Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hudson Street in Hoboken

July 24, 2008
I noticed from the first that Hudson Street is a pretty impressive address. It's where Frank Sinatra moved his mother when he made it big and before she moved away from Hoboken altogether to Fort Lee. It's where the mayor of Hoboken lives. It is scenic and elegant, and my address, which is not exactly either, is at least convenient and on Hudson Street. The scene above is hardly a block from where my building is. It's on the left side, perhaps about where the Empire Theater once stood.The house I live in is in the middle of this picture, right behind the tree. Yes, there are trees in Hoboken, and they make it special.This is the building I have my eye on in case they have an apartment available when I start looking in earnest in October. It's a building that's been there since the 1880's, once having the really big apartments of that era. Since that time, they have been divided into smaller, more compact units. I keep thinking if I lived in that building I would always be aware that I was living is a section of what used to be a real apartment. But the front apartments with the bay windows, retain an old-time elegance (like me). I hope I get one.

It's a pleasure to stroll up and down Hudson, noting the many lions at the front of the houses, catching a glimpse of an antique crystal chandelier in the front hall from time to time, and getting a feel for Hoboken's heritage. If you're lucky you might snag a third-floor walkup with a lousy bathroom and no intercom to connect you to the front door and be able to tell people you live on Hudson Street. That happened to me last October.


Alex said...

I didn't know about the Empire Theater. Where on Hudson was it located?

Mary Lois said...

From that picture it looks to have been a little north of me...maybe between 7th and 8th? Anybody out there know?

slezak said...

That theater was a great place, I'm told from a friend of mine who's long dead, but remembered it as a boy.

HAUNTED???? You be the judge might live there??? PLEASANT DREAMS...

Great blog. Keep up the good work...I know you don't believe in ghosts.

slezak said...

Glad you posted the EMPIRE THEATER on Hudson Street. I guess some of your readers only think the Fabian, the U.S. Theater and the Rivoli (scratch house ) were the only theaters in Hoboken. Not so.

Silent movies were a big hit in their day...the rich of Hoboken needed a place to enjoy a good movie too, when VALENTINO was a star, the heart throb of the silver screen.

Look at the picture and match it to the buildings that are there now . I think you can find it. Some things just never change. Remembering the story told to me, 2nd or 3rd Street would be a good start...cause that's whare all the action was in them days...SALOONS ...and lovely girls...eager to light your cigar...on a breezy summers night. .THE ROARING 20s IS WHEN THE LIONS WENT OUT TO PLAY. LADIES, PLEASE REMOVE YOUR HATS.

Just a side note -- heating them buildings in the winter I'm sure was a challange.

Mary Lois said...

I think most of the buildings on the east side of the street, right side of the picture, are gone now, all up and down Hudson. So we have to count on the left side to identify the location of the Empire. I see that I was probably wrong before. It couldn't have been north of me, but must have been down nearer the Fabian.

I'll go have a walk today and check out the blocks between 1st and 3rd, looking for a hole or a new building that has gone up some time after 1900.

Anonymous said...

If the theatre is between first & third, it could possibly have changed from whatever Slezak said it was into an Italian theatre. Not sure if it was live or film, but I do remember many downtown Italians going to a theatre on Hudson St in the 40s and possibly early 50s.

downtown chick said...

Sorry, I meant to edit--not publish. The above is written by me.

Mary Lois said...

Downtown Chick, I think you're thinking of the Rialto, the Italian Music-Hall house where Jimmy Roselli's Italian grandpa took him to hear the great singers and the vaudeville acts. He would say to little Jimmy (sometimes), "You can sing better than that guy..."

I'm just guessing that the Empire, based on what slezak says, was a silent movie house, in the same neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Most of us older Hobokenites really can't complain about Hoboken. The city was awful when most of us left. We were born there, grew up there, and then left it to the so-called yuppies, who by the way raised the city up from shambles. We took from the city, the so-called Yuppies gave to the city. Everywhere you go it is like that, one generation starts something and another adds to it, even here in California.

downtown chick said...

Mr. Anonymous. There was nothing to "take" from Hoboken. The politicians "took" in no show jobs, etc. The city was graft infested........might still be, who knows?
The city did nothing for the Puerto Rican community when it began arriving in 1950. What, they built a project?
When the yuppie money started to come the early 70's, they had money. Money = political clout, the yuppies voted, they spoke. Ergo: Sinatra Park, beautiful playground in 4th st. park with a dog run, trees lining First never saw that in our town whether you lived uptown or down.

Anonymous said...

The Empire was located in between First and Second and Hudson Street.
When John J. Grogan was running for mayor of Hoboken he ran some cartoons in the deserted theatre.
It had to be torn down due to the homeless sleeping there in about 1954 or 56, if this old memory serves me right.

Anonymous said...

Now back to what I was trying to write. Someone sent me a e-mail about "Submarine Races!" Yep, some of us probably remember them when we were teenagers and we watched them at night from the park over looking the Hudson River, with our girl friends. Those park benchs were sure cold when it rained.
The odd thing was there never was a finish line to the race!

Dennis said...

I am not going to feud with Miss Downtown chick. Government in Hoboken, has and always be the same, just as it is all over. As far as the Puerto Ricians, well Hoboken never did anything for any nationality, Irish, German, Jew,or for any color Negro or White. There was the haves and the have not all the time, that is just the way it is!! Nobody really can say that any religion was picked on, there were so many. From the majesty of OLG to the store front churchs all over the city. For a city only one mile it sure had enough churchs. Guess all those people who took grafts had to pray for forgiveness!!

slezak said...

There was nothing to take from Hoboken? In all due respect, WE TOOK KNOWLEDGE and STREET SMARTS...with us on our road through can't cheat us. We learned common sense and respect for others...and Hoboken gave us the gift to spot a phony when we seen one...and the difference between right and wrong.

SO we did take something from Hoboken...AND WE AIN'T GIVIN' IT BACK.

Downtown Chick said...

And that is why, Bobby my dear, I love you so. Ya gotta way wid woids, kid.
Yes, we did take or were given all that you say and I am humbled before you.
BUT, your friend Rabbi somehow convoluted the race/religion thing.
Anyway, how can someone who does not live in Hoboken say it was and alway will be graft ridden. That's a ridiculous statement with nothing to back it up.
BTW, rabbi......"negro" is dated and perjorative. African American, please.

Jim B said...

The whole area of Hudson south of 4th Street was all related to the ships and liners coming in to the Port. Most of these were removed before the 50's, when the Port Authority took over the piers and the area was really cleaned up.

Above 4th Street, Hudson was all residential (and Stevens) up to 11th Street. From 11th Street up on the river side, there was Maxwell House, the can company, the Bethlehem Steel shipyards. On the West side of the street it was residential up to 13th street. where there was a company that made aluminum pie tins, a gas station, and some bars. When they put out the garbage, it usually contained defective pie tins, that were great for skimming all over the street. There was a very slow green and yellow train that traveled down Hudson to River Street, where it would pick up freight cars from a float bridge, meaning the freight cars would be barged to Hoboken. The tracks were right in the middle of Hudson street, and the trains could do down River street (now Sinatra Drive). If you placed a penny on the tracks the train would flatten it. The train would blow its horn if it could not get through with cars double parked. Elysian Park looked out over the float bridge, and there were usually freight cars parked there. We often got in trouble by playing on the freight cars, jumping from one car to another, climbing on the ladders, and opening the doors, They were always empty when I was there.

14th Street had more bars, a pool hall, and some other stores. The pool hall was always very busy. There was a party fishing boat that come in at about 15th and Hudson and people could go out to the Bay to fish.

barbary kid / charles said...

I'm new to this blog stuff and find it very interesting. Mary Lois I know you read my other comments, on other issues in your blog. I am the barbary kid / charles. So I'm not going through the same old stuff I already covered. I guess you all know where the Empire / Rialto Theater was now. One more thing I forgot to mention about the theater is. In the early 60's the ILA Longshoremen Union bought the Rialto Theater. They made a Medical Clinic out of it for the Longshoremen. I have another little trinket to add to your blog. The reason Hudson and River was named "Barbary Coast" was because of all the Taverns on both sides of the street. At one time in the 30's to the 50's. On Hudson St. between 1st & 2nd St alone, there was 21 taverns between both sides of the street. There was the Continental Hotel on the south corner of Hudson and 1st St. There was a Slavish Club in the next building south of the fire house on the west side of the St. Both had bars in them also. Making the count 23. Some of the taverns were nice some not so nice. I lived on that block from age 6 to 22 and hung out on that street from 22 to about 27 years old. Believe it or not they were all busy and most of them were still there when I left. I believe one of the first buildings that was demolished for the "YOUR NEW HOBOKEN" was 129 Hudson St the house I grew up in. They erected a big garage there. I think it's still there.

Mary Lois said...

You're a welcome new visitor, Charles, and you've learned your way around very well. Lots of people never figure out how to make a comment (and I confess I sometimes have a problem making a comment on other blogs!).

Trouble is, most people just read the current post and they never get to read your comments, tucked away as they are on older posts. But you're right, I read them--they are directed to my email box for me to review. When you're caught up reading all my old posts, be sure to place comments on the most recent post!

I love learning of your life in Hoboken. Be sure to look for the post on clotheslines, and the story about the pigeons in the piano at Demarest High School Have fun!