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FEATURE JAMES MASTRO
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A Few Good Men and Women It’s no secret that Hoboken is home to some interesting characters. One of the more color ful men in town is Born & Raised Jack O’Brien. Every Memorial Day, O’Brien marches and plays the fife. But marching in parades is only one part of his history.
There are a few good women in this issue as well, namely, a few smart mothers who call Hoboken home. In this month’s hLIFE, the spotlight is on families. You’ll hear from locals who say there are many reasons the Mile Square City is a great place to raise a family.
In this month’s heritage, writer Alan Skontra offers readers a look at a life that spans decades. Soldier, father, grandfather, musician, and loyal Hobokenite – Jack is par t of a generation who witnessed great changes here and abroad. At 85, he is still quick with his wit and undeniably patriotic about marching.
As winter turns to spring, we hope you’ve held on to your resolutions. Or at least figured out which ones really matter. So bring us your quirky, your fabulous, or just plain fun. We want to hear from you. We thank you and invite you along on our journey.
Another man with talents of his own is Guitar Bar owner James Mastro. Mastro isn’t just a successful business man and musician; he is perhaps one of the nicest men in Hoboken. It seems that everyone who has encountered Jim has something nice to say about him.
photographer t. bish
Nice doesn’t always get good hype in our society, but in the music world it actually gets you somewhere. In music, nice is the equivalent of a reliable reputation. And reliable means if your bassist cancels a gig last minute, Mastro is the one to call. But nice is only one of his qualities. There is also talent, creativity and passion. Good thing he’s humble too with all his gifts or there might be cause for a little jealousy.
Enthusiastically yours, Diana Schwaeble – Editor & all of the hMAG Team
FROM OUR READERS Thank you for helping with this adventure! I had such a great time, from picking out a dress, hair and makeup, then of course the shoot itself. Thank you so incredibly much for the fabulous pictures and the awesome article! – Kate Krug, fashion model finalist
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ............................................................................................................................................................. other Contributors ALAN SKONTRA writer
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Jesse Weeks is a writer and bike enthusiast. He grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, imbibing the nectars of the Beehive State, but has been a Hoboken local for the past 6 years, harvesting the fruits of the Garden State. Or whatever
Melissa is a 22-year-old recent Quinnipiac University grad, returning to her hometown of Hoboken. She is extremely passionate about music, media and blogging, which is often what you will find her doing. She is also the creator of the music blog CarpetJuice.Tumblr.com
JESSICA FIGLAR writer wil hinds photographer tricia tirella writer jessica rosero writer cezare ramone photographer
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master of music STORY BY DIANA SCHWAEBLE photos by SHERRY RUCZYNSKI, PHIL MARINO, MARTYN TURNER & LAURENT MOITROT
Guitarist James Mastro leads a charmed life. He started on the road to musical fame when he was still a teenager. A time for most that is spent wasting hours with friends over long cups of coffee, beer and talk of girls. There was still beer drinking to be had after a gig and probably less talk of girls, because Mastro was meeting women as a good looking guitarist after a show. But to compare his life to that of an average teen probably isn’t fair. Mastro had talent early, but he also had the focus, desire, and some might say good luck to pursue a career in music and find out that he was good at it. More than good if his bio is any indication. He has played with greats – Robert Plant, Patti Smith, Ian Hunter, to name a few. He has fronted bands, toured, and produced. At 16, he was playing at CBGB’s with his high school band. “I was literally getting out at CBGB’s at three in the morning and driving straight to school. I was lucky my parents were very cool,” he said. By 17, Mastro didn’t have every thing f igured out, but he could play. Immediately after Television broke up he teamed up with Richard Lloyd in 1978 to play on the album “Alchemy.” No small feat in an industry that eats its young. But Mastro is no longer a teenager. He is a seasoned professional who also happens to be incredibly likable. Likeability is a marketable asset, but for Jim, it comes naturally. Jim is nice. It can’t really be his fault then that people have nice things to say about him.
Fame is fickle. It moves fast and often gets angry. We want extraordinary people to do spectacular things. And with music, listeners can hear the results. A great guitar riff, a seamless harmony, a passionate stage performance – all things Jim has done. All the while fame lurks in the corner waiting for something common to bring the exalted back down to earth. A heated argument perhaps? A dirty breakup? But Jim is nice, and doesn’t even pay attention to fickle fame; he is too busy playing music. Karyn Kuhl has many recollections Jim: “He is super smart, really talented, a great guitar player, and a great communicator,” she said. “He approaches everything with a positive attitude. He has so many great qualities and he backs it up with talent. He’s got the whole package.” And then there is his whole business of being nice. Recently, Karyn’s bass player canceled before a gig. Who did Karyn call? Mastro. He showed up to play five minutes before they went on, she said. “He handles stress really well. I told him I want to get him a cape – the superhero of music!”
“Rober t Plant. That was just surreal. That was like walking onstage with one of the Gods...”
REM was on the rise at the same time as the Bongos. Jim says they were like “our southern alter ego.” “When they came out here we would get people out to see them and when we were there they would do the same. Some of our best times were playing in Atlanta.” Eventually, he left the Bongos, even though “it was incredibly hard to do, because it was family. I started writing more and it just seemed like it was time to go. Again, it was a very tough decision. It was really emotional when it went down.” After the Bongos, he was in an all female band called Strange Cave, which included Soozie Tyrell from the Springsteen band. “We did well for awhile, had every label courting us and nothing got solidified. It kind of turned me off.” he said. Soon after, he started the Health & Happiness Show. “The name started as a joke,” he said. “It’s from an old Hank Williams show. On the show the sponsor had this tonic that was laced with alcohol that they sold in dry counties down south as a cure all. We’d get together; sit around the kitchen table eating donuts. I started writing some songs. One day I booked a show without telling them. The band showed up and we started playing.”
No doubt Jim laughed when she told him that. He’s too busy playing to be interested in a cape. From that first album with Lloyd, the man has worked. From 1981-86 he was with the Bongos, part of the burgeoning scene in Hoboken. He describes it as idyllic. “It was great. Four really good friends, driving around in a Winnebago, then a tour bus. Every show got bigger.” he said.
Rob Grenoble of Water Music sends artists to the Guitar Bar to buy time. “Record projects with large budgets go on for weeks and months, and there are times when it is necessary to get the artist out of the studio. We simply send the band to the Guitar Bar, knowing that they won’t be back for hours. It’s is a oneof-a-kind trove of elite, vintage gear.”
Jim says he doesn’t have a good memory, yet the details he recalls are remarkable. He answers in a way that tells more about himself than the person he is praising. There is a layer of sincerity under the nice. He’s worked with over 50 musicians. When asked if there is a uniting factor, he pauses and answers yes. “They are all very talented. I’ve been lucky, I’ve never worked with an asshole. Everyone has been talented and brought something to the table. I walked away a better person,” he said.
He played for over a decade with Health & Happiness and it still left time for other projects. Jim married and soon after opened the Guitar Bar in 1996. He opened the store to help support his family. On the day we meet, we are at the uptown Guitar Bar Jr., his second store. It’s slightly quieter for foot traffic, but the phone keeps ringing. Every time it does, he apologizes for the interruption and picks up the conversation thread much in the way he must pick up a new song. A slight pause before beginning, followed by a confident recollection.
In 2001, Health & Happiness disbanded, and he began playing with Ian Hunter. “That has been great. His band was really the reason I started playing guitar in the first place. It’s nice when you get to play with people you admire,” he said. The list of heavy weights he played with is exceptional. In typical fashion, he is gracious when speaking about them: “Patti Smith, is just a force of nature. She’s just such a powerful presence on stage and promotes such a positive attitude on stage. Her singing is almost like lead guitar. John Cale of the Velvet Underground, also such a huge inspiration. You never knew where he’d
go onstage. Even though it was rock you felt like you were in a jazz band because he’d just veer off because he was brilliant. You just kind of strapped on and went for the ride. It would take 20 minutes to cool off because it was so intense.” “Rober t Plant. That was just surreal. That was like walking onstage with one of the Gods. I’ve played to big crowds before and the show I did with him was at the Beacon. If he had said we are going to burn this place down right now, everyone would have taken a match. There was something this guy ignited. He was amazing onstage,” he said. “Ian Hunter. Ian to me is like the ultimate rock god. He is an amazing writer still. He is 74 years old. He hasn’t lost it. I think he is better now than when I first loved him as a kid. Hard work ethic, great songwriter, great showman. The people that come to see him are just devoted,” he said. “I think the one thing that they all have in common is that they love what they do.” Making other musicians happy is what he excels at. “James is very much a team man,” said Hunter. “We’ve been working together since 2001 and I don’t think we’ve ever had an argument. His organizational ability is first class as are his sweet touches of color on whatever of the many instruments he happens to be playing. We do a version of Lou Reed’s ‘Sweet Jane’ sometimes. James suggested an arrangement that took the song to another level.”
Photo Credit: Phil Marino
It is his thoughtfulness that people remark on. Rob Norris, former Bongo bandmate remembers Jim shoveling the walk of their next door neighbor. “It was a shoe store,” Jim said. “[Sam] had these big metal gates on his window. He just got too old to pull the gates down. And one day I offered to help. Little did I know it would turn into a 15 year job! I probably got more out of it than he did. He had these great old stories of the town.” This past summer was an emotional ride. Maxwell’s closed, a venue with personal meaning. He says it hit him when kids came into the shop sad that they never played there. But life goes on. Shortly after the Guitar Bar did a tribute to Dylan in the park. Over 300 musicians played “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” “It may be my favorite gig,” said Jim. “There was something about that night that was so powerful. The look on people’s faces – sheer joy. I think it sums up a lot of Guitar Bar. We all try to be a good person. When the camera pans through the crowd, you see the joy on their faces. I kind of imagine this is what it is going to be like on your death bed – this is what you’ll see. All the people you’ve known and liked who are there before you go off to the vapors. Everyone looks so joyous and it was music that brought it together. It was a very powerful night.” ••
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the man marches on Hoboken's Jack Oâ€™Brien STORY BY alan skontra photos by robert wagner
These days O’Brien is self-deprecating about his age, his experiences and his achievements. He tells many of his stories in both the first and third person, usually hitting a punch line that begins with someone saying “Hey O’Brien,” and ends with a crack like, “You know everyone, did you know George Washington too?” But at 85 O’Brien is still physically active and mentally lucid. He still remembers many details of his childhood. He was born John James at 132 Monroe Street on February 21, 1928 to parents James Joseph and Elsie O’Grady, who also had two daughters, Jean and Joan. His mother was a first generation Irish-American who O’Brien said taught him discipline and to treat people well. O’Brien’s father, who served as a marine in Cuba during World War I, worked for the B.F. Goodrich tire company, first in Hoboken and then in Flushing. “We never wanted,” O’Brien said. “The man worked, he was never out of a job. I was lucky, I had a good upbringing.” The Hoboken of O’Brien’s childhood during the Depression was a grittier scene than the city of plush condos and smart-phones today. “You lived in the streets, us old
Every May a band wearing Revolutionary War era breeches and tri-corner hats, and playing fifes and drums, marches down Washington Street during Hoboken’s Memorial Day parade. The band’s leader is an 85-year-old, WWII veteran fifer named Jack O’Brien, who has marched in over 70 of the city’s parades. Just as the Memorial Day parade is a Hoboken institution, so too is O’Brien, a man of many adventures and a gifted storyteller to share them.
timers,” he said. “You walked, you did plenty of walking. In the old days after you finished school you ran your ass off up and down the streets, all your activity was in the streets. When it snowed you built an igloo, and that was your pleasure for the entire week until the snow melted.” For a hobby, O’Brien picked up a popular pastime in Hoboken during the 1930s: music. At the time there were some fifteen organized bands that marched in the city’s many parades. Every cultural and civic institution sponsored one, from churches to the police department to the Elks Lodge. “There were so many instruments around, if you opened a closet you’d get hit in the head with a bugle or a drum falling off the shelf,” O’Brien said. Like many children, O’Brien learned music from Julius Durstewitz, who ran the city’s parks and recreation department for decades. Durstewitz had served as an officer with the Stevens Battalion, a local Hoboken contingent of the National Guard, and he taught children how to march just like soldiers. “He was my idol,” O’Brien said. “I told him I didn’t want to carry a drum anymore since it was heavy, and he said here, try a fife. I’ve been playing it ever since.” When O’Brien was 11 he and his mates in the Jefferson Street Hoboken Playground Band got to perform at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. For the children, getting to the fair was as much of an adventure, from marching in gold and blue uniforms through Hoboken to the ferry and then taking the subway to Queens, as playing itself. The band played so well that they won an award over other bands from all over the nation.
O’Brien has one other fond memory of the fair. “They were showing off one of those moving tracks, you know, like they have at the airport,” he said. “I thought, one day they’re going to put one of those on Washington Street!” That never happened, of course, and anyway soon after the fair O’Brien would have to forget music to embark on an even bigger adventure than going from Hoboken to Queens. Out to Sea On the December Sunday the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, O’Brien had been roller skating with friends in Bayonne. “We came out and some old woman, I guess she was 21, said ‘You boys, you’re going to the army, we’re at war’, O’Brien said, mimicking the woman’s voice.” “I told my friends I was going home to eat.” O’Brien was only 13 at the time, so he had to wait to enlist. By the end of 1944 he was still too young for the army, but he was able to join the merchant marines. He had never before been on anything more than a boat across the Hudson. He was out at sea during the war’s final months in 1945 and survived a hit on the S.S. William Bradford off the coast of Nor th Africa. The ship eventually crossed the Suez Canal and passed through the Red Sea and around the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf. O’Brien remembers sailing into the port of Basra, Iraq on his 17th birthday. “I tell the young guys today that I was in Iraq, and they say, ‘You were where? How old are you?’” O’Brien said. O’Brien did see some Nazis close up during a stop in a neutral port in Portuguese East Africa, and later at a
stop in Iran he played ball against Russian sailors. In France on Bastille Day 1945 he heard Charles DeGaulle speak, and while hitchhiking during a leave he stumbled onto the burial plot of Joan of Arc. He likes to joke about his war adventures. “I talk to kids, and they ask, ‘did you bomb anyone?’” O’Brien said. “I tell them I was in Madagascar, and their eyes light up. Remember that (2005 animated) movie Madagascar with the little furry people? They think I was looking for those furry people!” During his enlistment O’Brien served as a second steward in the mess hall on various ships. He crossed the north Atlantic in ten round trips and sailed around Africa and past South America once. After the fighting ended, O’Brien’s ship carried soldiers returning home and civilians fleeing war-torn Europe and looking for a new home. “My girlfriend at the time (Margaret), she asked about what we were doing, and I said we were carrying hundreds of war brides,” O’Brien said. “She said ‘Get off that ship!’” Coming Home After his discharge in 1947, O’Brien returned to Hoboken and married Margaret, a native of Abbeyfeale, Ireland. They had three children: Maureen, James and Brian. As a civilian, O’Brien worked as a draughtsman in Weehawken building Formica counter tops for Sears. He also worked for many years in the offices of RCA, which was then a pioneer in computing. “In those days computers were as big as this street,” he said. “A guy would come in
with people.” Though popular music has changed, even for marching parades, O’Brien said he likes to stick to the patriotic classics, especially from the American revolutionary period. Even the fife as an instrument has changed. “They make fifes with ten holes, and I said who put all these holes here, you only play with six fingers!” he said.
O’Brien has played with various military bands, and has marched in over 200 St. Patrick’s Day parades, including two in Ireland. His greatest musical accomplishment was earning induction into the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2002. “They said ‘Hey O’Brien, we hit the bottom of the barrel, we picked a fifer,” O’Brien said. “I was the first fifer ever elected.” Still marching Time passes, and these days there aren’t many men left like Jack O’Brien. Ten years ago the actuary tables were showing more than a thousand WWII veterans dying every day. But then Jack O’Brien is not the sort of man who worries too much about actuary tables.
and say, “Hey O’Brien, good news, the computer lasted 35 minutes today before it blew up!” O’Brien continued to play music and also teach it. Like his idol Julius Durstewitz, he has taught hundreds of children across New Jersey and New York. “As recently as a month ago, I saw some of my 12-year-olds. Two of them are grandmothers now. I said, ‘Boy, did you get old’,” O’Brien said. “I’ve always been very fortunate to keep in touch
He lives in a Church Towers building and has no plans to leave Hoboken, not even for a typical retirement spot. O’Brien enjoys spending time with his family, including his two granddaughters, Jacqueline and Amanda. He remains active with veterans groups like the American Legion, and he still appreciates mixing with old friends and meeting new ones. He’ll continue marching and playing music in parades as long as he can, especially in Hoboken’s Memorial Day parade. “It’s my home, and it’s Memorial Day,” he said. “It’s Memorial Day,” he repeated, as if that’s all the reason he needs. ••
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Your Kids Can Grow Up Here! STORY BY JOE BERG photos by JOE EPSTEIN
Hoboken is the greatest community in the country! Let my biased point of view begin there. Those who truly experience it, embrace it, and call it their own can truly understand when I say Hoboken is home. It is a family. There is no place like it. Everything is within walking distance: schools, parks, recreation, shopping, pizza, restaurants, and the best views of New York City. Need a carton of milk? Walk around the block. Newspaper? On the corner. Restaurants? Pick a flavor and go. But after the food, you might be looking for something to do. Running and exercise trails? How about a run or bike ride along the Hudson? Skate Park? Come on! Beach? Yes, we even have that. Sailing and kayaking? Yes! Do I even need to mention the commute to Manhattan and how a Hobokenite can be somewhere in the city faster than some who actually live there? I can keep going. Are you following? So why ever leave? The Rumor Begins I thought Hoboken was wonderful, but thought I had to move to the burbs for my family. It was time – time to buy a car, a house, mow the lawn and settle into suburbia. So we moved, only the reality wasn’t the dream when I pictured the house, the lawn, and the life. A two hour commute daily took away time from my family. Not to mention driving to get anything and everything. I began to ask myself why I left. I had heard the rumor that you have to leave Hoboken because of the educational system. Believe it or not, raising my son in Hoboken was not something I could
even fathom a few years back. And I actually wanted the house with a yard and driveway with a basketball hoop. So began my journey to the country when I sold my place at 84 Bloomfield and moved to Union County. There were parks, nice towns, nice people, decent pizza in Westfield, even some sushi. In less than a year, I found myself driving to Hoboken to get a Benny’s pie or to bring home fresh mutz for Sunday get-togethers and football games. I figured if I had to drive anyway, why not get the good stuff? My son was born in Union County. I used to try and walk busy streets to get to parks or downtown. I finally caved and adapted to the driving method. Everything had to be planned and timed. We decided to move and headed to Bergen County. We’d heard the schools were great there. Same old suburbs. I could walk a mile to town or jog a mile with my son in a stroller, but things to do were limited and had to be planned. And I was still driving to Hoboken for take-out. When my son turned 3-years-old, I was looking for options in education as I was concerned he was slightly behind his age group socially. I wanted something productive for him to do all day with increased socialization. I found out that the town I paid almost $20K a year for in property taxes had a “lottery” for the half day Pre-K program near my home. If your child did not get in, you could pay for private or send your child across town for half day sessions, three days a week. Great, more driving and a half day?! What about the other half? Friends of mine had stayed in Hoboken and continued to fill me in on the early childhood education programs.
Neighbors and Friends Virginia and Jonas Einstein have been living in Hoboken since 1998. They lived all over town, but now feel like they have found their home at 1000 Hudson Street. Virginia says they love their building. She believes it takes a village to raise a family and 1000 Hudson functions as one big family. Everyone takes care of each other’s kids. There is safety in that. Everyone knows each other. They watch out for each other like one big family. It was happenstance that brought Virginia and Jonas to Hoboken, and she’s never looked back. When deciding on Hoboken, they actually pulled an offer on a house in Montclair because they felt Hoboken had the “mom and pop” town feel they were looking for with culture and diversity. She says there isn’t anywhere like it. Virginia’s daughter Mika is 8 years-old. Mika previously attended Brandt and is now in the 3rd Grade at HoLa (Hoboken Dual Language Charter School). Virginia felt Brandt offered a robust and challenging pre-education kindergarten program. But it didn’t stop there. Now that Mika is at HoLa, she gets exposure to the dual language feature. She’s also heard people who say they need to leave Hoboken to raise a family because they want a yard or are not up for apartment living. She argues that people should stay. Erin and Mark Stehli intend to become Hoboken Lifers. The Stehli Family have lived in Hoboken for six years at 1000 Hudson Street and are raising three children. Two of their kids are already in the school system and Erin
couldn’t be happier with their education. Meghan, 7, attends HoLA in the 1st grade and Peter, 5, is at Brandt. She loves HoLa for the second language opportunity and also because of the extended parental community. At HoLa, no one says “When are you leaving?” because the parents are committed to the school and the Hoboken community. Erin says they made the decision to stay when they first moved here. To her it felt like coming home. With close proximity to city, it is a short work commute for her husband, which equals more family time. One of her favorite things about Hoboken is that they can walk everywhere. She’s been told all about the suburbs, but Hoboken is home. When her Aunt said to come to her house in the suburbs for Halloween, Erin told her to come to Hoboken. “We have the biggest Halloween Celebration anywhere with the Ragamuffin Parade, and the closed blocks which are decorated for trick or treating for the children. It’s very safe and people look out for one another,” she said. Family Units If you build it they will come. And in Hoboken the need for larger family units is growing, says Jacqueline Petruzzelli, who has been a realtor since 1996. “I’ve been doing this for 17 years. For the past five years people have been staying,” she said. She had heard talk about moving out of town to raise a family, but her husband Nick said they were staying in Hoboken. She says urban life is fine for kids – you may not have a backyard, but there are still lots of things to do.
As a realtor, Jackie has noticed people moving to Hoboken from Manhattan and other places. Part of the draw is that Hoboken is a walking city. Parents love not having to use a car. Part of the allure is also the community feel of the Mile Square City, she said. You can have the best of both worlds living here – a city with a mom and pop awareness. In addition to her real estate job, Jackie is director of sales for a new building in Hoboken. The Continental is a 15 unit building that was designed specifically for families. All the units have 3 to 4 bedrooms to address a growing need in Hoboken. People are staying, partly because of the school system. There are public, private and charter schools. “I don’t know another town that has that many options,” she said.
For Sale, Again We sold our house just in time for us to get back to Hoboken and for our son to begin the Pre-K 3 Program and there was no lottery! He attended the nearest school to our home – we could walk! It was an all day program, five days a week and they worked with my son to catch him up socially. I am so happy my son is in the Hoboken Public School System. He has truly come around and I cannot thank the Hoboken School system enough. My son is now attending Wallace School as a second grader, is doing great and loves his teacher. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be receiving his high school diploma on the Hoboken High School Football Field - making me one proud dad! There is an active parent team community, smart-boards and laptops in the classrooms, and motivated teachers and administrators. You name it, it is happening!
Do yourself a favor and do your due diligence before following rumors. Get involved and see what is actually going on in the schools. Talk to the teachers and parents who have older kids in the schools. This town is one of the best places in the country to live. Yes you can raise your kids in Hoboken. ••
Coffee for a Cause rave BY diana schwaeble photos by sherry ruczynski
With a rustic, industrial feel, the bwe kafé on 1002 Washington Street is a great place to sip a coffee while reading poetry. The café supports “Love for Haiti” and also happens to brew a great cup of joe. Each cup of coffee goes towards helping Haiti, through educating youth and other programs. On a recent visit, I read a poem by Rumi written on the chalkboard: “And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” •• Bwe Kafé on 1002 Washington Street
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Standing Guard rave BY jesse weeks photos by sherry ruczynski
Rim-rocked abreast an iron ledge in front of 1005 Washington Street stands a majestic gold-painted ungulate marking the entrance to the Hoboken Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge. The cast iron reminisces a Frederic Remington, a contemporary of the beast, having been installed post completion of the Anthropocene walls behind it in 1905. Its 8-point antlers, the prize of poachers, have been stolen and replaced on several occasions. Its creator has passed from memory and documentation, but the hallmark statue welcomes visitors to an incredibly appointed edifice, with early 19th-century adornments inside that surpass those of the exterior; worthy of a look (if accompanied by a member). â€˘â€˘
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Get Your Free Library Card Membership Today Why buy when you can borrow? Get your Library Card. It’s time to make sure your children have the most valuable, and cost-effective, school supply of all: a library card. For Adults, your library card is the smartest card in your wallet so come in and sign up today! 500 Park Avenue, Hoboken, NJ 07030 • T: 201-420-2346 • F: 201-420-2299 • Visit us at hobokenlibrary.org • Follow us on
Hot Chocolate rave BY diana schwaeble photos by Wil hinds
Winter is the time to cozy up to a fire and sip rich satisfying beverages. You may not have a fire and might not want something hot. The “hot chocolate” created by drink master David Macey at the Brass Rail, 135 Washington St., tastes like homemade hot chocolate that had a chance to cool. Fantastic! 1 oz. of Double Chocolate Vodka ½ oz. of Bailey’s ½ oz. Chocolate liquor Pinch of cayenne pepper Garnish with chocolate stick If you are making this at home and short on time start with homemade hot chocolate, add vodka, liquor, and pepper. Chill before serving. Enjoy! ••
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Community in Action rave BY jessica figlar photos courtesy of party with purpose
Work Hard. Play Hard. Give Hard. That is the mission of Party With Purpose (PWP), a not-for-profit Hoboken based organization of young professionals who host fun-filled events to raise profits for local charities. Founded by Scott Delea in 2002, PWP recently won the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce award for Community Service! Thanks to countless volunteers, donors and supporters PWP has donated more than $500,000 to help those in need. Following 9-11, Delea was inspired to make a difference. His mission with PWP has always been to “give hard” too! Find out how you can get involved at the W-Hoboken on Feb. 27 at a PWP benefit. For more information, visit http://www.partywithpurpose.org. ••
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From Pitch to Wrist rave BY Tricia tirella photos by cezare ramone
When Frank Cerullo attended George Washington University he took the seam of a baseball and turned it into a necklace, he didn’t realize that would be his business 10 years later. He received requests from friends for necklaces of their own, and while he graduated with a major in information systems, he continued to work on GameWear after work. “My vision was connecting people more closely to the games they love by allowing them to wear the game,” he said. Now the company has licensed products with the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and others. For more information visit www.gamewear.com. ••
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STORY BY MELISSA COLANGELO photos COURTESY OF PUPPET HEAP just the name I gave my independent work. The name came from the enormous pile of puppets that was in the middle of my apartment. I was getting a lot of work but I couldn’t take that next step, which was to build all the puppets. At one point I was running around the city to different apartments. I thought, I should start my own company. And so we did. In 2004, I started a company, called it Puppet Heap and here we are, 10 years later. MC: Where do you get your inspiration? PA: My inspiration comes mainly from traditional folklore. I like drawing parallels between folk characters and people I see everyday. That gets back to why I love Hoboken so much—Hoboken is this anachronistic mix of all of these different times, types of people and places. My work in puppetry is like that too. MC: What do you find most rewarding about your work? PA: I like seeing the puppet characters come to life. I prefer to see my puppets being performed rather than performed by myself because it’s exciting and unpredictable. It’s funny what happens to people when they put on a puppet, different sides of their personality come out. I love the surprise of it.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the creator of Puppet Heap, Paul Andrejco. Puppet Heap is a studio for character design, puppet fabrication and production. I was lucky enough to see a tour of the magical workshop and studio that is located in Monroe Center for The Arts in Hoboken. Paul does it all—design, performing, manipulation and writing. He recently discussed Puppet Heap’s beginnings as well his favorite things about Hoboken and how he draws inspiration from Hoboken itself. MC: What do you think about the art scene in Hoboken?
PA: I’ve never known Hoboken to not have a vibrant, creative art scene. I’m really grateful for this building that it continues to have a nice concentration of artists with different disciplines. That’s what I love about the art scene in Hoboken — not only are there traditional arts like theater and gallery artists, but media artists as well. MC: Tell us a little about the Puppet Heap history. PA: Puppet Heap was born when I first moved to Hoboken in the 90s and was working as a freelance artist. Puppet Heap itself was
MC: What can we expect next? PA: We are working on a lot of things. This year we are planning to go into production on another short film, which we’ll announce once everything is sorted out. We are also in development on some television series, but that process can take a very long time, so it might be a while before comes to fruition. The short film will be much quicker; it’s a lot shorter (laughs). ••
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EVENT PIX 54
hmixer • NOV 21, 2013 BRASS RAIL, Hoboken intro BY diana schwaeble photos by cezare ramone
It was a great night for the hundred or so friends and fans of hMAG at the latest mixer at the Brass Rail on Thursday, November 21.The Brass Rail, located at 135 Washington St., is an elegant eatery located in the bustling downtown area. Known for fabulous food and specialty crafted cocktails, it’s the perfect after work spot to kick back and indulge in some delicious fare. The latest mixer was co-sponsored by the Hoboken Ski Club. The raffle proceeds went to the Hoboken Shelter. Simon Dabkowski said helping local charities is important. “The fact that people are putting money in for a local charity is great,” he said. If you’d like to get involved as a host or a sponsor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org..••
OUT OF DODGE
STORY BY Tricia tirella photos by tricia tirella
In Costa Rica “pura vida” is exchanged to say hello or to express gratitude for how great life is, and you get to understand why after spending time in the Central American country’s beach town Tamarindo. Tamarindo, located in the Nicoya Peninsula on the Nor thern Pacific Coast, is perfect for the intrepid surfer or person needing to escape the city grind. Ecofriendly excursions such as tur tle watching, zip-lining, fishing, and more are all easily booked, often in walking distance. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp and Hotel is a way for both seasoned and newbie surfers to get their feet wet, offering trips via boat and bus for those who are advanced. New surfers get daily instruction, workshops, and camaraderie from fellow students and instructors. An infinity pool gives you the perfect view of the lineup, and the onsite restaurant Eat at Joe’s has everything from sushi to coconut smoothies. For an eye-opening experience consider boarding the Marlin Del Rey Catamaran, cruising along a coast that
is reminiscent to “Jurassic Park” with green covered cliffs and offshore islands. The crew supplies food, an open bar, music, snorkeling along a secluded beach, and you get to enjoy the beautiful sunset on the trip back. Tur tle, dolphin, and or even whale sightings are likely. Ladies, for a warm and once in a lifetime bathing suit shopping experience stop in at Papaya Con Leche. Owner Kata Kis hand-makes the suits and helps you pick out the perfect one, or three. The easiest way to Tamarindo is by taking a flight to Liberia, where shuttles can then pick you up to your destination. American currency is easily accepted or exchanged. For steep vacation discounts book during rainy season. The countryside is lush, rain lasts just for an hour or two in the afternoon, and the sunsets each night are spectacular and unique. For more information visit: www.costaricavaction4me. com ••
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HEATHER COREY story BY Jessica Rosero Photos courtesy of Heather Corey
For local artist Heather Corey there is nothing more beautiful than the natural female form, and through her current collection “My Love Corsetry” in the works, she is looking to celebrate 100 women and their stories. Her upcoming collection was inspired by her previous collection “Love Garments,” which featured relief style paintings of lingerie. She is taking her vision to the next level by creating 3D corsetry sculptures. Her goal is to feature 100 women. Heather is also creating a book about the collection, which will include the models’ testimonials about their experience, how it empowered them and more. She has become good friends with many of her models. The women are from all walks of life - mothers, entrepreneurs, performing artists and more. One woman is now pursuing a professional modeling career. “I feel like I am a little part of that,” said Heather. “It’s making a difference. I see how the creativity is effecting their personal lives and they are all creative people.”. ••
Celebrating Local Music Intro by Melissa Colangelo photos BY CEZARE RAMONE
On Saturday, November 23rd was the 5th Annual Hoboken Music Khaled and the Naguals opened the night with an energetic rock set. Awards. The ceremony took place at Willie McBride’s. Doors Lead singer Khaled Dajani closed his set saying, “Thank you to the opened at 7 pm and the bar started to fill with people chatting, HMAs for giving us a place to celebrate.” The night was full of a mix dancing, drinking and eating. The crowd was in full swing waiting of music, each band bringing a different sound on stage. The Hoboken in anticipation for the seven bands to perform and the awards to music scene was definitely alive that night. If you missed the HMAs be announced.
don’t worry, these bands perform locally all year round. ••
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A BETTER WATERFRONT Intro AND PHOTOS by Tricia Tirella
A group of conscientious citizens gathered on November 21 to Now Hoboken has 80 percent of its waterfront designated for the projects. “It’s more than just about the waterfront,” said Vance. “It’s donate their time and money toward creating a better waterfront. people, but the group still works for securing the few parcels that about urban planning. It’s absolutely important for it to be well Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) is group that has fought for are not yet green space. FBW President James Vance said that funds done all over town.” the land bordering the Hudson River to be designated public space would be put toward projects the group is working toward including since 1990 when they helped strike down a referendum that would work with Stevens Institute of Technology to turn their now water- Read the full story online at www.hmag.com •• have developed a 3.2 million development in Hoboken.
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