Tag Archives: Hoboken Progress column

Things I Loathe #84…Pigeons…

I once read that in New York City, although the drivers hate the pedestrians, and the pedestrians hate the drivers, it’s safe to say that everyone hates cyclists.

New York is quite a cutthroat kind of town. No matter the vehicle, wheels or feet, we all believe we own the pavement we are currently standing on.

A few months ago, there was a league of artists who painted a white line down Fifth Avenue that divided the sidewalk. One on side, the concrete was labeled “New Yorkers,” and on the other side, “Tourists.” And, if you don’t know what that refers to, the battle of sidewalk ownership that wages on day in and day out, “fahgettaboutit,”—you’d be on the ground before figuring it out.

It’s also quite ironic that although New Yorkers have a sixth sense for zeroing in on slow walkers (I personally have a infrared vision for those with wheelie briefcases) we sometimes have brownouts with our ability to observe what’s right in front of us while we are in our rush to get from point A to B.

For one, has anyone noticed how it’s not even the tourists who we should be annoyed at? Lately, my eyes have finally opened. Lower to the ground and a little less conspicuous are the worst offenders: the pigeons.

...scheming... courtesy ZeroOne on Flickr

As another vague reference from something I found entertaining but fail to remember who to quote, I once watched a comedy special in which the young female stand-up said something like, “I think New York is the only city in which I actually fear that garbage will fly into my mouth.”

I don’t fear garbage, but rather, pigeons flying into my head.

Don’t laugh. Who can say that they’ve never experienced a “low flyer,” a pigeon that seemingly gets a late start taking off, and so barely clears your head? Obviously, he didn’t get clearance from the tower.

Pigeons also have the worse strand of New York “blinders” and have “the walk” down pat: they look straight ahead when they’re walking (or flapping and hopping), so even though they are an eighth of the average pedestrian’s size, we get out of their way. When they flock together, I’ll even cross the street. Like an extremely disheveled man I saw today who walked in a questionably straight line while shouting obscenities at the top of his lungs, the rush hour crowd parted for him effortlessly. Pigeons have the same effect.

Okay, maybe pigeons aren’t as powerful or have an agenda as I make it seem, but I’m still wary when I find myself sharing the sidewalk with them.

Sorry Bert—I just don’t get it. But, I suppose we can learn to get along somehow.

At least they aren’t as bad as cyclists.

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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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A Taste of My Youth

From the 7-9-10 edition of Hoboken’s Progress…

Growing up in the suburbs, there wasn’t always a whole lot to do during the age of boredom, also known as, underage.

Loitering was a youth movement. We loitered everywhere: people’s driveways, backyards, parks after hours—basically, if there was a sign that said, “No Loitering,” it distracted from the fact that it was really lame as to what we were really doing—passing the time because there was no where else for us to go. Hanging out under these signs just made it seem rebellious instead of pathetic. No sign, no loitering. That was just uncool.

Then there was the group of kids of had the prime real estate—the parking lot in front of the 7 Eleven. What more could you ask for: a place to park your car and crank New Found Glory or Linkin Park with all the doors open, adjacent to a store full of sickeningly sweet and salty munchies and soda and cigarettes (and other random toys that are infinitely amusing when you’re young and bored).

My sister and I didn’t roll with this parking lot crew, but we would look down as we passed them on our way to the soda machine to get our beloved fountain sodas, the only item common across the board among bored teens.

The Big Gulp. How did we ever get along without it? My sister, who has an affinity for chewing on straws, was the one who turned me into an addict. And now, to this day, now that I’m older and wiser, and not so much bored as stressed,  I find that when I’m on a deadline, or anxious for any reason, I crave for the simple comfort known as the fountain soda.

Everyone has their own list of “go-tos” when they need comfort. For some, maybe decadent or greasy items like onions rings or mac and cheese. For others, it’s curling up under a blanket to watch your favorite movie because you already know the ending, and can recite all the dialogue by heart.

Ever since moving to Hoboken from the ‘burbs, I have learned to go without this comfort, since there was no 7 Eleven before a few months ago. My sister and I tried hard to remedy this absence by sampling different fountain sodas up and down Washington, as if we were the directors of a fountain soda shuffle. As such connoisseurs of the fizzy delicacy, we know how each tap has a bit of a different flavor. We’ve chewed the straws of many a fountain soda from Qdoba, Panera, Five Guys, and so on, but it just wasn’t the same. We were searching for a phantom soda.

It wasn’t until the 7 Eleven on Fifth Street opened this past winter that the taste of true suburbia hit Hoboken.

After a stressful day last week, my sis and I decided to go for a walk, and of course, the evening commenced with a fountain soda in hand. And, just like in the good ol’ days, throngs of teenagers filtered in and out, only with no parking lot, they sat on the curbs. They are very resilient that way.

As I chewed on my  straw, I thought, although the sites and smells of Hoboken may always remind me of my 20s, thoughts of my teen years will always taste of Big Gulps of Diet Coke. It’s comforting to know that all I need is to take a walk up to the 7 Eleven on Fifth St. to help me get a taste of my suburban roots.

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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.

website: www.loveamarie.etsy.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/amariebags