Hoboken to the Hamptons

On October 15, 2020 I unpacked my boxes and unlocked the door to my Hoboken apartment. It symbolized change, opportunity, and, above all, freedom. A place entirely to myself. Well, one year later and that 750 square foot apartment has become much more than where I live— it’s become home, in every sense of the word. It’s where I feel safe and comfortable, a place that I miss when I’m gone. But it’s also where I built myself, something I didn’t anticipate when I initially signed the lease.

October 15, 2020

I arrived amid the pandemic, when the price was right but social distancing made crafting a social life from scratch near impossible. For my first six months as a Jersey resident, I felt isolated, despite my newfound sense of independence. I envisioned Hoboken as my future while simultaneously refusing to accept the Hamptons as my past. So, I attempted to sustain my Hamptons community while building a Hoboken one. Selfishly, I wanted to straddle the line of realities and make both places my own. And I did.

Today, as I walk the cobblestones of Court Street holding the latest issue of James Lane Post in hand, I’m reminded of all that I have built for myself since my move exactly one year ago. I’ve kayaked countless miles across the Hudson River with the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, celebrated City of Water Day with Fund for a Better Waterfront, went back to the 80s with the Hoboken Shelter, and tested my limits at the Hoboken City Challenge Race. Throughout that same duration, I wrote for and held a Weekly Wellness column with James Lane Post and AFLOAT USA, moderated a nutrition panel in East Hampton, and co-organized the inaugural Southampton Shop and Stroll to benefit the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. Somehow, someway, I kept the Hamptons close to my heart as I rooted myself in Hoboken’s mile-square city. 

Hoboken City Challenge Race

All the while, I transitioned out of a career as a traditional journalist and began my own business as a contract brand storyteller, working with clients from Hudson County to the Hamptons and everywhere in between (even down south to Virginia!). This has been my greatest achievement because it allowed me to connect communities through conversation, and it continues to fuel my passion for people every day.

with Thuyen Nguyen in East Hampton

When we look back on our lives it’s usually through rose colored glasses (psychologists refer to this as rosy retrospection). I’m not saying that this year didn’t come with its fair share of problems, or that I’m impervious to the realities of starting my own business. On the contrary, the initial struggles of my move propelled me forward and forced me to step out of my comfort zone, and I have grown in ways I may not even realize for months or years to come. 

So, cheers to me and my Hoboken-versary. May the next year bring even more memories and friendships, clients and community, from Hudson County to the Hamptons and everywhere in between. 

Hoboken’s Historic Cobblestone Court Street

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”.

The former 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.