Beyond Morris/Essex: Hoboken
SIZE 1 sq. mile
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME $105,710
YEAR INCORPORATED 1855
DRIVING TIME 20 minutes to 1 hour
Just across the Hudson from Manhattan, this town is the birthplace of two All-American greats: crooner Frank Sinatra and the sport of baseball— the first recorded game was played at Hoboken’s Elysian Fields in 1846. More recently, the city has gained attention as the headquarters of TLC’s Cake Boss, which attracts a long line of fans hoping to get inside Carlo’s Bake Shop and catch a glimpse of star Buddy Valestro. But for those who prefer a more low-key experience, we’ve discovered the best spots to spend a day—or better yet, a weekend—looking and feeling like a ’Boken local. Yes, New York City is only a PATH ride away—the stunning skyline views throughout the city offer a constant reminder—but you may be surprised to find that much of what you love in the Big Apple is also here in Hoboken, condensed into a square-mile food and shopping extravaganza.
ELYSIAN CAFÉ (1001 Washington St., elysiancafe. com), Hoboken’s oldest bar, was refurbished and revamped into a French bistro that is popular for its affordable yet refined brunch menu complete with mimosas. For lunch, grab a slice at GRIMALDI’S (133 Clinton St. and 411 Washington, grimaldis.com), the popular coaloven pizza joints that are rumored to serve up the best pies in town. Finish with a scrumptious cupcake from CRUMBS (409 Washington, crumbs.com). A dinner spot liked by townies is THE DINING ROOM AT ANTHONY DAVID’S (111 10th St., anthonydavids. com), a BYO (no corkage fee) that serves up fi ne Italian/ American cuisine.
Looking to clink glasses over good conversation? For craft brews and imported beers, check out the newly opened PILSNER HAUS AND BIERGARTEN (1422 Grand St., pilsenerhaus.com). Wine enthusiasts can talk tannins at BIN 14 (1314 Washington, bin14.com), and those looking to escape the crowds can travel a few blocks west to 10TH AND WILLOW (10thand willow.com), a sports bar with a “local watering hole” vibe. Club kids can show off their moves at the WEST FIVE SUPPER CLUB (505 Madison St., thewestfi ve.com).
Start on Washington Street and Observer Highway and work your way uptown for a 15- block stretch of shoe stores, clothing boutiques and home design shops among picturesque historic brownstones. In 2010, the extensive shopping experience here earned Washington recognition from the American Planning Association as one of the “Greatest Streets in America.”
Take a walk or a jog along the water’s edge at the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. You may even spot Hoboken’s own “Batman,” a costume-clad city mainstay who often cycles along this route on his “batbike.” Learn about the history of the Lincoln and Holland tunnels at the exhibition “Driving Under the Hudson” at the HUDSON RIVER MUSEUM (1301 Hudson, hrm.org) or check out local artists at the MONROE CENTER FOR THE ARTS (720 Monroe St., monroecenter.com). In the evening, see indie acts at MAXWELL’S (1039 Washington, maxwellsnj. com), a live music venue.
The excitement of town can tempt you to turn the trip into a weekend excursion, and where better to find respite than at the always elegant W HOTEL (225 River St., whotels.com/ hoboken)? This location alone has enough amenities to fill an extra day: get a treatment at Bliss Spa; browse designer clothing at the W Store; enjoy an elegant meal at Zylo, the hotel’s steakhouse; and spend the evening sipping martinis at the Chandelier Room.