Friday, August 28, 2009

Hoboken's Son of Spyro Gyra


The finale to the summer music series at Sinatra Park concluded last night and if you missed it, you need to contact City Hall and demand a property tax refund. It was that good. Led by son of Hoboken, Cuban born Julio Fernandez, guitarist of Spyro Gyra fame, the assembled musicians included some masterful talent and they put it to immediate use.

Here's their Sly and the Family Stone version of "Dance to the Music" seamlessly morphed into "Wanna Take you Higher." You can't hear how dynamic it was live, (especially the thundering bass line) but the enthusiasm of both the musicians and crowd is unmistakable.

The Sly & the Family Stone youtube video link is here.
A version of The Police's "Roxanne."
Nicely done version of Steely Dan's "Home at Last."

In a crowd that grew to almost 200, Benny Harrison remarked to laughter after one scorching number, "Not bad for two Latin guys... and some white guys." On the right featured some white people dancing. I don't mean that they were white, I mean the activity: saved by one brother and a few women and children who salvaged the operation. You know the music has to be really good to get folks out there doing some of that "dancing" in public. Hey, it's all good. The weather was beautiful, the vibe was wonderful and the moments utterly sweet.

At the end of the show, someone mentioned it was Julio Fernandez's birthday. The crowd broke out into "Happy Birthday" and it was a fine ending to a great summer music series at Frank Sinatra Park.

The outstanding lineup: Julio Fernandez on guitar/vocals (Spyro Gyra) with Benny Harrison keys/vocals (Alex P. Sutter Band), Tom Bowes vocals (Tower of Power), Gene Perez bass (Soulshine Recordings), Tony Beardon drums/vocals (Johnny Winter), Don Harris trumpet (Tower of Power), Richie Cannata sax (Billy Joel), and Gerardo Velez on percussion (Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock!).

Spyro Gyra - discography

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Horse Sense: Once more unto the breach

Update: City Hall's legal arm will begin the process of examining the current pay to play laws around the Labor Day holiday. The following editorial was posted yesterday. More on this to come.




The nefarious neutering of Hoboken's "pay to play" laws has breached the ethical if not legal aspects of the town's political aspirations for honest, fair elections. As Hoboken Now previously reported, multiple Political Action Committees (PACs) set up out of state by union and developer funds easily found their way into the aspiring Peter Cammarano's campaign pocket. Although sources within the opposition campaigns suggest it was old news, the public posture of Cammarano's people last May had pointed the finger at Beth Mason's campaign. The smear fliers escalated and continued in the runoff election where Councilwoman Zimmer was narrowly defeated after all absentee ballots were counted. Which leads to the question, how much influence did all this money from outside Hoboken buy and how do such monies dilute if not disenfranchise Hoboken voters?

As we ease into the final stages of the "unofficial" end to summer, a looming question on how to best deal with such legal maneuvers should be put to all local candidates. Although the "pay to play laws" have been seen as an objective solution for quite some time, it's pretty evident no such law as currently written can overcome the legal maneuvers of PACs. Merely injecting a third party PAC to hand over the bag of money has clearly won the day.

Although there is probably no short term legal fix, an ethical remedy is available. Often citizen groups will ask candidates to submit via questionnaires a series of answers of various concerns. One example has been to ask for declarations on not increasing property taxes. It would be a good idea if a citizen group such as Hoboken Revolt and/or People for Open Government (POG) create a standard where candidates in Hoboken elections promise to abide by the spirit, ethical and legal basis of the existing pay to play laws.

Creating such a standard in Hoboken would be beneficial to the town and its voters. We hope this standard can be quickly implemented in the next mayoral special election and beyond.

Note: Unrelated, both Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Governor Corzine have requested that unearned vacation money paid out to former mayor Peter Cammarano be returned.

Story via Hoboken Now

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Piri Piri - One step closer



Stopped by the other day and looks like they are moving along nicely and getting closer to their grand opening. No known date but the pictures up on the wall say it shouldn't be long now. Some friends from out of town have already expressed interest in going.

And they're hiring!

Related: Hoboken's Restaurant Row

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hand over your vote, support, or your political life

Last Wednesday night, former Cammarano Transition Team head Mike Novak inspired a gathering at City Bistro in the hopes to lift the local economy and raise some spirits and a political party broke out. While active residents pondered a summer evening with two competing town events, the real action took place later on the roof deck at City Bistro. A fly on the wall has passed along the happenings among the Hoboken political glitterati where more plotting took place than a typical work of Shakespeare.

Mike Novak looked healthier and acting as semi-official host of the little soiree, was in notably better spirits having recovered from some bad air being in the same room with a certain vile rodent who’s residence is almost visible from the City Bistro roof deck on upper Bloomfield St. Is the recovery fueling political inspiration to follow? Too soon to say, but at least he's escaped from the muck of one bad environmental situation not to mention any future contributions from south Jersey's now disbanded Burlington, NJ based New Frontier Committee. This same PAC was "sickened" by the arrest of Peter Cammarano and more so its poor investment choice.

Although the unofficial get together made no official news it took on a far larger life. A who's who of potential mayoral contenders not to mention many political operatives looking for a job were in attendance. From your favorite town developer Frank "Pupie" Raia to Councilwoman Beth Mason, to the Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer herself, the swan song to summer was charged with the electricity of political dreams and ambition. Even the Governor was expected to make an appearance but perhaps another local ambitious lady had other plans for him (and his checkbook).

The buzz was, well actually the buzz was everywhere. The roof deck was a swimming mosh pit of potential alliances, whispered plots and horse trading on who will be getting out ahead of who for the special winner take all mayoral election come November. One section of the pit stabilized as Frank “Pupie” Raia, your friendly town ringworm took possession of a corner and declared it a developer friendly zone. Soon a number of sidemen assembled to discuss how to end the reign of the Queen or in this case the Acting Mayor.

Our formidable friend, the fly offered these parcels, none of which we'd bet the house (maybe a mid size car):

Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer entered the fray and managed to float among the would be assassins as if ringed by angels all the while skirting Hudson County pols trying to encircle and place their stake in Hoboken.

Frank "Pupie" Raia directed everyone who speaks of him going forward to say he’s not a town developer; he's a community leader. And if you expect a job later, you best remember it. His exploratory committee operatives have completed their mission and he's looking to lay claim to the bulk of Cammarano's "locked in" votes. Your favorite ringworm is "all in" for the City Hall corner office come November and looking to soothe the losses from the school board defeat handed to him by Kids First.

Councilwoman Carol Marsh told anyone who would listen that no one should act rash and say anything about the arrested Mayor Peter Cammarano. Mayor? “Well he hasn’t been indicted. I’ve been advised to be very careful.” No update on what “they” are advising her to do now.

Another town activist had a petition requesting the City Council hold a vote for the short life of the acting mayor. No one could seem to find a pen or cared to ask why.

Councilwoman Beth Mason arrived in good spirits after her mostly large group of supporters received her concept plan in the northwest with open minds if not pockets. She may have left less so, especially after any exchange with the king of the City Bistro Court, community leader Raia. Our friend the fly says the conversation may have gone like this:

Ringworm Raia: "So Councilwoman what's the good word about the Cammarano PAC money that flooded the mayor’s race.

Beth Mason: “What do you mean?”

RR: “Well you know Cammarano’s people blamed you for those smear fliers in the election last spring, whaddaya think now?”

BM: looking for a political consultant in the room for help, “Well I don’t know what you want me to say."

RR: laughing, "Not to worry, I’m writing a check now. Just remember, you have no comment when these hit the mailboxes okay? Oh and Church Towers, that's my vote come November.”

After the event, another unconfirmed report had Dawn Zimmer crashing her bike on Washington St. and cited for DUI and endangering a carbon deleting entity. Apparently, she had crashed into a tree and scarred its trunk. Dawn told the officer in her best John Kerry impression, “Do you know who I am?” The officer indicating he did replied, “Yes, but if you had not damaged the tree I might be able to help you but this is a grievous offense.” Dawn retorted, “That’s not how we do it in New England.” No word on who will represent the Acting Mayor in the case but Chrisopher Campos has offered his pamphlet cheap, “DUI: How to almost never see your day in court.”

And where was mayor potentials Patricia Waters and Artie Lange? Apparently, no one told them about the get together.

Does this mean that the unofficial ceasefire for summer is over? Well maybe, but only until Labor Day. Enjoy the rest of the summer folks. The games begin in earnest next month.

Editors note: The fallout from the south Jersey Burlington political action committee has not. Carly Baldwin at Hoboken Now just reported on the latest casualty.

Related links: Burlington Political Action Committee finds its friends in Hoboken:
Cammarano's NJ friendly PACs and his smear fliers:

Photo courtesy: City Bistro

Friday, August 21, 2009

How much Hoboken can you buy with Mega Millions?

It's a summer Friday and the dog days of August. Humidity has reared its head when it was almost a forgotten memory and the air conditioners are running in salvation mode. What lies ahead? There's a tasty treat coming your way: promise.

So with the Mega Millions now over $200 million, let's say one person in Hoboken wins. What could you buy or since this is New Jersey who would you buy? And why? The possibilities are endless. You would have enough money to build a 5,000 seat baseball stadium and run your own little AA baseball team where it all started. And you wouldn't even need to build any 40 or 50 story building next to it in any grand "compromise."

It's a time for dreaming. Go on, it's free. And nothing else ever is.

Photo courtesy NJ.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Play Ball! Hoboken's Field of Dreams?

Councilwoman Beth Mason announced details of a northwest concept plan and the biggest buzz concerned the possibilities of a ballpark and which Double A team would be willing to undertake such a project and come to Hoboken. The Yankees Double A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder was mentioned several times although Councilwoman Mason stated there was interests among several Double A prospects without naming names.

The concept plan and Councilwoman Mason emphasized it was just the beginning of a conversation with the community included some in-depth detailed plans for the area that includes new space for a Hoboken museum, a boutique hotel, a light rail stop, an office and convention center, a sports complex and of course a baseball stadium that could seat in the range of 5,000 spectators.

Outside of questions from the 50 people attending on the major issues of scale, commitment and environmental concerns around flooding, traffic and parking for such a concept, there's also the looming problems of land already purchased by developers. A community activist indicated a certain parcel was resold recently for $40 million dollars within the area of the northwest concept plan.

Trenton makes, the world takes or is the new saying Trenton makes and Hoboken takes?

Photo: Trenton's Thunder ballpark, courtesy of the Trenton Thunder.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Rat Lives!

Hoboken Now via the help of an anonymous Hoboken resident has just broken the story on the smear fliers that were being mailed to every voter in Hoboken before the runoff election. Although the rat Cammarano (Camma-RAT-0) is finished here, his legacy lives on in the form of these sinister PACs that clearly violate the spirit if not the legal integrity of the pay to play laws.

We'll have more to say on this but for the moment we must bow down and thank this Hoboken resident (who wishes to remain anonymous), Hoboken Now and Carly Baldwin. Major salute to all!

Click on the title to link to the story.

Update: At tonight's community meeting on a concept plan for the northwest section of Hoboken, Councilwoman Beth Mason declined to immediately comment on the the late breaking news. She did however indicate where URSA/Tarragon holdings were situated within the area of the concept plan.

Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer is already quoted saying Hoboken attorneys will be reviewing the matter. We expect this to be a major issue leading into the November winner take all mayoral election.

Sign of the Times

Keeping with the photo series, "Sign of the Times" (the first installment actually was the first post when this site was yet being contemplated) the latest above is less than obvious. Not having the camera in shoot mode as I turned off Washington St. today, a person crossed my path on the right and went into the street and leaned over. As I passed I looked to see what the person was in fact picking up off the ground. It was a stubby cigarette butt. Not a full one, not a half, not even a third, perhaps it was a quarter.

Now when I lived in the East Village, not a block from Tompkins Square Park this would hardly merit a second thought. As we know times are tough and look to be getting tougher. Even someone who holds an optimistic disposition sees less than ideal circumstances ahead. But in Hoboken?

Okay, perhaps it's somewhat overstated as others will point out this is hardly a big deal especially in certain corners of town. Nevertheless, it does seem symbolic of a changing tide, and not in our favor.

With the early political posturing leading into the November election, what's been on my mind of late is the sheer foolishness of most of it and the uncanny ability of some to act (or pretend) that Hoboken is an island unto itself. If reality continues to crash down on our nation, how are these people going to react? Will they see Hoboken as a community and come together or will they lash out at anyone and everyone?

Oh and the person who picked up the butt. Take a guess.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Neighborhood greetings with the Chief



The Hoboken Police Department is holding a community meeting this Wednesday for residents in the area of Willow to Washington St. from 8th to 12th streets.

Come to the gymnasium of the Wallace School (11th and Willow) at 7 p.m. to meet new Hoboken Police Chief Anthony Falco. There will also be an opportunity to meet Hoboken's Community Policing unit.

As many know, this approach has proven very successful in rooting out deep rooted criminal problems. Burglaries have been an area of strong concern and this is an opportunity to discuss that among other related issues.

It's a good idea to pop in and if nothing else voice support for this approach to policing.

Update: The Hoboken Journal reports that Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilman Peter Cuningham will also be attending.

Hat tip/photo courtesy Carly/Hoboken Now

Grist for the Mill

August is usually a quiet time of the year in Hoboken but not in 2009. The sidewalks are swimming with more political consultants than tourists on Fifth Avenue. With all the uncertainty of who may be next to follow Acting Mayor’s Dawn Zimmer’s bid for the winner take all November special election, there’s a feeding frenzy of insider activity for the flavor of the moment or is that the paycheck of the month? The game of musical chairs is well underway and an adviser to a king has to step lively before all the seats are taken. Summer season is truly over when Labor Day passes and the guns begin firing anew.

Unlike the campaign earlier this year, there’s no rustlings of insiders arranging a sit down between the two ladies laying claim to the the mantle of the “reform movement.” That earlier pow-wow between then Councilwomen Beth Mason and Dawn Zimmer quickly went south, with each arriving to “listen” all the while loading up the cannon and gunpowder. If we see a rematch, and it’s not 99% certain, it doesn't appear a major battle solely between Council folks. Should Councilwoman Beth Mason reload for the mayor’s office, it’s sure to cause some ripples in the reform vote and make the outside nefarious interests more not less inspired to pick a better horse than Cammarano. Even the Gov.’s former gal “friend” Carla Katz, she of the 400K+ Corzine loan, among others is awaiting just that occurrence before jumping in. What would Councilwoman Mason be willing to trade to keep other entrants at a minimum? And can the bellowing Frank Orsini truck be far off in the distance now?

The new emergency wing of the Hoboken University Medical Center looks delightful. We were almost tempted to stop by with a claim of a loose horseshoe just to try it out. But knowing the high costs of emergency care, we opted to await the more suitable blacksmith appointment and forgo putting the taxpayers on the dime. Speaking of coin, does anyone know how many dimes the hospital is going to stick us for? Those records are buried deeper than city mobile phones used to place Vegas preseason football bets. In the famous words of Peter Cammarano, “the hospital is doing well.” We expect that will be the last time a political head will say anything until we hear otherwise. And then it will be attached to an eight or or more long dollar digit problem. The only question when you’re holding a ticking time bomb is how long does it tick before going kaboom.

The Russo Association is now closer to completing its redecorating, and an end of summer party may be just around the corner. What would be the theme of such a gathering? How about a fundraiser to hire a fashion consultant for Councilwoman Terry Castellano. One would guess it would be necessary or does she plan on running for mayor dressed as a 20 year old ingenue? And here you thought Madonna needed to update her wardrobe for her age.

Speaking of the sharply coiffed, has anyone spotted any G-men in town lately? Seems like since their early morning visit to uptown Bloomfield St, all the chatter is down in the belly of the beast in Newark. Unemployment may continue to be a sore spot, but criminal lawyers have a steady gig with the ever growing defense list in the Garden State. Just once, we'd like to see a crime in progress followed by the shout, “Halt! FBI!”

Where’s the Burlington PAC money going to find a new Hoboken candidate now? All these caring New Jersey citizen groups looking to find “young, progressive Democratic leaders” in Hoboken. Add them to the list of concerned New Jersey citizens across the state like the Pipefitters Union looking for a new horse to bet on in Hoboken.

If Labor Day isn't far off enough for the official political season to begin again, Kurt at The Hoboken Journal posts a letter on the latest distortion by the catfish diver over at Hoboken411. So let the games begin. http://thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/

Have some grist for the mill? Drop a dime to smartyjones@me.com. Facebook invites now accepted at you guessed it, “Da Horsey.”

Last, a thank you to all the readers who have more than surprised us with the thousands of hits on the new site and especially those who have emailed/commented and shared their perspectives/tips.

Related: Burlington PAC @ Hoboken Now

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Quality of Life Coalition" meeting this Wednesday



This Wednesday, the Quality of Life Coalition will feature Councilwoman Beth Mason discussing her ideas for the 19 block area in the northwest section of Hoboken.

There have been numerous ideas to date including a town museum, another hotel, convention center to a minor league ballpark. But what we really want to know is how many condos can we fit in with any plan?

Or as one officer said to me a few years ago, "If everyone in this town flushed the toilet at the same time, this whole place would be under water." So how many condos will the Rockefeller Group be putting up in their rumored 40 story monstrosity? Maybe we can get them to throw in a ferris wheel in a little park next to it? Sound good? Well let your voice be heard on Wednesday evening.

The meeting will take place at St. Matthews Parish Hall at 8th and Hudson streets, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Click on the title to link to the complete details on Hoboken Now.
Hat tip: Carly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wounded Warriors hosted in Hoboken

Hoboken Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Fire Chief Richard Blohm along with proud Hoboken veterans hosted Iraqi veterans from the "Wounded Warriors Project" Sunday with a luncheon at the Hoboken Fire Museum on Bloomfield followed by a visit to Carlo's Bakery of "Cake Boss" fame.

Please click on the title to link directly to the Wounded Warrior Project. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated. Short of that, please hold them in your prayers and also the active military serving our nation in Afghanistan and Iraq and around the globe.

More coverage on today's event at Hoboken Now:
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/

Kurt Gardiner at The Hoboken Journal caught some remarks at the luncheon on video:
http://www.thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/


Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Friday

As we head into a fine August summer weekend, Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer makes a hire for a right hand man who will wear multiple hats, states intention to diversify the role and holds off an additional hire thus cutting the previous Cammarano mayor's office expenditures further.

Note the hysteria you will hear from the usual cast of characters. You know a mayor doesn't have a right to select one paid assistant at 35K pro rated to November.

How many trained police officers can we retain just from the savings in the mayor's office from the last short lived administration alone?

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Hat tip: Carly Baldwin/Hoboken Now:
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/08/dawn_zimmer_hires_former_mason.html#comments

Joe Taino - "Voodoo Chile"


The finale, Jimi Hendrix's all time classic.

(Click title above for the complete song.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Joe Taino - "Pick Up the Pieces"


Ye gods of the blues threatened but never let go with the tears from the sky.

More on the show to come: Click on the title for Joe's rendition of Average White Band's "Pick up the Pieces."

The complete song includes some funny moments from the audience.

More on Joe at: http://www.joetaino.com/

Smoking on the Water at Sinatra Park





Back in the day, I once met a girl who lived in Brooklyn and took her out on a date in the East Village. Oddly, she didn't know about the Village and had never been there which I found to be quite remarkable. After dinner, we were walking on Second Avenue and I remembered a blues bar off 13th street and said let's go in and so we did. That was my introduction to the Joe Taino Band and let's just say it was a rousing success and a pleasure all around.

Flash back to the present and Joe Taino is a staple in Hoboken playing late Saturday afternoons at Scotland Yard down near the PATH and often hosting scores of musicians who come from all over for jam sessions. Had the pleasure of seeing him in an abbreviated set there last year and he played a rendition of Jimmy Hendrix's "Hey Joe" that was better than any other I've heard in memory and that includes Michael Powers over at Terra Blues, another local legend. (Michael Powers has been nominated for a recent Grammy for his original album "Prodigal Son" which is also highly recommended.)
http://www.michaelpowers.com/

Catching Joe at Scotland Yard always brings back good memories when I first saw him in the East Village and tonight he plays for a solid two hours 7:00 - 9:00. If you can catch him, he's guaranteed to burn it up. From what I've seen, he's playing better than ever, and that's no hype. There's little doubt he will be shredding and offsetting his technical prowess with a real feel that only the love of blues and a life lived can bring.

The show is free. Don't miss it:
Joe Taino @ Frank Sinatra Park tonight: 7:00 - 9:00.
And pray to ye gods of the blues to hold the tears, re: rain.

Photos: Joe Taino in action (l) and a Telecaster he is rumored to have made himself (r).

Hat tip: Carly Baldwin/Hoboken Now
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/

On a side note, guitar legend and inventor Les Paul passed. He was 94.
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/guitar_hero_les_paul_a_longtim.html

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Horse Sense: Given half a chance...

Americans are known for their positive optimism, their embrace on self-reliance but on the downside a miraculous ability for short term memory in the voting booth. As Hoboken has appeared in the national spotlight twice now in recent weeks, it's a fair question to ask what's next? And what should a new acting mayor do with such a short time before the November election?

Well slashing your own salary is hardly a bad start. Remaining consistent on moving the zoning board nominations from the power of the mayor's office to City Council is an obvious home run too. Although it looks simple now, the removal of such a mayoral delicacy should generate great appeal to all residents looking for a fresh start to the town's governance. The follow through on returning those powers to the City Council since they had been legally impounded in 1993 is a great step for obvious reasons.

Opening up the process for the senior director positions at City Hall is smart too, even if the job security is uncertain past the November election. Although we can't say what's next on the agenda, there's a lot of solid effort going on behind the scenes and an earthy professionalism that has caught many folks by surprise. Although it's too soon to make any claims of success, we think all good residents of Hoboken should extend an open hand of support even if they don't play the bars of Hail to the Chief.

In a perfect world we'd like to see Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer be given more time to demonstrate her capabilities. The recognition of the calendar and the November election clearly impedes what can be accomplished in a short window. In spite of this obstacle, the City Council has the capability to act and move more efficiently toward a better Hoboken for all the town's residents. Before the fissures of the November election arrive, we urge them to think, act and work toward tangible, concrete goals while the iron is hot.

Hoboken faces a lot of problems and some may not be addressable in the near term. We understand that political reality and at the same time call for the continued spirit of cooperation and effectiveness that has not been possible in quite some time.

Given half a chance, we believe the acting mayor may pleasantly surprise us more. And we welcome it.

Additional detail here: http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/08/hoboken_mayor_dawn_zimmer_seek.html#comments

Photo: Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer chats with residents in Sinatra Park after the Hudson River air disaster press conference last Saturday.

Follow up: Hoboken Now is quoting Councilwoman Beth Mason as stating the 10% mayoral salary reduction as not enough. The quote is from last Thursday!
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/08/beth_mason_explains_why_she_vo.html#comments

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mangia Hoboken - Food Tour That's Italian

For those of us with friends and family just across the Hudson, it's often proven difficult to lure our rivals across the water on how charming our "small town" really can be.

A new guided food tour sponsored by Hoboken Tours called "Mangia Hoboken" is serving a tasty remedy. Offered Saturdays, the tour salute's the food and culture of Hoboken exploring the Italian food establishments that have been in business for decades.

Beginning at the PATH station and running about three hours, it's a nice way to introduce the town to your uppity friends who think the world solely exists between the boundaries of Manhattan Battery Park South and the Harlem River north. It crosses some of the splashy sites like the "Cake Boss" of cable TV fame, Antique Bakery and the birthplace of Frank Sinatra along with the more traditionally favored local staples like Fiore's, Lisa's and the oversized slices at Benny Tudinos among others.

Now most locals know and have been to many of the places on the tour. But I did learn that my favorite cafe: Empire Coffee & Tea has been owned by the same family since 1908. Now how many of you wiley Hobokenites knew that?

Save up an appetite for this one. It's tastings at every stop. And mangia!

Note: This Saturday's tour does not include Lisa's but will again August 22nd and 29th when Lisa's reopens after vacation.

Coupon code 'summer09' to receive a $4 discount on all tours through Labor day. Cost is $40 and you can get the complete details at:
www.hobokenfoodtours.com or telephone: 201-653-1500
Email: info@hobokenfoodtour.com
Photo: Making the "mutz" mozzarella cheese at Lisa's. Courtesy of Hoboken Tours/Avi Ohring

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A baffling statement from the usually mild mannered Councilman Peter Cunningham has da horsey shaking his head in disbelief.

With the onset of a real New York summer, we were looking forward to doing a leisurely feature on a Hoboken walking tour, (www.hobokenwalkingfoodtour.com) and enjoying the dog days of summer, before this bomb landed on our doorstep over at Hoboken Now:
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/08/peter_cunningham_anyone_who_ru.html

Although we love a good joust now and then as much as anyone, one has to wonder about the thought process (some would say sanity) of Councilman Peter Cunningham. Perhaps the heat has affected the usual measured voice we have grown use to in the City Council.

And now we have to also question, is this a solitary voice or part of a more collective error? After recently doing a parody of corruption in Hoboken based on a real visit by muckracker Pulitzer Prize winning writer Jimmy Breslin, we find the irony of schooling Councilman Mike Russon on the rights of citizens and the US Constitution missing not a few seats away in the City Council. If Beth Mason wants to double down on her investment in the last mayoral race, she certainly is capable of doing so. So why would you throw down the gauntlet when you already know she's more than capable of standing up to it? Emphasis: more than capable.

Some would say the horse is a political animal but in the end I'm just a horse. And if you want to get me to run faster, or not at all, it's best to offer a carrot. Even wannabe dictator for life Chavez, the oil rich buffon of Venezuela, knows better to jingle war noises with his lesser neighbors like Honduras than the United States.

With the November winner take all mayoral election seeming far off in the distance to some, and apparently right on top of us to others, we're reminded of the saying two is company, three is a crowd and six, well that's a circus. If it proves to be the latter, with all the subsequent Hoboken hilarity and insanity, I blame Peter Cunningham.

Can someone please send a copy of "The Art of War" to Mr. Cunningham? Short of that, how about an ice tea so he can cool off?

(Photo courtesy of Hoboken Now/Carly Baldwin)

Beisbol been very, very good to me

Does Hoboken need a field of dreams? City Council woman Beth Mason thinks so and has come out in favor of a minor league baseball stadium in the northwest corner. When first announced, it appeared to be nothing but a fanciful idea to perhaps drive attention to the last undeveloped part of town in the quiet political season of summer after an election.

But the practicalities of such an idea never seemed feasible. Althought da horsey does love baseball both for its majesty as a game and its historical ties to American and Hoboken culture, there are several aspects to the idea that are far less than appealing.

But first, let's deal with the practical. Councilwoman Mason is highlighting a meeting this week on this area. Will this be part of a more detailed plan on said idea? We're not sure and rather than speculate or seek to answer it, we think it's best to communicate the meeting and let folks attend, listen and offer their own perspectives:

The Hoboken

Quality of Life Coalition

will host a community meeting

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

St. Matthews Parish Hall

8th & Hudson (entrance on 8th Street)

7:00 to 9:00 PM

Councilwoman Beth Mason

will present

A Concept Plan for Hoboken’s

North End


Currently, there are three minor league teams already nearby: Newark's Bears who once hosted Jose Canseco in his major league failed comeback bid along with two major league A Ball minor league affiliates for the Mets and Yankees in Coney Island and Staten Island respectively.

Although we love baseball, and yes that is a picture of Johnny Damon taken at Yankee Stadium yesterday, we wonder if it makes any sense to build it in the hope that they "will come" to Hoboken's Field of Dreams. With the area already saturated with minor league baseball these days, does it even make economic sense? And that doesn't even begin to address the local logistical and practical concerns. The questions are so numerous at this point, the idea seemed just pie in the sky. For one, how would Hoboken find a team willing to come here anyway? That would cost a lot of coin. Coin that we certainly don't have, not to mention has anyone gotten a look at the new digs at the hospital? We're afraid of the red ink that may be bleeding and the bill presented to us at some future unknown date.

Ah but the romance of baseball and summer. It's so delicious. Perhaps this community meeting will tell us more.
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Sidebar: Councilwoman Mason has released another statement regarding assistance to the emergency services workers, who apparently number in the dozens. Yesterday's call led to people bringing water, gatorade and ice at the 11th & 12th St. entrance along Sinatra Drive. As it was the hottest and most humid day this year, at least 60 aid workers appreciated it. The statement asks for Hobokenites to continue this support.

A big horsey nod to all the fine people in our community who are acting on this need.

Complete background and update at Hoboken Now: http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/08/hoboken_community_meeting_to_d.html

Monday, August 10, 2009

Help for the Emergency Services Workers




Efforts in the recovery from Saturday's air disaster over the Hudson continue and Councilwoman Beth Mason released a statement today asking for additional support as the workers apparently went through 20 cases of water yesterday alone.

If you want to assist with "donations of water, Gatorade, and/or ice" as her statement suggests, you can do so at the entrance to Frank Sinatra Drive between 11th and 12th Streets.

We're told the area along Sinatra Drive between 4th and 12th also remains restricted, but we don't know for how much longer.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Debbie Hersman will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. today in Hoboken's Frank Sinatra Park. hat tip: Hoboken Now
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/

Grist for the Mill

No matter how you slice it, 40,000 people just isn't enough to stop the small town rumor mill. Hoboken has more rumors flying around than many remote towns in Alaska where one oddball teacher started a rumor of the Palin's marriage heading to divorce. Picked up by the national media, this sent stroller mom's across the country into a tizzy. No matter your politics, or what married men say, there is no greater fantasy of married men than Sarah Palin. She looks great, handles all the shopping/cooking and is even known to go out and bag the vittles herself. One suspects that a woman that can not only make dinner but hunt it is about as low maintenance as a girl gets.

Some of the latest we've heard:

Councilwoman Beth Mason is already gearing up for another mayoral bid. After announcing to announce for the November winner take all mayoral election, not minutes after the swearing in of acting mayor Zimmer, she's been having pow wows with a certain prominent political consultant who's name is not Italian sounding in origin. And on the day of the air disaster over the Hudson, Beth showed up in the afternoon easily taking the crown of most smashing, including the acting mayor who did a quick presser for the media with the Governor.

Who gets dressed up for a stroll at a disaster site? Hey, I like a gal who can stand out in the crowd as much as anyone but this may have been a trite much. But hey Beth, you look mahvelous! Da horsey would say she almost looked sparkley but doesn't want to invite a lawsuit for copyright infringement from Dustin Hoffman.

Does Beth now have a political fashion consultant on the payroll? She looked "that" good. She even created fashion envy among the TV women "reporters."

Hat tip: The Hoboken Journal http://thehobokenjournal.blogspot.com/
and PolitickerNJ.com http://www.politickernj.com/wallye/32151/swibinski-pitches-mason-mayor#comment-73120

Pedestrian walkway between Jersey City and Hoboken, is it a good thing? The weather is heating up into the dog days of summer and the town's southern walkway connection is going to create the first major pedestrian thoroughfare between the towns. Will it inspire a flood of Jersey City residents flocking into downtown Hoboken? Will the people of those nearby high rises come and make mayhem in our quaint town? People are hysterically divided on the point.

A whisper campaign to find a "true" local candidate in place of adopted son, yuppie crook lawyer Cammarano is underway. With Mike "code of silence" Russo getting married, it's doubtful he's going to end the honeymoon early and strike out for the corner office at City Hall. But what about his cousin, Terry Castellano? She appears to fit the bill and has all the advantages of being a woman should the November race become a woman's affair, and lacks the toxic last name of daddy Anthony.

Park & 6th Comfort Food opened its doors and sports a sandwich called the Eli Manning. Did that roast beef masterpiece inspire Eli in bagging that huge Giants contract? Who knows but they make great food and are an inspirational addition to the neighborhood.

Perry Klaussen the mad self-proclaimed genius of Hoboken411 is patting himself on the back for "breaking" the story of the air disaster over the Hudson. Claims his "friends" pushed him to do it. Why would someone want to lay claim for breaking a story in New Jersey for nine souls lost in a disaster when we reside in a Tri-State media market?

Perry who runs the comments section in his blog with an iron fist similar to an Iranian mullah, (be careful of your political comments, back the wrong candidate and your posts could end up in the ether) is now doing hit and runs on other web sites to pursue his other pastime: nasty hit jobs on the acting mayor.

Word on the street is he's undertaken this operation at Hoboken Revolt's website, the organization that hosted the biggest protest party seen at City Hall in many years. Adopting a Taliban like burka disguise, Perry appears to be a certain anonymous "Hobokengirl" who's inspired complaints about insufficient mayoral salary reductions mirror his same empty rhetoric on Hoboken411. He even goes as far as quoting himself, linking to old Hoboken411 stories. Transparently, "she" also complains that people should stop attacking Hoboken411.

Smarty wonders if Perry actually gets dressed up like a girl when he undertakes these internet hit jobs? Although we find Hoboken411's political censorship distasteful, we still like his dog Oscar. Don't hate the hater's dog, hate the owner.

Citizen Peter Cammarano, Hoboken's favorite town villain, is quietly going about trying to move forward after his disgraceful exit from the mayor's office. No longer being squired around by his personal driver/bodyguard Angel "the Hack" Alicea in a taxpayer paid SUV, he must be working on his defense but yet no word on a fundraiser for the Cammarano Legal Defense Fund. Is the fund already so well loaded by Gov. Corzine and his friends that one isn't even necessary?

Have a juicy carrot for da horsey? Well let Smarty know: smartyjones@me.com and it may become grist for the mill.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hoboken's Restaurant Row






With the new Piri Piri BBQ restaurant about to make its big debut on Washington, and even as other local stores shutter their doors, the Mile Square City can now make a claim to having an official Restaurant Row on Washington between 5th and 6th. Granted they are all not the same caliber but the variety is certainly impressive if you exclude the multiple sushi options. (Signature Kitchen has a mean sushi chef but Leo at Wild Ginger still rocks too.) With the doors opening at Piri Piri, that brings an even dozen on the street. But if you want to subtract East LA, I wouldn’t complain. Does anyone from Hoboken eat there when its competitors (Baja, Charritos) trounce it into well, powder?

I’m all for Piri Piri’s success if for nothing more than the beautiful soccer Portugal (and its players) has given the world in recent years. Then there was the first generation Portuguese girl I met who I could have fallen in love with or was she Brazilian? She never forgave me for not recognizing her first. Yes that weird soul thing that women talk about like it’s always just around the corner even when they hit 80. And then mostly it doesn’t. If you are the “other” guy you land up with a woman who you catch staring off into the distance thinking about the one who got away while you are sitting across the table paying the month’s bills. I have yet to be so fortunate.

Hey, I thought this was a restaurant column. Give me a hottie or give me death. Viva Piri Piri!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Disaster over the Hudson


Today around 12 noon a helicopter collided with a small plane over the Hudson River. As many have seen on the news earlier, emergency services is now in recovery mode for nine lost souls. Five passengers on the helicopter are reported to be Italian tourists.




Sympathy to the families on this horrific loss. Add them in your prayers, as the families will certainly appreciate it. More photos available on the top right link.


What I saw at the Hoboken Revolution.


Coming soon. Check back this weekend. In the meantime, grab a drink, stay around a while and click on an ad or two. Da horsey gets thirsty.

This looks like it may turn into a series. Part 1 should be up oh by Labor Day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

No negative light on Hoboken. Capeesh?

Word around town is that Pulitzer Prize winner, Jimmy Breslin now 80 is patrolling our streets looking for stories on NJ corruption. He made an appearance at the Jersey City protest earlier this week. Breslin arrives just days after the passing of “On the Waterfront” screenwriter Budd Schulberg. Schulberg had just visited Hoboken last week for a reading of his famous Hoboken based movie.

Now who would Breslin speak to for background on his book in Hoboken? Well how could he not speak to say Mike Russo, Hoboken City Council representative and someone who might know something.

Jimmy Breslin: So Mr. Russo, your father Anthony, former mayor had some run ins with the law.

Mike Russo: My family doesn’t know nuthin about dat. And if we did, it would shed a negative light on Hoboken.

JB: So you aren’t denying that your father was a party to the culture of corruption in New Jersey?

Mike Russo: All I can say is that my family has nuthin to say about no corruption. It would be negative to be talkin about any corruption in Hoboken.

JB: Well I happen to be writing a book right now about New Jersey corruption. You know I’m 80 years old and could use some helpful background.

MR: If you want to see Hoboken as it should be, consider speaking to our potential new mayor Terry Castellano.

JB: Does she know anything about corruption in Hoboken?

MR: You can ask her but she’s busy getting ready for my wedding. Don’t think she’ll recall anything. You know it wouldn’t shed a positive light on Hoboken.

JB: You seem very concerned about Hoboken’s public image.

MR: I do not, and will not speak bad about Hoboken. We have rules here, no negative light on nutin. It's bad for business.

JB: And what about those who differ and have protested after the FBI’s information released on the former mayor?

MR: They are not the real Hoboken. Ask them if they were born here.

JB: Well don’t all residents of Hoboken have the same rights as other Americans?

MR: They have their rights. And they have the right not to put negative attention on Hoboken.

JB: I think I’m getting the picture here.

MR: Glad that you are understanding.

JB: Last question, Mike, do you know what century this is and have you ever heard of the US Constitution?
MR: Have you ever heard the saying don’t rat?
JB: Recall that came up in, “On the Waterfront” a famous movie filmed in Hoboken.
MR: I refuse to watch that movie or have anything to do with anything negative about Hoboken.
JB: Okay, got it. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mister Snitch!: Peter Cammarano: The most honest man in town

Mister Snitch!: Peter Cammarano: The most honest man in town: "post:
Create a L"

Lights, camera, action!

With the state of the economy as it is and a Hoboken Director's salary in the neighborhood of 115K, other than the mayor's office, there's no better place to make a crash landing. You get benefits, a great view, easy access to downtown Cuban and Asian food, plus a staff that is as worried about job security as folks anywhere.

In short, you are not rich but both loved and feared. Why you could be a main character "On the Waterfront."

With a new acting mayor, what changes may come in the Director's chairs?

Action!



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good Night Contemptuous Prince

In a week that proved in the end to be perhaps enlightening and empowering at once, Hoboken finally lurched out of the abyss and moved to take its next step forward leaving one month mayor Peter Cammarano behind.

The media, often connected to the powers that be in the New Jersey Democratic Party, was quick to label Cammarano a rising star, but the facts on the ground from anyone who wanted to know showed something entirely different: a condescending politician who viewed Hoboken only as a stepping stone to bigger things. Even worse, his utter contempt for voters as captured by secret FBI audiotapes showed that the public pronouncements condescending upon the public in City Council meetings especially during the public portion were not isolated but absolutely reflective of his true nature.

Of course the response among a portion of the "locked down" community was somewhat entertaining as it attempted to raise its voice on Cammarano's behalf, but no one was listening. Instead, on sheer rumor alone, Hobokenites took to the streets to the uptown Bloomfield St. location where Cammarano lived in a spontaneous outpouring of anger not a day after he declared he would continue urinating on the town's residents. Although Cammarano had left town for the weekend with his family, the mail was delivered.

This action followed by a huge protest one business day later at City Hall sent Gov. Corzine's head spinning as both a candidate running for re-election this fall and a resident of the mile square city. Eventually the pressure that was coming from the bottom up (and bottom down in phone calls to the Gov's office) led to an unknown deal between Cammarano's and the Govenor's lawyers with the mayoral reign of the contemptuous prince ended last Friday.

We eagerly await some insight into what Cammarano got in the "deal" and we are awaiting the details of a new and no doubt well funded Cammarano Legal Defense Fund.

More shocking to the establishment NJ Rat Machine: not the status quo corruption but the reaction by the people of Hoboken, who refused to accept it. So very unlike the quiet hard working New Jersey residents who typically shrug and make a quip before moving on with their lives. This time they didn't.

As for Cammarano his political career lays in ruins at 32, and one can only thank the FBI for the gift they included in their criminal complaint. Respeck!!

Photo courtesy Jhnnynewman, Intrepid Photographer.  All rights reserved.