the cows, they don't moo, they go scooby-dooby-do
September 5, 2006 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Help me learn to love Hoboken more than I already do.

Long after my complaining about life on the UWS, followed by my poorly conceived move to Yonkers, I've settled happily in Hoboken, right smack on Washington St., not far from the PATH station. I love the atmosphere and the convenience of all the stores and restaurants and so on. However, the truth is that outside of Washington St., I know nothing about Hoboken (is there even anything else?). And I don't even know much about Washington St. itself, insofar as which are the best hangouts, which restaurants have the best food, where to get the best deals, etc. I'm also open to hearing about local cultural events like screenings, markets, what have you (I know the summer outdoor film series just ended), and about non-Hoboken places that are easily reachable by bus or train (no car) and that have attractions of their own.

This is a free-form question. Bonus points for where to get cheap bottled water or directions to a movie theater.

Note that I am not a big partier, but it's still nice to know the general lay of the land as far as that's concerned.
posted by bingo to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not really a specific answer to your question, but Grimaldi's in Hoboken makes some damned fine pizza.
posted by saladin at 9:49 AM on September 5, 2006

I spent four years at school in Hoboken, and now I've moved back for a few years, and I still manage to miss things when they happen. When I remember, I look at; it has a calendar of events that gives some idea of what's going on, and has a whole "Hoboken Happenings" section that lists upcoming events of various types.

My recommendation for pizza is H&S Giovanni's (Gio's), 6th & Washington; I've never tried Grimaldi's, though I've heard good things about their Brooklyn location.

I don't think there are any movie theaters in Hoboken anymore; there used to be a small one in Marineview Plaza (on River St. near the PATH station), but I think they closed. I've heard rumors that they want to build one out near my way (near 14th St around Adams/Grand), but it's an inconvenient place for you, and besides, isn't built yet. The nearest theater I know of is at the Newport Mall in Jersey City; you can take either the PATH or the Light Rail (all the way through the train station) one stop; the light rail gets you a little closer, but it's not far from the PATH either.

Outside of Washington Street, most of the rest of Hoboken is housing. There some small shops along Willow Ave., and some supermarkets further out (King's are on the river side of Washington, one near 6th & River, the other near 13th & Hudson; there's an A&P near 7th & Clinton and a ShopRite near 9th/10th & Madison).
posted by Godbert at 10:17 AM on September 5, 2006

Vito's Deli, if you haven't found it already, makes their own mozzarella cheese, and some of the best subs I've ever had. I spent 4 years at Stevens Tech (up on Castle Point there), and now that I live in Boston, I miss Vito's dearly.

Margherita's is a great Italian restaurant a block before Vito's -- it's a sister establishment. Always crowded, from what I remember.

Maxwell's back room is small and sweaty, but a great place to see up-and-coming bands, as well as established artists doing the small venue thing.

(All of the above are further down towards the other end of Washington Street from where you are...)

Castle Point has some amazing views of Manhattan, as well as the July 4th fireworks, whenever they do them on the Hudson.
posted by dbelson at 10:21 AM on September 5, 2006

I should clarify that actually I'm between 3rd and 4th. But I don't mind walking down the street.

Also, what's the deal with the bus? Is it better than the PATH in any respect? I work in midtown.
posted by bingo at 10:25 AM on September 5, 2006

Sinatra was from Hoboken. One of his early nicknames was"The Hoodlum from Hoboken," which I think I like more than Charman of the Board.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:25 AM on September 5, 2006

The movie theater on River St. did indeed's now an HSBC Bank.

Apart from Maxwell's, a couple decent pizza joints, and maybe one respectable restaurant that would not pale in comparison to absolutely anything on the other side of the river, I always found Hoboken to be the absolutely blandest town possible.

I lived there for 3 years, my brother for 10, and now my company is in Hoboken so I've been working here for going on 4 years. Jersey City is much more intereting and diverse. I find that most people in Hoboken are not interested in the city as a community at all, mostly because it's like a half way house for the first three or four years post-college. If you are still into going to happy hour and stumbling home drunk at 4am, you are in luck. This may be changing now that more actual families are moving in, but the prices are prohibitive enough that most diversity has been priced out.

Twice a year there is a music and arts festival on Washington Street. Also in summer (too late now) they have free concerts with local (that means anywhere within a two hour drive) bands at Frank Sinatra park. There is also a free kayak rental place at Frank Sinatra park, and there is an arm of the Manhattan Sailing Club at the Marina on 14th Street.

There is a homing pigeon club on Grand and either Newark or First, which is kind of bizarre and interesting.

The nearest movie theater would be in Jersey City at the Pavonia-Newport mall. You can take the PATH. Don't expect to be able to find any "cinema" in Hoboken.

I'm really stretching here...I can't think of anything else.
posted by spicynuts at 10:31 AM on September 5, 2006

i have to agree with spicynuts, alas.

hoboken has been seriously gentrified. the movie theater is indeed gone. there are two places i know of where you can see decent live music (and one of those is maxwell's). there are some excellent restaurants and little shops (including a music store or two). otherwise, it is mostly bars and overpriced condos for yuppies (she says bitterly).

the summer's the best time for doing cool things -- movies every week near the train station, the street fair (which, granted, is like all street fairs everywhere), music at the various parks (church square, sinatra), and of course the italian festivals. i think that geri fallo is still the city cultural affairs liaison; she's worth searching out and talking to.

if you find anything good, let me know!
posted by sdn at 10:49 AM on September 5, 2006

Perhaps this can provide inspiration?
posted by serazin at 11:09 AM on September 5, 2006

Thanks for the answers so far. In answer to some: the gentrification is pretty much the whole reason I moved there, together with the pedestrian-friendliness and the relatively small, college-town feel. I doubt I'll eat a single slice of pizza the whole time I'm living there, though I have been to the pita place a few times, and love how every block seems to contain a decent health food store.

I don't think very highly of Jersey City, so if Hoboken is the opposite of that, then I'm certainly in the right place. I guess I'm a yuppie, though I surely can't afford a luxury condo.
posted by bingo at 11:20 AM on September 5, 2006

I lived there many years ago and there used to be a really nice restaurant on Washington around 10th or 11th called Annie's (or something like that). If it's still there its highly recommended.

Other than that, the best thing for me there was Maxwells. Saw many up and coming bands there before they exploded. My wife and I saw Oasis once there early on which was cool.
posted by gfrobe at 11:31 AM on September 5, 2006

The Music and Arts Festival is coming up on September 24th. A good hangout is Legal Beans, on Newark St. and, I think, Bloomfield. A good workout is at Tiger Schulmann's. If you can't find a bar to hang out at, well, you're not trying. I believe a Garden of Eden is moving in; lately I've seen their trucks outside that big space that was a dying Rite Aid pharmacy for like three years.

Oh, and there's a better place to get mozz than Vito's, but I'm not telling you where it is. They already run out too early in the day.

There used to be a lot more cool stuff on Washington Street, but one by one the stores are turning into real estate offices selling expensive condos to yuppies. If you like gentrification, you'll be very happy in Hoboken.
posted by bink at 2:30 PM on September 5, 2006

Perhaps this can provide inspiration?

pinkwater also wrote a book called the magic moscow about an ice cream place -- and it was based on hoboken's magic fountain (now torn down and transformed into a school).
posted by sdn at 4:16 PM on September 5, 2006

Hi, current hoboken resident here 1 block from you. I've lived here for 6 years now and can tell you that you don't move to Hoboken for the culture; that's why they built Manhattan right next door. Other places to check out, other than the excellent suggestions above, check or for the location:

Charito's - dynamite mexican, simply delicious
Arthur's - the steak is dogmeat, but the back-bar on a Friday night for burgers and beer is an amazing snapshot of blue-collar Jerz
Fleet Feet & the HoHa's - local running shop with a running group that goes out daily
Peper - clothing, a bit pricey but rivals some SoHo boutiques
Monroe Arts Center - open art studio tours every month, very cool
Beethoven's Veranda - very cool garden shop to decorate your tiny fire-escape
Karma - Great Indian food buffet on the weekends.
Lua - trendy bar/rest up on 14th. Watch Arty Lang get drunk daily.

I could go on and on, e-mail is in profile if you would like to know more. Gentrified, fratboyish and bland are pretty accurate, but it's just a quite and safe place to escape from the Manhattan bustle, otherwise why not live in Des Moines, right?

Also, the bus is a nightmare if there is the slightest bit of traffic in the tunnel. Stick to the PATH and walk from 33rd.
posted by remlapm at 5:02 PM on September 5, 2006

i second hoboken411, which i coincidentally found on the hoboken forums at, a decent resource.

i also love karma kafe i love for indian! and try sushi lounge for the best sushi i've tried in hoboken.

best of luck to you bingo!
posted by naxosaxur at 5:06 AM on September 6, 2006

I live on Jefferson Street - quite far from Washington. There are no puking college+ kids here lining the gutters, but there is a lot of traffic and double/triple parking. Lots of families, strollers in the parks, that sort of thing. Hoboken restaurants tend to be a bit crowded and unpleasant near Washington - you are better off going a few blocks in.
posted by meehawl at 6:01 AM on September 6, 2006

Lots of families, strollers in the parks, that sort of thing.

Yeah...I'm actually a lot more interested in avoiding that than I am avoiding puking college kids.

This thread has been more informative about the difference between my tastes and those of others here than it has been about Hoboken itself, but I thank everyone for their responses, and will check out the resources and locations recommended.
posted by bingo at 6:35 AM on September 6, 2006

You could also try strolling along Jackson between 2nd and 5th. There are various flavours of projects, pawnshops, on-street games, and other assorted varieties of vibrant street life there. It's quite a contrast with Washington.
posted by meehawl at 6:51 AM on September 6, 2006

Thanks, meehawl, I'll make a point of never doing that.
posted by bingo at 8:36 AM on September 6, 2006

I grew up in projects (in Ireland), and used to enjoy living in the Mission in San Francisco, so my taste for urban variety is probably skewed. But Hoboken's street life seems to me to become progressively more animated and at ease with itself the further west one travels from Washington. Until you get to the train tracks, of course.

By the way, the cheapest bottled water is probably at the high-concept beer & soda drive-thru @ (I think) Observer and Monroe. Or at BJs in Jersey City.
posted by meehawl at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2006

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