History of Hoboken
Hoboken is located across the Hudson River, directly west of Manhattan’s Chelsea and West Village. Boasting unparalleled waterfront views of Manhattan, it has a unique city vibe with a small-town feel.
The area was originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenape indigenous people who cultivated the bountiful serpentine rock of Hoboken to carve pipes. Henry Hudson, the namesake of Hudson County and Hudson River, was the first European to lay claim to the land in 1609.
In the early 1900s, NJ Transit completed tracks to Manhattan, and many shipping lines used Hoboken as a terminal port. By 1927, the Holland Tunnel was built, allowing easier travel to and from Manhattan. The Lincoln Tunnel was completed 10 years after.
With cheaper shipbuilding prices overseas, Hoboken’s dry docks dwindled. By 1970, however, an urban renewal project redeveloped the abandoned docks into mid-rise apartment buildings. During this time, many manufacturing complexes were converted into residential apartments and tenements became luxury condos.
After Hurricane Sandy, the city received $240M to add levees and other infrastructure to protect the city from future storms. Today’s Hoboken is a mashup of artists, musicians and upwardly mobile commuters working in New York City.
The Vibe of Hoboken
Unofficially nicknamed the “Mile Square City,” Hoboken is littered with reminders of its past with ships’ cleats lining Steven’s Park and cobblestone streets that were used in the 1800s as ballasts.
It is home to many gourmet eateries, fun drinking spots, green spaces with postcard-perfect views of Manhattan, and tree lined streets with symmetrical brownstones. It can get loud in Hoboken, especially close to the train station on Washington Street where a younger crowd gravitates, and many bars and nightlife thrive.
Most residents of Hoboken work in New York City but enjoy the tight-knit feel of the neighborhood that makes it the perfect suburban escape.
Unique Features of Hoboken
“Mile Square City” actually perfectly depicts what makes Hoboken unique. The area only takes up about one square mile! But that doesn’t make it any less crowded.
Hoboken is a dense city with over 52,000 residents. This makes street parking competitive and local businesses can get busy. However, for those who appreciate being able to get where they need to go quickly, it’s the perfect place to reside.
Things to Do in Hoboken
Hoboken may be a small city, but it is filled with things to see and do. Here are some of our favorites:
- Sinatra Park: Sinatra Park, named after the locally born singer, is great for bike riding, running, walking, or taking your dog out for some fresh air.
- Carlo’s Bakery: Famed by Buddy Valastro, this cake shop is best known for its cannoli and custom cakes. The bakery is family-owned and was even featured on a TV series called “Cake Boss” highlighting how the family takes on their one-of-a-kind creations.
- Pier 13: Pier 13 is a seasonal open-air waterfront beer garden that also features food trucks, water sports and entertainment. The perfect place to spend a nice New Jersey day!
Top Food Choices in Hoboken
With so many people residing in Hoboken, you bet there’s tons of delicious restaurants to choose from. Check out some of our favorite spots:
- Elysian Café: This modern French bistro is a secret gem. Once a saloon in the 1890s, they serve classics like steak frites, poutine, and French onion soup. This café is always busy, but if you manage to find a seat, ask for one close to the bar, beside the windows. This offers the best of both worlds, with a stunning view of the intricate cast iron ceiling, and views of the tree-lined streets outside.
- La Isla: With two locations in Hoboken, you can choose between the colorful Cuban decor at the Downtown location, or the more modern, minimal feel of Uptown La Isla. Whichever you choose, both locations feature generous portions of authentic Cuban fare at affordable prices.
- Leo’s Grandevous: Cooking up hearty Italian staples since 1939, Leo’s is not only the best Italian spot in Hoboken, it’s the oldest! Leo’s Gradevous was frequented by Frank Sinatra after shows on his way back to his childhood home. The shrimp tagliatelle at Leo’s is one of our personal favorite dishes!
Top Three Things We Love About Hoboken
1. The Views: Hoboken boasts an incredible waterfront with unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline. After Hurricane Sandy, over $240M was spent on the Jersey City waterfront to rebuild infrastructure to protect the city against future storms. The new boardwalk and levees allow visitors to experience the Hudson and catch unobstructed views of the cityscape.
2. Small-Town Feel With a City Vibe: Brownstone homes resting on tree-lined streets and ample greenspaces with incomparable views of NYC make Hoboken the perfect balance between city and suburb.
3. Accessibility: The PATH is about a 10-minute ride to Manhattan. Other transportation options include the Ferry and NJ Transit Train, which also bring you to New York City within minutes. The city’s light rail is an inexpensive way to move around neighboring New Jersey towns as well.