A love affair with Hoboken
New Hoboken411 contributor: Lara Kaplan Hanson
Lara Kaplan Hanson has been a Hoboken resident for a shade over a year – after jumping from place to place in the NYC tri-state for many years. Since landing here – she’s so in love with our city – and wishes to communicate her happy thoughts via the written word.
So today, let’s introduce you to Lara – and her upcoming periodic column here called “A love affair with Hoboken.”
A Love Affair with Hoboken
Introducing Lara Kaplan Hanson…
There, I adopted Fordham University’s Rose Hill as my new home. “Why would you move from California to the Bronx?” the confused looks never failed, as they noted my blatant blond hair and fading tan. Answer: I wanted to play D1 basketball, study journalism, and get the hell away from an opposite insanity residing out west.
Fordham was a great school, and I settled into Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy in the Bronx as my first home. Ending all too quickly, my six years of riding the D train at Fordham Road had come to a close. Two degrees later, it was time to hit the subway platform and find a new stop.
Like any kid out of college with dreams of grandeur in NYC, I wanted a Manhattan address. I found the cheapest apartment possible on the Upper West Side, right off the A train’s 181st stop. The tip of Manhattan, called Cabrini Heights to those who paraded airs, known more locally as Washington Heights, offered a slightly different taste. A convergence of old Jewish families, post grads from Columbia University, a trendy gay contingent, and a large mishmash of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, offered the stereotypical NYC melting pot. However, after a year in the Heights, a landlord I sued for living on my couch, and a boyfriend in Queens who refused to visit, I caved in by moving to Astoria. Astoria, the home away from home for the Greeks, where apartments were big and rent small. Next stop, Broadway and Steinway in A-Town. After two years, I found no redeeming qualities other than the Bohemian Beer Gardens and a few friends I made. I hated Astoria. It was dirty, there were no parks, and the subways were bursting at the seams. Hence, after a long overdue break-up with the boyfriend of five years, it was time to hit NYC’s public transportation again.
I had lived in three boroughs in eight years, I thought completing the Big Apple adventure in Brooklyn or Staten Island might make sense. But, after hearing the SI accents, and scoffing at the idea of squeezing into skinny jeans and getting a f**ked up haircut with a move to Williamsburg, I was stuck.
Where would I go next?
Hoboken it is!
It was nearing 4th of July, 2009, and with the Frying Pan closed for a private party, I searched for options. It was determined by my posse that Manhattan parks would be too crowded. With locals leaving for the Hamptons, and the outer borough degenerates invading, I asked everybody I knew for suggestions. The word on the street: New Jersey, and the city of Hoboken seemed to linger in the air. What was this Hoboken place? And, how did one get to New Jersey? Upon further research, I discovered something called The PATH, and my maiden voyage was underway.
Hence began my love affair with the Home of Baseball, the Birthplace of Frank Sinatra, the set for one of my favorite movies: On the Waterfront, and a new residence. Today, after a year of living in the Mile Squared, I would have to say there is more love than hate in this affair; the constant intrigue of festivals, bar/restaurant openings, new friends and random discoveries, my love affair with Hoboken continues…
Stay tuned: Lara has a timely “Holiday” post for you all tomorrow!