In May and June, college graduates move to Hoboken to start a job, and families move to town before the new school year. Last week, several Hoboken residents offered tips to recent grads and young families who are starting life in the mile-square city.
Their tips covered restaurants, bars for different age groups, getting a dog, using public transportation, and even joining a gym or sports league.
Resident of two years Michelle Ciancimino, 24, suggested new residents join a local gym to meet their neighbors. She goes to a CrossFit gym and it’s a “tight knit community,” she said.
CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness program that incorporates elements from several sports and types of exercise.
Similarly, Megan Pijanowski, 25, suggested joining one of the adult athletic leagues such a ZogSports. (www.zogsports.com). Through ZogSports, participants can play basketball, hockey, dodge ball, touch football, and volleyball with other adults.
Pijanowski has lived in Hoboken for about six months. Before that, she lived in Manhattan.
“I liked that Hoboken was a smaller feel than the city,” she said. “It has more of a community feel.”
The average rent in Hoboken ($2,897, according to Zillow) is often lower than in Manhattan ($3,942), and generally includes more space. Hoboken residents can get to Manhattan in 8 minutes via the PATH train ($2.75 each way) or 10 minutes via the ferry ($9).
Dan Falco, 26, a resident of only two months, said he works in Manhattan and “you get more bang for your buck in Hoboken. I looked a little in Jersey City, but when I visited Hoboken I fell in love. I really loved all the restaurants and shops and views of the city. It’s got a younger crowd, but families too.”
Restaurants to try
New residents had a variety of restaurant recommendations. Residents often mention the large slices at Benny Tudino’s, fresh mozzarella and sandwiches at places like Vito’s, Fiore’s, and M & P Biancamano, and the steaks at Arthur’s Tavern and Dino & Harry’s, as well as the Italian eats and Frank Sinatra jukebox at Leo’s Grandevouz, and baked goods at Carlo’s Bakery (the “Cake Boss” downtown) and Giorgio’s (uptown).
But some had other suggestions.
Anthony Castagliola talked about Mr. Wraps on Seventh and Garden streets, noting that they accept Duck Bills from Stevens students.
Allison McGovern said new families with young children should take advantage of eateries that cater to them, such as Choc o Pain, a group of local bakeries that has a separate playroom in both their uptown and downtown locations. Several restaurants in town offer discounted or free kids’ meals one night a week.
McGovern also suggested Anthony David’s for a great brunch or BYOB date night, and Stingray Lounge for tasty cocktails.
Dan Falco, who admitted to having a sweet tooth, said he really loves Lepore’s Chocolates on Fourth Street. “I’m a huge candy binge eater and that place is amazing,” said Falco. “It’s my guilty pleasure. I’ll spend like $35 a week there on chocolate.”
He also recommended mozzarella from Fiore’s: “I walked in there recently and they gave me a piece and I died.”
Alan Korovin said one of his favorite spots is Willie McBride’s. “They have a live band on most Saturdays and the play a lot of ‘90s cover songs,” he said.
Pijanwoski recommended Pier 13 on the north waterfront. The outdoor bar attracts both young people and families with outdoor eating and drinking, and food trucks nearby.
Sammi Gyurko said she enjoys House of Que. “The food is good and on Saturdays they have dueling pianos.” She also said she feels the bars in town are based on ages and suggested residents explore before settling on a favorite.
She said the bars uptown seem to cater to a mid-twenties and up crowd. She likes McSwiggan’s Pub downtown but feels 10th and Willow has more people her age, mid-twenties and older.
Lindsay MacFeetrs recommended outdoor cafes for dog lovers and suggested Bin 14 for a nice dinner al fresco.
While Hoboken has always attracted the young, more families are staying in town as well, taking advantage of the parks, recreational activities, free summer concerts, and school options (including the growing public schools, charter schools, and federally funded pre-K).
Resident of five years Kelly Shireffs said one of her tips for residents starting a family is to join the Hoboken University Medical Center’s new moms’ support group (www.pamperedpregnancy.com)
“It really helped me make friends,” she said. “I mean, we are now celebrating fifth birthdays together.”
Hoboken moms also have several Facebook groups (including one for working moms) and an internet newsgroup with daily digest.
Brenda Giacumbo, the broker for Prominent Properties in Hoboken, said, “Our rental market is really active. We have a lot of people in their early 20s just out of college who want to move close to the city, and we get lots of students and international students who move to town for Stevens.”
She said she sees more people looking for condos as “there are a lot more families that are staying.”
Giacumbo said she gives people a tour of Hoboken and directs them to restaurants like Dino and Harry’s or the Madison Bar and Grill, and community events like the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival.
Cassie Zito, who has lived here for two years, said she likes the fact that young people and families live together.
“I love that there’s such a good mix of people,” she said, “people my age just out of college and starting their careers, young families, and even older couples.”
Other tips and tricks
Sammi Gyurko, age 26, will move into her Hoboken apartment on June 1.
“It is such a social town,” said Gyurko. She said that her mother was nervous about her moving from home in central New Jersey, but Hoboken seemed safe.
“My mom told me she felt like she didn’t have to worry about me here,” she said.
Lindsay MacFeetrs recommended that residents get a dog. “I have met so many people in the dog parks,” she said.
She said Hoboken had more pet-friendly options than the Upper East Side, where she used to live.
Pijanowski said residents should know about how to get around town, not just transportation options to New York.
“There are cabs, buses, the HOP, Uber and shuttle buses [from various developments],” said Pijanowski. “I wouldn’t have been so stressed with finding a place that was downtown and near the PATH if I had known.”
Resident of eight years Laurie Heines said if you’re living in an apartment with friends, try to get a room in the back.
“We have garbage collection every night,” said Heines, “which is great, but the trucks are so noisy.”
She also recommended that residents with kids take advantage of the city’s summer programs like Movies Under the Stars, which are free screenings on Pier A Park in the summer.
Zito said she enjoys the free outdoor fitness classes on Pier A.
“Hobokennj.gov and Hoboken’s social media does a good job of updating you on free events in town and how you can get involved,” she said.
Former resident of five years Kathleen Childs said new residents should explore. “Don’t just go to the obvious places like Washington Street or downtown,” she said. “Explore the city’s edges.”
Residents can also take the Light Rail train ($2.25) south to Bayonne or north through Weehawken and Union City to North Bergen. They can also use the light rail elevator on Ninth Street to head up to Jersey City Heights or to Union City.
Falco said residents can get a visitor parking permit at City Hall if they have friends visiting (see sidebar).
Parking rules to know
Hoboken residents said that the parking rules are confusing for out-of-towners.
Some said they gave up their cars when they moved here. Residents can rent a Zipcar or use options like Enterprise or Hertz in town.
Resident of 10 months Lindsay MacFeetrs said she is glad she has a parking spot.
“It’s so nice and definitely worth it,” she said, because street parking is difficult to find.
There are fewer than 10,000 on-street parking spaces in Hoboken, and nearly 15,000 resident parking permits issued annually, according to the city’s website.
Here are the rules:
Most streets in Hoboken are designated on one side as “Resident Permit Parking Only” with a green sign with white letters. That means people with other permits, such as business or visitor, can not park there.
The other side is “Permit Parking Only” with a white sign and green letters. All people with permits can park there. Also, people without permits can park there for up to four hours, but then have to leave. (Moving to a new four-hour spot doesn’t help; you get four hours total on city streets without a permit.)
Most of Washington Street has metered parking with machines that allow you to pay via credit card, cash, or by phone.
The city also has various municipal garages for visitors to park in. If you have guests, you can pick up visitor permits for $5 per day.
Watch out for street sweeping, though – most streets have street sweeping once a week or more often, and that can earn you a ticket if you forget to move.
Fees for a residential permit $15 per year for the first vehicle in a household, $30 per year for the second vehicle in a household, and $90 per year for the third. They and other permits can be purchased at City Hall at 94 Washington St or online at HPUOnline. (https://www.govonlinesaas.com/NJ/Hoboken/Public/EnSuite/Shared/Pages/Main/Login.aspx )
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.