Archived Posts from "'A Love Affair with Hoboken'"

Hoboken Dating, Lying and Omissions


[This post is part of the "A Love Affair with Hoboken" series written by resident Lara Kaplan Hanson...]

When Dating, is Omission a Lie?

Since the epic breakup with my boyfriend of five years, I have spent the last two years very slowly getting back into the dating scene. This is no easy or quick feat.

For all the issues I had with my boyfriend of five years, the one thing I never had to worry about was lying. We knew everything about each other, had all the same friends, and had a very open honest relationship. Since the breakup though, I have began to wonder if he was the only honest guy out there.

The first person I dated post break up had a very story book intro. Everyday we boarded the same subway car, exited the same stop, and made the same turns on the way to work. One day, stopped by a red light at a cross walk, I turned to him and said: “I’m Lara.” He laughed and gave his name. We had literally been taking the same route for two months noticing each other, but never said anything. It turned out he worked on my block, and lived two blocks from me in Astoria.

He asked for my number and we went for a drink. That drink turned into a month of dinner and drinks. However, there was something wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew there was something off. Finally, I called him one night, and I asked if he was married. I don’t know how I knew, I just did. He explained that they were separated, but living together.

WHAT?? Are you kidding me?? Do I have chump written on my forehead? Apparently so. He invited me to his house to explain. I went over more out of curiosity and to put him in his place than anything else. I listened to the explanation trying to be understanding, but I was appalled that he still wanted to date!

See the rest of the story after the jump…

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Any given weekend in Hoboken


[This post is part of the "A Love Affair with Hoboken" series written by resident Lara Kaplan Hanson...]

Any Given Saturday or Sunday?

The New York Jets won their first playoff game!! It was hard to watch Folk take that last kick when (most Jets fans would agree) he should have been traded halfway through the season. As the ball sailed through the goal posts from Folk’s off-centered starting point, everyone cheered, high-fived, and laughed in utter disbelief. The Jets, a fourth quarter team, had taken us to the wire many times this season, and Saturday night was no different.

The Turtle Club’s dark wooded interior suddenly lit up with our elation. Dave and Ted, my newly acquainted friends, though not Jets fans, cheered on our behalf. That is one thing I like about being a New York – New Jerseyite, we pull for each other to win. In the playoffs, most Mets fans cheer for the Yankees, just the way most Giants fans are cheering on the Jets. And, if the role were reversed, with opposite teams in the playoffs, vice versa would be true.

Of course there are still the hater holdouts, but all in all the fans of these teams, and the people in these states, are family. We pull for each other’s teams, we help each other up in times of need, make fun of each other when necessary, and hold up our drinks in times of celebration.

When I try to explain this to people in California, they are baffled. They seem stunted by this impression that “new yorkers are mean” and “new jersey people, crazy.” I still remember the silence over the phone line when I first told my family last fourth of the July I was moving to New Jersey.


I tried to convince them Hoboken seemed like a great place to live, but they were doubtful. It was the same silence that echoed in my family’s dining room when I told my mom I would be going to college at Fordham in the Bronx.


Californians have a jaded perspective of the east, as I think some easterners do about the west. While, I do believe that stereotypes exist for a reason, and that not all stereotypes are false, I do think all encompassing assumptions are not accurate. Yes, there are some funny looking orange people wandering Jersey, and fist fights I have witnessed on subways in New York, but despite appearances this place is more often kind, and generous, than given credit for.

This morning when I noticed the kitchen faucet leaking in my apartment, one of my neighbors lent me tools for the fix and offered to help. Everyday on the PATH I see people give up their seats to the elderly, pregnant women, and people with oversized bags. At the bar, a solider in uniform is offered a drink, the dropped glove is always returned, and almost everyone says thank you to the bus driver as they depart the 126 bus. These are little items in the grand scheme of this big world, but these random acts of kindness speak to the quality of people here and the character of this town.

I know the sky will not always be blue, nor the world without fault… there are days when I curse the snow and trip on the ice, but I’d say generally Hoboken is a pleasant little corner of the universe….

Especially when the Jets win!

Pizza Pit Stop: Rome Pizza

On a side note, stopped by Rome Pizza for my first new taste of the New Year. Rome sits directly across from the PATH, an easy place to stop for a bite after work, but it is not your average pizza joint. Having just opened this past summer, the decor is modern with freshly painted walls, electric guitars, pictures giving nod to famous musicians, and chic hanging lights.

Despite its newness, when you sit down on the high bar stools, and meet the young friendly owner, Scott, you feel right at home. He recommend the pasta pizza, which I tried for the first time. Something my traditional palate would never have thought to order. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it, and how filling this slice was. Unable to finish the last bite, I headed home for a movie date with my friend Jason, watching my favorite movie from middle school, Grosse Pointe Blank. If you are ever in the mood for a 90′s dark comedy with John Cusack, I highly recommend it.

Well, Happy New Year again, and everyone try to swing by their place of worship and say a prayer for the Jets this week!!!

Resolutions in Hoboken?


[This post is part of the "A Love Affair with Hoboken" series written by resident Lara Kaplan Hanson...]

Resolutions for 2011

By Lara Kaplan Hanson

How many people actually do New Year’s resolutions? I remember working on my resolutions in college and getting into a big argument with my good friend, Tom. “Why do you need to make resolutions?” he exclaimed irritated. “I don’t need to, I only want to improve myself,” I defended. “Why can’t you just be happy with who you are?”

“I AM HAPPY with who I am, but I can always be better!!! If I settle for the person I am today, than in fifty years I will still be the same person, and the years will have been pointless. In that case, I could just kill myself today!!!!” Like a young kid poking a stick through the lion’s cage, I enjoyed stirring the pot with my republican friend and foe.

Resolutions through the years

My early resolutions, in middle school and high school, were vague: “get better grades, improve my shooting percentage on the basketball court, and write more.” Unlike a historian, I look back at the breadcrumbs in my life for laughter not explanation. It’s amusing to occasionally pause and reflect how one’s life has transpired.

In college, my resolutions matured when an assistant basketball coach added a twist. Instead of nondescript items, she wanted our resolutions broken out into categories: basketball and personal, then three ways we would accomplish each goal. The resolutions went from “improve shooting” to “my shooting will improve because I will take an additional 1000 shots a day, raise my bench max by 15 pounds, and cut my mile time by 30 seconds.” She was ingenious. It wasn’t just about goals, she was giving us a recipe for how to achieve them.

Post college I kept the same strategy, but the categories evolved into: intellectual, physical, and spiritual. Don’t worry, I’ll save you the mundane laundry list of this year’s resolutions, and rather include two centered around Hoboken…

Two Hoboken Resolutions coming right up!

First Hoboken resolution: try a new bar, restaurant, or store every week. With 4 weeks in a month and 12 months in a year, that will give me a little less than 50 attempts in town to discover more local flavor. The second resolution is a bit more complex, but here it goes…

Did you know Hoboken was voted the number one town in the country for singles who are thirty? My married friends, Dan and Sharon, encouragingly pointed this out as a new single in town. At the time, I was 27, just out of a LONG relationship, and dismissed their point. I didn’t want a boyfriend, but instead invested all my time in traveling.

Well, guess who is single and almost thirty now? Yup, I said it. Me!!!

See the rest of her almost-30 adventures after the jump…

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Holidays in Hoboken 2010


[This post is part of the "A Love Affair with Hoboken" series written by resident Lara Kaplan Hanson...]

Holidays in Hoboken: 2010

By Lara Kaplan Hanson

The summer I moved to Hoboken, I didn’t know a soul. My newly acquired roommates from Craigslist were nice enough, but both were bachelors with their own lives to lead. It reminded me of my original move to NYC, a city swarming with people, and yet I had never felt so alone.

Entering my freshman year at Fordham I had been quarantined to the senior dorm, Walsh Hall. As a basketball player, I was subject to living at school year round for training. While other freshman were becoming friends on the younger side of campus, I avoided my senior roommates, who wanted nothing to do with a bright eyed freshman. My new world in Hoboken was ironically similar, but neither situation deterred me. At Fordham I decided to join every club on campus as a way to cultivate friends. My basketball coach teased me about how popular I had become overnight, but little did he know my tricks to the trade.

In Hoboken, I tested the same methods, by joining multiple social groups, playing basketball at the local parks, and assisting with any volunteer opportunities I could find. One pleasant afternoon while strolling through the aromas of Saint Ann’s Feast, I came across the Hoboken Museum & Historical Society. They had a medium size booth full of books about Hoboken, loads of great historical black and white photographs, fun Frank Sinatra pins, postcards from local artists, and bright colored t-shirts noting Hoboken: The 6th Borough of NYC. I found out that by becoming a member of the museum I would get my choice of Hoboken books on display, and an automatic invite to future events. The events consisted of things like garden tours, and tomato and garlic festivals. It sounded absolutely delightful.

I began attending events at the museum, and soon became a loyal volunteer. Our group of volunteers are an eclectic mix of young couples, old wise men, artists, knowledgable women, community advocates and other local faces. The museum, while small in size, was occupied by an impassioned group of Hobokenites, always working towards the next event.

Two weeks ago I saw in my email inbox, an invitation from the museum to carol with the St. Dominic’s Women’s Choir. It had been a childhood dream of mine to carol, and a small item on my general bucket list for life. In the past I had advocated the idea to friends, but they had understandably always looked at me like I had three heads. Happily surprised, I RSVP’d immediately. Not sure what to expect, I awaited the day, then promptly arrived for singing festivities with another Hobokenite (who I had convinced to join the band of troops). Bob Foster, the museum director, who I had worked with over the year, was inside the museum prepping some snacks before the escapade. People slowly wandered in from the cold, and by 7pm with a short dress rehearsal, we were off. The winter air was unforgiving, but this would not dissuade our merry group.

Find out where they traveled to – after the jump!

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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…

“Born and bred along the sunny beaches in Santa Monica, California, I traded coasts in 2000 for the Boogie Down Bronx.

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!