An endless stream of Lincoln Tunnel traffic flows to the north. The same flood of commuters trickles to the south, through the Holland Tunnel. And to the east lies a magnificent view of New York’s cityscape, painted in gleaming silver and blue glass. The sprawling borough draws and purges 200,000 drivers each day through its underground channels alone.
The city of Hoboken sits wedged between these two highways, as a puzzle piece bookended by sleepless urban haste. So how does a longstanding riverfront neighborhood of such unique location choose to carry itself? Does it adopt the bustling culture of its metropolitan neighbor? Or does it tout its small-town size and market itself as a close (but not too close) Manhattan outpost?
Well, a little of both.
The tightly sealed, two-mile burg of about 52,000 has seen a population spike over the last two decades — plus 57 percent since 1990. And accordingly, Hoboken has filled itself with luxury apartment complexes, new restaurants and hip bars to accommodate the influx of white, financially comfortable New York commuters and young families unwilling to pay sky-scraping rents in New York.
But a handful of enduring restaurants and shops along Washington Street predate the “yuppie boom,” and boast a Jersey pride that doesn’t necessarily want to see Frank Sinatra’s hometown become Upper West Side West.
On a chilly Friday in November, we spent 18 hours in the city to see just how this mix of new and old co-exists, and what draws so many young New Jerseyans to the Hudson riverfront.