I hadn't spent any significant time in Hoboken, NJ in years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s when I lived in Jersey City I played a lot of music gigs in Hoboken. But back then Hoboken's southern stretch of waterfront wasn't somewhere you could go. Today it's home to Pier A Park, a wide grassy lawn jutting into the Hudson with a great view of Manhattan.
Only once before have I covered a park outside New York City on this blog, and that was a fascinating boat trip through New Jersey's Meadowlands – eight years ago. But seeing the skyline from Pier A, which has won a number of design awards, you can't help knowing you're tightly within Gotham's orbit. Not to mention that just north of here is Frank Sinatra Park (Sinatra was born in Hoboken, after all). Now try to get "New York, New York" out of your head.
The area's history is commemorated in several ways. A large boulder and plaque honor the American Expeditionary Forces of World War One, "millions of young dedicated Americans" who from this spot "bravely sailed to foreign battlefields and helped save America and the world for democracy."
I wonder how many Millennials would even know, without reading the inscription, which war is referenced in the POW-MIA memorials and flags that still dot public spaces around the country. The Vietnam War feels like ancient history now, but I remember the celebrations when it was finally over.
There's a gazebo. Nothing special about it, I guess. But it's fun to say "gazebo."
And fun to ride your bike off the roof. If that's your thing.
Finally, speaking of rides, how many passersby know who is depicted in this statue by George Edwin Bissell? It's Irish immigrant Samuel Sloan (1817-1907), who served between 1867 and 1899 as President of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which terminated right here.
Sloan stands close by the best view from Pier A Park, which isn't of Manhattan but of Hoboken Terminal (built in 1907), right next door, where his railroad terminated.