There’s a million other things I should be writing right now, but I couldn’t resist the Independece Day inspiration to explain how I declared independence from New York City this year and why I’m glad I did. It was a tough decision to strike out westward from Manhattan into New Jersey, instead of the usual eastward trajectory for over-educated, liberal DInCs like my wife and I, but in the end Hoboken trumped Brooklyn.
Without further adieux, here’s my Top 10 Reasons Why Hoboken is Better Than Brooklyn
1. We are our own city
If it were its own city, Brooklyn would be among America’s biggest. But it isn’t. You’re always gonna be second bench to Manhattan. I run into my mayor at Sunday brunch.
2. Our waterfront
It’s not that Brooklyn’s waterfront doesn’t have nice parks. Compared to the late 90s when I used to mountain bike on the slag heaps at the foot of North 7th Street in Williamsburg, its a veritable paradise. But for the vast majority of you, its a multi-mile trek to get there. Anywhere in Hoboken is less than 15 minutes walk from a lovely revitalized waterfront with a dozen parks. (And the best views of Manhattan anywhere in the region)
3. Our politicians more entertaining (and sincere)
You have coma-inducing Michael Bloomberg who rarely lets his true intentions known, we have YouTube maniac Chris Christie. You had Eliot Spitzer, who paid for sluts he could have gotten for free. We had Jim McGreevy who’s “I am a gay American speech” was possibly the most endearing and entertaining sex scandal to rock American politics.
4. The Cake Boss
Does it get any more real than Buddy Valastro? C’mon this guy is an American icon in the making.
5. Lower taxes
Property taxes are higher than in New York, but stepping free of the New York City income tax more than makes up for it. In Brooklyn, fuggedhedaboutit. You’re subsidizing the High Line and every other plaything for the Manhattan elite.
6. The PATH is better than the subway
I could set my watch by these trains, and they cost about half of what you pay the MTA. We’ve got touchless payment cards too, put it in your purse or wallet and just bump and go.
7. Less hipsters
I left Williamsburg in 1998 thinking that it couldn’t possibly become more overrun with skinny jean, single gear biking trendoids. Little did I know it was just a beachhead they were establishing to take over the rest of the borough. Sure, Hoboken has 8000 pizzerias and not much else in the way of food, but at least I don’t have to listen to debates about the meaning of Arcade Fire lyrics while I’m eating my slice.
8. Maxwell’s is the best kept secret in music
Yo La Tengo’s “8 Days of Chanukah” annual fest, in which the hometown trio play eight nights in a row for charity is just the start. I go to Bowery Ballroom for the spectacle - I go to Maxwell’s when I want to meet the musicians after the show.
9. Biking and walking
I can get anywhere in town in less than 5 minutes by bike, walking bumps it up to 20 but that’s a slow meander.
10. The mutz
The downside of getting your city water from a pure upstate aquifer is that its relatively soft water (meaning a low dissolved mineral content). Water in New Jersey is so hard, you can practically walk across it. But the upside is that it gets into everything made here, and it brings a saltiness to the mozzarella cheese that makes Hoboken the epicenter of “mutz”. Plus just saying “mutz” is super fun.