It’s not everyday you’ll hear me say, I’m in New Jersey! I avoid it like the plague since I always feel trapped if I go there, despite knowing there’s public transportation available. But this past weekend, my boyfriend needed to send a package from New Jersey so I thought a good compromise was to visit Hoboken. It’s an island off New Jersey so less daunting than the entire state known as the armpit of America.
A little tidbit if it’s ever your first time exiting Manhattan via the PATH train (did you know that PATH stands for Port Authority Trans Hudson?). You can use your MetroCard with cash on it and not the unlimited plan. It’s still $2.25. To get to Hoboken, you need to catch the PATH at 33rd St — and not WTC PATH station.
After a rainy Friday, Saturday was an absolute beauty. Cumulous clouds hung high like cotton balls stuck on blue skies as the sun beat the earth with warm fingers, darting through winds and cooling shade. The train ride was only slow because of train traffic but a short 15 minutes later, we arrived in Hoboken. I felt like I was in the North End of Boston on arrival. Cute, ornately decorated stone buildings lined the block with franchises trying to fit into the mold of a past. If you turn right upon exiting, you’ll be led to a small park by the East River, where a beautiful view of Manhattan is your gift.
People milled about the park, running, fishing, and taking photos. It’s a cute, albeit, little area for a slower paced life style. No loud noises, honking, traffic, or rushing sound of life. Just a slower breathing life stands instead. Tree lined streets and cobblestone alleys with buildings emulating townhouses painted in various colors, wishing they were like the houses of Burano greeted you. I find leaving Manhattan, I always feel like I stand out, in this instance, nearly 80% of the people I passed were of Caucasian descent. It’s always like this but it’s still a culture shock for someone who spends her time mostly in a largely diverse city.
A friend recommended trying out La Isla for good, cheap Cuban food. And so I did and thoroughly enjoyed brunch. The smell of Cuban food is always enticing and rich and wonderful. And a hint of Tabasco always gives you that tang and bite. (If you’re wondering what “ño” means on their coffee cup, I had to look it up to find that it’s the slang for señor or señora.)
In our rambles through town, we came upon Lepore’s Home Made Chocolates. We found ourselves getting chocolate covered bacon, chocolate bacon oreo, and chocolate covered pineapple. Sadly though, I felt the chocolate was too buttery, sugary, and creamy, making me think I was eating Hersey chocolate instead of anything artisan. Ah, it’s hard to enjoy chocolate in America when you have a stash of amazing chocolate from Paris still waiting for you at home.
Finally, another recommendation from a friend was Choc Au Pain. We swung by this place before going home and grabbed a Pain d’Epi and blood orange juice. The Epi Baguette was so good even to the next day, which I had with honey and spicy soppressata. This is a must-visit if ever I go back to Hoboken.
The afternoon walk through Hoboken was a cute experience and a nice breather from the hectic life of the city. As I enjoyed the quietness, I’m also reminded of the non-diversity I face when I leave city life.