about the use of alcohol, I am talking about The Bagel Smashery, with their two locations in Hoboken at 152 1st Street (btwn Bloomfield and Garden) and 918 Willow Ave.

I have seen the Bagel Smashery on many occasions, passing by it on 918 Willow when McMahon's Brownstone used to host the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken. Now that i'm a resident of downtown Hoboken, I pass by the First Street Bagel Smashery and asked myself, "What's all the fuss?"

Saturday I entered the store with an open mind and an empty stomach. It wasn't terribly busy, and I quickly placed my order for an egg bagel, with bacon, egg and cheese - "SMASHED".051407 002.jpg

Then I started to ask the person working there, "What's the deal with the smash?"

She gave me a look like I had horns coming out of my head and said, "What da'ya mean?"

"The smashing thing. What's the deal? The 411? Why smash a bagel?", I asked.

"Is this your first time here?", she replied.

"How did you ever guess?", I chortled.

"Have you ever had a Cuban sandwich?", she asked.

"Sure, I get them weekly from La Isla up the street.", I said.

"It's the same idea. We press the bagel to press the bacon, egg, cheese and bagel together, making the outside crispy and the inside nicely smashed together for a compact, tasty meal.", she told me.

How interesting.

She went on to explain about the owners and the history of the Bagel Smashery, and it was a bit hard to understand with various dates of them leaving, selling the place, this is what I gathered .051407 004.jpgfrom what she told me and what the website detailed:

The very first Bagel Smashery was established in 1995, on 718 Washington Street, and changed owners & licensing in 1996. In 1997, it moved out of Hoboken, to the consternation of the original owners, but in 2002, Bagel Smashery returned to 153 First Street. With its popularity soaring, they opened another store on 918 Willow Street in 2003. They are entertaining licensing business opportunities, and from what I was told the owners are also trying to petition a major corporation to license their product for sales in their stores

I waited only a brief amount of time, noticing that the Bagel Smashery had about 6 or so "smashers" lined up ready to press customer's bagels. They also had a good deal of coffee, and various waters or juices to choose from. I grabbed a small cup of coffee an orange juice and my bagel (which cost about $3.85). I went home and decided to try this crazy concoction.

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the core product, the bagel, smashed, with the bacon, egg and cheese was an enormous hit. Delicious. Crispy. Gooey, but not sloppy. Tender egg combined with a flavorful bacon, and a soft cheese on a lightly toasted warm bagel was an absolute delight for my morning tastebuds.051407 009.jpg

Then I made the mistake of trying the coffee. It was fairly bitter, and very dissapointing when combined with their delightful breakfast sandwich.

I know that Bagel Smashery regulars are going to be chomping at the bit to email me and tell me how wrong I am. Remember, I am merely a man with my tastes which may be different that your tastes. My presumptious attitude may be angering you, but maybe I just got a bad batch of the coffee. Who knows?

But don't let my coffee experience deter you!

It isn't the Coffee Smashery, it's the Bagel Smashery, and they know how to smash those bagels just right. I got smashed, and i'm ready to get smashed just about every weekend I think. I mean, you can't say you are living in Hoboken if you don't get smashed, now and again, can you?

City Council Meetings 2007

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2007 - Hoboken Meetings

Combined
May 10, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
May 14, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
May 15, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
May 16, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
May 22, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7

June 5, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
June 6, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
June 11, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
June 12, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
June 14, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
June 19, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
June 20, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

July 1, 2007 City Council Reorganization Meeting Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
July 3, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
July 9, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
July 10, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
July 12, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
July 17, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
July 18, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

August 7, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
August 8, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
August 9, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
August 13, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
August 14,2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
August 21, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor

September 4, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
September 5, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
September 10, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
September 11, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
September 13, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
September 18, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
September 19, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

October 2, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
October 3, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
October 9, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
October 11, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
October 15, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
October 16, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
October 17, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

November 5, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
November 7, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
November 8, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
November 13, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
November 19, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
November 20, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
November 21, 2007 City Council Monday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

December 4, 2007 Planning Board Tuesday Regular Meeting 7:00
December 5, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7
December 10, 2007 Shade Tree Commission Monday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
December 11, 2007 Historic Preservation Tuesday caucus 6, meeting at 7
December 13, 2007 Planning Board Thursday Sub Committee
December 18, 2007 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor
December 19, 2007 City Council Wednesday Caucus at 6, Meeting at 7

January 15, 2008 Zoning Board Tuesday 7:00 Conference Room City Hall -ground floor


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Originally uploaded by Furey.
Here's a pic of the Arts & Music Festival.

I was out for about an hour snapping a few shots, and got to see a few friends along the way.

A special congratulations to my friend Michelle on her engagement. She ran up to me, showed off the rock with squealing in delight, with: "Can you believe it?"

I actually can. A great girl, that one.

Also got to see the man, myth, machine, legend: Hoboken Eddie (he's in the Superman shirt, showing off his sauce). It has been a year since I saw him last, amazing how big his kids are now!

Got to try some various foods, and my favorite always is the pulled pork BBQ sandwiches from a vendor on 3rd and Washington. Least favorite was the chicken kebab from a Greek vendor on 5th and Washington - chicken was blackened on one side, thrown on a pita roll and barely any sauce for $5. Terrible, couldn't even finish half of it.

Was it me or was this year stroller central? I'm all for the new mommies and daddies out there, and certainly it is very hard for them, as parents.

But I have to add this observation by a friend that really made me wonder about people and the general level lack of civility that exists today she emailed me this on Monday:

THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A FRIEND, NOT ME!!!



"As per usual (of late) the strollers were ANNOYING AS HELL yesterday, and why people feel a need to bring their yippy little dogs to a place where they will likely be stepped on is beyond me. But moving on....



My cousin joined me for her first Arts & Music Fest and wanted Ben & Jerry's, so she and her boyfriend went in to get some. I waited outside smoking (outside of the gated area too so as not to blow smoke on the people eating) and I noticed a little boy, no older than three or so, in his stroller seated at a table facing the sun. He's dropped his sword and he's calling for "Daddy" to pick it up. I look closer and see not only is the kid sitting facing into the sun, he's sitting alone. The table next to him is ignoring him, so it's quite clear that they're not with him. Now he's shrieking for "DADDY" and I put out my cigarette and walk over and pick up the sword and hand it to the kid, looking around for "Daddy" to come by. Nothing. So I stand with the kid (mind you, this is in front of Ben & Jerry's, right by the windows/doors) debating on what to do. I finally decide to call the non-emergency police dept' b/c these parents have left the kid unattended for ten minutes and for the last two to three I'm hovering over their child and they're not showing up.



Just as I open up my phone out walks Daddy with a giant ice cream cone and the little boy's sister-she's about five and holding her own. He says "What are you doing with my son?" So I said, "Just getting ready to report an abandoned child, sir. He dropped his sword ten minutes ago and about five minutes ago I finished my smoke and picked it up for him. Where have you been?"



He says to mind my own business and his wife walks out with their other tow-headed daughter, about five also (probably twins). They're both in their late 30's/early forties. Between them, they ordered five ice creams but LEFT THE TWO TO THREE YEAR OLD IN A STROLLER TO GUARD A TABLE FOR THEM. That's SERIOUSLY ridiculous.



So the father says to me "Get away from my son and never smoke around a child again." The wife says, "Who is SHE??" and I walked away and waited for my cousin.



I didn't bother to correct them that I was standing on the other side of the gate, five feet from the tables smoking, or that I waited for them to help their own son or anything. I was completely disgusted. Who leaves a child unattended and unwatched for that long? If you saw a stranger standing next to your child and trying to talk to your three year old, wouldn't you rush right over and find out what that stranger was up to?"

With my move, I have decided to get out and explore a bit more. Two friends of mine suggested I try Fiore's Deli, located at 414 Adams St., saying how incredible their famous Roast Beef and Mozzarella heroes were.050707a.JPG

But they warned me. First - They only sell this on Saturday. Second - I needed to be aware that they run out of this very fast, and I needed to be there early. Third, there could be lines outside the door. Fourth, they were very no-nonsense there and even likened them to the Seinfeld episode of "The Soup Nazi". I have to admit I wasn't that interested in going to a deli to get yelled at, but the prospect of this roast beef compelled a visit.

I got to the store at 11:30am on a Saturday. There were about 6 people in line ahead of me, and I casually looked around, trying to watch how others were ordering their food. It didn't seem very tense, and even the workers there were joking with what appeared to be "the regulars".

There was a tall blonde girl ahead of me, listening to music on her Ipod. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Ok, i'm new here what's the deal?"

She seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. I clarified.

"You know, the whole "ordering process" like The Soup Nazi. Do I have to do anything special when ordering, like have my money ready or shuffle left?"

She laughed, and so did an older italian couple to my left who were finishing up with their order.

The older italian man said, "I saw that episode last night!"

The girl replied, "No, it isn't that bad. Just first choose your bread - the hero or the roll - and go up and order what you want."

I was a bit relieved, this place seemed ok to me.

I grabbed a long, fresh italian bread from the dispenser and waited. I love the italian bread in Hoboken - is it the water? - something that Hoboken and Philly always did right was their bread. I only wish someone up here made Fresh Soft Pretzels (Whoop! Whoop! Million Dollar Idea - someone franchise a soft pretzel factory in Hoboken, make millions then thank me...could you imagine owning a place that that, approaching every bar in town on Football Sundays to see if they want an box to sell...trust me, it will sell...), like home.

I get up to the end of the line, and make my order quick, like I know what i'm talking about, "Roast Beef, Mutz, Light on Gravy..."

The guy listened to the point where I said "Roast Beef, Mutz..." and started to talk with a regular customer, so my "light on gravy" intertwined with their conversation. I wasn't sure if he heard me, and didn't want to push my luck by saying, "LIGHT ON GRAVY!" or something. I hate a mushy sandwich when the gravy soaks into the roll and ruins everything into a sloppy mess.

I turned waited to the right, and the worker, lead me to the side, so he could finish the order. That's where I decided to push my luck. I asked him if he could hold up the sandwich.

"What? You want something to remember it by?", he joked.050707b.JPG


The old italian couple laughed at this.

I explained I wrote for a local website. I was going to write an article about "My day I went to Fiore's..."

He nodded, and reached into a pan, and quickly handed me a slice of fresh Mozzarella, saying "We have the best in town."

I tasted the slice of mutz, and felt the milky creaminess mixed with a salty brine, overtake my senses. It had a great consistency, not too firm and not too soft. I was already looking forward to my sandwich.

I scurried home, sandwich in hand and quickly realized something.

I may have ordered too much.

Hey, i'm an eater. I can wolf down lots of food, but my first mistake was picking a long italian hero. This was enough sandwich for two people (look at the picture!). I remember at the store they did ask me, "You want a whole italian hero?" and I was confused at the question and said, "Yes?"

I think they sort of knew I was biting off more than I could chew (no pun intended.....ok, maybe a little). In retrospect, I think they would have sliced the bread in half for me, if I asked.

The roast beef was on the rare side, the way I like it. When I was at the store the older italian lady did ask them for "Not-so-rare-roast-beef", so you can order that if you like, if they have it.

The gravy was added perfectly, there was a bit of "mush", but the buttery goodness of that roll, the mutz and the hero created a symphony of delight in my mouth. It was that rare time when i'm eating and thinking, "Man, this is so good."

I finished half of the sandwich and was DONE. I felt bad that I couldn't share it with someone else, but now I can. Get down to Fiore's this Saturday. Order the Roast Beef and Mozzarella. Remember the rules:

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Then email me or post a comment about what YOU think. I have been in Hoboken for 12 years now. This is written for those people, like me, who need to get out and adventure, and try new places in our town.


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Originally uploaded by Furey.
I was at the fundraiser last night and brought along my digital SLR.

With the election only a few days away, happened to catch a few candidates for office at the event also.

I think the fundraiser went really well, I was there to support my friend Brian Gibson. Got to see other people I knew - including my old fraternity brother Rob Blandi. I haven't seen him for about 12 years, and was floored that he was at the fundraiser.

The fundraiser had an open bar, delicious food provided by local restaurants, a raffle and a silent auction. I was very impressed with the turnout and hope to attend next year's event.

The Armenian Nightmare

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It has almost been two weeks since I moved into my condo.

I tried to get the condo ready before I moved in, even staying at my old apartment for two weeks to give my contractor and painter time to work on my new condo while I wasn't there.

The contractor, Sammy, and I went over a series of goals in my condo, and he did a lot of work on my place before I moved in. For the last ten days, however, he was waiting to install my shelving. I kept reminding him to do it, but he had other priorities in mind and other jobs to work on. It was getting to a point where I was getting really angry. I was living out of boxes.

People would say to me, "Wow, you must be so excited to have your own place! Aren't you happy?"

No. I wasn't happy. I was pissed off. Sammy imploded my kitchen. My closet shelving wasn't done. I felt like I was on a camping trip in my new home. All my clothes were in boxes. When I would wake up, I would shower, then rummage around in my boxes for something to wear.

The "American Dream" was instead an "Armenian Nightmare". I was like a refugee in a war-torn condo, living on the brink somewhere between homeowner and homeless.

For the last 10 days I kept saying to Sammy: "Hey, can we get the closet shelving done?"

Sammy would be like "Sure, sure. I will take care of that very soon."

I'd rush home from work, like a kid on Christmas morning, hoping i'd walk in the house and see the closet shelving done. Each day i'd be disappointed to see that nothing has changed. I would call him and sometimes get his voice mail. When I could reach him it was "always tomorrow".

Finally, I called Sammy with a new attitude. Up until this point I had been nice to the guy. Persistent, but nice. My tone changed.

I already paid Sammy over 1/2 of the money we agreed on for our budget. My phone call wasn't nasty, but I just said basically that I have been living in boxes for the last 10 days and I have been waiting for him to put up the closet shelving. I reminded him what I already paid him, and asked him basically point blank: "Please - help me to live like a human being. Get me out of living from boxes and put up the shelving."

Sammy pulled through and put up my closet shelving on Wednesday. I got home from work and I was very excited to see what he did. It was amazing the difference I was feeling while unboxing everything I owned and put it on my new shelves. I had so much storage space! It was the first time since I moved into my condo that it started to feel like...a home.


Here's some shots of the before and after pictures after the jump...

Top 5: Hoboken Politics

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Here's my Top 5 take on Hoboken Politics after living here for 13 years...

1. There is a strong sense of cronyism (Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in in political appointments to office.) Hoboken.

2. With such a small town, there are many families who hold various offices. For example, Terry LaBruno is the head of the city council. Her husband is the Hoboken Fire Department Battalion Chief, Joseph LaBruno. Terry's uncle was Steve Cappiello, served the city of Hoboken from 1963-1991 both as a city councilman and three-term mayor. Theresa Castellano is a councilwoman, her husband Robert, is a member of the Hoboken Detective Bureau. Then there is Michael Russo, a council person and his father, Anthony, was also mayor of Hoboken and was incarcerated for corruption.

3. I have had my own experiences with City Hall, and the people that work there. My own personal opinion is that the "newcomers" (i.e. those who aren't Born and Raised in Hoboken) are mostly held in contempt for their opinions. We don't count because we haven't lived here our whole lives. But the same Born and Raised people are more than happy to collect our taxes and rent money. Hey, I have only been here 13 years, what do I know? Also there is a strong sense of: "If you speak out against ANYONE in Hoboken city council, they will retaliate against you."

4. There are a lot of people who I call "entrenched". They are fortified in the city government or are city workers and they can't see past their paycheck. You talk about balancing the budget or reducing taxes and they are horrified at the prospect of losing money. They will rally their friends, family, everyone they know to protest the loss of their pay over the idea that Hoboken should reduce the overblown spending.

5. Getting an honest answer to an honest question is nearly impossible. Try it. Next time you see Mayor Roberts please ask: "How we can have the Chief of the Hoboken police department paid MORE than the Chief of the NYC police department? How are you, Mayor Roberts, paid $25,000 more than the mayor of Jersey City?"

With that being said, I fully hope everyone gets out for the elections on May 8th. I hope all our residents take the time to visit Hoboken411 to read about their candidates, and pick the one which best represents them.

Voting in the first ward, i'd choose Ron Rosenberg for first ward council. I have had the chance, in the past, to speak personally to Ron about the issues I have about Hoboken, and he is the progressive, independent choice for a way that the residents can clean house in city council. He has lived in the first ward for 25 years, and helped create "People For Open Government", which is a grass roots citizen group that fights for government reform.

I mean if you ask me, look at the council people in there: Castellano, Russo, LaBruno - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that they are basically a family-based coalition running this town into the ground. Pay police officers MORE money? No problem! Keep open a failing hospital! No problem! Screw the taxpayers! No problem!

Look, if you are for the "Rubber Stamp Council" of Hoboken, then vote for the other guys. If you want change, I can wholeheartedly endorse Bill Noonan (Great Today, Better Tomorrow) in the 6th Ward, Ron Rosenberg (Our Clear Choice For Change!) in the 1st Ward and Frank Raia in the 3rd Ward.

Oh, and spare me the mud-slinging in the comments.

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