The city of Hoboken, NJ is historic in nature, which was a weighted factor in my decision to move (that, and the sweeping city skyline view). So, it came as no surprise to find cobblestone streets, industrial brick buildings, and various charming structures riddled throughout the now modernized mile square city.
One street in particular captured my attention. It’s nestled between Washington Street and Hudson Street, a downtown alleyway with original cobblestone. For weeks I would pass it on my way to the waterfront walk, without seeing any signage or inclination as to its origins at all. In part, it looked like an extended back driveway. This, I came to learn, is Court Street.
It’s only seven blocks long, running from Newark Street to 7th Street, which makes it easy to miss.
“Court Street was laid out in 1804 by Colonel John Stevens as part of the original city plan,” the Hoboken government website explains.
It “originally provided access to the residents’ mews or stables,” the Hoboken Historic Museum Walking Map Tour notes (#17 on their map, special thanks to Bill for his help). “The cobblestone paving stones served as ships’ ballast in the 1800s.”
Black and white film buffs will recognize the location as the setting for the 1954 film On The Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint.
Today, Court Street is just like any other Hoboken residential street, only with an off the beaten path charm and allure. Walk down it to find beautifully repurposed homes out of former carriage houses. One in particular was originally built in 1868 and housed the meeting location for the German Social club, the “Hudsonia Club”.
Court Street acts as a roadway connecting the past into the present, one the community aims to preserve. Last month, in December 2020, Councilman Michael DeFusco announced a campaign to restore the original pavement.
Whether you’re a resident, new to the area (like myself) or need a dayscape, the next time you’re Hoboken be sure to wear comfortable flats and explore the historic Court Street.