Hoboken is famously known as the Mile Square, although it isn’t actually a mile square. Still, it’s a pretty well-defined geographic place, bordered by cliffs and water and other municipalities so mysterious they might as well be marked on the map by HERE BE DRAGONS. And for a variety of economic, logistic, and geographical reasons a lot of people want to live here. A lot of people. According to the Census data that Hoboken has on its web site, Hoboken grew nearly 30% between 2000 and 2010 (from 38,577 people to 50,005 people), and undoubtedly had continued to grow at a similar pace. And developers have been madly building condos to accommodate them.
But while we can build up to make more living space, there are plenty of resources that are getting stretched pretty thin, including parking, sidewalk space, and access to quality bagels. Since Hoboken is probably going to just get more and more crowded until we’re living in some sort of YA dystopia where the elite live up in the clouds while the rest of us scamper along the garbage-strewn streets below, fighting Terminators, you’re going to need some strategies to survive. Here are a few suggestions that can make a crowded city seem a little less crowded.
Workout on a Weekday
If you’ve ever shown up at Hot Yoga on a Saturday morning or gone to the gym on the weekend, you know that every single Weekend Warrior in the city is there, bleary-eyed and trying to cram a week’s worth of workout into two hours. If at all possible, your best bet is to shift your workout to the weekdays—ideally at an off time instead of the early morning or after work periods, when everyone else is getting their workout in.
Another strategy is to identify classes (like the aforementioned Hot Yoga) where you can reserve a space instead of dealing with first-come-first-serve crowds.
Share a Car
While almost all new developments have off-street parking, people are increasingly bringing multiple vehicles into the city, so parking is just getting harder and harder to find. You can alleviate a lot of stress just by giving up your car and using Zipcar to get around. While Zipcar itself could become a limited resource if enough people start scheduling rides, for the moment it seems to be working pretty smoothly.
If you only need a car once in a while, and you don’t have off-street parking, Zipcar removes most of the stress: You have a guaranteed parking spot, someone else handles gas, insurance, and maintenance, and the moment you lock the car up you can stop thinking about it.
Grocery Shop Weekday Afternoons
If you’ve been in one of our grocery stores on a Sunday afternoon you know what hell looks like: A crowd of people ramming shopping carts into each other as lines stretch from the checkouts for days. The secret to avoiding these crowds is simple: Show up around 5PM on a weekday evening. This is because the stores generally have extra checkouts open in anticipation of after-work crowds rushing in to pick up some dinner and staples they’ve run out of, but those people haven’t yet arrived. As a result of this timing hack, there’s a lot of cashiers standing around with nothing to do, and you can get in and out without ramming your cart into a single other person.
You can’t escape the crowds entirely, of course, but with a little planning (and a flexible schedule) you can avoid a lot of them, and suddenly Hoboken doesn’t seem so tightly packed. What are your Life Pro Tips for avoiding Hoboken crowds?