Hoboken emerges from the shadow of manhattan


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Hoboken emerges from the shadow of manhattan

  1. 1. Hoboken emerges from the shadow ofManhattanIts much more than Sinatras birthplacePier A Park is a popular summer concert site in Hoboken. (Courtesy J. Corrado Design Ltd. /June 24, 2004)By Donna M. Owens Special To The SunJune 24, 2004HOBOKEN, N.J. -- There was a time when this nearly 150-year-old city on the Hudson waschiefly known for its proximity to Manhattan or as the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.Today, Hoboken has come into its own. Thanks to a revitalization in the late 70s and early 80s,this one-time working-class, industrial hub of immigrants has morphed into a community thatship, cultural and decidedly gentrified.Waterfront development projects are creating excitement. Companies like Chase ManhattanBank helped usher in some 4,000 new jobs. And real estate is booming: A one-bedroom condo
  2. 2. near downtown can easily sell for $350,000 or more.According to officials, Hoboken has even become a travel destination. "Hoboken has evolved asa tourist attraction," says Mayor David Roberts. "Were bringing in people from the greater NewYork metropolitan area and Manhattan."The "Mile Square City," home to about 42,000 people, offers bars and restaurants as far as theeye can see, particularly along the areas bustling Washington Street."We have about 150 drinking and eating establishments, and theres so much nightlife," saysGeraldine Fallo, the citys director of cultural affairs. "Weve always been known as a musictown. In the late 70s and 80s, rock clubs like Maxwells were listed in music magazines. All thenational acts wanted to play there."And more big names have appeared at the towns biennial arts and music festivals, major eventsthat draw upward of 75,000 people."Hoboken is a vibrant, dynamic place," says Fallo. "Its young and alive."Some of that youthful energy is attributed to the 4,000 students who attend the prestigiousStevens Institute of Technology, which opened in 1870 (and to women in 1971).Named for a family whose roots in American engineering date back to the Industrial Revolution,the 55-acre campus is on land purchased from the state in 1784.Besides its educational pedigree and innovations, Stevens DeBaun Center for the PerformingArts has a full schedule of cultural programming open to the public."We are the largest cultural institution in town," says Patrick Berzinski, a Stevens spokesman."At one time, Stevens was isolated from the town; it was kind of the big college on the hill. Butas more young professionals move in, they are beginning to discover us."The hill, Castle Point, overlooks the town and offers gorgeous views of the harbor. Hobokenspublic spaces include Pier A Park, a popular summer spot for concerts and movies under thestars.Baltimore native Robin Wright, a Stevens alumna who graduated in 1993, likens Hoboken to avillage with small-town charm and big-city appeal."If you went back 20 years and told people you lived in Hoboken, theyd say, Ugh," saysWright, an environmental engineer who lives in nearby Jersey City. "But I love Hoboken,especially the diversity," she says. "Youll find commuters from New York, college kids, thelocals and the yuppies. Theres a good cross section. Its like a cleaner, smaller New York."Speaking of New York, New York, while Francis Albert Sinatra immortalized that metropolis insong, most everyone knows he honed his chops in Hoboken. The town definitely hasnt forgotten
  3. 3. him. One can motor along Sinatra Drive; stop by his boyhood home at 415 Monroe St.; orcelebrate his birthday at an annual bash on Dec. 12.Last but not least, you can hear the legends granddaughter sing at the Gold Hawk bar andlounge. "I used to be in a bunch of local rock bands, but for now Im singing jazz," says 30-year-old "A.J." Azzarto, who is Nancy Sinatras daughter. Azzartos husband is also a musician, partof a ska band not-so-coincidentally called "Skanatra," which jams Sinatra standards with a twist.Today, they are happily living and working in Hoboken."I grew up in L.A.," says Azzarto, who relocated to New York in 1997, then to Hoboken twoyears later. "I decided to stay. I really like it here."More to doTexas Arizona (76 River St., 201-420-0304): Outdoor seating thats perfect for people watching;serves American fare like burgers and ribs.East L.A. (508 Washington St., 201-798-0052): Described as a "chilled out" eatery known fortasty Mexican food and good margaritas.Benny Tudinos (622 Washington St., 201-792-4132): Bennys pizzeria has been around since1968 and is legendary for its large slices.Piccolos (92 Clinton St., 201-653-0564): This lunch spot is noted for its cheese steak subs andhomemade soups. Check out the back room, where owner Pat Spaccavento honors Sinatra withphotos and mementos.Maxwells (1039 Washington St., 201-798-0406): Its been here more than 25 years, servingfood, drinks and live music.Gold Hawk Bar and Lounge (936 Park Ave., 201-420-7989): Live music, cocktails and a chanceto see the other "blue-eyed" singer, Frank Sinatras granddaughter A.J. Azzarto.Hoboken Historical Museum (1301 Hudson St., 201-656-2240): Artifacts, books, exhibits relatedto the citys history and culture. You can also get maps for the Sinatra walking tour.HOBART (www.hob-art.com): A gallery run by artists whose roving exhibitions includepainting, drawing, mixed media and photography. The next one is July 10 at SymposiaBookstore (201-963-0909).Stevens Institute of Technology (Castle Point on Hudson, 201-216-5000): Take a campus tour(offered by appointment) and climb Castle Point hill. For public talks, symposia and exhibits,visit www.debaun.com.Getting there
  4. 4. Take I-95 North to I-295, New Jersey Turnpike. Exit toward Delaware Memorial Bridge/NewJersey-New York. Continue on U.S. 40 East; continue on New Jersey Turnpike North, whichbecomes I-95 North. Take I-78 (U.S. 1) (U.S. 22)/14-14A-14B-14C exit. Continue toward 14A-14B-14C/Bayonne/Holland Tunnel/Jersey City. Merge onto I-78 East. Follow signs to Hoboken.For more informationContact the city of Hoboken at 201-420-2000 or visit www .hobokennj.org.Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore SunThe Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, MD 21278