Hoboken: August 2005 Archives

Massage at Spa H

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I decided this week to treat myself to one of my favorite ways to indulge myself - with a massage. I'm a fan of massages, head rubs or back scratches. Any of my ex-girlfriends can attest to this. I will return the favor, and I think i'm fairly good at it.

I had 082205.jpgto decide where in Hoboken to get a massage, and there are many places you can get one. I chose Spa H, formerly known as River Spa (3 months after River Spa opened another spa trademarked the name "River Spa"). I chose the spa for two reasons:

1. It was bright, clean and new. The facility just opened less than a year ago and the design is much like Club H's environment. I have been to some massage parlors in the city that, while cheap, had each "booth" just seperated by a curtain. I wasn't interested in hearing someone next to me get a massage.

2. Club H members get 10% off all services. The massage, normally $90 - was only $81 with the discount. For all the money I pay at Club H - it's nice to get a break for being a member.

I could go into fanciful details about the massage, but it was just as expected. An hour long massage. I chose a Swedish massage, but in retrospect I probably should have gotten a deep tissue massage. I am very tight and sore from working out 4 days a week, plus it really felt great to get my injured leg worked on.

I did talk to my massage therapist and decided to ask her some straightforward questions about her job. I figured that i'd share them with you, so that the rest of Hoboken can learn a thing or two from your friendly neighborhood massage therapists.

1. They are massage therapists, not a masseurs or masseuses. I learned this because I was about to ask Amanda, the massage therapist, her advice on "good" clients and began by saying "As a masseuse...". As soon as I said those three words, I could immediately tell I used the wrong words. We had been chatting amiciably during the massage, and it was a small and slight change in the vibe I got from her that I knew I used the wrong word. I immediately corrected myself and said "Wait - do you guys call yourselves that? What's the proper term". She informed me that a "masseuse" is a bit of a deragatory word which categorizes her profession, but also those that would be found in the back pages of the Village Voice - if you know what I mean. Massage Therapists prefer not to be called a "masseuse". Learn from Furey.

2. Tipping is important. As a bartender, and working as a waiter during my adolescent summers at Ocean City, I learned about how important it was to tip properly. I paid $81 for a massage. If I was at dinner, and had an $81 dollar meal, I would have tipped about $15-20, depending on the service and quality of the meal. The same is true for a massage. If you get a massage, expect to tip in the same range. A $5 tip isn't cutting it, folks.

3. Take your happy endings and shove it. While writing this I was expecting a few snarky emails on Monday asking "Did ya get a happy ending - har har har...". Massage Therapists are performing a job to help you. Guys, no matter how great the massage was, they aren't there for you to hit on them. If you happen to see your massage therapist in a bar, hey, buy 'em a drink - and try to impress them about how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. But at Spa H, or any spa, let the professionals perform their jobs.

4. Hygiene is important. If you just had a big workout - TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE YOU GET A MASSAGE. That means, soap, water and a washcloth. Amanda told me how some people don't exfoliate their skin and during the massage the skin peels off and gets under her nails. How disgusting! It is simply considerate to make sure you don't smell like a New York City cab driver or are sweating like Michael Jackson at a nursery school before you get a massage.

5. Get there early. If you make an appointment for 7pm, try to be there 6:50pm. Massage Therapists are on a schedule. They have clients every hour, so if you are late - that means less blissful massaging for you. Also, that backs up their other appointments if they do give you the full hour. Again, it's another simple way that you, as a client, can be considerate towards the massage therapist, who is trying to give you the very best experience possible.

I thought the massage was good, but at $81, it certainly isn't inexpensive. For the same price, I can get a similar massage in New York City. If you are living in Hoboken, you kind of expect that services around here would be a bit less expensive than the city.

I told Amanda that there were two types of people who lived in Hoboken: Those that love the town or those that can't afford New York. Those that can't afford New York are probably the same people who are poor tippers. They aren't going to shell out $90 for a massage but when they do, they would be the type to skimp on a tip. They are the same people who tip $1 after making them 3 mixed drinks and a Cosmo.

I'm always interested in your comments and emails. If anyone has another spa for me to try - let me know where I should be going for a good massage.

No One Listens To Furey

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See, now if you read about Hop Devil a few weeks ago you would have been on the inside track to the cool beers that are out there. News is out from Philly.com that Hop Devil earned the #14 spot on the "Best 100 in the World".

Read the article here.

Since now that I have been confirmed as the King Of All Knowledge, here are my other ideas for Hoboken (if you are a member of Hobokenchat, you may have seen my rants before on similar topics):

1) Someone build a Taco Bell. I tried Mission Burrito, Fresh Tortillas and Qdoba. The're ok. But I want that cruchy goodness of a Taco Bell. Tell me this place wouldn't clean up if they were open 24 hours? Yes, I know about the Taco Bell Express at the train station and No, it never counted. It wasn't a real Taco Bell.

2) Open J. Crew or Banana Republic. No one likes going to the Newport Mall - it's crap. Garden State Plaza is too far. You know that your target yuppies are here. Anyone know that old bank with the granite facade which is three doors down from The Planet (to the right)? Perfect location for this store.

3) Start making The Arts & Music Festival about Hoboken. There are a lot of talented local musicians (Has anyone listed to the Jazz performers at Scotland Yard?) that I would want to see on stage. I don't understand why the powers that be find these has-been acts to clog our stages. The festival should be about those local artists and musicians. I'd ask Chris Burkhardt from Bama Galleries in Hoboken to help with the art part of the festival, myself. I'm sure the guys at Whiskey Bar or Maxwell's Bar might have a better bead on the local performers that can really rock the stages.

4) Once a month churches should give back to town. Hear me out here. I was once a religious person. I did CCD and all that. Once a month, instead of boring your masses by singing hymns and telling them they are sinful bastards - why not organize 1 hour to helping the community. Tell all your parishoners that next Sunday that instead of mass - we are going to use our 1 hour to try and make our corner of the world a better place? How about an adopt-a-unit campaign for our soldiers in Iraq? Each parishoner gets a soldier as a "buddy" - who they write to, telling them "Thank you for making our world safe" and seeing if we can send them a care package to make them happier while they protect our freedoms? I mean how many "Our Fathers" do we need to get into Heaven, anyhow?

5) Repeal the restrictions on bars. I think the limit on the number of bars you can build in town is horseshit. It figures that Mayor Roberts, who owns East LA, wants to limit the number of bars that can open up. It allows his shithole to have less competition. Also jacks up the prices of crappy bars that are out there, since the owners know that someone with a better idea can't just open up a new bar on Washington St. Sure, we can open up sushi bars, nail salons, real estate agencies and banks to our hearts content but can't open a bar (unless you follow the bizarre restrictions set forth by our city hall)?

6) Lower the Hoboken train station. Build on top of it. It seems a terrible waste that there isn't a better link between Jersey City and Hoboken. Imagine if the train station was underground, and you could build a beautiful park on top of it? Wouldn't that keep all the people who keep yelling for more parks happy? The park would be huge. Of course I don't know how we can PAY for this, but i'm an 'idea man', dammit!

7) Steal my idea - coffee shop by day & bar at night. During the day - you just serve coffee, tea, snacks like a Starbucks geared towards the stay at home moms & the stroller set. Once 9pm hits, the urns shut off and the bar opens up for the drinkers.

8) My million dollar idea: In this age where we single people have become increasingly isolated, there should be a better system to let someone know you are interested in them. Oh sure, all your coupled friends talk about how EASY it is to walk up to strangers and hit on them - until they become single again and whine how hard it has become. I was thinking of some kind of way you could combine match.com with your cell phone's blue tooth. So, let's say you are at a bar and see a cute girl. You casually walk by, click the "#" key when you are in range of her cell phone. The bluetooth from your phone talks to the bluetooth on hers - and if she's single, your phone then connects to the match.com site and you can read her profile & then walk up to her with, "Hey you went to school in Virginia - me, too." as your opening line. If she isn't single, your phone will just display "In A Relationship", and then you don't have to bother her. Of course vice versa for ladies out there who see a cute guy. This idea could work anywhere - on a bus, the gym, work, walking down the street (how many times have you seen a cute girl or guy and wondered if they were single?). Plus match.com (and other sites) need to allow a search function which only displays the area code of "07030". Lets see all the single people in Hoboken, not 1 mile away in New York.

9) There needs to be a law passed at Club H (or other gyms) to stop the following: loud gum snapping, singing while you work out, talking on your cell phone at all, staring at women while they workout, lifting heavy weights with terrible form, or wearing wedding rings (or any jewelery) while you work out.

10) The Hoboken Reporter should reach out to local bloggers and writers for adding their commentary to the newspaper. We do it for free - all you would need to do is fix all my spelling mistakes and credit our sites.

I'm really looking foward to my delivery from FreshDirect on Saturday. I'm very curious about the service and I expect to write up a nice little review on my order for the site and those interested in the quality of the food.

Texas Arizona: Steelers vs Eagles

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Randy sent me an email when I got into work on Monday:

"After reading your website and seeing your schedule for Dippers' hosting of the Eagles I noticed that you are not doing a pre-seaon. Since I have yet to go to a local official Steeler bar I wanted to invite you to join me at Texas-Arizona to see the Eagles get smashed by my Pittsburgh Steelers."

Why not? The Steelers Club of Hoboken has been going in town for 5 years, and from what I heard they are packed every Sunday during the year. Plus it's pre-season, and I figured it would be fun.

In retrospect, I learned a lot of things from this experience:

1) When I walked in, there were easily 40 Steeler fans there. Every barstool and table was occupied by someone in yellow and black. I was impressed for the turnout for just a preseason game.

2) Texas Arizona has excellent buffalo wings. The food is delicious. My only grief is that the service is SLOW. It took 30 minutes for me to get those wings - I figured i'd get a buyback or something. Nada.

3) They have a Steelers fan who DJs for free at the bar. Before the game he is pumping the crowd up with your typical songs that they would play at the stadium and during the commerical breaks during the game - they turn the sound off the TVs and play a song. What a great idea. Time to load up the IPOD with, "Fly Eagles Fly", and some commerical break songs.

4) Every touchdown they play a Steelers variation of "The Pennsylvania Polka" (remember the song from "Groundhog Day?"). They play this song after the touchdown - and during the commericals. I hate polka. It sounds like it was invented by drunk retards who couldn't play real instruments. People may hate the Eagles song - but thankfully it lasts like 30-45 seconds? This polka song is beyond annoying - it ran for at least 5 minutes - I thank God that no one made an Eagles variation. Holy shit. After the 4th Steeler touchdown I was ready to buy a sniper rifle and find a watertower.

5) There are some hot Steeler girls at Texas Arizona. Wow. If I met a girl who was a Steeler fan, I certainly could date them because they were an AFC team - plus anyone from Pennsylvania is cool in my book. She just better hate polka, too. If I met a girl that was a diehard Dallas or Giants fan - I don't think I could date her. I'm serious. I don't hate the Redskins as much, but I wouldn't be happy. I mean - could a diehard Yankee fan date a diehard Red Sox fan?! I'm not talking casual fairweather fans here. Think about it.

6) Texas Arizona has 10 stunning flat screen TVs with HD satellite reception. Crystal clear picture. It was like Ben Roethlisberger's nose was jumping off the screen. After watching the game I was really interested in getting a flat screen TV & hoping never to see a close up of Ben's greasy face again. No offense Steeler fans, but if you slapped a pair of overalls on Ben & handed him a banjo he would look like he belongs on the cast of Deliverance 2: Electric Banjaloo.

7) For those in the club last year - think we had energy? The Steeler fans were right up there with us. Cheering, clapping, singing and high-fiving the whole game. During the regular season, I heard that they have wall-to-wall fans who go bonkers. Last night I would cheer when the Eagles scored, but much like if I was sitting at Giants Stadium - I made sure that I wasn't obnoxious about it. If you know me well enough you will know this did take a supreme act of willpower to remain silent.

8) Like the Eagles club - 75% of the Steeler fans left at half-time. Monday night football is a tough draw. I bet these are the same people who leave a game early to "beat traffic". You pansies.

9) Randy and Tina were 1 hour late - showing up just after 9pm. I was ready to chew on broken glass at that point, with Steeler fans breakdancing around me and listening to them try and clap to their polka songs. I see that white people from Pittsburgh don't have much rythym.

10) At kickoff, I turn to one of the Steeler fans and tell them i'm an Eagles fan and run the club in town. Eagles first posession - interception - TD and after they get done cheering and singing the gay polka song I turn to him and say, "I guess I shouldn't have admitted that." I also had to correct everyone I met that I run the CLUB, and we aren't associated with Scotland Yard.

My thoughts for the game itself (and this is before reading the Eagles website or Philly.com):

1) Anyone think the Eagles miss Ike Reese? I agree that one player isn't a whole team - but he was the leader of that group. They have 4 weeks to fix that coverage.

2) Wow, what a crappy way to start a game with a horrendous pass that gets returned for a TD. Reminded me of the Giants/Eagles playoff game 4 years ago when Ron Dixon returned the kickoff for a TD. Just knocks the wind out of your sails.

3) 21 points on special teams/interceptions. Steelers didn't do squat offensively with the 1st team.

4) The first drive for a touchdown should be what Eagles fans take away from the game? McMullen (4-59), Brown (5-52) and Lewis (3-28) looked terrific. There wasn't one error in that drive. It was crisp and professional - I think that the first fears of, "We can't win without TO (0-0)" should be soothed. Lets see how these guys do the next 3 games.

5) Who would you rather be the #2 QB? Koy (5-10-1, 59 yards) or McMahon (8-11-0, 73 yards)?

6) Everyone talks how Moats (6-22)is a little guy - loved both his touchdowns, he was barreling & bouncing thru defenders.

7) Contract extension for Westbrook who rushed 4 times for 5 yards and caught 2 passes for 18 yards? Hmmm.

8) The offensive line looked, at times, like they belonged in a Pop Warner league. We may have some fresh talent there but boy were there some missed assignments.

9) I'm happy there are no major injuries!!!!!

10) ESPN did a terrible job with covering the game last night. This is the future of Monday night football? God help us.

Yes, so we lost. Realistically the blame was on special teams that we lost the game. Otherwise the first team Eagles defense looked crisp. The offense clicked after an initial mistake. Just be happy this wasn't the first real game of the season.

The Dubliner: Pre-Open Update

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Last Saturday I had the chance to take a few pictures inside The Dubliner, a 081505a.jpgnew bar opening up where Gerrino's used to be at 96 River Street. A friend of mine is doing some of the electrical work inside the bar and it looks spectactular. Like many of the new renovations and constructed bars in town - it's laden with flat screen TV's and new interior designs.

Unlike many of the new incantations of bars and lounges in our town - The Dubliner is the best of many worlds. They have three floors, each designed a bit differently to satistfy the fickle taste of every young Hobokenite.

The first floor is more like a quiet pub lounge. The music is a bit lower, so you can easily chat with friends or a date. The second floor is a bit more open, with a DJ booth, great sound system and a pool table. The third floor, orginally Skybar, will soon be an open air Tiki Lounge, open "as many months as possible" during the year - possibly even New Years Eve, if the owners can swing it.

I spoke to Aiden Boyle, the owner on Saturday night. He also owns a popular irish pub, McSwiggan's on 1st and Bloomfield. He stressed how the bar is still a work in progress, and that the 081505c.jpgofficial opening of The Dubliner is still about a month away - they expect the offical opening to be mid September. They have some very creative ideas brewing for the opening, I won't give too many details away - but it involves a theatric "Irish Wake" and an open bar for we patrons who attend the wake. I'll provide details when the date draws closer.

There are two kind of bar owners in town - those just out to make a buck and those that really enjoy the business of a tavern. Aiden, like many other pub owners, reminds me of the latter. He is filled with ideas on how he wants to make a bar that keeps as many patrons as happy as possible.

Keeping patrons happy, and coming back to the bar is up to the bartenders behind the bar. One thing I have learned is that two things make a bar - the bar itself and the people working there. You have an unruly staff who serve with mock sincerity or downright arrogance - it doesn't matter how popular your bar is, there will be people who won't want to go there. While talking to Aiden, I also got to meet with Walter and Rob (see picture, Walter is the taller one) - two really great bartenders in my humble opinion. They were charismatic and friendly, and Walter, being a season veteran of bars (he owned one in Staten Island), was on the same page with me on how to treat customers.

I'm really impressed with what I have seen at the bar so far. The first floor and second floor are mostly completed, with some extra work happening over the next few weeks. The 3rd floor should be ready by the grand opening. The bar is open for business, but like I said - it is still under some construction so it is not a finished product.081505b.jpg

They also have a bar menu right now, and from what I hear the food is really delicious - especially The Dubliner Burger (8 oz of grade A ground beef grilled with melted cheese, bacon and onion served with fries for $9). There are also some tasty looking soups, salads, appetizers (wings, fingers and skins) along with sandwiches and wraps. Not one thing was more expensive than $9.

Maybe one night you want to get dressed up and hit Nine, the new lounge on Washington street - and the next night you want to kick back and drink a few under the stars at The Dubliner. Absolutely worth going to check out and I like what I see so far.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Hoboken category from August 2005.

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