January 2008 Archives

Seth

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I'm sure you have read the news on Hoboken411 or Hoboken Now . They have stories about a tragic fire, a young man dying, another one of the masses in Hoboken perishing.

Well Seth (pictured, center)was a member of the club I founded013108.jpg, The Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken, and although I didn't know him personally, I recognized him when the photo was relased from CBS news. I had a photo of him on 10/12/05 when the Eagles played Dallas, and when the Eagles Club used to organize at Dipper's Bar (new bar is Mikie Squared, and we meet at Mulligan's Bar now).

Very sad and tragic, I feel for his family members, I know how hard it must feel to lose someone so close to you.

Rest In Peace, Seth.

Omaha Bedding Company

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There are decisions that we make in our lives which impact our quality of life us in various ways. Some small decisions, like the soap you buy, or the clothes you wear or the food you eat. Some greater decisions, like the car you drive, the home you own or the mattress you sleep on.

Mattress?

If one third of our day is spent dedicated to sleeping, or in the case of the Hobokenite who may spend one fourth of their day sleeping, how you sleep becomes very important. The quality of the bed you choose can impact the restfulness of your sleep and, ahem, other activities.

My first year living in NYC, I was in Brooklyn Heights in 1994. When I moved in I had a single bed, which worked out nicely in my two bedroom apartment that I shared with Brad, near Atlantic Avenue. I didn't think much of it, it did the job and I was fresh out of college. When I moved to Hoboken in spring of 1995, and brought my bed, my brother and I were talking on the phone about it. His one comment about my single bed was "Dude, you got to step up to the major leagues."

The next day I was at Sleepy's and shopping for a new bed. I figured I would get a double bed, and maybe the extra long model, since with my old single bed, stretching out my feet would hang over the bed. While at the store the salesperson tells me that a double-long is good, but for a little bit more, a Queen size is wider and just as long.

Back then, I didn't do much research aside from just trying a few beds and picking a $600 Queen size from a manufacturer I never heard of. It was suprisingly comfortable, and my past girlfriends have said they thought it was comfortable, too. It served me well for many years.

When I moved to my new condo, I noticed that my poor dependable bed has started to sag in the middle . So, in my typical fashion, I started to research buying a new bed.

I looked at various models. I read a lot of literature on soft vs firm vs orthopedic mattresses. Craftmatic adjustable beds. Tempur-Pedic mattress foam. I asked my family and friends what they slept on.

Then I heard an interesting story. My sister told me that for years they would stay at The Four Seasons and loved their beds. Loved it so much that they asked the Ritz-Carlton group, which manages the Four Seasons, to divulge who manufacturers their beds.

It turns out that it wasn't a large manufacturer like Sealy or Simmons, but a small 100 employee company in Nebraska called "Omaha Bedding Company". She got the phone number, called and spoke to them about buying the same bed that they provided for The Four Seasons. The model number was T446.

My sister and her husband were thrilled to get it, and enjoyed it so much that they bought one for both their kids and for the guest bedroom. They even approached my parents years ago, asking if they could split the costs of buying one at my parents house, so when they visited, they would have a T446 to sleep on.

I got to try the bed when I visited my mother over the holidays. It was very comfortable, with a firm feel, but a pillowtop softness. When I laid down to sleep, I was out like a light. With my bed nearing the end of it's life and hearing so many good things about the T446, I called Omaha Bedding and asks for the particulars.

First, the bed isn't cheap. It cost $1,350, which includes the white glove shipping & set up to Hoboken, NJ. I'm sure the price can vary depending on where you live. I also bought the frame which was $50 and didn't want to deal with removing the mattress, which costs $75. Total cost was $1,475. I was a bit put off by paying that much money, because with the new condo I was trying to keep costs down to pay off a few nagging debts that weren't serious, but I don't like things like that hanging over my head.

I told my sister about it and she emailed me back, "Think of it this way - it is at a minimum a 10 year investment you are making - prorated out of over 10 years it is $150 a year to sleep in a bed that will AMAZE you in its comfort level....Your call though :)"

Good point, don't you think?

Then my recent back injury happened and my need for a quality bed went from moderate to important. My current bed is 13 years old, served me well, and I need to pull the trigger again on an important investment. I don't want to skimp and save money, taking a chance that i'd buy a bed that doesn't provide good support and comfort.

Interested in an Omaha T446 yourself? Hey, i'm all about the details, too:

Omaha Bedding
PO Box 27396
Omaha, NE 68127-0396
Phone 402-733-8600

The Omaha Bedding Company beds aren't found in a local showroom, like a Sleepy's. They are a small company, and they highly discourage anyone from buying the bed who haven't actually slept on one. If you are reading what I wrote and thinking, "Well if Sean likes it, so will I..." - that isn't a good idea. Go to a Four Seasons Hotel that has that bed (all of them should have it, but you never know). Try it before you buy it is the mantra here.

Customers have to purchase this the old fashioned way. They don't use email or Amazon.com - a customer will write a letter detailing what exactly they want to buy. The customer has include a personal check with the letter, Omaha Bedding Co doesn't accept credit cards. It takes about two weeks to process the order and another 7-10 days for delivery.

I'm sure this isn't for everyone, but as I get older I find that i'd rather invest in good quality items, to provide the best sleep I can afford. I will tell you how everything goes in a future update.


On Friday I was at work (Corporation X) and just walked in the door. I have a few projects that I work on, and one of them was to set up a Sun workstation. I had two 75 pound boxes to move around and they didn't have any handhold cutouts or anything to help with lifting. What I should have done was get someone to help, but me being dumb, I decided to lift them anyway.

Two quick points:

1. I was careful about not lifting with my back, and lifting with my knees. I was always very careful about this over the years.
2. The box shape was just too big, and to pick it up was the main issue, it had no good handholds.

My middle back twinged a bit, and I knew something was wrong. After an hour it stiffened up, and even typing at my desk was really difficult. Breating hurt. If I lifted my arms it hurt. I couldn't even concentrate on work. I got up, told my boss that I was going to the doctor.

I went to my sports medicine office uptown, after taking two Tylenol and they did a battery of therapies on me. They did electric stimulation, massage, chiropractic adjustment, and a ultra-sound on my back, which showed inflammation near the 7th & 8th vertebrae. The doctor gave me a muscle relaxer, and told me "It is going to get worse before it gets better."

On my way home, I called the bar, spoke to the owners and told them about my back. They covered my shift.

I went home and being stuck in my condo isn't really a terrible fate as long as my internet and cable are working. I played games, watched TV and slept - a lot. The muscle relaxer is crazy. I take the pill and about 45 minutes later it literally knocks me out.

My eyelids get droppy and next thing I know it is two hours later, with me either lying on the couch in front of the TV or me in front of my PC. It's like someone walks into my home, and hits me with a frying pan. I'm out!

Friday was not too bad, my back was sore. Saturday was worse, my back was very tight. Hot showers helped loosen the muscles. I also tried some stretching, using techniques from a book that my friend recommended, which was the Wharton Stretch Book. I feel a bit better, but not 100%.

Sleeping is difficult, because of the pain. It is like an isolated sharp pain, and on a scale of 1 to 10 i'd give it a 4 for the pain scale. Standing, i'm fine. Lying down hurts a bit. Sitting down i'm in a lot of pain. I guess it is because the spine curves and the compression on the muscle causes the inflammation to aggravate more.

I get a call Saturday night and it's Matt. He's at a bar. He tells me he's at my bar with his two cousins, his wife and a bunch of wife's cute girlfriends (one of his wife's past jobs was being a cheerleader for The Philadelphia Kixx). I tell him about my back and that i'm home and can't bartend and was in no condition to go out for a drink. Yes, i'm an idiot, but i'm not going to go out with my back in pain, and try to have a fun time. I won't have a fun time.

Sunday rolls around and things feel a bit better. But still my back nags, but i'm not in as much pain as Saturday. I don't have the spasms that I would get if I moved a certain way.

Monday morning rolls around and I call in sick. My back still hurts, and I know sitting at a desk for nine hours is just going to make things worse. I'm home today. I'm certainly open and willing to listen to your suggestions on treating back pain. I was thinking of buying a heating pad, because the hot showers make my back feel better, and I figured that would help with the pain. I'm going to try and do some stretches again today.

Refinancing?

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I emailed my mortgage lender and asked what the rates were like. She told me that she could get me a 30 year fixed loan on 5.25%. I was shocked, considering that last year my rate was 5.875%. I'm not going to go into details of my mortgage costs or whatever on here...

I priced out a refinance of my mortgage and it was about $150 per month savings. I'd still have to pay appraisal, title - usually 1/2 of original, escrow taxes - get old escrow taxes back, a few junk fees- credit, survey, flood, attorney to close the refi hired by the lender...which can add up to $2,000.

But, spending $2,000 to save $150 a month, i'd make my money back in a 14 months. I don't plan on moving in the next couple of years, and it seems logical to me to refinance.

Is there a rule of thumb on refinancing? Do you just take the costs of refinancing divided by the money saved per month and make sure you are planning to stay in your current unit for that amount of time? Are there any dangers, like to my credit rating, if I were to refinance?

I'm sort of new at this, maybe there are smarter people out there who can offer some insight.

Body Balance

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Body Balance
20 Hudson Place
Hoboken, NJ 07030
201-420-7277

Spa Hours
Sunday 11am-8pm
Monday thru Friday 9am-10pm
Saturday 9am-6pm


I decided to drop by Body Balance, located at their new location on 20 Hudson Place in Hoboken on Friday. I have been stressed out the last week, and recently recovered from a head cold. I needed some pampering, and to me, it's important to indulge ourselves with relaxation, peace and tranquility in the form of a great massage.

In my quest to find inner peace, I have visited other spas in our city, and by far, Body Balance offers everything that I want: A great price, A wonderful experience and a professional atmosphere when getting a massage.

Body Balance's 011608a.jpgno frills approach was started by Melissa Guido, originally from Maine, who settled into Hoboken during 1999, while working for Cooper Lighting. She left the corporate world in 2002, to follow her dream of being a business owner and do something that she, herself, enjoyed: massages. She went to massage school, and while doing so got her national certification to be a massage therapist. Melissa started her business out of her apartment on 12th and Garden, honing her skills and building a client base. Over the years, she expanded her business out of her house into an office, but kept to her business mantra of a relaxed, comfortable, homey atmosphere to enjoy a massage. Her low prices, which haven't been raised in years, reflects her simple concept of keeping the body tuned with massage therapy and to encourage repeat business. She feels that a higher priced massage will force people to indulge themselves every once in a while for pleasure or when in pain, rather on a proactive, repeat basis.

I couldn't agree more.

First, lets talk about the costs of a massage. Depending on where you go and the type of massage you want, the price can vary. Let's not even compare New York City prices. I have found that Body Balance's prices are the lowest in town, with rates (before taxes) starting at $45.00 for the first 30 minutes. One hour is $75.00. 1 and a half, $100. 2 hours is $130. Oh, and don't forget - first time clients get a $10 discount off your first session of 60 minutes or longer!

As a rate of comparison, other facilities cost higher, up to $15 per session!

Second, i'll say that their new location is wonderful. They refurbished the entire business, with a clean, soothing decor coupled with multiple private rooms. Long-time Body Balance customers will remember the transisition to 20 Hudson, when their office was located in the Hoboken Business Center, and mere curtains seperated each other during a massage! Those days are long past, and they have five private rooms, with only the sounds of the white noise generator and soft music filling the air, along with the dim lighting that compliments the surroundings.

Third, they offer any kind of massage you want. Traditional Swedish, Deep Tissue, Nuad Bo Rarn (which costs more, see website for details), Neuromuscular, Sport Massage - the list goes on and on. When I went in, the therapist and I discussed the type of massage I .011608b.JPGwanted, and if I had any areas of my body that needed attention. I wanted a sports massage, and asked the therapist to focus on a nagging achilles / hamstring issue in my left leg that started a few weeks ago while on the treadmill. I felt great afterwards and started up on the ellipticals this week, without any pain and plan to ease my way back into running shortly.

Lastly, lets talk about the people who work there. Like I wrote in the past, there are other establishments which take you for granted. Every time I have been to Body Balance, the massage therapists are excellent. The front desk employees are considerate. They have treated me great everytime I have been there, and that is multiple visits under my belt. The old adage "The Customer Is Our First Priority" certainly applies to Body Balance. Melissa trains each massage therapist on her staff to make sure her personal techniques are incorporated into a massage at Body Balance.

To me, it is a no-brainer. Body Balance is the lowest priced, best massage in Hoboken. Located at 20 Hudson, it's literally across the street from the PATH (above the new City Diner), and convienent for most of Hoboken (Even with a $5 cab ride from uptown you would STILL save $10 per massage!).

Governor Corzine: Fix Hoboken Congestion!

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There's lots of things we can fix about Hoboken, and I just read this news story about how Governor Corzine will widen parts of a 7.6 mile segment of Route 17:

"New Jersey will widen parts of a 7.6-mile segment of Route 17 in Bergen County, a $305.3 million project to improve traffic flow on what Governor Jon Corzine's administration called the state's most congested roadway.

The state will add one or two lanes to 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) of the road, creating a consistent six lanes from Williams Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights to south of Route 4 in Paramus. Initial studies for the project may begin as soon as 2009, Corzine said in a statement today.

The Route 17 congestion highlights the need for the state to have a stable and dedicated funding source for transportation work, Corzine said. The first-term Democrat last week presented lawmakers with a plan to cut the state's $30 billion debt in half and fund road projects for the next 75 years.

``Restructuring our state's finances will enable us to reduce congestion on Route 17 and fund long-overdue congestion relief projects throughout New Jersey,'' Corzine, 61, said in the statement."

If you ask me, long overdue is fixing the entrance to Hoboken. My suggestion is simple, that the state pay to change the NJ Turnpike when it comes into the Holland Tunnel. In my first map, it details how currently the traffic connects to the Holland Tunnel:


011508a.JPG

As you can see, all the traffic from the NJ Turnpike flows into 14th street, to the first traffic light. This includes Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City traffic with the NY bound traffic. During holidays and the summer season, this traffic can back up to extreme levels. Some of my smarter readers already know about Hoboken's Secret Entrance if they read my blog.

In my new map, this is how I would change the traffic pattern:

011508b.JPG

The red line represents an offramp from the NJ Turnpike, which would cross over the incoming traffic from the tunnel & 14th street. It would connect to Hoboken Avenue, where the green circle represents a traffic light. Also, this would be off-ramp only. The way to get on to the NJ Turnpike would remain the same.

Hoboken Avenue and Newark Avenue would be connected, and I suspect that at one time (I mean look at the satellite map), that they were once one road (Hoboken & Newark make an almost straight line to each other).

Also i'd connect Hoboken Avenue to New York Ave/Observer Highway, to alleviate congestion at 18th street and the new Hoboken/Newark Connection.

If Governor Corsine really means to fund long overdue congestion, I think this is one of many good places to start.

Lock Bumping

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I'm fairly up on most things internet, and not too many news stories make it past me. This story was easily the most shocking thing i've seen in a long time, forwarded to me by Kathleen. Really makes you wonder how safe your home is. I think the lock on my door is bump-proof, because of the non-standard design, but I have to double check.

Am I Too Old For A Shore House?

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I'm a huge fan of the beach.

I grew up in the suburbs of Philly, and every summer from 1985 to 1994 I was in Ocean City, NJ. We first started as weekly shoobies, and eventually we rented a home for the whole year. I'm the kind of guy you can give a towel, a chair, some magazines and my iPod and i'll stay on the beach all day.

Growing up I was a bit....spoiled....with my beach experience.

My parents had a beautiful shore house with 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths and 2 half baths across the street from the ocean on 28th and Wesley. 010808.jpgThey even had it when I moved up to New York, but I didn't have a car. I tried renting cars, but that proved difficult because Hertz was always closed on Sundays (at the time) and i'd get charged an extra day for returning the car on Monday.

I had a shore house with some friends in 1996.

When a friend of mine, Brian T., said, "Hey, want to get a half-share in a shore house in Spring Lake?"

My mind immediately thought of Ocean City and my experiences there. I figured it would be a big place, with like 5 bedrooms and 10 people or so. I agreed to a "half-share", after it was explained to me that i'd have the rights to come every other weekend.

Sounded like fun, and for $800 it seemed like it was a good deal.

I can't describe in vivid detail to you about this place, and you have to just take my word for it. First, it wasn't really even a house. It was three seperate shacks that had 2 bedrooms each and one shack had a shower. As a half-share I didn't have rights to a bed, I would "just have to find a place to crash" which was a couch (if I was lucky) or the floor, which smelled like mildew.

Sleeping, as you may know, is sort of a big deal to me. I can sleep on couches. But my first weekend was me on some pillows on the floor and waking up at 7am on Saturday with roommates making breakfast and the room filled with light from our barely shaded windows.

I wasn't happy.

I think I went one other weekend, and that was it. That was my first shore experience.

For years after that, when I would hear about people going to the northern NJ beaches, I would think of my experience in Spring Lake. I had a bad experience, and little incentive to go again.

For years I have enjoyed Hoboken in summer. It was quiet, and most of my friends didn't have shore houses. So it worked out nicely. I did miss the beach, but after Spring Lake, I would always groan when I thought about being in overpopulated shore houses sleeping on an air mattress. If the right situation presented itself, i'd be interested.

I was coaxed once again to do a shore house in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island in 2004, by my buddy Chris.

LBI certainly wasn't as bad as Spring Lake. I had a full share, my own bed, and only one roommate (Chris). It wasn't the Taj Mahal, it was a very basic place with very little frills. It was four blocks from the beach, and a block from a local pub, The Hud. The only downfall was the 2 hour drive from Hoboken, depending on traffic.

This year Chris again has a possible shore house in Bradley Beach. I'm 99% sure that i'm going to do it but I also sort of wonder....

Am I too old for a shore house?

I'll be 36 in a month. Chris is 37. The rest of the renters are in their 30's, I think. Plus, its a 3 bedroom place, with about 8 full shares. I haven't seen it, but Chris lived there in years past, saying it was a block from the beach on Ocean Avenue. Bradley Beach is about an hour away from Hoboken, if there's no major traffic.

I don't know Bradley Beach at all. I know that Belmar, the bastion of everything Guido, is just south and inside i'm cringing at the thought. Hey, i'm half-Italian, and probably more Italian than most of them, but i'm embarassed to see how my countrymen from Italy act.

I honestly don't see myself going to the clubs. I'm hoping there's a cool pub down there that I can chill out at after a day on the beach. As much as I enjoy Hoboken during summer, i'm kind of up for something different this year.

Fire At McSwiggan's

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I got this email from a friend...


We are having a fundraiser at O'Donoghues this Friday 1/11/2008. It will be $20 at the door and we will have $1 beers from 7-11pm. All of the proceeds at the door will go to those who were affected by the fire at McSwiggens. There will also be a bucket if anyone would like to make an additional donation.

Please pass this along to anyone that you think would like to lend a helping hand. BRING YOUR FRIENDS !

Thanks, hope to see everyone there !

Janine
Head Bartender O'Donoghues

010808b.jpg

I'm sure you read the news already on Hoboken411 or RealHoboken about the fire.

In case you missed this, Perry let us know where to drop off any clothing donations:

"Spoke with Aiden Boyle, the owner of the bar and building and told him about the donations we're collecting here. He told me he was heavily insured, and doesn't need the help. Also, he believes most residents had insurance, but he's not 100%. In the meanwhile, any donations, clothing, supplies or anything else you can think of, can be dropped off at the Dubliner."

Before going to bed on Monday morning, I knew about the fire, because I read 411's quick update when the fire started. I was going to grab my Canon SLR and go out and take a few shots, but stopped myself because it was so late and I had to work the next morning. In retrospect, after seeing some of the pictures, I realized that next time i'll lose some sleep, looked like a good chance to get some interesting shots.

Inaction vs Action?

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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