History: The Fabian and Shop Rite

1/28/2010:

Then, now and tomorrow?

When Hoboken411 broke the news that Barnes & Noble will close, the conversation in the comments section went in a few interesting directions. With Hoboken’s largest and most diverse readership, reaction to the news was followed by predictions on what’s to come, as well as memories of what came before. Great comments from several registered users spurred me to dig into the archives to bring back more memories.

Hoboken The Fabian exterior street view

It all started with the Fabian

In 1928, one of Hoboken’s crown jewels was born. The Fabian Theater was a 3,500 seat marvel. Beautifully appointed and engineered at the corner of Newark and Washington, the Fabian played host to Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, live performances and movies. Take a look at these photos of the interior.

The Fabian thrived until the ‘60’s, when “Urban Renewal” became all the rage. In Mayor Louie DePascale’s Hoboken “old” was bad and “Hoboken’s New Look” was in. It was during this era that blocks of On The Waterfront-era Hudson Street were condemned and torn down to make way for Marine View Plaza’s high-rise apartments and parking garages. The Fabian closed for good in 1965. By 1968 it was condemned to be torn down and replaced by a shiny new Shop-Rite that would kick off the ‘70’s in New Hoboken Style.

Old Hoboken Shop Rite at Newark and Washington Streets where CVS is now

It wasn’t long before the ‘80s Real Estate Boom of the “Delivered Vacant” era put the barely 15 year-old Shop-Rite in jeopardy. Yuppie developers Danny Gans and George Vallone set their sites on replacing it with a 1.3 acre mixed use development including two 12-story condo towers designed by architect Dean Marchetto. The “Court Street Plaza” project was debated for two years before being approved in July of 1987.

288 Condos were planned, with 351 underground parking spaces. Even with approvals, activists continued to oppose the project, which was ultimately killed by the ‘80s Real Estate Crash.

Shop Rite gives way to CVS, but what next?

Ultimately even the downtown Shop-Rite couldn’t survive. The site was ultimately re-configured to house CVS, Sam Goody, NYSC and the soon-to-be-departed Barnes & Noble.

Napster and iTunes killed Sam Goody, and CVS was more than happy to take the space. The owners of this retail property and parking lot don’t live in Hoboken, and apparently enjoy a tidy and easy profit renting it out. There’s still pressure to tear it down and start over. Former Mayor David Roberts was known to look out his City Hall office window and grouse about how so many tax ratables could be pumping cash into his coffers if only condo towers would replace the one-story CVS. Architect Dean Marchetto has never taken his eyes completely off the property, plans for which continue “to dance like sugarplums” in his head.

What next for the CVS Barnes and Noble lot in Hoboken NJ Fabian

The Fabian is gone, and so is Shop Rite, Sam Goody and soon, Barnes & Noble.

What will be on this site 20 years from now?

Share your favorite memories of this block and Hoboken gone by below here on the most read website about all things Hoboken!

Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "History: The Fabian and Shop Rite"


Member
magiccat
2 years 11 months ago

anyone remember the hansen family that lived on 75 washington st. nellie and helmut, kids herman harry chris esther sonja

Member
truth1
5 years 3 months ago

The Fabian was really Beautiful in it’s day. It fell due to the economy of the time. For example, Marine View Apts. were difficult to rent back then.

Member
5 years 3 months ago

The end of the time for the Fabian came in the sixties when Hoboken was
becoming a poor forgotten place. Lice infested the seats and it was dilapadated.
We have a new one in another location. Netflix will put them out also soon enough!
Blockbuster has rentals and the service is nice, in a good location! (mid-town)! :) :)

Member
5 years 3 months ago

Blockbuster is going to go out of business well before Clearview Cinemas ever does.[quote comment=”192485″]The end of the time for the Fabian came in the sixties when Hoboken was
becoming a poor forgotten place. Lice infested the seats and it was dilapadated.
We have a new one in another location. Netflix will put them out also soon enough!
Blockbuster has rentals and the service is nice, in a good location! (mid-town)! [/quote]

Member
xyzpdq
5 years 3 months ago

I agree. There’s a trend here. First Sam Goody, then Hollywood Video, then Barnes&Noble, so Blockbuster is next. The movie theater is here to stay. Too bad we can’t bring the Fabian back.[quote comment=”192501″]Blockbuster is going to go out of business well before Clearview Cinemas ever does.

[/quote]

Member
Journey
5 years 3 months ago

I agree. I’ve already been to the new movie theater more times than I’ve been to blockbuster in the past 3 years.

If I want to stay in I have FiOS and a Tivo, why rent anything? I go to the movies to see something on a big screen. I personally will wait till chickflick comes on cable before seeing it in theater, I reserve that for films with special effects.[quote comment=”192501″]Blockbuster is going to go out of business well before Clearview Cinemas ever does.

[/quote]

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

whine your right..at two i was 11..closed down in 1952..next door was a small eatery..they gave u a milk shake for around 20cents.
little did we know the icecream was missing..funny. We didnt have the money to go to the fabian.there was this big fat kid fat freddie..he had a speical seat knocked two arm rests out for him
he smelled of cheese..lmao. lots of memories..some stinkey some sweet..now it would cost you over 50 dollars to take kids to a movie.geeee.

Member
whineanddineinhob
5 years 6 months ago

I think you mis-read my reply wiskey. I replied that the only two theaters I went to were the Fabian and US. Didn’t mean I was 2 yrs. old. In 1952 I was Five.

In response to wiskeytango1 who said:
whine your right..at two i was 11..closed down in 1952..next door was a small eatery..they gave u a milk shake for around 20cents.
little did we know the icecream was missing..funny. We didnt have the money to go to the fabian.there was this big fat kid fat freddie..he had a speical seat knocked two arm rests out for him
he smelled of cheese..lmao. lots of memories..some stinkey some sweet..now it would cost you over 50 dollars to take kids to a movie.geeee.

Member
hobokendave
5 years 6 months ago

Put height limits and a required number of parking spaces on whatever is built there. With Walgreen’s coming to town, CVS won’t be missed while construction is going on.