Thursday, December 6, 2007

This Way to Hoboken

December 6, 2007

I love the Clam Broth House sign. I hope it stays there forever. Never mind that the Clam Broth House itself is no more; the sign is such an evocation of a past time in Hoboken, with that index finger pointing (now rather obtusely to The Cage, a relatively new entity in Hoboken, a gay bar), and the lettering so old-fashioned, a three-dimensional comic-strip from the Old Days in Hoboken.

I'm told that the original Clam Broth House gave away free clam broth as a promotional gimmick. On days like today, with the temperatures in the 20° range, I can imagine many a dock worker made his way a few blocks over to imbibe the warm nectar of bivalve. While there he probably extended the order and shelled out a couple of bucks for a heap of pasta too.

A newcomer, I'm still discovering the little pockets of old and new Hoboken -- a new pocket being the sweet little Internet café where I'm writing this. Smells of warm breakfast and just a few people at the tables, it's almost like a room in my own home. It inspires me to catch you up on my Hoboken adventures, and from here, the Hoboken Gourmet Company, I'll be writing and checking emails until I can get hooked up at my apartment three and a half blocks away. I had a great lentil soup for lunch here two days ago, and will again. But I must try The Soup Man, too, just across Washington Street. The Soup Man is owned by that infamous soup entrepreneur described unflatteringly by Jerry Seinfeld so many years ago. I'm sure he's a nice guy -- and I know I'm gonna love his soup.

No move goes without a hitch. As I described yesterday, some of the hitches this time I could have done without, but I eagerly await the arrival of my PIN number (the bank says it could actually come today or tomorrow!) and then my furniture next Monday.

Today I walk my frozen way down to City Hall and see what I can find out about the bus system so I can get to the Shop-Rite. I know where the A & P is; it's a long walk and the Shop-Rite is a bus ride.

All of this is vaguely familiar. I lived in New York for some 20 years, and this is like a low-key return. I don't even object to the Christmas carols being piped in everywhere this year. It feels like Christmas; it's so damn cold. Oh, no -- now they're playing Burl Ives singing "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." Some things are just too much. Ives always said he never liked kids, and it showed.

I'm hoping Frank Sinatra will sing "Silent Night" next. For that, I'll stick around. Let's see, the song has changed...unfamiliar, definitely not Sinatra. Not bad, not as offensive as "holly jolly" but I think it's time for me to pack it in and make my rounds. More on finding myself and finding Hoboken. Maybe even tomorrow if they'll let me back in this place. Wonder if the Soup Man is wired for Wi-Fi.


Craig said...

I don't know about Soup Man, but Panera has wi-fi (and it's free).

Mary Lois said...

Had lunch at the Soup Man and discovered it doesn't have tables! Actually I took the soup (excellent, by the way) home where I also don't have tables. Will try Panera -- but they have those in Alabama, you know. Plus, the Gourmet Co. is closer to my apartment.

Craig said...

Not recommending the food so much as the wi-fi. ;)

Anonymous said...

The episode that I remember from Seinfeld called him the "soup Nazi" because of his attitude toward his customers, George, Elaine and Kramer. They liked the soup enough to be abased. It's gotta be better than that disappointing Saturday Wintzell's fare, home of the "oyster Nazi?" (where it's all about the tourists). We would have done better taking you to 'Stewed Tomatoes' soul food buffet in Summerdale. We ate there on return from the airport. It'll be awhile before you get that chance again.