Weekend Walks is our weekend column where we explore the photographic beauty of various neighborhoods through the lenses of history, architecture and commerce.
While Hoboken’s admittedly beautiful waterfront may get all the press, much history lies around those shiny high rises and in some cases, it’s right in front of it.
Pier A, now a park, was once used during World War I to ship doughboys off to Europe. The hope for a speedy return led to a quote from General John Pershing that stated American soldier’s fates would be in “heaven, hell or Hoboken, by Christmas.”
Just north, a newer park named Pier C has a section that’s been taken over by lovelocks. No one quite knows exactly how it started or who initiated it, but they keep popping up despite the city occasionally removing them, perhaps proving that you really can’t stop love.
If you don’t know that Frank Sinatra was born here, you must be new in town. The best spot bearing him namesake is Sinatra Park, which sports a soccer field and a restaurant, appropriately named Blue Eyes Cafe. Fans can also stop by 415 Monroe Street and see his birthplace (it’s even currently for sale).
While Sinatra may be Hoboken’s most famous son, inventor John Stevens has him beat in terms of architectural influence. The technology institute bearing his name is filled with century-old structures, including a gatehouse that resembles a castle.
While new construction in the city has been significant, Hoboken’s housing stock is still brownstone-heavy, with some adaptively reused factories and industrial spaces as well, like a former Keuffler & Essel factory.
The city has been home to many different ethnicities over the years. The early 20th century saw many German families settle in the city, while many Italian and Irish families followed during the World Wars. Post WWII, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans became increasing prominent, a history that is noted on the city’s 150th-anniversary mural.
All those groups have contributed to the greater culture of the city, which includes everything from Fiore’s Deli (in business since 1913) to even a live poultry market.
One can’t forget Hoboken’s west side, which has landmarks like St. Ann Church, host of the city’s Italian festival each year. It also features a growing number of art galleries and even sports a community garden.
While these days, everybody seems to know where this is…
…you get big props if you know this road’s name.
And even bigger props if you remember these companies.