Tag Archives: Hoboken Progress column

Pocket Full Of Kryptonite

Sometimes…just every now and then…between my empty Metrocards and hair bands…I wish my pockets were full of very ripe tomatoes.

Red means STOP!

It’s not that I have some sort of odd fetish, or that I suffer from sudden urges to  devour tomatoes. This would be a method of self defense.

The thing about overly ripe, wrinkly tomatoes is that they are incredibly juicy, and have the ability to explode quite nicely on a windshield, or hood of a car, which, incidentally, would be my target.

You see, I recently had a little tete-a-tete with a car who did not stop at an intersection. Although the driver initially slowed a bit while I was in the crosswalk, he then did this move where he actually started to accelerate–and I was still playing the chicken crossing the road. Had it been a truly rolling stop, I may have been knocked down, along with my bag of groceries, which this driver knocked with the grill of his sedan.

Once, when I was nine years old, a cement truck ran a red light and t-boned our family Volvo station wagon. (RIP Snow White.) Since then, I’ve never been so close to being involved in another hit—on foot.

Hoboken has very congested little streets—but that’s no excuse. No matter who you are—driver or pedestrian, you have to look out for the other. Due to this one driver who almost hit me, I wince anytime a car is trying to turn when pedestrians have the right of way, and I never trust any stop sign. Should any car edge up a bit while stopped at a light, my heart beat quickens, and I have a minor panic attack.

Hence, my idea for the tomatoes. Luckily, this driver looked up when he heard me make a sound. But perhaps I would have made a bolder statement had I started to pelt his windshield with overly ripe tomatoes. Or anything in my pockets.

Also, I apparently need a louder scream. Frozen from fear, I thought I had made a noise like a scream, but it could have easily been a duck quack. We never know how we’ll react in a high-adrenaline moment. I made a noise to sound alert—but I’m not quite sure if this is what stopped the driver, or if it was the flailing of my left arm.

I hate to say that this was just one bad driver, and that I feel safe crossing most streets, but I truly don’t in Hoboken. So, if a tomato thrown at a car is the only red sign that will take some of these drivers to stop and take notice that the pedestrians do have the right of way, perhaps that will be my pocket of kryptonite.






Impatient Nation

From the 9-10-10 edition of Hoboken’s Progress…

Patience may be a virtue, but in today’s world, it’s also endangered.

If I could rename generation Y, instead of “millennials” or “generation internet” I would call us “generation impatient”.

I first became aware of my symptoms during a breakfast at work. There I was, at my desk, contemplating eating a banana. It was a little green at the edges, and originally, I thought, “I’ll just wait until tomorrow for it to ripen.”

I had acknowledged this. I had accepted it. But due to the lack of patience my generation suffers from, I was a goner.

hmmm...i wanted to jump from day 4 to day 6...within 30 minutes...where was my flux capacitor??

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A Few New Words To Live By

I’m such a groupon.

I also ideeli, and sometimes look for gilt- or ruelala-worthy fashions.

To my delight, these seemingly nonsensical words have now taken the place of “cheap” and “frugal” in my vocabulary, which helps people like me–creative types with limited funds–take a vacation from the stress of budgeting, and instead, have some fun in the NYC area.

I never thought I’d see the day, but the coupon has become a calling card of chic. Thanks to social media and community sites like Groupon.com which offers deals to restaurants, retailers, and entertainment in cities from NYC to Los Angeles, and ideeli.com, gilt.com, and ruelala.com where you can spruce up your apartment or yourself with lush finds on the cheap, nowadays, finding an amazing deal online is now Facebook status and Twitter feed worthy.

Growing up, coupons were anything but sexy. Little white envelopes stuffed with coupons was a signal to me that the next shopping trip at the Shoprite would mean less Dunakaroos and Fruit-by-the-Foots for my sister and I.

Coupons were also those “Entertainment Cards” that we begged friends and neighbors to buy to raise money for various student councils, in which my dad gave me money for the book, but refused to place the cardboard card next to his credit card when we were out to dinner.

Coupons were also the embodiment of a family friend, known for her religious coupon clipping ways. She also wore Disney tee shirts and accessories decorated with cats.

I vowed never to be a coupon clipper. Even after moving out on a paycheck full of Monopoly money, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I preferred to eat less than scope out grocery deals in the weekly mailer.

But a few weeks ago, my friend sent me a link to Groupon for a hip-hop dance class, with its price slashed in half. It took my breath away. Not only that, but then the next day, it offered a half off drink deal at my favorite bar in NYC. Dance parties and booze half off? No coupon has ever understood me like that.

The thing is, although I’m very proud that I’ve been able to live independently and sample just enough of the city life that I don’t go crazy, my budget just doesn’t allow for some things like dance and yoga classes that run about $20 a pop.

I clicked on the “buy” button immediately, and soon enough, my friend and I were hip hopping it out to Ke$ha, which sounded even sweeter (at least to us) when a set of four classes was only $32.

It’s total peer pressure. By taking coupons online and setting them in an online community setting, being cheap has become attractive, and a thing of power. When my deal feeds pop up in the morning, tailored to my interests, it doesn’t feel like a coupon, but rather, an invitation. It even has my name on it. That’s alluring.


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 webshots.com

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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