Explore and adore
House tour takes people inside stunning Hoboken homes
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter staff writer
Oct 25, 2012 | 8908 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
INSIDE HOBOKEN HOMES – The annual Hoboken House Tour that benefits the Hoboken Historical Museum gives tour goers the opportunity to explore local architectural history as well as contemporary design.
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Those curious to get an inside look at how some Hoboken residents live have the opportunity on Oct. 28 to explore between eight and 10 distinct residences and historic buildings as part of the popular Hoboken House Tour.

An annual fundraiser for the Hoboken Historical Museum, the self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting at the museum, and features a mix of elegant Victorian row houses, contemporary condos, and a few historic buildings.

Mix of historic and new

“Our goal is to show the diversity of different residences in Hoboken,” said Melissa Abernathy, communications and volunteer manager. She has worked for the museum for close to seven years and before then was a dedicated volunteer.

Along the tour people may see a contemporary interior inside an early twentieth century house, a fine collection of modern art in a Hudson Street brownstone, or views of the Manhattan skyline in a waterfront condo in the Tea House building or the Shipyards.

Most of the homes are located within the northern part of the city with one or two in the south to provide ease of walking from home to home.

“We always go for a mix of historic homes, super, well-decorated homes, and historic buildings,” noted Abernathy. “We think we found a good formula.”

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“We always go for a mix of historic homes, super, well-decorated homes, and historic buildings.” – Melissa Abernathy

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The museum has organized the house tour for a little over a decade. The planning begins a year in advance when some residents are invited to showcase their homes or to suggest homes in their neighborhood. The tour is also influenced by suggestions from local interior designers and architects who have projects to show off.

With design in mind

“We work closely with local interior designers…or local architects,” said Abernathy. She gave the example that last year the tour included a modern home on Willow Street designed by the architect who also happened to inhabit the space.

The architectural details on a building and the custom designed interiors appeal to the mix of individuals who frequent the tour. People may be interested in moving to Hoboken and seek to get a sense of the area; others are former residents who want to see how the city has evolved, and then some residents make a day of it with family and friends.

“Some people go for design ideas, furnishings, [and] some architectural ideas,” noted Abernathy. Tour goers can get a “three dimensional idea of how different design ideas might work,” she said, from the size of a sofa to how a color works in a room.

Abernathy said other times people are fascinated by items from an international travel collection or people will find things that are “unexpected,” and cause “a sense of awe.”

Some of those awe-inspiring details may be found on the Yankee Ferry, a historic 1907 vessel docked at 12th and Frank Sinatra Drive, which returns to the tour this year. Known to be the last floating Ellis Island ferry, this colorful and charming inn is owned by artists Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs. It has a number of interesting changes such as the addition of a chicken coop.

Volunteer-driven

Up to 70 people offer their time during this volunteer-driven event and help aid visitor traffic flow at each house among other activities.

Founded in 1986, the Museum’s mission is to educate the public about Hoboken’s history, diverse culture, architecture and historic landmarks. The house tour typically raises between $20,000 to 30,000 for the museum from ticket sales, sponsors, advertisers, and a silent auction. Events contribute toward one third of funding for the museum and supports general operations and educational programs. Other funding comes from state grants and corporate donors.

Tour details

The self-guided tour takes about two to three hours on foot. Homes on the tour open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. All tours start from the museum, but the homes may be visited in any order.

A map will be included in the House Tour booklet, available to ticket holders only on the day of the tour. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the tour (Museum members pay $25).

Tickets can be purchased online at: hobokenmuseum.org, in-person at the museum, or by calling (201) 656-2240. Tickets are also available at six other locations around Hoboken: Sparrow’s Wines & Liquors (in the Shipyard retail complex and at 126 Washington St.), Amanda’s Restaurant (908 Washington St.), Fleet Feet Sports (604 Washington St.), Patricia’s Yarns (107 4th St.), and Coldwell Banker Real Estate (100 Washington St.).

People can visit the House Tour website for views of previous tours: www.hobokenhousetour.com, or call (201) 656-2240 for more information.

Volunteers are needed to staff the tour locations during the day. For more information, email: volunteer@hobokenmuseum.org.

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at afernandez@hudsonreporter.com.

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