City living is exciting, crowded, and filled with adventure and opportunities. A town like Hoboken isn’t just the sum of what it offers on its own, part of its allure is its proximity to New York, one of the greatest cities on the planet no matter how you measure things. The access to jobs, services, and culture is simply too good to pass up for a lot of people.
That doesn’t mean that city living doesn’t get you down a little, sometimes. Aside from the crowding and the noise and the pollution (noise and otherwise), there’s also a distinctly hard edge to living in a concrete box. Hoboken does its best to offer shade trees and park spaces, but sometimes you want more than the carefully manicured parks that are as much huge playgrounds for the kiddies as anything else. Sometimes you just want a touch of nature. To get it, you might think you need to hop a bus to the hinterlands—or at least to Central Park and the zoo. But you can get little fixes of nature right here in town, just by taking a walk on your lunch hour.
Watching happy animals go about their business is the whole point of the zoo, really, but you don’t have to go there to experience the peculiar zen that descends on you when watching creatures cavort. Head up to the Tea Building and Hoboken Cove just off of 14th Street and spend a few meditative moments watching the geese. They’re plump, content, and can reliably be found sunning themselves on the ersatz beach there. If you stand near the railing some might come over to investigate, because some people feed them—but be careful They’ve got some seriously sharp teeth. In other words, don’t pet the geese no matter how fat and happy they look.
The Dog Parks
A well-cared for dog is pretty much pure happiness in animal form, and if you need a break from humanity and the awful condominiums we crowd into the world, head for one of the many dog parks around town, grab a bench, and watch the doggos run, chase balls, wrestle with each other, and generally enjoy life in a way we seem to have forgotten.
The Kitten Fair
If doggos are okay, but kitties are better in your book, you might consider stopping by Hoboken Pet every Sunday, when Jersey Cats stages a kitten adoption. With several kittens on hand at each event and a book showing photos and descriptions of the other kitties available for adoption, it’s not just a way to get your weekly dose of cute, it’s also an opportunity to drop Jersey Cats a few dollars in support of the great work they do keeping those kittens cute and loving instead of abused and hungry.
For a concrete jungle, Hoboken prides itself on its gardens. There are actually a ton of “secret” gardens hidden away around the town (most of which you can tour on the annual Secret Garden event), not to mention a few gardens you can visit any time you want, including the new community gardens in the Pop Up park between 12th and 13th streets on Adams. Flowers, vegetables, and the calming sight of nature working in balance with itself is a sight for sore eyes, especially if your eyes have been locked on a computer screen or other modern horror for several hours that day.
Hoboken is a paved paradise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few green spots to escape to—and trust us, a few minutes watching some geese might not seem like much, but it’s worth every moment.