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Tag: Hoboken

Feeling Our Way in New York City

The first day of our New York City tour, I am on the top deck of a bus driving down Fifth Avenue past the Flatiron building when I remember there is a Kate Spade store coming up on the left. I pause for a moment to stare down from my high perch. Its founder has just died by her own hand two days before and it is still raw in our national psyche. I turn to Mirna, my tour companion for two days, and nod toward the store, taking a deep breath. Moments before we had been sitting at a traffic light, moving easily to Alicia Keys and Jay Z and their catchy ode to New York. It’s part of the soundtrack pumping into our ears. The next day our bus is crawling through Times Square at dusk. With so much stimulation in every direction at this iconic place, my eyes look right and fix on the marquis at the Hard Rock Café – “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Anthony Bourdain. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. We will forever miss his love for great food and travel.” Yes, that very morning he had been found after taking his own life. I first heard it on the radio. Just hours later I was on a bus riding past CNN and thinking about all the...

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Love Trumps Hate in Hoboken? Barf

The post-election Tweets about my town are positively orgasmic. Hashtag Hoboken. Town elects Sikh mayor. Love triumphs over hate. Rinse. Repeat. Yes, Hoboken elected Ravi Bhalla as its new mayor. He’s a pleasant person. He’s more than qualified. He was endorsed by our current mayor, who has set our town on a new course. I am aligned with him on some things, wish he was more engaged in others. But I can’t help but wonder if one person outside of Hoboken who is giddily Tweeting about this win has any clue about his positions on the issues. Do they know where he stands on infrastructure? Residential development? Affordable housing and displacement? Did they ever hear him give a speech? Further, do they have any idea what positions his opponents hold? Where they disagreed? Where they were aligned? I’m betting the answer is no. All the fawning seems proof that there’s one knock on liberals that’s often legitimate – we are way too entrenched in identity politics. I am a big fan of diversity, aware of the marginalized, cognizant of our need to represent everyone in government. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from the past few months of our mayoral race, it’s that parsing by race, gender, religion, political party, or sexual orientation isn’t the answer. I must deconstruct the now infamous events of a despicable flyer that was...

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Fired Up in Fear

Through my bedroom window I saw a man throw a lit cigarette butt on the ground today. It was on the street in front of my apartment. For a panicked moment I contemplated going outside and stamping it out. The night before I bolted up out of sleep that had barely hit the REM phase. I’d had a nightmare that fire was consuming my home. I suppose this means it’s official. I’m traumatized. Maybe that’s a little strong. I really don’t want to be emotionally fraught. Is it possible to talk myself out of it? To purge via writing?...

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This Nancy with the Laughing Face

As I handed my book, Why Sinatra Matters, to its author to sign in a Hoboken bookstore last week, he looked up at me, noting it was an original edition from 1998. “Is this for you?” asked Pete Hamill. “Yes,” I said. “What’s your name?” His pen was poised. “It’s Nancy … and I think you can guess why.” He looked at me again, this time with a smirk. “Because you have a laughing face?” I laughed as if to prove it. The truth is I’m named Nancy Ann after my two grandmothers, but my father likes to tell...

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Appreciating Silk and Reportage

I recently attended a talk in Hoboken by investigative reporter and author Diana Henriques. As part of her presentation, she told an audience at Little City Books about how gratifying it was to have her publisher, Henry Holt, exhibit patience in the reporting and writing process when she was working on The Wizard of Lies, her bestselling book about Bernie Madoff. In other words, even as other books were rushed to publication, her project wasn’t all about the instant gratification window around the sensational Madoff story. It was about putting in play her decades of experience in investigative reporting...

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