Thursday, August 22, 2002


Is located on the Jersey City-ward side of the city. Four guys were exiting the club, all of 'em hearty and about 60+. I thought briefly about Marlon Brando, and how he made part of "On the Waterfront" in one of Hoboken's little parks, how much Terry, his character, loved his pigeons. Faith was with me. One of them called out: "That looks like a very loved dog!"

"She is!" I called out, leaned down, and got a big Faith lick.

This is one of the sides of Hoboken I love, the guys hanging out outside their social clubs, many of them named after saints or the Virgin Mary. This is one Hoboken.

Another Hoboken is this loss: that according to the New York Times,on 9/11, it suffered the highest death rate, 39, per capita--about one out of every thousand residents, per the medical examiner in New York. Hoboken's city toll is higher, because they claim that a lot of people, fresh out of school, hadn't switched their addresses from their parents' yet. Their number is 53.

"That's an unfortunate statistic," said Mayor Dave Roberts. "In this instance, I wish it was zero."

In Hoboken, you don't see the missing posters, or the grief, or the intense partying that immediately followed 9/11 anymore. It's been replaced by discreet Xeroxes offering therapy, free of charge, and announcements of commemorative services around the date--one at Stevens Institute of Technology, one at a bar. That sounds about right. It was an unhappy coincidence that a gorgeous pier park overlooking the Hudson, with a view of lower Manhattan, had opened not that long before the tragedy last year; but it turned out to be a blessing. It gave people a place to go and mourn. Now, all that's left is the wax stains from the vigil candles, and a little graffiti.


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