hoboken411

Archived Posts from "'Reader Mail'"

Cat-astrophe in Hoboken?

Cat milling around Hoboken – missing or not?

Hoboken411 reader Jackie was wondering about this cat she’s been seeing in her neighborhood for a while.

“I have been seeing this cat in the pictures attached for a few weeks now on 2nd between Park and Willow. By the fur, I can tell that he/she has been on the street for the past few weeks, but is much much too friendly to be an original stray. The cat won’t go farther than the block, but meows and rolls over for you to pet it, acting how a house cat is. I’m not sure if someone purposely left it there or what but would like either way to help it find a home or its owner so I took some pictures this weekend.”

Back in the day when I was growing up – plenty of neighbors had “indoor/outdoor cats.” They’d go out when they wanted – and came back whenever they pleased (sometimes with a “gift” like a dead bird.)

Are indoor/outdoor cats possible in a pedestrian pinball city like Hoboken? Or is this fella just a missing cat, or purposely abandoned?

Regardless – if you’re interested in adopting a cat – check out Companion Animal Placement, which is a great resource.

cat wandering streets of Hoboken NJ

Hoboken NJ

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More parking meter rackets

Parking meter racket continues in Hoboken

Hoboken411 reader Leigh overheard the most ridiculous situation over at the Hoboken Parking Utility (or HPU – which also stands for “Hoboken Pickpocketing Underworld”).

“I was waiting in line at the Parking Authority this morning and I heard a woman discussing her parking ticket with one of the parking supervisors. She said she had a doctor’s appointment at 9am. She tried putting money into the parking meter machine prior to 9am but was not allowed to since parking is free from 9pm-9am. If someone had a meeting from 8am-10am, they are almost guaranteed a ticket unless they are able to come outside and pay the machine at 9. The supervisor said there was nothing he could do about the ticket or the machines. These machines have been in use for over a year. How is this even still an issue?”

So in other words – even if you WANT to pay ahead of time you cannot. Boy, I could hire a $2/hour programmer from overseas to fix this “glitch” in about 15 minutes. That’s just 50 cents. Let’s see how much the city “budgets” for to fix this asinine problem. My guess it’s six figures.

Parking Meter Racket in Hoboken NJ hours

Hoboken NJ

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Citizen complaints or responsibilities?

If Hoboken had a good government, would citizen complaints be needed?

You’d think that in a city about a square mile, and with a $100 million dollar budget – things would not only get done perfectly, they’d go WAY above and beyond the bare minimum. Pristine streets, no sidewalk rubbish, rock-solid waterfront walkways, and more than enough time left over to spare to lend a helping hand to some of the less fortunate residents (i.e., seniors, disabled, etc.)

But that’s not the case here in Hoboken. Not only can’t they “manage their own house,” but they beg that citizens also lend a hand (for FREE!) by submitting citizen complaint requests, etc.

Even then, I’m hearing that many “citizen complaints” go pretty much ignored or unresolved.

How long has the Hoboken Huddle been over? That concrete platform has remained months after. What were they waiting for, the next NY Super Bowl?

Hoboken Huddle Citizen Complaints

Then another resident was complaining about this ugly, orange “temporary” dog park set up on Hudson Street outside one of the municipal garages (while three of the parks were curiously shut down simultaneously this past winter for “renovations.”) It too, still remains.

Hoboken temporary dog park citizen complaints

Citizens even have to light the fire to keep construction projects plugging along, like the crumbling walkway north of Sinatra Park. So what are the public servants at City Hall doing exactly? Maybe the entire city should be run by volunteers – and not “paid slackers.”

Hoboken sinatra park walkway citzen complaints

Hoboken NJ

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Game of Thrones {Beer – Price Gouging?}

Game of Thrones Beer from Ommegang a “hot” commodity in Hoboken

Game of Thrones Beer Hoboken NJ price gougingSince we don’t get caught up in the latest “hot” TV series – we had to kind of look into what this “Game of Thrones” on HBO was all about.

You guessed it! A fantasy type show, with characters, explicit sex scenes, yadda, yadda, yadda. And viewership has apparently doubled since the first season (I think close to 7 million viewers now?) So it’s definitely one of the “in things” to talk about at your (real or virtual) water cooler.

Also what we didn’t know was that the Ommegang Brewery, in conjunction with the show – had come out with a “limited edition” Game of Thrones beer, which coincided with the premiere two weeks ago.

Did some Hoboken liquor stores over-charge for Game of Thrones?

Hoboken411 reader Eric clued us into this fact, but more importantly – believed that some kind of beer price-gouging was happening in Hoboken.

“There are 3 different designs for same beer, which I was trying to hunt down. I actually purchased 2 bottles over at Sparrows uptown for $10.99/each even though they had a sign stating ‘Limit one per customer’. Sparrows did not mind this.

Game of Thrones Beer OmmegangWhen I saw that Wine House (the old Price King) was selling Ommegang I went in to see if they had the last design I was looking for. They did and they did not have a sign limiting the amount a person could purchase. So I picked up all 3 bottles and my total was roughly 48.00. I didn’t think anything of it because for some reason i thought I purchased 4 bottles which would have made it 12.00 each. Not a big mark up, another 1.00 over sparrows which I was fine with since they just remodeled and I’m helping out a local store.

I state 48.00 roughly because I never received a receipt nor was I offered one. They have you pay via an ipad and sign your name on the screen but there’s no summary of your order just the total cost. To my surprise afterwards I was actually paying 16.00 a bottle almost a 50% increase over sparrows. When I realized this I went back to the store to let them know of my displease. I informed the sales clerk that it was my mistake that I did not ask for the price of each, his response was that I gave you a total cost. If i received a receipt with an itemized bill I would have known of the price gouge immediately.

He stated they do not accept returns, which i understood as well, but it would have been nice to get a price match or some type of refund if they would not take back the alcohol. Nothing.”

We checked it out. Sparrow did indeed sell it for $10.99. Ok….

Game of Thrones Ommegang Beer Sparrow Hoboken NJ 1099

So was it really price gouging?

Then we went to Wine House – and the price was $12.99 per bottle. Pretty standard for small store not to have the same low “discount price” that a larger outlet like Sparrow (or Super Buy Rite in Jersey City) would sell it for.

Game of Thrones Ommegang Beer Wine House Hoboken NJ 1299

So Eric’s jumbo $48 bill was either a true mistake (on either party’s end) – or Wine House lowered the price a week later since the “exclusivity” of the hot commodity had wore off.

Who knows – but the lessons here are:

  1. Ask for the price (if it isn’t listed).
  2. Pay attention to your total bill (and demand an itemized receipt).
  3. Don’t go to the store drunk and stupefied. Not good for the wallet.

Enjoy your suds!

Hoboken NJ

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97 Year Old Frank Augustine recognized

Here’s a great story about Hoboken, NJ resident Frank Augustine, and his lifetime of achievements, as penned by his son Dennis. Enjoy (it’s a long read).

97 Year old Frank Augustine Recognized for Lifetime Achievements

“—A son’s tribute to his father”

by Dr. Dennis Augustine

Frank Augustine Hoboken NJ Age 11 1928My dad, Frank Augustine, whose name was legally changed from his former Italian name, Frances D’Agostino, was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1917. He has been a New Jersey resident for almost 80 years.

In 1996 he became a life member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Whenever he receives the latest issue of the CCC Journal he calls me to see if I got my copy. In time, I began to recognize how important a role the CCC experience played in his life.

But, first some back history. When my mother Maria passed away on Mother’s Day last year at the age of 88, it was a heart-felt loss. After all, mom was the matriarch of the family—the glue that held us all together.

After 66 years of marriage, dad lived alone and all the attention was focused on his well-being. We hired a live in caregiver named Margaret, a native of Ghana, to cook for him and assist him daily with his other home care needs. She has been a godsend to him and our family.

This makes it possible for him to continue living in the middle unit of a five-flat apartment building in Hoboken that he has owned and inhabited since 1952, which was of primary importance to him and my siblings, who live in neighboring towns.

A story to be told

I began calling him from my home in California every evening to see how he was doing and engage him in conversation. During many of these phone calls I felt an inner prompting to resume recording an oral history of his life I had begun documenting some years ago.

Frank Augustine Hoboken NJ Age 19 1935Dad was the son of coal miner and railroad worker named Michael, and his mom Frances was a homemaker, both of whom my siblings and I never met. Due to his mom’s chronic and debilitating illness, and his dad’s long work hours, his dad was ill equipped to take care of him and his siblings. Hence, they were given up for adoption.

As a result, dad spent his most tender years from the age of six through eighteen at St. Joseph’s Hospital Orphanage and St. Michael’s School for Boys in Scranton and Hoban Heights, Pennsylvania, respectively.

Dad is a survivor, and rarely engages in self-pity of any kind. On the contrary, whenever I asked him about his time at the orphanages, rather than telling some dark tales of woe, he said he was treated well by the Catholic nuns and had no complaints. He also expressed no ill will toward his father for giving him up for adoption. “There is always someone else worse off than me,” he would say regardless of the many challenges he has faced in life.

In 1934, he left the orphanage at St. Michael’s to live with my aunt Mary—his eldest sibling—who had become an R.N., and my uncle Carmine in Union City. A short time later he took his first job as an assistant cook at the historic former Clam Broth House near the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., for ten dollars a week including room and board.

Though dad has excellent recall for his advanced age, I had some difficulty matching up his dates of service in the army and maritime service with the rest of his life history. When I brought this to his attention during a recent visit, he simply got up from his desk and removed his army photo from his office wall.

He then unhooked the backing from the frame and a stack of Honorable Discharge papers magically appeared. With a satisfied look on his face and a twinkle in his eye he said, “I think this is what you’re looking for.” I was both an amused and surprised. “With record keeping like this who needs a computer,” I joked.

Traveling across the country

In September 1935 dad hitchhiked across the country to Texas to join his older brother Joe in the army, serving in the 23rd Infantry and later the 15th Field Artillery at Fort Sam Houston. He served as head cook and personal aide to Army Chaplain, Capt. William Walsh until September 15, 1938 when he was given an Honorable Discharge.

The country was racially divided back then, and he witnessed the hanging and tar and feathering of a young black man in the town square. He was repulsed by the inhumane cruelty of it all, calling it “disgusting,” but felt helpless to intervene, all the while thinking to himself: “These people are crazy.”

In 1939, at the recommendation of Captain Walsh he entered the order of the Maryknoll Fathers as a seminarian in Ossining, N.Y. He became a Catholic brother and was given the name of Brother Pius. Though he enjoyed the camaraderie of the other brothers and tending the animals at the farm that the seminary was located on, he decided that such an austere life was not a life for him. He returned to Hoboken to live with my uncle Anthony and aunt Kitty who lived near the late Frank Sinatra and his family before he became a famous crooner and Hoboken’s favorite son.

Click to continue reading Frank’s story!

Hoboken NJ

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Luxury Roach Motel at Maxwell Place

Can’t win? Maxwell Place still a “Luxury Roach Motel” in Hoboken

You figured that if you live in one of the most “desired” spots in Hoboken – like at Maxwell Place along the Hudson River Waterfront, you’d have little to worry about (other than your massive property tax bill each quarter). But several residents have mentioned that one problem that is typically known to affect “blighted” areas like inner-cities, has been a problem for the past five years: Unwanted Critters. Will Maxwell Place always be considered a “Luxury Roach Motel,” or will they finally tackle the problem once and for all?

Is Maxwell Place in Hoboken NJ a luxury roach motel

Are solving roach problems so close to the river impossible?

Residents we spoke to are quite fed up. They’ve had issues with essentially an “infestation” of roaches at all the outdoor sun decks and pool areas in the building located at 1125 Maxwell Lane.

They say that Toll Brothers and various employees of the building refuse to call them what they are, and instead use the term “water bugs” (sounds a lot less disgusting that way, doesn’t it.) And that the management rarely does anything until countless people make a (public) stink of it.

One resident said: “They’re everywhere! In the spring and summer months it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the 4th, 6th and 7th floor outdoor areas because of them! You know spring has officially arrived the day you spot your first roach!”

Maxwell Place has supposedly tried addressing this in the past, first blaming it on the landscaping mulch (“it wasn’t treated with pesticide…”) and later calling extermination companies to come in and treat the problem.

Makes you wonder if “extermination” companies actually ever do the proper job. Because if they did, wouldn’t they eventually go out of business?

Anyway, sucks to pay top dollar for “luxury” residences, only to have to deal with “third world” problems like this. Perhaps “water bugs” and living so close to the murky Hudson River make it impossible to fix?

Maybe they should factor these nasty conditions in when they do the property revaluation? Haha – not gonna happen!

Hoboken NJ

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