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Hoboken NJ. Looking towards mid-town Manhattan NYC (Vikas Bhardwaj)

Hoboken NJ residents and frequenters are young (25-40). It has a vibrant small business downtown. It’s a proverbial “stay-ground” for the NYC financial district jet-set. And from the outset, seems to be one of the best places for a family to live and thrive. So, why does some folks just don’t like how the city has changed? Or is this just an act of over zealous and dispassionate citizens (past citizens) whom just remember the “good” parts of the Hoboken past?

Public Opinion::

Here are some quotes from self-proclaimed former residents and visitors of Hoboken, sourced from the inter-web.

One notes, “…it has succumbed to the same blandness that has made parts of Manhattan (Murray Hill I’m looking at you) into chain-store filled repositories for Wall Street d-bags…who want to stay in NJ but want a “city-lite” experience. It does have some pretty good restaurants, but too many of the bars are your typical nondescript Irish Pub or sports bar filled with an immediately post-college clientele still acting like they’re freshmen and experiencing freedom for the first time.”

Another pontificates, “…so it’s either Uptown Snobbery or Downtown 23-year-old scene. Don’t get me wrong…Hoboken’s OK, I even hang out there sometimes. It’s just that Downtown JC seems to have more authenticity to it, if that makes any sense. 10 years ago, Hoboken was actually quite hip.”

Does Hoboken have a sizable populous of “trust fund types” and recent grad’s whose rent is being subsidized by their parents? Yes, it does.”

One harshly stamps Hoboken living as, “fake city living”.


As in any city living, there are the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. Every city has the ‘highlights’ and the ‘blights’. It’s just a territory which is inherent to lands that house multiple thousands of human beings. It just is.

After all, a city is a civilizational excuse, with which is built for the convenience between individuals to individuals. And much of the time, like many things in the world, ‘machines’ get worn out, re-routed, broken down, re-thought and re-invented.

And some of the changes rubs some the wrong way.

Some will tell you, compared to just about 30 years ago, Hoboken was part of the coast cities in NJ to have an “edge”. And when stating Hoboken was “edgy”, it meant it had many empty decrepit buildings, sectors of the city was underdeveloped, citizens were a bit ‘seedy’, and Washington Street (current heart of Hoboken small business activities) was a fraction of today.

But this is a matter of opinion, of course. We all remember the 70’s, the 80’s and the 90’s, and when a city was destitute it was very, very dangerous.

So, as in any incorporated business (yes, the township of Hoboken, is a business entity), it has to survive. There isn’t any surviving (thriving) without bodies living and paying taxes within its walls. And Hoboken had to re-invent itself.

And how did Hoboken achieve this? By marketing its fabulous location. Just needed ‘time’ to pass.

Just as realtors repeat “location, location, location”, Hoboken was destined to be valuable as it is now, again. The city’s primary “ace in the hole” is its location, and the undeniable property values draw new customers, left and right. 1970’s speculations started the land revolution, culminating into how Hoboken is perceived and treated in the current environment.

On the Waterfront. Marlon Brando. (1954)


Recognize this? “I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum…which is what I am.”

Many of us recognize the quote above. It’s the famous line from “On The Waterfront”. A film which was directed by the famous Elia Kazan, and the quote famously said by, non other than Marlon Brando. Did you know, the much of the filming was done on Court St, Hoboken’s Railway Station, Hudson St, and in the Waterfront.

Once, famous and overly recognized shoes walked in Hoboken.


It’s part of the human experience. The way we miss or reminisce about the past, of a city, we once live isn’t a unique explanation.

We as animals have a propensity to pick and choose how we remember reality, in many cases. Certainly a psychological uniqueness.

There’s absolutely no fault in how we remember focused aspects about “things” surrounding us. Our brains are just built that way.

As for Hoboken, it is what it is. Expensive, haughty, noisy (at times), young, elite, historic, and ‘classy’.

Wouldn’t say it’s Marlon Brando classy, but it is one great alternative places to live. Just bring the wad of cash and you’re “in”.

Be classy, y’all!


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City of Hoboken (NJ) city seal (

Hoboken NJ is a (not so) quaint and high powered town located in the coveted “Gold Coast” of NJ. What is the Gold Coast one asks? The coast is “Gold” because of its strength as a real estate powerhouse for the well to do. The “well-to-do” work up and down the North NJ coast and most distinctively, in Manhattan (NYC).

Nick named “The Mile Square City” unofficially, it has come through the decades from surrounding poverty, infrastructure degradation and up to the current financial triumphs. In the last 35 years, the town (and in sync with its neighboring Coast cities) has increased it reputation leapfrogging from strength to strength.


To many, when someone says baseball, no one equates it to Hoboken. However, the very invention of baseball was from and played in Hoboken NJ. Go figure, right? Except to the die-hard baseball fan, it’s pretty safe to say that this fact isn’t very well know. Kudos Hoboken, however, just like the “sports announcer” who’d never had any athletic experience, Hoboken has lost its “baseball” branding, a long time ago.

Transplanting Phenomenon:

Because of its incredible location to the Hudson River, its accessibility prowess, and closeness to its bigger and more well known city across the river (NYC), it had to be just a matter of time the benefits took fruit for Hoboken. And they did, starting from the 80’s to the current times. Today, Hoboken is one of the most prized and often reviewed for dwellings from college graduates to the already wealthy. The city of Hoboken, one can say, could not have become the way it is today, with out the Manhattan and its financial industry.


Another important trait of an up and coming city or an established city is the Rail and Mass transit system. For the sacrifice of paying for the privilege of living in Hoboken, there are a complete list of mass transit options, including: NJ Transit, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and PATH. Each one connects up an down the coast reaching from Newark NJ to NYC, and deep as South NJ and surrounding Gold Coast cities (especially Jersey City). And just like in any “financial transaction”, transaction of residents guarantees revenues.

The city’s done a great job of marketing and branding itself as one of the most convenient of Gold Coast cities to reside. It’s family friendly, business friendly, and transportation friendly. It’s a good start.

Just need some coin to live well, however.

Lets explore that in Part 2 of this article.  

Every year, the lovely ladies at Alpha Iota Chi (AIX) sorority drives through a charity event to help Pantene Beautiful Lengths, in turn, help ladies who’d been victims of breast cancer.  The event this year was called the 4th Annual Montclair State University Ponytail Drive, and I had been hired to photograph the still new but very enthusiastic shindig.

The day was beautiful. I’d woken up to a chilly but comfy weather. I felt good. And I felt good that I was participating on a very honorable charity event. Best of all, I’d been invited to the event by some awesome ladies- namely Alicia and Lynne.

Well, the event had some sponsors loosely structured, but participating with their particular skills and crafts. Namely, one of the longest participating sponsors was Serenity Salon Spa (located in Bloomfield, NJ). As I understood it, they’d been donating their time and resources since the beginning. Kudos to them!

The start of the whole charity event had been started by Alicia (her Facebook). She’d forged the concept, when she was in college, at Montclair State University (MSU). The best thing is that she continued in co-organizing and assisting with the strengthening of the event AFTER she’d already graduated. What a gal! Something very noble to witness.

Last note:  It was also fun to be back ‘inside’ a higher learning institution since my own graduation from college   =D   But it was a warm and fuzzy feeling, though LOL

Anywho, ciao for now!


I thank again Alicia. To Lynne & Jessica of AIX sorority. To Montclair State University. The gals at Serenity Salon Spa.  And to all the participating AIX sorority sisters & pledges. As well as to all of the donating participants.

T’was fun!


Montclair State University (website)

AIX sorority (website)

Serenity Salon Spa (website)

mediaform jasonkim photograph (website) (facebook)

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

“An ode to a summer” (and end of 2011 version, if you will)

You came to me with the most delightful curtsey.

“Hello” you said. I said, “Hi, we meet again.”

We exchanged pleasantries, with the utmost respect.

I was sure we’d click, as if you were Josie Bissett.

I told myself you weren’t quite ‘Melrose Place‘, but I wasn’t sure.

Through your tactful taunting and bellowing, you brought the sun-  your friend and partner.

I scratched my head in disbelief, but with awe.

‘Summer, you are such a sunshine in my eyes’.  And you answered, ‘I know’

Ok. We quietly sat, until October. Me, still scratching my head about ‘Melrose Place’, and you looking to go to Argentina.

>> NOTE: I don’t pretend to be a poet. Never. Well, unless something silly like this, and for some ‘girlfriend’ situations…  But I know you’ll appreciate my horrible attempt at some kind of poetry LOL <<


Oh and the pics below are from Belmar, NJ. Had some good relaxing time there this year. We’ll return again, next year!

Hope you all had a great stretch of summer, as well!

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph


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