Where to hang your hat?

Where to hang your hat? {it’s a big question}

The phenomenon of where people (choose) to live is fascinating to me. In so many ways, with a multitude of facets – that it’s not necessarily easy to “pin down” in any shape or manner. But it’s still fun to explore the idea of “where to hang your hat.”

Many folks, including those that choose to hunker down in Hoboken long term, become “fans” of their environs. They praise the good (while ignoring the obvious), and “root” for their territory. They become cheerleaders for the life they chose to live.

While not the most sensible mentality to have – it’s understandable. People want to justify their decisions and their placeholders in life. Being judged isn’t always easy. People also like to find their spot in the “pecking order.” Which often means, “Am I better off than this person?”

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What are the particulars of your living environment?

Everyone has “preferences.” Whether they’re ingrained in your personality – or they develop as you’ve spent time in a certain environment. Getting used to things as they are.

I’ve seen “newbies” who come to Hoboken, and quickly adopt the so-called “city life” and pounce around like they’ve discovered gold. That is fair. Most of those people came from “shittier” circumstances. This is not uncommon to new residents.

Then there are people I’ve met from midwest cities (or other quiet places) – who are thrilled at the “action” a city like Hoboken offers. Compared to the relatively “boring” aspects of a slower location.

I’ve also met people who’ve come from the “big city” (NYC, LA, PHI) to “settle down” here in Hoboken. The cities are a major-league crazy-fest. You have tons of high-level talent, as well as an equal number of wack-jobs. It’s a strenuous place to live (we’ve lived there and it’s high energy for sure).

Hoboken is an interesting city. Despite it’s deeply sub-standard political “leadership,” there is sufficient density to call it a major city, yet it still has plenty of “quaint” opportunities. Amazing how close to NYC, but yet can still have relatively quiet moments – and a low crime rate (for now).

So what types of people come and go from Hoboken?

Off the top of my head, I can see FIVE typical residents of Hoboken.

Newbies. Younger newbies Can come from anywhere. Most typically “room up” with a few others, usually their friends. The bang around town while hustling for bucks in whatever jobs they have. They’re undecided, and may eventually fall into some of the other groups. Older newbies might live here because of job location, friends, or other reasons. But I’d guess that younger out-numbers older.

Action-seekers. These people (couples or singles) typically come from slower locations. They seek the action of the big city, but want a safer and more affordable area. While Hoboken is by no means “cheap,” (look in the heights for that), it’s much less than Manhattan.

Locals. These are people who’ve lived here for several generations or more. They may or may not have properties – but they have history. There are thousands of multi-generational locals in Hoboken, but the current “mayor” don Zimmer would like them evaporated, in our opinion.

In-betweeners. This group represents a lot of the population. They have no definition, or direction. They’re just living. They might have a job. Or rich parents. But what happens tomorrow, or next year is very undefined. Something (or someone) could easily remove them from the mile square in a heartbeat. But for today, they’re here.

Making a life of it. There are some folks out there – who choose to call Hoboken home indefinitely. They are usually financially very successful, and have become overwhelmingly accustomed to the conveniences and safety Hoboken has to offer. They have large homes (often full single family brownstones), and will figure out a way to manage how their children get educated.

What are some others I might have left out?

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What are reasons to leave Hoboken?

Another interesting discussion is about why many people leave Hoboken each year. They all have different reasons.

But to sum up why – let’s look at them and wonder:

Hoboken is too small. Yep – there may be plenty to do, with public transport right at your finger-tips, Hoboken is still 1.3 miles square. And along with the small city, most apartments are small compared to homes in other cities. Plus, hardly anyone has property sized in acreage, right?

Shitty school system. Despite $65 million dollars a year, Hoboken consistently ranks near DEAD-LAST in the quality it NJ school systems. Fact. “mayor” don Zimmer has made the city schools worse than before she got shammed into office. Fuck that bitch.

Quality of life. City living has tons of conveniences. Late night places. Booze till 3am. A very “walkable” city. Low crime. But city living can wear on people over time. Noise. Traffic. Parking. Privacy. FLOODING. Normal people have a limit to their tolerance – and will seek out alternatives. Eventually.

Expensive. Taxes are at an all-time high in Hoboken. What do you get for that money? Especially if you private school your kids – which is a necessity if you want to give them a fighting chance in life. And not just taxes. Properties themselves, regardless of what “market rate” is, are near the top of the chart when it comes to sq. ft. per dollar.

Hoboken’s main benefits

There are many benefits to living in Hoboken – let’s try and list the top four:

  1. Easy transit. To NYC and other areas in NJ. But it only works well to major places. Transit within Hoboken has been utter shit (until Uber and Lyft arrived).
  2. Walking city. You have a few drinks out – and walk home without getting accosted by some gov’t gang member.
  3. Low crime. Yep – the crime level compared to similar cities is low. But not lower than farming suburbs out there.
  4. Social. Friends. Density. – That’s a major plus for Hobooken – provided you’re a social person. Lots of family events, and more – if you’re “plugged in.” Tough call!

Where do you want to live? Can you “undo” city life?

For $900k in Hoboken, you can get a 2 bed, 2 bath condo (with high taxes, fees), which is the same price as a 16-acre palace with 10 times the space at half the taxes and no fees.

Sure, it’ll involve more work – but it would be yours.

But I find it interesting how some city people “rule out” alternative living environments. Especially out towards suburban or rural areas. Most often they cite the conveniences they’ve become accustomed to. “It’ll be boring.” Or “there’s nothing to do out there. A shithole.” Or “you have to drive everywhere.”

This is where you notice the “pros and cons” of each and every place out there. And where you have to decide which pros and cons are the most important to you.

On one hand – people who really dig city life, and all the conveniences might never be able to live otherwise. They will forever be city people. But there are people who thrive in more country-like environs. Maybe they see the writing on the wall, and choose to distance themselves from densely-populated areas.

Which camp are you in?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:55 pm

Now this is an interesting topic. I lived in Hoboken for 19 years before departing last June. I came as a single twentysomething, and left in my forties married with a child. Using the above descriptions, I came as a “young newbie” and morphed into the “making a life of it” camp after meeting my wife. Or so I thought. What changed? Having a kid. Hoboken is great as a single person or as “DINKs” as stated above. But once you have a child, that changes things. You find yourself needing a lot more space. Which brings me to my reason for leaving – the expense. Having a child meant I needed a 3rd bedroom (I need an office for when I work from home) – and I needed private outdoor space so the kid could safely play outside. When I told my real estate agent I wanted all that and parking in an elevator building at a max budget of $850k, she laughed me out of her office. That’s when I knew it was time to go. So we moved to Rutherford. We built a brand new 4000 sq. ft. house on a corner lot for the price of a typical 2 BR in Hoboken. Who wouldn’t take that deal? For those who haven’t been, Rutherford is in Bergen County 8 miles from NYC – just 2 stops from Hoboken on NJ transit. It’s a semi-urban walkable suburb with a downtown and still has all four of the benefits… Read more »

Friday, July 8, 2016 6:13 pm

As relative “newbies” having lived in the area 2.5 years, I can tell you why we are here and absolutely LOVE Hoboken. Being a childless couple in our 40s who spent our entire lives in the burbs, we finally realize that living in a world dominated by family life was KILLING us. We lived right next to a nice park that had events just about every weekend and they were all geared toward kids and/or parents. If you showed up without them, you not only were out of place but eyed as a potential predator! God forbid you wanted to have a cocktail… the only bar in town was a freaking Charlie Brown’s! Then we found Hoboken… There is no better place to live as a “DINK” (Dual Income, No kids.) Outstanding restaurants and bars in obscene numbers, complete walkability and a mere 8 minutes to NYC via PATH. The suburbs definitely have their upside, especially for families. You can live in Millburn or Summit and get top-notch schools plus a big backyard for the price of a condo in Hoboken but you will also never walk anywhere ever again, your commute to NYC will be well over an hour and your weekend spent at soccer games. In the end, it all comes down to your lifestyle and priorities. For us, Hoboken is the perfect for its mix of urban living with a touch of the small town feel. Our only regret is that we didn’t move here in our… Read more »

Thursday, July 7, 2016 11:10 pm

We’ve been discussing this a lot. It may be time to leave the big city area for us. We like the conveniences (not as convenient as new york). But it is time to do something different.

Having a yard is something great. A place to call your own. Parks are okay, but in Hoboken they are overwhelmed with people especially at peak times.

Our jobs are flexible so we’re lucky to have options. I like Hoboken, but at the same time would not miss it for one second.

Thursday, July 7, 2016 2:17 pm

Uprooting and moving to another place is a hassle that costs a lot of money. Having less possessions makes it easier. But hopping around isn’t for everyone which is why most settle down for log periods.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x