by Susan Kronberg | For Jersey's Best Mon., Jun. 15, 2020
Sinatra Drive features scenic views along Hoboken’s waterfront from the 14th Street Ferry Terminal to the Hudson Place Transit Terminal. Photo courtesy of City of Hoboken
It’s said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. And if you take 2,000 single steps in Hoboken — the Mile Square City — you can walk from one side of town to the other in about 20 minutes. But in this exercise, you’ve got 1,440 minutes to explore. Musically speaking, that’s 24 little hours; and, in Hoboken, what a difference a day makes!
Let’s Be Frank
That clever song reference is just one of countless tunes crooned by Hoboken’s favorite and most famous son, Frank Sinatra. As “Hoboken’s Gift to the World,” the icon that is Sinatra remains a fascination to his fans; and if you’re one of them, you can walk in his legendary footsteps, thanks to the Hoboken Historical Museum’s Frank Sinatra Walking Tour map.
While you can pick up the tour at any point, the star that marks the spot where “The Voice” was born at 415 Monroe St. seems a great place to launch this two-hour tour. While many points of interest are now private or have been razed, some, such as St. Francis Church (308 Jefferson St.), St. Ann’s Church (704 Jefferson St.), Dom’s Bakery (506 Grand St.) and Lepore’s Homemade Chocolates (105 Fourth St.), are open for business and welcome visitors (but check each location ahead of time due to COVID-19 restrictions).
The last stop on the tour is the Frank Sinatra Memorial Park, dedicated in his memory soon after his death in 1998. Overlooking the Hudson River and home to a kayak launch, a multipurpose field and weekly summertime concerts in its outdoor amphitheater, the park shares its stunning views of Manhattan with its neighbors on the waterfront.
Pier 13 is a waterfront beer garden featuring food trucks, water sports and entertainment. Photo courtesy of City of Hoboken
What’s On TheWaterfront?
In Hoboken, there are a couple of ways to answer this. One way is to highlight some of thestopsworth making along Sinatra Drive, which runs the length of Hoboken’s waterfront from the 14th Street Ferry Terminal to the Hudson Place Transit Terminal. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find, north to south.
A short hop from the 14th Street Ferry is Pier 13, Hoboken’s fair-weather, family-friendly beer garden with food trucks; water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding and jet skiing; live music; and special events such as movie nights and family fun nights. Everything is outdoors, so check the weather (and the season) before heading over. Opening day was May 1, with weekday hours from 4 to 10 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
This petite but pleasant oasis has a small toddler playground, grass for laying out a picnic blanket, a walkway for strolling and a sliver of rocky beach with no swimming allowed. If you want to get into the water, head next door to …
Paddling at the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse is a free and fun activity for the family. Photo courtesy of City of Hoboken
Run by volunteers in cooperation with the City of Hoboken and offering free kayaking to the public, the boathouse is open weekends from late spring to early fall, weather permitting. All ages can paddle (little ones must be with an adult) and sessions are limited to 20 minutes when there’s a crowd. For a real workout, consider a one-totwo-hour Public River Trip, a guided tour along the Hudson with spectacular views. Though all kayaking activities are free, considermaking a donationif you go. It’s the best way to ensure they’ll stay afloat.
Hoboken lays claim to about 1/18th of this 18.5-mile pathway along the water, and it can be enjoyed any time of year. The New York City views from a bench, a bike or afoot is never out of season. Use the viewfinders to zoom in for a closer look, and read the interpretive signage for a more insightful perspective.
This bean-shaped park on a pier jutting off the Waterfront Walkway has two playgrounds (one for toddlers and a more challenging one for older kids), a pretty promenade with grassy picnic and play areas, and a beach pit with bleachers that beckon you to climb up to behold the view from the top.
Thousands gather to enjoy a concert at Pier A Park. Photo courtesy of City of Hoboken
Bring a blanket, a picnic, a frisbee or ball and head to the great lawn at Pier A Park to sunbathe, break bread or have a catch with your crew. There’s even a fishing pier if you’re hooked on the sport. During summer, Pier A is the site of Movies Under the Stars, concerts as well as weekly evening fitness and yoga classes.
Whether you’re driving, riding the rails or ferrying into town, don’t miss the stunning architectural elements of the historic Hoboken Transit Terminal (1 Hudson Place), where the ferry was revived after a 40-year slumber and Hurricane Sandy threatened unsuccessfully to derail the terminal’s grand comeback. The terminal is alive and well, ferrying passengers to and from Manhattan in less than 10 minutes a pop.
The Hoboken Historical Museum Responds To ‘What’s On The Waterfront’
Three words sum it up: “It’s a movie.” But no respectable Hoboken historian would dare respond with such brevity when it’s far more interesting to note that the 1954 classic film starring Marlon Brando with music by Leonard Bernstein was set in Hoboken and featured not just the city’s landmarks but many of its citizens as well. The Sinatra tour might be popular, but the tour of “On the Waterfront” is quite a contender, to paraphrase one of the film’s most famouslines.
The Hoboken Historical Museum is a must not only for history buffs, but also for anyone who takes in the visual clues to the past that are mingled among the modern structures consistently sprouting in this thriving city. Don’t walk past 1301 Hudson St. without taking a detour inside.
An ‘H’ for ‘home plate’ at the intersection of 11th and Washington streets marks the spot where the bases were of Hoboken’s Elysian Fields. On June 19, 1846, the first officially recorded, organized baseball match was played here. Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media
Arts, Smarts And America’s Favorite Pastime
The views, “The Voice” and the videography notwithstanding, Hoboken is home to a vast artistic community as well as one of the nation’s top-ranked universities for engineering. Plus, the city pitched right in when the country needed a new game.
A hub for local artists and entrepreneurs, there are no less than 90 outlets in this 180,000-square-foot space. Find talent from A to Z in all forms, including artisans of jewelry, cuisine, photography, architectural and interior design, dance, wellness and more at 720 Monroe St.
You’ll want to plan ahead to visit the Barsky Gallery (49 Harrison St.) and check its site for public event dates and open hours to view the extensive works by contemporary artists; but if you’re in the market for fine art for your home or business, Barsky offers installation, consultation and framing services as well.
Established in 1870 by one of Hoboken’s founding families, Stevens Institute of Technology was the first university in the country dedicated to engineering.
The Stevens family may not have invented baseball, but they did own the land on which the first recorded game was played – Elysian Fields. Today, there’s a monument at the intersection of 11th and Washington streets to mark the spot where fans can visit for a photo-op.
Washington Street has been dubbed one of America’s Top 10 Streets several times. Photo courtesy of City of Hoboken
What’s Up Downtown
The main thoroughfare is Washington Street, where wide sidewalks leave room for folks to stroll, restaurants to offer outdoor seating and shoppers to navigate it all with bags in both hands. It wasn’t dubbed one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association for nothing.
Jeffrey Vasser, executive director for New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, sums it up: “Washington Street is packed with so many great restaurants featuring all types of cuisines, and people love that you can find an old school spot that’s been there for 50 years next to a trendy new dessert shop,” Vasser said. “Something that makes Hoboken really special is the walkability. Every block feels like it has its own personality, and despite being just 1 square mile in size, it feels like you can uncover something new every time you visit.”
Hoboken’s restaurant scene includes places that have been around forever along with those adventurous and new; from American to Italian and around the globe, every ethnic cuisine is represented. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served — find just the meal you need to keep you fueled for a day of shopping. Unique and trendy boutiques outnumber chain stores in Hoboken, and you’ll find chic, one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories at every turn.
Assuming your feet haven’t failed you yet, there’s also plenty to do beyond the dinner hour in Hoboken. Bars with live music, DJs and dancing will keep you on your toes long after the sun goes down.
Make Your Day
There are so many ways to make your day in Hoboken. And 2020 gives you an extra 24 hours to spend. What a difference that day makes!
Please check with each location for openings/closings and hours of operation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks. I grew up in nearby West New York and never realized how many great places there were to visit in Hoboken, My son graduated from Stevens.
Hoboken is a pick up zone.
Ur not fully informed, sts Peter & Paul 4th & river sts. ” On the waterfront” was filmed partially in the church where Carl Malden plays a priest !!
Their are many aspects to a wee town… My family arrived from Ireland 1878.