|Title||Offprint from New York Daily News, Jan. 5, 1973: "Hoboken: Snug Harbor just off midtown." By Donald Singleton.|
|Object Name||Clipping, Newspaper|
|Collection||Hoboken Buildings & Real Estate Collection|
|Scope & Content||
Offprint from New York Daily News, Jan. 5, 1973: "Hoboken: Snug Harbor just off midtown." By Donald Singleton. 11-1/2" wide x 16-1/2" wide; gloss white paper. Date of this offprint is not indicated or apparent; likely for contemporary for use by the author.
PDF on file; full text is in notes.
Two photos appear by staff photographer Jim Garrett. Of interest is the top one which was take from Elysian Park looking towards New York with the Empire State Building in the center.
Article by Singleton, a Hoboken resident, is a commentary on Hoboken's history, its decay, current advantages, the real estate market and other first person observations.
NEW YORK'S PICTURE NEWSPAPER JANUARY 5, 1973
[caption top photo] This tranquil park scene crystallizes Hoboken's appeal: The lordly Hudson flows past the spectacu.ar backdrop of midcManhattan.
NEWS photo by Jim Garrett.
Hoboken: Snug harbor just off midtown
By DONALD SINGLETON
Far across the broad Hudson Riyer, where
the wily sparrows play among the tangled
telephone wires and the crafty sewer rats
roam abandoned piers in the moonlight; where
the mighty Maxwell House grinds its aromatic
beans and the creaky Erie-Lackawanna deposits
its rattled suburban commuters; where
the shadow~ of Frank Sinatra and Marlon
Brando walk the streets with the ghost of
Frank Hague; there lies the quaint old city
of Hoboken, N.J., lying in an unnoticed
corner of space and caught in a special little
backwater of time.
Mention the word and you get a laugh, the way
you could mention the word Brooklyn · or Flatbush
or Gowanus and get a laugh 20 years ago. . .
Tell somebody you live in Hoboken, and be reaoy
for the stock response:
"Hoboken - isn't that where the Clam Broth
House is?" .
"Hoboken-you mean people really live there?"
"Hoboken - I've been through it a million times
on the train. But I thought it was just a lot of
Fools. Let them laugh. Little do they know that
Hoboken is more than just a square mile of factories
and railroad tracks and rotting piers. Little do they
know that Hoboken is people, almost 60,000 of them.
Little do they know that Hoboken is houses, thousands
of them, from crumbling five-story tenements
to elegant four-story brownstones to magnificent
three-story mansions. Little do they know.
The fact is that Hoboken,a small outpost of
the 1940s hunkered down in the shadow of the Hudson
River Palisades, between the Lincoln and Holland
tunnels; across from the lower West Side of Manhattan,
is a dynamite place to live, as an increasing
number of people are finding out.
There is a fair-sized brownstone renovation movement
underway in Hoboken, with century-old houses
being refurbished and restored and modernized by the
hundreds, some by old-line Hoboken people and some
by newcomers drawn ·to the city by its main advantages
- its almost unbelievable proximity to midtown
Manhattan and its housing prices, which are out
of the 1940s and 1950s.
Not that Hoboken is without its disadvantages.
Far from it. Hoboken is an old city. with most
of the problems facing all old American cities: an
influx of new immigrants; the flight of middle-class
whites to the relative suburbias of Secaucus and
Leonia and Englewood Cliffs; a changing industrial
climate, involving the decline of the local waterfront
and the relocation of several industries in thesuburbs;
a crumbling system of public transportation;
traffic congestion due to the increasing use of private
cars on streets originally designed for horses
and wagons; a run-down public school system; high
real estate taxes (Hoboken's tax rate is among the
two or three highest rates in the state).
Add to that sorry litany the tremendously low
opinion many Hobokenites have of their local government.
Justified or not, there is endless dark gossip
of payroll padding, no-show jobs, nepotism,kickbacks
and misappropriated funds for items such as
grass seed and bunting.
But for every disadvantage there seems to be a
New immigration means more than problems; it
means new people. Hoboken is rich with cultures
from all over the world. The biggest group is Hispanic,
mostly people from Puerto Rico but many
from Cuba and other Central and South AmerIcan
nations. Hoboken's population is now almost half
Hispanic. And there are large communities of other
new immigrants from Yugoslavia, India and Italy,
as well as smaller numbers from other countries.
Narrow streets mean traffic congestion, but they
also mean quaintness and charm and old-worldliness;
parts of Hoboken look like parts of London, and
the Willow Terrace section of town, with its tiny
row houses on cobblestoned streets, looks like a
transplanted piece of Dublin . . Court Street,a back
alley lined with carriage houses, could be a part
of any European city.
The decline of the riverfront shipping Industry
means the possibility of reopening access to one
of the most spectacular views in the world - the
A sense of community
Urban decay means lots of hassels but it also
means lots of federal programs and funds - Hoboken
is the only urban area in the nation, for example,
which has been designated a Model City in its entirety.
Model Cities claims it will bring Hoboken a
total of $45 million in various government programs.
Hoboken's old-fashioned character, too, is an advantage.
A strong sense of community and neighborhood
permeates many of the blocks of The Mile Square
City. Housewives meet to chat in the corner
grocery and butcher's shop, or at the neighborhood
fish store or green grocery. There are vegetable and
fruitpeddlers who stop their truck in the block
and holler out .. the day's specials: "Peaches, bananies!"
yells the man on my block "orange tangereenies!"
On warm evenings, people in the neighborhood
sit outside on their brownstone stoops and chat,
the kids play stoop ball and stickball and bottle
tops and sidewalk football.
Another advantage of Hoboken's old-fashioned .
nature is that the houses are built the way they
built houses 100 years ago. There are floors of
teak and oak and rosewood; 12-foot corniced ceilings;
mantles of intricately carved marble and slate; banisters
and woodwork of mahogany and walnut and
cherry and chestnut. Such materials simply don't
Many of the houses have been converted from
their original one-family layout to two- or three family
use; some have been turned Into rooming
houses. Some of these are beIng restored to theIr
original condition by new owners who are better
endowed with energy and imagination than with
Among those who have bought houses (at prices
between. $15,000 and $35,000) and renovated them
within the past year are, a man who is a Ph. D.
candidate in anthropology, and who does museum
quality woodworking; a man and, wife who are both
editors at Newsweek magazine; a philosophy Ph. D.
who teaches at a day care center; and a man who
came to Hoboken to live because of his interest
in old musical instruments (Hoboken claims America's
only manufacturer of classical harpsichords).
A dentist has bought an abandoned fur factory and
turned it into a showplace office and home.. A WCBSTV
news personality rents an apartment a block
from my home, and the musical ' "Hair" was written
a block in the other direction by two men who still
maintain apartments in town.
. My wife and I caught the Hoboken virus ourselves
three years ago, when we moved In from the dIstant
New Jersey suburbs to try a city lifestyle for a
change. Now we consider ourselves naturalized citizens.
Our three kids go to the public school around the
corner. I try to get to the school board meetings.
My wife and a girlfrend got so angry over the
way some Hoboken realtors were badmouthing the
city that they went out and got their real estate
salesman's licenses, ,and now they're trying to help
prospective brownstoners find homes.
There have been times, of course, when we've
had second tho.ughts about our move. During those
summer hot spells, when we know it's 15 degrees
cooler where we used to live, for example, or when
there's a particularly bad inversion and the air over
Hoboken turns to gray soup.
But then I remember that long automobile commute
I had to make every day, or we think about
all the evenings we spend in Manhattan, or we watch
our children playing so happily with the other kids
on our block, and we know we'll never move back
to the suburbs.
[caption bottom photo] Some 50,000 people dwell within the city's mile-square perimeter.
|Year Range from||1973|
|Year Range to||1973|
Model Cities Program
HAIR (the musical)
Maxwell House Coffee plant
|Caption||full article with margins cropped|
Social & Personal Activity
Government & Politics