Interesting NY Times article from 24 years ago
Friday the 13th must be “link a few another articles day” on Hoboken411.
It’s possible some of you may have read this archived article about Hoboken that was taken from the NY Times on August 1, 1982, but for those that haven’t, it’s an interesting read.
Writer Alfonso Navarez reviews Hoboken as a city and touches on topics such as real estate, history, corporations, transportation, schools and parks, amongst other things.
Amazing how things were different back then.
– How rent was typically $500-$600, with newly renovated buildings at a whopping $700 per month. Calling a $600 apartment a “luxury” apartment.
– How the price of one-family brownstones “came down” from $135,000 to $120,000.
– The PATH was 30 cents to the WFC.
– How the population dropped from 45,000 to 42,000 since 1970.
– $2 per day parking!!
– Shops and restaurants such as Van Holland’s delicatessen, the Irish House, the Clam Broth House, Marie’s Italian bakery, El Quijote restaurant and the India Bazaar, most of which no longer exist.
– The 55 deaths (27 children) which were attributed to arson in the four years between 1978-1982!
– The (still) poor college enrollment rate of Hoboken High School students.
– Talk of parks (of course).
The classic line was this:
“The city’s politics has long been dominated by the Hudson County Democratic machine and the influx of newcomers has caused concern in some circles that they will try to revise the way things have been traditionally done. ”We welcome their getting involved in the governmental process,” Mayor Steve Capiello said. ”Some people don’t like it, but it’s for the good.””
Wow, I guess the Democratic machine hasn’t changed at all in the past 25 years!
Have any readers been residents since 1982 or beyond?
You can read the article by clicking the link above, or the rest here:
August 1, 1982
By ALFONSO A. NARVAEZ
HOBOKEN has for some time enjoyed a reputation – especially among t hose wishing to escape New York – as being a close-in, comparatively inexpensive alternative. But time and the unremitting p ressures of the Manhattan real estate market have caused this city of 42,000 to take on some of the characteristics of its neighbor a cross the Hudson.
Three- and four-room apartments, when available, rent for $500 and $600 a month with recently renovated units bringing up to $700 a month. A one-family brownstone that 10 years ago would have sold for $20,000 to $25,000 is now on the market for $120,000, down from last year’s asking price of $135,000 – the drop a concession to the persistence of high interest rates. Condominiums, some of which have been carved out of old tenement buildings, have sold for from $35,000 to $100,000.
The rising prices and rents reflect the city’s growing attractiveness: relatively safe streets, a sense of neighborhood, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and an ease of commuting – 10 minutes and 30 cents to the Financial District via the PATH tubes or 20 minutes and $1.25 to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 41st Street.
When Henry Hudson first saw it in 1609, it was known to the Leni-Lenape Indians, its first inhabitants, as ”Hopoghan Hacki@ngh,” the Land of the Tobacco Pipe. The Indians sold the land to the Dutch in 1658.
In 1784, John Stevens, Treasurer of New Jersey during the Revolution and later the state’s Surveyor General, bought it for about $90,000 and began a period of intensive development. By the turn of the 20th century, Hoboken had become one of the Northeast’s main rail- and water-transportation centers. It was the main port of embarkation for American troops in World War I.
Although it remains something of a hub of rail transportation, crossed by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad and the PATH tubes, it is no longer a major port. Its major employers are Bethlehem Steel, which operates a shipbuilding facility, and Maxwell House Coffee, which has the world’s largest coffee processing plant. A variety of small manufacturing concerns are also situated there.
Hoboken was settled by successive waves of immigrants. Near the end of the 19th century, the number of German immigrants was so great that the minutes of the Board of Education meetings were recorded in German. The Germans were followed by the Irish, Italians, Yugoslavs and, more recently, by Puerto Ricans, Indians and Vietnamese.
Each wave of immigrants brought a new culture and language, and the multiplicity is still evident in such shops and restaurants as Van Holland’s delicatessen, the Irish House, the Clam Broth House, Marie’s Italian bakery, El Quijote restaurant and the India Bazaar.
As municipalities go, Hoboken is relatively compact: one square mile, 18 blocks long and 16 blocks wide. It is bounded on the east by the Hudson River and comes up hard against the Jersey City Heights on the west. Hoboken draws its water from Jersey City, so its residents were among the 300,000 who had to rely on water trucks for drinking and sanitation purposes earlier this month when the Jersey City aqueduct ruptured.
The southern end is anchored by the PATH terminal and New Jersey Transit rail yard, while roadways leading to the Lincoln Tunnel form the northern boundary. Washington Street, ”The Avenue” as it is known to longtime residents, is the main thoroughfare, lined with shops and specialty stores.
Hoboken’s population of 42,460 represents a drop of about 3,000 from the 1970 population, according to officials of the city’s Community Development Agency. The decline, agency officials said, reflects a shift from families to singles and young married couples with no children. WHILE Hoboken has served as a mecca for people looking for l owercost housing, it has also offered a respite from higher food, p arking and clothing prices. Residents of Manhattan have been lured t hrough the tunnels to its parking garages by $2-a-day fees and by P ATH trains to food and specialty shops, where prices and sales taxesa re generally lower.
Ten years ago, at about the time the character of the population began to change, Hoboken embarked on a major push to upgrade its housing stock. The Community Development Agency, through a variety of neighborhood improvement and loan programs, has assisted in the rehabilitation of about a quarter of the city’s 16,000 housing units.
But Hoboken’s upgrading has not been problem-free. Tenant groups have charged that arson, perhaps inspired by the desire to exploit the changing market, has been used to displace low-income residents. Cold-water flats that now rent for $150 a month can be converted into $600-a-month luxury apartments.
Juan R. Garcia, director of Citizens United for New Action, said that since 1978 there have been 55 deaths – 27 of the victims children – attributable to arson.
The city’s school system has been another source of concern. The Rev. Geoffrey Curtiss, rector of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, said, ”The educational system is going to have to undergo some major changes for people to stay.”
Mr. Curtiss, who has a year-old son, said that many residents had already turned to parochial schools, which have a combined enrollment of about 2,000.
But Dr. George R. Maier, Superintendent of Schools, said the school system had improved dramatically in the last five years. The reading and mathematics scores of the 6,000 students enrolled in the seven elementary schools and one high school, he said, now compare favorably to other urban school districts in the state.
About 23 percent of public school graduates go on to four-year colleges, Dr. Maier said, and 5 percent to two-year colleges. Stevens Institute of Technology, founded in 1870 by scions of some of the early settlers, sits on the highest point in the city and encompasses some 55 acres. About 2,800 graduate and undergraduate students attend its courses in engineering, science and systems planning, while its library houses frequent art exhibits and its auditorium offers space for dramatic presentations.
Hoboken also offers a variety of dance, poetry readings and music programs. Periodic religious festivals, with statues of saints paraded through the streets, reflect the city’s ethnic roots. And the formation of the Hoboken Chamber Orchestra last winter was a revival of the musical tradition that abounded when the German Club and the Quartet Club were in their heyday.
Old-time residents boast of having had Frank Sinatra among their neighbors, while newcomers point to John Sayles, the writer and movie director; Glenn Morrow, the singer, and Richard Barone, principal songwriter for the musical group The Bongos.
The city’s politics has long been dominated by the Hudson County Democratic machine and the influx of newcomers has caused concern in some circles that they will try to revise the way things have been traditionally done. ”We welcome their getting involved in the governmental process,” Mayor Steve Capiello said. ”Some people don’t like it, but it’s for the good.”
Although Hoboken has four small parks, the piers along the 14-block waterfront have traditionally offered both a respite from summer heat and a site for cultural events. They were seized from German steamship companies during World War I and are now owned by the Federal Government, and city officials hope some of them will soon be developed.
Mayor Capiello said that the city was negotiating to buy three piers in a six-block stretch, and that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was considering developing a multimillion dollar complex of residences, offices and recreational facilities there.
For the last three months, the piers have provided space for ”Celebration 82,” a festival of art and music events. On Aug. 28 and 29, the Fifth Street pier will be the site of the River City Fair, which will provide entertainment from 10 A.M. to dusk, with fireworks on Aug. 29.