Outdoor Oasis | Diaper Duty | Grapes Galore
Photo by Marie Papp
EDITOR’S LETTER 07030
Let There be Light Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel? Green leaves, flowers blooming, the whishwhish of sprinklers on lush grass —and at this writing thousands of residents vaccinated. It’s summer. Evenings are lighter, and there’s light at the end of tunnel. Some of the stories in this issue reflect the feeling of relief, and even joy, as we emerge from a psychological dark into the light. We caught up with Mile Square Theatre. This bastion of live theater held its own virtually but is now reveling in the energy of live audiences and interacting with students in person. Moms Helping Moms is an amazing nonprofit that started out in the proverbial garage and now has a warehouse with a loading dock where trailer trucks unload diapers and other necessities for young moms. The need is always great, but it was greater during the pandemic, and these selfless volunteers stepped into the breach. Parks are more important than ever in a small, tightly-packed urban environment. We talked to a member of Friends of the Parks. These community-minded citizens serve their neighborhoods by caring for their favorite green spaces. Whether it’s artists, chefs, or burlesque, you’ll find something that grabs you in our summer issue. The closer we get to life as we once knew it, the more mindful we need to be of our safety, and the safety of our fellow citizens. There are ever more vicious variants out there, so get the jab, and enjoy!
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COVER 16 FRIDGE FRIEND SHAKA Bowl Chef Cover Photo by Katherine Papera
FEATURES 10 OUTDOOR OASIS Friends of the Parks
14 TIME FRAME
An Artist Paints Women
18 MILE SQUARE THEATRE Live on Screen
26 GRAPES GALORE Wine on Washington
28 UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS Monroe’s and The Sinatra Room
DEPARTMENTS 3 EDITOR’S LETTER 6 OUR STAFF 8 CONTRIBUTORS 9 POINT AND SHOOT 20 SPORTS Coach Matt
22 HELPING HANDS Moms Helping Moms
24 EATERY Olivia’s Restaurant
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COME FOR GREAT SAVINGS & PEACE OF MIND
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Summer 2021 Volume 10 • Number 1 Published twice annually A Publication of Newspaper Media Group
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07030 Hoboken Magazine is published by the Newspaper Media Group, 166 Broadway, Bayonne, New Jersey 07002, (201) 798-7800, Fax (201) 798-0018. Email 07030@hudson reporter.com. Subscriptions are $10 per year, $25 for overseas, single copies are $7.50 each, multiple copy discounts are available. VISA/MC/AMEX accepted. Subscription information should be sent to 07030 Hoboken Magazine Subscriptions, 166 Broadway, Bayonne, NJ 07002. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or other unsolicited materials. Copyright © 2021, Newspaper Media Group .All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.
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VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ
VICTOR M. RODRIGUEZ
is a Jersey City native, who landed a job with the Hudson Dispatch in 1986. He has been the sports columnist for the Hudson Reporter Associates for the last 22 years.
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is a photographer whose work has been exhibited in galleries and published worldwide. A recent transplant to Bayonne, he spends his spare time trying to figure out the best pizza place in town.
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is a writer who moved from Brooklyn to Bayonne. She works as a blogger for Nameberry.com and spends her spare time fixing up her new (to her) 100-year-old home. has studied publication design, photography, and graphic arts. “I’ve been fascinated by photography for almost 20 years,” he says.
TERRI SAULINO BISH
is the art director for The Hudson Reporter’s awardwinning magazines and newspapers. Her work includes capturing many of the iconic images featured in print and online across Hudson County.
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FRIENDS OF THE PARK caring for their favorite PATCH OF GREEN By Tara Ryazansky Photos courtesy of Friends of Elysian Park: Robert Broadbent Beth Diver Margaret Mallan Traut Roseanne Versaci ast year, the city of Hoboken invited residents to form Friends of the Parks groups. The hope was that volunteer community groups would help support and maintain outdoor spaces. Three
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groups were formed; Friends of Church Square Park, Friends of Jefferson Park, and Friends of Elysian Park. Maggie Mallan volunteers for Friends of Elysian Park, between 10th and 11th Streets and Hudson Street and Frank Sinatra Drive. She walks her chihuahua there. “It’s been on my route with him for the past 17 years,” she says. “He’s elderly now. We walk all the way over from 12th and Park. Then we walk a loop in the Elysian Park. In his younger days, when he was feeling frisky, we would go down and
walk on the waterfront and then come back. He loves a long walk.” Mallan enjoys it, too. “I’ve always been in love with the Elysian Park,” she says. “There are so many details, because it’s a historic park, that I felt were worthy of preservation. It has meandering pathways, like Central Park. Then there’s the nature aspect, like watching the animals. It’s nice to be able to see all the birds and hang out in the shade.”
Fellow Travelers Mallan responded to the call for volunteers in February, 2020, but the pandemic changed things for her and her fellow Friends of the Park, who hope to start inperson outdoor monthly meetings soon. “We met and connected for the first time on Zoom, ”Mallan says. “We have made
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this Friends group function during the pandemic without really knowing each other. They’re so nice and so dedicated and so enthusiastic about the park. I feel so lucky that we got this great group.” Those interested in joining can find more information at friendsofelysianpark.org.
Open Space In a city environment like Hoboken, residents who don’t have backyard gar-
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dens can enjoy outdoor spaces like Elysian Park. “Last year during the pandemic when people were inside their apartments and had no place else to go that was inside, we saw a big rise in park usage,” Mallan says. Parks became the setting for get-togethers and birthday parties, becoming an extension of home for many Hoboken residents. “My husband and I would go for lunch and take our chairs and our sandwiches and books and just hang out for the afternoon,” Mallan says.
Fruits of their Labor
Last May, the Friends of Elysian Park participated in the Hoboken Spring Fling. The group put together a wish list of tasks, and the city supplied volunteers. “There’s the iron fence that faces Hudson Street that borders what we call the great lawn,” Mallan says. “It keeps balls from rolling into Hudson Street. We wanted that painted. The second project was a scrubby dirt patch by the 11th street entrance. We wanted to put some plants there, so that it would look a little more inviting as an entrance to the park.” Members of the Hoboken Elysianettes Running Society picked up their paintbrushes, and Hoboken High School students did the planting. “Our third project was more of a community art installation, ”Mallan says. “We had about 40 little tiny birdhouses and paint, and we set up a craft station. Everybody got a birdhouse and painted it however they wanted. There are three dogwood trees on the south end of the park, and we hung them in the dogwood trees. The mayor and his family painted birdhouses.”
“The plants look fantastic in the planting bed at the north entrance,” Mallan says. “The painting, it’s just a nice fresh coat of paint, and it looks great. The birdhouses are adorable.” The Friends of Elysian Park linked up with other groups at the event. “We’re definitely looking forward to partnering with these groups in the future, especially the high school,” Mallan says. “Because it’s an urban environment they don’t really have an opportunity to do things like that. We loved connecting with them because they’re enthusiastic young people. We hope to have new things to do with them in the fall and over the coming years.” But for now, Mallan enjoys the view. “The thing I use the most are the park benches overlooking Maxwell Park and the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline,” Mallan says. “That’s where I sit most mornings.”—07030
Dr. Lillian P. Streit, VMD Dr. Richard L. Reed, DVM
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Time Frame A Powerful Artist Paints Powerful Women By Tara Ryazansky Photos courtesy of Brittany Vogel rtist Brittany Vogel paints iconic women she admires like Kamala Harris and Harriet Tubman. Graphic portraits of her subjects pop against colorful collages depicting their accomplishments. “The series is called Powerful Women,” Vogel says. “It’s meant to celebrate extraordinary women in history. The idea is to amplify the stories, lessons, and achievements of amazing women. If I could place a spotlight on these women, then there’s an example others can follow. It’s really meant to be inspiration for the next generation or to give strength to women who are already trying to make their way.”
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She didn’t know that she would have to draw on that strength and inspiration herself to make her art. “In January of 2020 I did a mural at the Columbus Circle subway station called Suffragists Marching,” she says. “It was an interactive mural that was 12 feet wide and eight feet high. They wanted me to actually make it in front of everybody as they were walking by. I had never done anything like that before, to have commuters coming by and watching me make the work,” Vogel found it daunting to be on display. “I just thought of Susan B. Anthony and all the things that she had gone through, and I thought, ‘Well, if she can do that, I can do this.’ It did give me strength to just go ahead and do it.”
Channeling Susan Susan B. Anthony is especially meaningful to Vogel. “The first powerful woman in the series was Susan B. Anthony,” Vogel says. “She was so instrumental in women gaining voting rights in this country. She faced incredible hardship in order to try and push that vision forward.” The mural depicts suffragists marching in a New York City protest walk with picket signs. Vogel created actual signs that passersby could hold to become part of the piece and enjoy a good photo op. “I made signs that are more current-day; what women are trying to achieve now,” Vogel says.
Home Works These days, Vogel creates art in her Hoboken home. She gave up her New York City studio in the early days of the pandemic. She has lived in Hoboken since 1997, arriving after college to work for IBM. She abandoned the corporate world after having her first child. “He was two months early and had some health problems,” Vogel says. She became a stay-athome mom but still wanted to create. “I took the opportunity to become an artist,” she says. “It was about making space for myself.”
Culture Kid Despite a business and marketing background, Vogel had been interested in art since childhood.
“Growing up in my family, all of our vacations revolved around going to museums and castles,” she says. “My parents were always involved in supporting the arts. When I moved to New York, I immediately joined the MOMA junior associates group which was an incredible education. I’ve always been inspired by being around art. Then I started working at the Art Students League of New York. It’s an amazing institution that’s been around for more than 125 years. It’s by artists for artists.”
Artists in Residence Here in Hoboken, Vogel has noticed a growing art scene. “I think recently they
have been trying to place more of an emphasis on art,” she says. “You see more murals popping up. Main Street Pops is doing a lot of work with local artists as well.” Vogel is among them. “I had a solo show last November and December at the Pilsner House with Main Street Pops,” she says. “That show featured the Powerful Woman series.” “I just recently started creating prints to make my work more accessible,” Vogel says. “They are archival museum-quality prints that are hand-signed.” She adds, “I am now able to announce that in July your readers can also find my work at Unjumbold, 257 First Street in Hoboken.”—07030 SUMMER 2021 ~ 07030 • 15
Chef Kiersten Gormeley
FRIDGE friend Hoboken CHEF Wins
Chopped Competition By Tara Ryazansky Photos courtesy of the Food Network magine opening your fridge to find a mishmash of random ingredients and having to make an impressive three-course meal with them. But this isn’t just dinner on a weeknight when you’re low on groceries. Add the pressure of time constraints, a trio of competitive
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opponents, and a panel of critical judges. Chef Kiersten Gormeley, co-owner of Hoboken’s SHAKA Bowl, rose to that challenge and won $10,000 on the Food Network show Chopped. SHAKA Bowl is healthy Hawaiian inspired eatery. The theme of her winning episode was Taco Brawl. Luckily, Gormeley knows her way around a tortilla. “We have been serving tacos
since my Washington Street location opened five years ago,” Gormeley says. She also co-owns with her sister another incarnation on Monroe Street. “Right now, I have Coconut Shrimp Tacos that we hand-batter at the restaurant,” Gormely says. “They have hot honey on them and then a grilled pepper and mango slaw, and it comes with some cabbage. Those are really good.” Other menu items include Buffalo Shrimp Tacos with strawberries and jalapenos, Tiki Tacos with pulled jack-
fruit, another protein choise, and a spicy SHAKA sauce. The baskets of ingredients that Gormeley received on the show didn’t have the ingredients to make any of those. “The first round was pork tenderloin, squash blossoms, pepinos locos, which I had no idea what that was, I think it was a Mexican drink, and masa dough,” Gormeley says. This round presented her with the most challenging ingredients. “I don’t really work with masa dough. I don’t make my own tortillas.
I didn’t like the masa dough that they provided because it was super sticky. I was annoyed about that. I’m not really comfortable working with it.”
Kitchen Cool Instead of using the dough to create a tortilla, she cooked some of it down in water and used it to thicken and add texture to an avocado crème that she served with baby tacos, pork and a slaw. Gormeley stayed cool and confident during the competition. “The other contestants were really stressing out and freaking out, and I am not that way,” she says. Maybe it was the influence of Hawaii, where she lived briefly and says she learned the “Hawaiian way,” or maybe it was the work she put in beforehand that inspired confidence. “I had a plan, and I really just honed in on it and paid zero mind to them. I knew what needed to get done. I didn’t let it stress me out too much.” Gormeley has been watching the show since she was in the third grade. She trained before filming. “I studied a lot for the show. It didn’t just come out of nowhere. I walked around grocery stores and looked at ingredients. I watched a lot of shows. I practiced a lot. Being a chef, especially a selftaught chef, I have to work hard at teaching myself. That’s what I’ve been doing for many years.”
Waste Not She has a natural ability to put various ingredients together like a puzzle. “That’s the way I cook,” she says. “I’ve always been able to look at a bunch of different ingredients and been able to figure out what to do. It kind of stems from when me and my sister lived together. I was always scrapping
around for food. I was always just throwing together whatever I had in the fridge, and I still am that way; a nowaste type of gal, especially if I don’t feel like going to the store. I’m pretty good at it actually.” She also paid attention to the judges. “With every round they gave really good feedback,” Gormeley says. “I kept using all the feedback from each round, which I think they really enjoyed.” Gormeley blew the judges away during the dessert round. “I was actually the most nervous for the dessert round because I don’t have a huge background in pastry, especially not fast pastry,” Gormeley says. She received a basket that included mango, dried hibiscus flower, which reminded her of
Hawaii, a cream cheese chimichanga, and a margarita. “Like a whole margarita,” she laughs. “So I drank some of that, and I put some in my cream cheese frosting.” She also made tea from the hibiscus and concocted a vibrant candy brittle from that, along with some raspberries.
Home in Hoboken Now that she’s back with her winnings, she plans to franchise SHAKA Bowl. “We believe in a healthy, wholesome concept,” she says. “We believe in nutrient dense foods, but we also believe in balance. Our restaurant has some stuff that some people might think is not good for you, but then we have super super healthy
things. We cater to almost every dietary restriction. Everything is house-made whether it’s the sauces, the baked goods, down to our granola. Everything is really made with love.” Gormeley was inspired to make this kind of food because of her love for Hawaiian culture and for health reasons. “I defeated cancer at 23. I am dedicated to that healthy lifestyle.” Gormeley is excited to expand, but the Bergen County native is happy here in town. “It’s easy access to the city. It’s not as expensive as the city. It’s a super populated area, which is obviously really good for restaurants. I didn’t want to put a Hawaiian restaurant somewhere that’s not by the water. I love Hoboken.”—07030 SUMMER 2021 ~ 07030 • 17
All the World’s a S C R E E N
Mile Square Theatre gives new meaning to “The show must go on!” By Tara Ryazansky Photos courtesy of Mile Square Theatre
he lights have been dim, and the curtains closed for more than a year on Broadway and in local theaters across the country. Mile Square Theatre is gearing up to take to the stage again as herd immunity strengthens in Hoboken. “Last March, we pivoted immediately to virtual platforms which was a huge learning curve,” says dance director Sarah Weber Gallo. “We had to familiarize ourselves with new technology very quickly. We didn’t miss a single day of instruction.” “We kept all of our teachers employed which we were really proud of,” says Annie
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McAdams, director of education. “We were fortunate in that the PPP loans allowed us to do that.” A “precarious existence” is how she describes the artist’s life. Mile Square maintained some normalcy by continuing their programs. “All of the students have done a great job, but they crave social interaction,” Weber Gallo says. “We’ve had to adjust our teaching to allow for a little more vocalization or conversation than we would normally allow in a dance class.” “As a parent whose daughters both dance with Sarah, I was so grateful that they were moving their bodies, even though they didn’t work as hard on Zoom as they do in person.,” McAdams says.
“All of us have a little bit of trouble focusing on Zoom sometimes.”
Virtual Virtuosos “We normally produce a fundraiser called the “7th Inning Stretch,” which is three days of new short plays about baseball,” McAdams says. “Instead we produced a sort of variety hour that was streamed. It had some Zoom plays about baseball, but because we weren’t in person, we were able to access some talent that was in California, and people who normally wouldn’t be able to come to Hoboken performed little bits and pieces.” Weber Gallo adds, “We also were able to bring in students from outside the area. One of our dance families gave the
gift of our summer camp to a cousin in Colombia, so we suddenly had an international reach. It’s an unexpected gift from this crazy year.” Going virtual has broadened the audience. “I think that we all might be a little bit tired of watching Zoom performances, but I do think we will continue to use the technology,” Weber Gallo says. Even now that small, masked in-person audiences are being welcomed into the theater, it will continue to livestream performances. “That way any grandparents from anywhere in the world can participate in watching. It’s sort of a lovely opportunity that we didn’t have before.”
Pod Casts Mile Square welcomed its first in-person audience in October. “We had to be separated in our pods, and we were limited to 30 audience members, but it was beautiful,” McAdams says. Weber Gallo says, “I have a teenage choreography group where they work on a collaborative creation. We created an evening of work that was performed from inside Mile Square Theatre looking out from the picture windows, so that the audience was outside. It was as if you were watching a Zoom event because there were four windows, but it’s live. That was the first live performance that I had seen or been a part of in six months. They made a very intense piece of work.” The performance was filmed and will be incorporated into its next performance this summer. Filming has become a big part of MST productions. Its annual holiday production of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” usually staged as an in-person radio play, was filmed.
“We did it as a movie,” McAdams says. “We filmed it in our theatre, one actor at a time so that talent would be unmasked. We borrowed safety precautions that TV and films have been using.” “It’s better than nothing to see family and friends over Zoom, or to be creative over Zoom,” McAdams says. “But it’s not the same. That’s the thing about the performing arts; there’s a live exchange of energy that happens to human beings when we’re in the same room. That’s what we cannot duplicate.”
Remember When Mile Square Theatre is inching back toward a packed house, offering a hybrid model for classes in which some students are masked in the theater, while others attend via Zoom. This summer it will offer camps in person. In May, ten masked parents watched a 15-minute masked improv performance. “We were really trying to work with the science; how big our space was, how our air flow was, and how long we would be in the room,” McAdams says.
In late May, it presented a small dance recital. “Students were limited to four tickets per person, so that we could keep our masked audience small and separated,” Weber Gallo says. “Now that more people are vaccinated, and things are opening up, we will allow
more people in the room,” McAdams adds. “It will be really different when we open up in the fall.” Weber Gallo says, “The students will talk about it like, ‘Remember when we used to have 15 students all together in class? That was so fun!’”
Dual Roles It’s hard to imagine going back to that, having been so vigilant all year about safety and separation,” Weber Gallo says. “As teachers, as arts professionals, we’ve been asked to become medical professionals, almost virologists. Some of the questions that I have fielded are 100 percent outside of my expertise. We feel very responsible for the safety of everybody in our spaces.” She continues, “I hear from parents how thankful they are to have this outlet for their children, but how much their children missed dancing in the theater when we were all separated and doing this on Zoom. There’s a joy in coming back together and continuing to explore expression.”—07030 SUMMER 2021 ~ 07030 • 19
The Man with the Meaningful Moniker Buddy Mathews reflects on four decades of coaching Buddy Mathews
Story and photos by Jim Hague
he most successful two-sport coach in Hoboken High School history had a perfect start. He was born Charles Matthews in 1954, but his mother Eileen, also known as Pinkie, nicknamed him Buddy. Pinkie had a brother nicknamed Buster. Didn’t everyone in Hoboken have a catchy moniker? Baseball star John Romano was known as Honey, and flashy basketball star Robert DuBois was called Juicy. “My mother always taught me to treat everyone the way I wanted to be treated,” Matthews said. Matthews’s father David owned Matthews Wine and Liquor on 11th and Washington streets for nearly four decades: “I learned a lot about how to treat others from that store.” His father kept a list of customers who didn’t pay on time. “The people would pay as they went along,” Matthews said. “They were our most loyal customers.”
Athlete to Academic Matthews aspired to be a baseball player: “I taught myself to switch hit like Mickey Mantle.” He was a standout lefthanded pitcher in Little League and Babe Ruth baseball and later attended St. Peter’s College. “I was cut from the baseball team my senior year,” Matthews said. “The coach made me walk off the field in the middle
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of a practice. It was devastating.” But he recovered. At first, Matthews was unsure what to major in, but that uncertainty ended when he encountered Jim Jacobson, a longtime professor of education at St. Peter’s. “Professor Jacobson grabbed me by the arm one day in the street and said, ‘Buddy, you’re going to be a teacher,’” Matthews said. “I had a lot of friends who went to New York and worked at the Stock Exchange or on Wall Street. But I knew as soon as I started, I was a teacher.” Matthews first taught at Connors School. “I formed a basketball and baseball team at Connors School and did it for six years,” Matthews said. At Connors, he met the cheerleading coach, eventually getting up the nerve to ask her out. “Janice was and still is my rock,” he said. “She helped me to get the discipline I needed to be successful in sports and in life.”
In 1986, when James’s brother Carmine left as head baseball coach, Matthews was appointed as head coach. For 28 seasons, Matthews and Assistant Coach Bruce Radigan worked side by side. When Matthews received an ejection for arguing with an umpire, Radigan was left to coach the Red Wings. Radigan had a perfect 6-0 record. “The first year, I was really nervous,” Matthews said. “We had a very good team, and I think we all had to learn from each other.” The nervousness didn’t last long, as Matthews unleashed his reign of terror on opponents far and wide. “I felt like I became a good coach because I had been around some really good coaches in my day,” Matthews said. “I was able to communicate better with the kids and their parents. Hoboken is such a small town and close-knit place that we watched all the kids develop.”
The Boys of Summer
In 1985, Matthews got a call from James Ronga, Hoboken High athletic director. “He asked me if I wanted to coach the JV baseball team,” Matthews said. It wasn’t as if coaching was brand new to him. “I grew up in the YMCA,” Matthews said. Mike Granelli, who was a former St. Peter’s College women’s basketball and men’s soccer coach, was a coach at the Y. “He had me coaching nine-year-olds, and I was 12,” Matthews said.
A bunch of Matthews’s future players were part of the Hoboken Ambassadors youth baseball team that traveled to the Soviet Union in 1987 as part of a program to promote unity between the two countries. Players like Marc Taglieri, Danny Ortiz, Michael Purvis, and Jason Cassesa, the first-ever Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year, were major members of that Ambassadors team. They went on to play for Matthews at
Hoboken High, turning the Red Wings into a New Jersey powerhouse. In 1988, Matthews’s team won the Hudson County Tournament championship, the first of nine he would win as head coach. The Red Wings won five NJSIAA North Jersey state sectional championships and moved on to the Group championships, playing for the Group IV, Group III and Group I state titles. Matthews’s teams won 459 games and lost 234, for a winning percentage of 67 percent. “There was never any complacency,” Matthews said. “Bruce and I pushed the kids pretty hard. We worked on fundamentals all the time.” At one point, the Red Wings won an astonishing 60 straight games. “There weren’t any big heads among them,” Matthews said. “All they cared about was winning. “We had a saying, ‘Respect is something you have to earn.’ Another saying we put on T-shirts: ‘No excuses.’”
On the Boards In 2003, Matthews replaced the retiring Maureen Wendelken as the head boys’ basketball coach, and the Red Wings won an additional five HCIAA Seglio Division championships in 12 seasons. In an era when athletic departments encouraged coaches to focus on one sport, Matthews coached championship teams in two sports. But Matthews’s body started to give out. He had two hip and two knee replacement surgeries that sidelined him. “I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing,” he said.
Life after HHS Matthews retired from Hoboken High, but he was still longing to coach and went on to become baseball coach at St. Anthony and then athletic director, working closely with the school’s Naismith Memo-
rial Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley. “I learned things from him on a totally different level,” Matthews said. “I saw the way he treated people fairly and honestly.” The Matthews family suffered a major loss in 2012, when their summer home in Normandy Beach was ravaged by the fires of Hurricane Sandy. “I lost all of my baseball shirts and championship jackets,” Matthews said. “I lost all of the memorabilia I collected from both sports.” St. Anthony closed four years ago. Now 66, Matthews hopes to enjoy the rest of his days traveling with Janice. “We spent a lot of our days away from each other,” Matthews said. “Now, it’s time for Janice and me to be together.” Matthews is now enjoying life as Hoboken’s Buddy—as he was fittingly named nearly seven decades ago.—07030
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Moms Helping Moms went from the garage to trailer trucks By Tara Ryazansky Photos courtesy of Moms Helping Moms
oms Helping Moms is a nonprofit celebrating 10 years of helping families in need in Hoboken and beyond. “When my daughter was probably about a month old, I was rocking her to sleep, and I was reading an article,” Founder and Co-Executive Director Bridget Cutler recalls. “It was about a
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mother who gave her daughter up for adoption because ‘she could no longer stand hearing her cry from hunger.’ I’m sitting here with my new baby, and it’s such a beautiful moment, and I knew that I could do something to help families like this.” At that time Cutler had recently left a career in finance to earn her Master’s degree, and she had been thinking of seeking volunteer opportunities. Initially, Cutler only wanted to collect items like diapers, formula, and gently-used baby gear for families in need. “I’m the youngest of five kids. I had a lot of hand-me-downs from my nieces and nephews,” she says. “On my husband’s side, we had the first grandchild. We were getting a deluge of presents, and I had more than I needed for this one baby.” Would her mom friends pitch in? “I reached out, and they did have things. It started with me taking up this collection.”
GARAGE BAND Cutler’s Hoboken garage became the Moms Helping Moms unofficial headquarters. One friend happy to donate was Megan Deaton, a mom of twins. “I had been home with two babies over a very snowy winter and honestly was sort of losing my mind,” Deaton says. “I was grateful that I had a strong support system, and I had the resources to buy diapers and clothing and formula. When Bridget was looking for diapers and supplies, I jumped on it. She came to my door to pick up some stuff, and I said, ‘Let me know if you ever need some help,’ and she said, ‘Yes, please.’” Deaton is now Co-Executive Director of Moms Helping Moms.
WEALTH GAP “It was such a nice thing for these families to give their things away and know that it would go to a baby who needed it,” Cutler says. “In Hoboken, there’s a large gap between the wealthy and those in need,” Deaton says. “People loved that we were going to take their old pack-and-play that was perfectly good and get it to a family that needed it.” The “drives” grew from small events in Cutler’s garage to large-scale giveaways in Hoboken schools and gyms. “The city of Hoboken got involved after a couple of months,” Cutler says. “They would take care of inviting guests, working through the housing authority.” The moms stored baby essentials in the garage, in a small storage unit, the trunks of their cars, and in their apartments.
BUSTING AT THE SEAMS It wasn’t just the organization that was outgrowing Hoboken. “We all ended up getting pregnant a second time, except Megan; she already had her two,” Cutler says, referring to herself, Jerusha Oleksiuk, and Jackie McCormack who are both on the board of directors of the organization. “We all came out to the suburbs, but we were still close to each other.” They appreciated the newfound space, but they missed Hoboken. “I miss the mom-networking,” Deaton says. “The suburbs are fabulous, but there was a sense of community among moms and dads and families in Hoboken.” Cutler misses the restaurants, being able to walk everywhere, and the people. “When we were in Hoboken, not only did we have these mom friends, but we became close with some of these families. We watched these babies grow up. We knew their stories. This one baby was born like five months premature or something insane like that. His mom would come to the drives with him. We got to see him become this pudgy little toddler.”
LOADING DOCK “We still weren’t a nonprofit,” Cutler says. “We were just a grassroots organization.” They started setting up their 501c3 before Cutler was chosen as a CNN Hero in 2013. “That was what gave us our seed money to turn this into the beginnings of what it is today.” “That CNN spot got us enough donations and enough attention that we were able to get our first office,” Deaton says. “We set it up like a little store, so we could let families come in. We have since outgrown that. We just moved into a space in Warren Township. It has a loading dock, which is a big deal because the loading dock means that big trucks of diapers can be donated. We can get big donations from brands like Huggies.”
DIAPER DEMAND The group still provides items like car seats and strollers, but the emphasis in on diapers. “Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep your baby dry, safe, and healthy,” Cutler says. Diaper need subjects babies to rashes and infections, but Cutler says, “Not having diapers is actually keeping families out of work. In order to use a childcare facility, even if it’s a subsidized childcare facility, you need diapers. If you can’t show up with a days’ worth of diapers, then your baby
cannot go to childcare that day, and if your baby can’t go to childcare, then you can’t look for a job or go to work, you can’t do school, you can’t do anything. We’re giving a family diapers, and that is getting more people into the workforce. Whatever you believe in and what your political views are, that’s something that everybody should want. We can accomplish that without a ton of resources.”
LOBBYING LEGISLATORS Moms Helping Moms and the city of Hoboken participated in Period Poverty Awareness Week May 24 through 30. “Period products have been a natural progression for a lot of diaper banks,” Deaton says. “It’s very similar to diaper need because it can keep menstruating people from attending work or school.” Cutler says, “I think there’s a lot of taboo around talking about it. A teenage girl or even a grown woman might have trouble saying that they can’t do something because they don’t have a pad or a tampon. We’ve shifted our focus toward advocacy.” The goal is to make essential products readily available. “In the next few years, we’re hoping to get legislation passed,” Cutler says. For now, Moms Helping Moms seeks volunteers and collections, offering online kits for diaper drives. “I’m in the process of also putting up a kit for a period supply drive,” Deaton says. The group has registered as an official charity in the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon and Half Marathon and 5K and seeks runners. The organization provides items to Hudson County organizations like AngelaCARES, Inc., Black Interests Team Enterprises, HOPES CAP, Inc, York Street Project, and Partnership for Maternal and Child Health. Hoboken still supports Moms Helping Moms through diaper drives and donations. During the pandemic, the warehouse was open for donations and staff but closed to volunteers. It is again open for volunteers, and the group always needs them. The need for diapers was great during the pandemic, and Moms Helping Moms met that need. At the 10-year mark, Cutler’s proud of what Moms Helping Moms has accomplished. She says, “I get a little bit emotional about it.”—07030 momshelpingmomsfoundation.org Facebook - @MHMFI Instagram - @momshelping momsfoundation Linked In - @moms-helpingmoms-foundation SUMMER 2021 ~ 07030 • 23
Chef Ricardo Cardona By Tara Ryazansky Photos by Max Ryazansky
hef Ricardo Cardona gives his staff at Olivia’s a motivational talk before dinner. He’s enthusiastic and funny, but he also challenges his team to do better. Maybe he picked up these coaching skills from his time as chef at Yankee Stadium where he fed the New York Yankees and their opposing teams. He says coaching is just as necessary in the kitchen as it is on the field. “You always have to take those five minutes for a meeting where you discuss what happened the day before, and you discuss the specials or additions to the menu,” Cardona says. He runs a tight ship. “There has to be some discipline from the kitchen in a restaurant. There’s only one name on the menu; it’s mine.” The menu is Mediterranean-Latin fusion. The owner is Mike Gallucci. “He’s also the owner of Grand Vin, the Italian restaurant,” says mixologist Roger Gonzalez. “He wanted to do something different. There are so many Italian restaurants in Hoboken. He wanted to do a Mediterranean restaurant with a Latin flair.”
A Li E@ers The restaurant is in a bright, newly renovated space on Garden Street that was for-
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merly Sasso’s Liquor and Delicatessen. The restaurant halted plans to open last year because of the pandemic. It began to welcome guests in April. Gallucci brought Cardona on as Executive Chef. “Ricardo Cardona is well-known in the Latin community,” Gonzalez says. “He cooked for the Yankees, plus he’s the personal chef for Marc Anthony, the list is super long.” Despite cooking for Jennifer Lopez and The Yankees, Cardona maintains that he didn’t connect J-Lo and A-Rod. “I didn’t get them together,” he laughs. Cardona does offer menu items at Olivia’s that are approved by his A-list clientele. “Marc loves skirt steak. Jennifer liked filet of red snapper. Marc Anthony always loved the octopus. After a concert, I would always bring the octopus for him.”
More Hoboken an Hoyw d “I’m not new to the neighborhood,” Cardona says. “I ran Lua restaurant in the shipyard for seven years. I also used to run City Bistro, and I consult with La Isla. I’ve been feeding Hoboken for a long time.” Tonight he serves up items from the For the Table section of the menu. Three-Beans Hummus and Olivia’s Guacamole. Cardona infuses Latin flavor into his hummus with aromatic sofrito. It’s served with lentil salad and a green salad. A bread-
basket includes everything from flatbread and breadsticks to multi-colored tortilla chips. Latin and Mediterranean pairs perfectly. “Mediterranean covers Spain, Italy, Greece,” Cardona says. “We have very similar ingredients. In fact, we were taught in Latin America to eat and use the ingredients from Spain and Portugal. Food is universal. “Guacamole is from Mexico, but my idea for the guacamole was to make it almost like an avocado toast. Instead of making it Mexican, I made it Mediterranean with Greek olives, mint, dill, basil, cilantro, onions, lemon juice, and I top it with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.”
Salud! Gonzalez, who designed the drink menu, mixes up his favorite: Hoboken Life. “We’re in Hoboken,” he says. “It can’t get better than this. Families, friends, they all gather here, and you have the proximity to the city. That’s how we came up with the name.” The cocktail is made with Bulleit bourbon, house-made blackberry syrup, lime juice, and bitters. Down for the BOM was invented by bartender Noel Blanco. “BOM stands for Blood Orange Margarita,” Gonzalez says. “On one side we do a salt rim and on the other side, we do Tajin. People ask me if I can make it spicy, so sometimes we add
more jalapeno. We take Serrano jalapeno, for seven days we let it soak in water until it becomes a squid ink color, and we just add a splash of that.” Olivia’s also has a menu of mocktails. The wine list was made by Sommelier Ramon Delmonte. “I spent a couple of weeks just to make the menu,” Gonzalez says. “Then when I met the bartenders, I gave them the chance to make one drink.” He named the cocktails for their creators. “I always try to make sure that they get the credit that they deserve. Not many places do that. Now that I have my team, any collaboration is recognized.” The VO is a gin cocktail with a lemonlime herbal flavor. “It’s quite good and very refreshing,” Gonzalez says. “I think it will be a big hit in the summer,” which will includes expanded outdoor seating and brunch. Tonight, as the staff sets up for dinner, a line forms outside, despite the rain and early hour. Gonzalez says that it’s not unusual to see this kind of turnout. Says Gonzalez, “Everybody is eager to enjoy dining again.”—07030
Olivia’s Restaurant 1038 Garden St. 201-383-9728
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Grapes Galore Talking and tasting at a new wine shop By Tara Ryazansky Photos by Max Ryazansky t’s a cool scene on Washington Street. Folks are enjoying wine and cheese pairings as they socialize on the sidewalk. But this isn’t a trendy bar or bistro; it’s CoolVines Hoboken, a wine store that opened at the end of 2020. “We’re a store where people really come in and talk to you,” says wine manager Evan White. “It’s not just a quick stop for a bottle of Pinot Grigio. People want to stop in and have a conversation about the types of wine we have.” White’s mission is to pair each customer with the perfect bottle. “Usually we just start by asking what color wine they want, whether it’s rose, white, or red. Do you like a heavy wine? A rich, red wine? Do you like a light, crisp, white wine? Maybe they like Sauvignon Blanc, and I’ll show them a couple from New Zealand, maybe one from France. Then I’ll throw them a curveball and say, ‘well, in case you’re feeling adventurous, you could try this Sauvignon Blanc from Italy, or you could try this one from California.’ I try to open up people’s perspectives. At the end of the day, you just want to put the right wine into the hands of the right person.”
Mile Square Wine “We’ve had a lot of people who have said this is the kind of place that Hoboken needed in a wine, spirits and beer store, in terms of selection,” White says. CoolVines has other locations in Jersey City and Newark. “You can see that in Hoboken on any night of the week, especially the weekend, people are out and about, enjoying alcoholic beverages, but we’re there to do more than just get some-
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one drunk,” White says. “Our wines, spirits and beers are more curated. We’re not moving any of the big brands. Our stuff is much more artisanal and small scale.” The list includes Hudson County favorites like beers from NJ Brewing Company and Hoboken Brewing Company and spirits from Jersey City’s Corgi Distillery. White is paring down CoolVine’s offerings and curating themed wine tastings, which started in April. “We felt like the weather, the COVID situation, the vibe was all just ready to go,” White says. The free tastings are Fridays, 5 to 7 p.m. “They’ve been a huge hit. I think that people are just ready to go out and have fun again.” Precautions include outdoor tables. “The key here is that we want to be respectful of people’s boundaries and concerns, because COVID does still exist,” White says.
Sipping Saké In late May, the theme was saké. “We wanted to be sure that all four sakés were different from each other, so people could be educated in the different ways sakés could taste,” White says. During the tasting events, the sample bottles are on sale for 10 percent off. “We want to expose people to something new,” White says. “Everybody has had Cabernet Sauvignon. Everybody has had Pinot Noir. We’re trying to show people some grapes and wine regions that they
have never heard of or experienced. Letting people try these wines for free is a great way to open them up to these types of wines. If you point them toward a $30 bottle of wine they’ve never heard of, they might be hesitant,” White says. “But if you have them try it first, then you will open up their palette to so many other kinds of things.”
Wine and What?? Today, White is hosting a wine and cheese tasting. “I love it because it’s so cliché, but it’s cliché because it’s so much fun, and it’s delicious,” White says. “For years and years and years they have proven to be delicious together.” The event was appropriately titled “Wine + Cheese = Delicious!” White poured a Lustau “Papirusa” Manzanilla Sherry from Spain paired with manchego cheese and Spanish olives. “It’s citrusy and very fresh, with notes of sea salt and almonds,” White says of the wine. Next up is a 2017 Chateau La Rame Sainte-Croix-du-Mont from Bordeaux. “Located just across the river from the more famous region of Sauternes, this lusciously sweet wine is the perfect foil for a funky cheese,” White says. He serves it with a bloomy rind cheese from Vermont. “The wine’s notes of ginger, saffron, and peaches will provide a delicious juxtaposition to the cheese’s salty, earthy flavor.”
From the Santa Maria Valley, California, came the Clendenen Family Vineyards’ Pip Nebbiolo. It was paired with a truffle cheddar from Vermont. “The Pip Nebbiolo is a vehicle for the late Jim Clendenen’s fascination with, and mastery of, Italian grapes,” White says. “It is a medium-bodied, elegant expression of Piedmont’s calling card grape, featuring notes of brambly red strawberries, dried rose petals, and of course, truffle.”
Cheers! A diverse crowd shows up. There are young people, older people, groups of friends, even a mom with her kids in tow (only cheese for them). “It’s everybody,” White says. “There are newer people just getting into wine who have seen it on Instagram and just wanted to check it out. There are more experienced wine drinkers who I talk to in the store, and they come every week. Then there are just random people who see that we’re doing a tasting, and they stop by and say, ‘Hey, can we get some of that?’ and we say, ‘Sure!’” White pours another glass.—07030
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By Tara Ryazansky Photos by Max Ryazansky mural of Marilyn Monroe in black and white except for her bold, red lips greets you at Monroe’s, even though it was Sinatra who frequented the place when it was the Clam Broth House. “Frank Sinatra is from Hoboken, and he’s a big icon, but there are already restaurants named after him,” says Yineidy Matos, general manager of the American-Asian fusion restaurant. “From that time period, who was the biggest, baddest bitch? Marilyn. Why not name the restaurant after the biggest, baddest bitch of that time? We put a lot of emphasis on the men, but why aren’t we talking about the women who made a difference?” “Preach, sis,” says Melanie Carugan, bar manager and cocktail curator. The pair proved their own bad bitch status by building Monroe’s during a tough year. Matos was there from the time that it opened “We opened last year, one month before the pandemic,” Matos says. “We didn’t have a customer-base yet. We didn’t even do delivery or takeout at that time.” Matos
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Monroe’s and The Sinatra Room Speakeasy cater to the senses
moved quickly to provide takeout and used social media to find customers through friends and family. She says, “I had friends that would send food to other friends who were in quarantine and not going out. People would say, ‘Hey let me support you.’ It was just a year of adapting.”
Bootlegger Libations As restrictions loosened, Monroe’s opened to the public. The restaurant became known for fresh sushi and creative cocktails. “We did guest bartenders over the pandemic, and Melanie was one of them,” Matos says. “I always liked her vibe.” Matos brought Carugan in to discuss expanding Monroe’s. “We hit it off,” says Carugan. “When I met her, she said, ‘It’s Yin, pronounced gin, like gin and tonic.’ I just knew I liked her.” Carugan designed drinks that go far beyond the typical liquor-and-a-splash-ofsoda formula. She has created two menus, one for Monroe’s, upstairs, and one for the Sinatra Room Speakeasy hidden away downstairs. “Both floors are very different,” Carugan says. “Upstairs has a much more expansive menu.” Downstairs has a, well, speakeasy vibe.
“The backbar is all spirits that maybe you’ve never heard of or you typically wouldn’t find anywhere else,” Carugan says. “They’re more local-based or history-based. I really love that past history of cocktails. I wanted to emulate that by bringing back that bootlegger vibe with an emphasis on libations.”
The Sinatra Room “A speakeasy was always part of the plan,” Matos says. “I told [Carugan] what I wanted, and she just got it right away.” The vision for the speakeasy went beyond fabulous drinks and décor. “The room is run only by women,” Carugan says. Upstairs at Monroe’s, women and men tend bar and wait tables. Matos is manager of the entire operation, and Carugan is cocktail curator for both bars. The owner is a man. “When this was originally founded as the Clam Broth House, women were literally not allowed inside, while the men were inside enjoying it. It’s like we’re going back to those times, but the times are different. You can still find beauty in the past, but for me that was my timely vision, switching the roles up and empowering women.”
Melanie Carugan & Yineidy Matos
Burlesque performer Lydia Vengeance has a show at the speakeasy every other Thursday. For updates, find her on Instagram @lydiavengeance. Enjoy a pre-show small plate upstairs at Monroe’s. Try the Rice Krispies. It isn’t a bowl of cereal, it’s spicy tuna and guacamole served on crispy fried rice. If you’re hungry, go for the Kennedy Burger with a garlic aioli and wine reduction or the Carraway shrimp and bacon pasta. The sushi is fantastic, too. If you’ve made a speakeasy reservation, you’ll receive a card with a clue that will help you find your way to the Sinatra Room. SUMMER 2021 ~ 07030 • 29
Burlesque with a Vengeance
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Lydia Vengeance shimmies and shakes her way down to her bedazzled pasties as she sings, cracks jokes, and introduces a few friends, like New York City performer Puss-N-Boots. She mixes modern music with classics like Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. “I take a lot of inspiration from Marilyn Monroe,” Vengeance says. “I wanted to kind of tie that in and take the inspiration from upstairs and bring it downstairs. I jokingly call it ‘the breastkept secret in Hoboken,’ and it really is. It’s a place to celebrate burlesque. You’re not going to find a show like this literally anywhere in Hoboken.” Vengeance loves her workplace. “These people made a fantastic cocktail menu,” she says. “That’s the best part of a speakeasy. You go to bars, and they make you a quick little tequila soda; it’s nothing. These people do these unique, carefully curated drinks. It really makes the experience. It caters to all your senses. The taste of the drinks, the visual of the room, the aesthetic, even the smell of the place, you can smell the smoked wood from the Old Fashioneds. It lingers with you. People have to come and check out the show for themselves and see what all the fuss is about.”—07030
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