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Italian Neighborhood Guide: Hoboken, NJ 

Hoboken, The Mile Square City, nestled along the Hudson River, is perhaps best known as the birthplace of modern baseball as well as pop, jazz, and holiday icon Frank Sinatra. Though these commonly come to mind, there is much more to discover about Hoboken than you think. The Italian and Italian American communities have a long immigrant history dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The city experienced a tremendous cultural shift within the span of the past century with an influx of immigrants coming through Ellis Island to settle in Hoboken and nearby New York City. Many European Immigrants, including Italians, found economic prosperity with the abundance of manufacturing work opportunities at the many factories around the city. 

Hoboken quickly became one of the many epicenters of immigration ultimately paving the foundation for the modern vibrance the city is known for today. Despite changes in architecture with a contemporary style in its many highrises and new construction housing communities becoming more at the forefront, Hoboken still remains close to its historical roots. 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOBOKEN 

Hoboken was originally established on March 28th, 1855. The citys immigration history can be traced back between 1892 and 1924 when the highest number of immigrants came to settle there. 

According to the Hoboken Historical Museum, there were only 790 Italian immigrants living in Hoboken with the population of foreign-born residents being approximately 43, 648 in 1890. By 1910, the population of Italians living in Hoboken had grown exponentially with the total population of the city being approximately 70,324. 

Hoboken was widely considered to be the port of entry to the continent”, according to author Daniel Van Winkle who published the book, History of the municipalities of Hudson County, New Jersey, 1630-1923’ in 1924. 

Leaving the economic hardships of Italy behind, Italian immigrants took a leap of faith to travel to the United States in search of the American Dream”.

THE BIRTHPLACE OF FRANK SINATRA 

Francis Albert Sinatra or simply Frank Sinatra, as we all have come to know him, was born on December 12th, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. He grew up on Monroe Street. He is primarily known in the music and entertainment industry for his many works during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. 

Today, you will find his name proudly shown in his honor all throughout the city at the local post office, a waterfront park (Sinatra Park), street (Frank Sinatra Drive), as well as a bronze statue of Old Blue Eyes himself that was recently dedicated to him as Hobokens famous son”. 

EAT & DRINK 

Today, Hoboken is famous for its generous offerings of Italian cuisine scattered throughout the city that hold the same traditions and values as they have done from their past immigrant ancestors. There are also plenty of recently opened establishments that offer the same atmosphere matched with the contemporary elegance of the 21st century.

Youll find everything from wood-fired pizza to other classic Italian pasta dishes, the most amazing mozzarella youll ever eat, as well as a very popular local bakery that has climbed to the top to nationwide fame. 

You will find most of what youre looking for along Washington Street which is Hobokens main drag and downtown district that runs from 15th street uptown to around 1st and Newark Street downtown. 

Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ (Photo Credit: Jimmy Woo Man Tsing via Unsplash)

Apulia offers a contemporary rustic vibe serving up wood-fired pizza as well as a delicious assortment of pasta dishes including spaghetti, tagliatelle, and orecchiette that are handmade on the premises. This restaurants name also happens to be one of Italys 20 regions, Puglia. Feel immersed in the local cuisine of the region right in the heart of Hoboken. 

A trendy gourmet option is Sorellina, which offers a refined rustic elegance. Through their commitment to sourcing local ingredients to their bountiful variety of Italian wines and other signature alcoholic beverages, you will feel transported to the beautiful wine regions of Italy. You can enjoy dinner, dessert, and brunch, as well as an aperitivo happy hour on weekdays from 4-6 pm while on Tuesdays it runs all through the night. 

Fiores House of Quality, located on Adams Street, has been a longtime local Hoboken staple for fresh mozzarella and sandwiches since 1913. You can also find plenty of artisanal Italian products as well. In a casual, no-frills space, youll easily see why Fiores is as famous as they are once you try their mouth-watering delicious mozzarella as well as their notable menu offering roast beef with brown gravy and fresh mozzarella as one of their rotating daily specials. 

Carlos Bakery, originally established in 1910, selling baked goods such as cookies, cannolis, and cakes, has recently become the helm of nationwide fame with Buddy Valastros culinary achievements and hit tv show on TLC, Cake Boss”. With locations around the United States and Canada, the original location where the business all began still remains on Washington Street. Snap a picture in front of the Carlos Bake Shop sign and grab a treat and coffee before you go to get the full classic experience. 

There are also a variety of other pizza restaurants worth mentioning including Napolis and Benny Tudinos, both of which are lined along Washington Street for classic pies in a variety of atmospheres. 

If youre interested in attending some of Hobokens Italian festivals, there is the Saint Ann Italian Festival which is held in late July, and The Hoboken Italian Festival celebrating the Madonna Dei Martiri which takes place in early September each year. 

Hudson street, Hoboken, New Jersey (Photo Credit: Anthony Gadaleta)

LEGACY 

The Italian and Italian American communities have helped transform Hoboken into a cultural and diverse urban mecca. Trendy restaurants, longtime traditional staples, enjoying incredible local Italian cuisine, beautiful waterfront vistas along Frank Sinatra Drive, admiring the Frank Sinatra statue, and more are what youll find in Hudson Countys premier destination for locals and travelers alike.

Anthony Gadaleta

Anthony Gadaleta is an Italian-American freelance travel writer and content creator currently based in the New York metro area. He creates curated travel and lifestyle content through Capturing Life’s Moments, a platform dedicated to his passion for travel. He is also a contributor for Jersey's Best and Italy Magazine.

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