Category Archives: My Life in Hoboken

I’m Feeling A Little Opinionated

From the August 13th edition of Hoboken Progress…

It’s a rare occasion when I feel actual anger when walking to the PATH in the morning. Annoyance, yes. But, as I cornered the site of the old TD Bank North branch at First and Washington last week, it happened.

Walgreens, Hoboken, really??

Please Walgreen’s—I mean no harm. I don’t have a problem with your business per se, but rather, your new location. It’s a thing I have.

When I see an empty building with inspired, or historic architecture, I get ridiculously hopeful for what will become of it. When I saw the Walgreens name across the top of the grand building at First and Washington, I felt deflated.

On my way home that same day, I got the same feeling when I passed the building again, and it got me thinking. Every once in a while, I will come across something that surprisingly gets me heated.  I have very random, strong dislikes of the following: sneezing, intermissions, people who bite food off spoons, and girls that think the only way to date in New York City is to run around in stilettos. Please find a way to put an end to your Carrie Bradshaw fantasy world. (Phew! That felt good to get off my chest.)

I know I just brought up a few ridiculous topics that bring me distress in my life, but that’s exactly my point—I’m very opinionated about things that no reasonable person should feel opinionated about—for example, when establishments such as convenience store chains move into beautiful buildings. How boring.

What would I like to see in the space you ask? Well, I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I mean, when I was a kid, I dreamed of living under the sea. I just prefer to let my imagination run wild.

Also, visions of this new Walgreens remind me of some other uneasy thoughts I have about the future of another building in Hoboken, the Jefferson Trust Building on First and Clinton.

This site of a bank that originally closed during the Great Depression reminds me greatly of the episode in the Twilight Zone, ”Time Enough At Last”, when the character Henry Bemis, a bibliophile who never has time to read, survives an apocalypse of sorts and finally has the time to devour all the books in the world, but then drops and breaks his glasses.

courtesy of gcdougherty at

The Jefferson Trust building resembles the look of the library, during the last scene, and so I have an unnatural attachment to this building. Over the past few months, the beginning of construction has begun, and I’m terrified for what it will become. Will I open my eyes one day to see it turn into a Wawa convenience store?

Hoboken, we’re only a mile long town. How many cookie cutter businesses do we need to fill up its unique historic beauty? Actually, when I think about it that way, my strong opinions about this don’t seem so unreasonable at all.

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What We Think We Know

From the 7-16-10 edition of Hoboken’s Progress…

It’s endlessly fascinating to me how we have learned to do the things we do, and how we go through life believing our ways are the only strategies to get something done. For one, my roommate has an affinity for using the freezer.

Every time I open it, I feel like I’m on an old school episode of Let’s Make A Deal: Behind Door Number #1 are three bottles of peach mandarin Vitamin Water, half drunk, and now frozen; Behind Door Number #2 is a box of Frosted Mini Wheats, almost frozen; and Behind Door Number #3 are a dozen, individually wrapped Italian rolls, which are freezing as we speak.

I’m incredibly entertained by this habit, probably inherited from her mother.

I too have learned behavior from my parents, such as the paranoid thought of having to unplug every appliance in the kitchen before I leave for work. Too many memories of my mom shrieking, Did we uplug the toaster?!? shortly followed by my dad turning the station wagon around on the parkway to make sure that the coffee maker and toaster were unplugged are permanently fixed into my brain. I unplug without even thinking.

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How’d They Do That?

I so frequently meet people my age that are already doing such interesting things with their lives that makes the nosy/curious/journalist in me want to know: HOW DO YOU DO THAT? How can I do that…why can’t I do that?

For TheBokenOnline, I interviewed Hoboken resident Andrea Maiolano, who runs her own business of hand-made handbags and accessories out of her own apartment, a hobby-turned career, for full time! Amazing. Here’s the article:

Meet Hoboken’s Andrea Maiolano- Hand Bag Designer

In an apartment somewhere between Bloomfield St. and NYC’s Fashion Avenue, Hoboken resident Andrea Maiolano aims to speak the same visual language of her design idols Kate Spade, Diane von Furstenberg, and Tory Burch by creating one-of-a-kind handbags and accessories in eye-catching colors, interesting prints, and beautiful fabrics.

“Back in 2005, I used to carry a plain, little, hot pink bag around the city and literally got stopped EVERYWHERE I went,” Andrea says. “People were constantly asking me what designer it was and where I got it. I thought it was the weirdest thing since I got it as a free gift with a purchase.

“One day, in a bakery in Bayonne, the girl behind the counter (yet again) told me how adorable my little pink canvas bag was. For some reason it hit me then and there—I knew that making fun, colorful, attention-grabbing bags would be my newest venture.”

Excited, though not entirely sure what would result from a bunch of fabrics she purchased in the NYC Garment District, after a year of sewing lessons from her mom and the transformation of a dining room into a studio (her work was only moved for major holidays), Andrea found a way to turn the vibrant prints she’s always loved into something other girls would covet.

With the help of friends and family spreading the word and hosting amarie/Mary Kay shopping parties to support her new venture, in 2008, “amarie by andrea maiolano” became an official company.

When Andrea’s not in her studio or at peeking into the clothing store Townhouse on her way to the post office, she’s on the road traveling to shopping events all across NJ and NY. But, no matter where she is, her thoughts are never too far from her sketchbook.“I love seeing a design element on a dress like flowers, overlays, or draping, and trying to apply that inspiration to a bag,” she says. “I have so many more ideas and inspirations in my head and sketchbook, hopefully I will soon be able to use them all, made into something new.”

Amarie bags can be found at the Koru Wedding Shoppe on Fourth and Washington, and through her Etsy site. Andrea also encourages Hobokenites to stop by for an appointment, since she also takes custom orders.



An Unexpected Scene

One of the few things that irks me about the city today is that there are no “scenes,” at least, the way in which I’ve heard about them when my parents were my age in New York. Since information travels much differently than it did, say in the ‘60s and ‘70s, people no longer devote evenings to an art or music venue to just hang around and see new talent. Today, it seems as if everyone seeks to get in and out due to tight schedules.

I’ll blame my frustration with this loss of a culture on my father’s vinyl collection. Growing up with the display of records as the main focus of our family room, just as a fireplace may be for other families, for years I heard stories about how my father’s hearing was blown out from a Grand Funk Railroad show, or how sick it was to see a new band called the Clash perform in the East Village. Having been born in the ‘80s, not quite understanding that these records were from another era, I remember asking my dad if the Beatles’ “Help” Album was a new release when I was six years old.

As a daughter of the digital age, I sometimes feel as though I don’t always have a deep appreciation for the streamlined, fast-paced times that we live in.

I suffer from what’s called “we always want what we don’t have” syndrome. As if the replica rotary phone, typewriter in my room, or my current obsession with finding a pair of saddle shoes doesn’t represent my yearning for a nostalgia that’s not even my own, I’m severely jealous of my dad’s memories for all the rock shows he saw back in the day.

So, imagine my delight/surprise that I can now give my dad a run for his money after my commute on the PATH this morning, since I witnessed a LIVE performance of Abbey Road. The performer’s name may not have been John, Paul, George, or even Ringo, but he wore socks with sandals and was rockin’ it out at 9:30 AM.

Sitting directly across from me, I got the full spectrum. I didn’t even pretend not to stare, even though my sunglasses helped. It was a one-man show, with an umbrella tapping against the rail as percussion to his “hushed” yet perfectly audible vocals. I was witness to this from “Here Comes the Sun” to “Polythene Pam.”

Although my ears may not ring from this free show, nor did I discover any new or raw talent, sometimes I feel that the PATH has become a scene for me, simply because it has given me so many stories, most of which I’ve written about here. Because of this man’s lack of self-awareness and love for Abbey Road, I have yet another first-hand, ridiculous account that I can share with my family one day, as just another installation in my tales of commuting under the Hudson on a little train called the PATH.