Hoboken was first settled as part of the Pavonia, New Netherland colony in the 17th century. During the early 19th century, the city was developed by Colonel John Stevens, first as a resort and later as a residential neighborhood. Originally part of Bergen Township and later North Bergen Township, it became a separate township in 1849 and was incorporated as a city in 1855. Hoboken is the location of the first recorded game of baseball and of the Stevens Institute of Technology, one of the oldest technological universities in the United States. It is also known as the birthplace and hometown of Frank Sinatra; various streets and parks in the city have been named after him.
Located on the Hudson Waterfront, the city was an integral part of the Port of New York and New Jersey and was home to major industries for most of the 20th century. The character of the city has changed from an artsy industrial vibe from the days when Maxwell House coffee, Lipton tea, Hostess Cupcakes, and Wonder Bread called Hoboken home, to one of trendy shops and expensive condominiums. It has been ranked 2nd in Niche's "2019 Best Places to Live in Hudson County" list.
The name "Hoboken" was chosen by Colonel John Stevens when he bought land, on a part of which the city still sits. The Lenape (later called Delaware Indian) tribe of Native Americans referred to the area as the "land of the tobacco pipe", most likely to refer to the soapstone collected there to carve tobacco pipes, and used a phrase that became "Hopoghan Hackingh". Like Weehawken, its neighbor to the north, Communipaw and Harsimus to the south, Hoboken had many variations in the folks-tongue. Hoebuck, old Dutch for high bluff and likely referring to Castle Point (the district of the city highest above sea level), was used during the colonial era and later spelled as Hobuck,Hobock,Hobuk and Hoboocken. However, in the nineteenth century, the name was changed to Hoboken, influenced by Flemish Dutch immigrants and a folk etymology had emerged linking the town of Hoboken to the similarly-named Hoboken district of Antwerp.
Today, Hoboken's unofficial nickname is the "Mile Square City", but it actually covers about 1.25 sq mi (3.2 km2) of land and an area of 2 sq mi (5.2 km2) when including the under-water parts in the Hudson River. During the late 19th/early 20th century the population and culture of Hoboken was dominated by German language speakers who sometimes called it "Little Bremen", many of whom are buried in Hoboken Cemetery, North Bergen.
Hoboken was originally an island which was surrounded by the Hudson River on the east and tidal lands at the foot of the New Jersey Palisades on the west. It was a seasonal campsite in the territory of the Hackensack, a phratry of the Lenni Lenape, who used the serpentine rock found there to carve pipes.
In 1630, Michael Reyniersz Pauw, a burgemeester (mayor) of Amsterdam and a director of the Dutch West India Company, received a land grant as patroon on the condition that he would plant a colony of not fewer than fifty persons within four years on the west bank of what had been named the North River. Three Lenape sold the land that was to become Hoboken (and part of Jersey City) for 80 fathoms (146 m) of wampum, 20 fathoms (37 m) of cloth, 12 kettles, six guns, two blankets, one double kettle and half a barrel of beer. These transactions, variously dated as July 12, 1630 and November 22, 1630, represent the earliest known conveyance for the area. Pauw (whose Latinized name is Pavonia) failed to settle the land, and he was obliged to sell his holdings back to the company in 1633.
It was later acquired by Hendrick Van Vorst, who leased part of the land to Aert Van Putten, a farmer. In 1643, north of what would be later known as Castle Point, Van Putten built a house and a brewery, North America's first. In series of Indian and Dutch raids and reprisals, Van Putten was killed and his buildings destroyed, and all residents of Pavonia (as the colony was known) were ordered back to New Amsterdam. Deteriorating relations with the Lenape, its isolation as an island, or relatively long distance from New Amsterdam may have discouraged more settlement.
In 1664, the English took possession of New Amsterdam with little to no resistance, and in 1668 they confirmed a previous land patent by Nicolas Verlett. In 1674–1675 the area became part of East Jersey, and the province was divided into four administrative districts, Hoboken becoming part of Bergen County, where it remained until the creation of Hudson County on February 22, 1840. English-speaking settlers (some relocating from New England) interspersed with the Dutch, but it remained sparsely populated and agrarian.
Eventually, the land came into the possession of William Bayard, who originally supported the revolutionary cause, but became a Loyalist Tory after the fall of New York in 1776 when the city and surrounding areas, including the west bank of the renamed Hudson River, were occupied by the British. At the end of the Revolutionary War, Bayard's property was confiscated by the Revolutionary Government of New Jersey. In 1784, the land described as "William Bayard's farm at Hoebuck" was bought at auction by Colonel John Stevens for £18,360 (then $90,000).
Bird's eye view of Hoboken, looking south from the vicinity of Stevens Institute c. 1890
In the early 19th century, Colonel John Stevens developed the waterfront as a resort for Manhattanites. On October 11, 1811, Stevens' ship the Juliana, began to operate as a ferry between Manhattan and Hoboken, making it the world's first commercial steam ferry. In 1825, he designed and built a steam locomotive capable of hauling several passenger cars at his estate.Sybil's Cave, a cave with a natural spring, was opened in 1832 and visitors came to pay a penny for a glass of water from the cave which was said to have medicinal powers. In 1841, the cave became a legend, when Edgar Allan Poe wrote "The Mystery of Marie Roget" about an event that took place there. The cave was closed in the late 1880s after the water was found to be contaminated, and it was shut and in the 1930s and filled with concrete, before it was reopened in 2008. Before his death in 1838, Stevens founded the Hoboken Land and Improvement Company, which laid out a regular system of streets, blocks and lots, constructed housing, and developed manufacturing sites. In general, the housing consisted of masonry row houses of three to five stories, some of which survive to the present day, as does the street grid.
Hoboken was originally formed as a township on April 9, 1849, from portions of North Bergen Township. As the town grew in population and employment, many of Hoboken's residents saw a need to incorporate as a full-fledged city, and in a referendum held on March 29, 1855, ratified an Act of the New Jersey Legislature signed the previous day, and the City of Hoboken was born. In the subsequent election, Cornelius V. Clickener became Hoboken's first mayor. On March 15, 1859, the Township of Weehawken was created from portions of Hoboken and North Bergen Township.
By the 1850s, several Manhattan-based members of the National Association of Base Ball Players were using the grounds as their home field while St. George's continued to organize international matches between Canada, England and the United States at the same venue. In 1859, George Parr's All England Eleven of professional cricketers played the United States XXII at Hoboken, easily defeating the local competition. Sam Wright and his sons Harry and George Wright played on the defeated United States team, a loss which inadvertently encouraged local players to take up baseball. Henry Chadwick believed that baseball and not cricket should become the national pastime after the game drawing the conclusion that amateur American players did not have the leisure time required to develop cricket skills to the high technical level required of professional players. Harry Wright and George Wright then became two of the first professional baseball players in the United States when Aaron Champion raised funds to found the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869.
When the U.S. entered World War I, the Hamburg-American Line piers in Hoboken (and New Orleans) were taken under eminent domain. Federal control of the port and anti-German sentiment led to part of the city being placed under martial law, and many German immigrants were forcibly moved to Ellis Island or left the city of their own accord. Hoboken became the major point of embarkation and more than three million soldiers, known as "doughboys", passed through the city. Their hope for an early return led to General Pershing's slogan, "Heaven, Hell or Hoboken... by Christmas."
Following the war, Italians, mostly stemming from the Adriatic port city of Molfetta, became the city's major ethnic group, with the Irish also having a strong presence. While the city experienced the Great Depression, jobs in the ships yards and factories were still available, and the tenements were bustling. Middle-European Jews, mostly German-speaking, also made their way to the city and established small businesses. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which was established on April 30, 1921, oversaw the development of the Holland Tunnel (completed in 1927) and the Lincoln Tunnel (in 1937), allowing for easier vehicular travel between New Jersey and New York City, bypassing the waterfront.
Post-World War II
The war facilitated economic growth in Hoboken, as the many industries located in the city were crucial to the war effort. As men went off to battle, more women were hired in the factories, some (most notably, Todd Shipyards), offering classes and other incentives to them. Though some returning service men took advantage of GI housing bills, many with strong ethnic and familial ties chose to stay in town. During the 1950s, the economy was still driven by Todd Shipyards, Maxwell House,Lipton Tea, Hostess and Bethlehem Steel and companies with big plants were still not inclined to invest in major infrastructure elsewhere.
By the 1960s, working pay and conditions began to deteriorate: turn-of-the century housing started to look shabby and feel crowded, shipbuilding was cheaper overseas, and single-story plants surrounded by parking lots made manufacturing and distribution more economical than old brick buildings on congested urban streets. The city appeared to be in the throes of inexorable decline as industries sought (what had been) greener pastures, port operations shifted to larger facilities on Newark Bay, and the car, truck and plane displaced the railroad and ship as the transportation modes of choice in the United States. Many Hobokenites headed to the suburbs, often the close by ones in Bergen and Passaic Counties, and real-estate values declined. Hoboken sank from its earlier incarnation as a lively port town into a rundown condition and was often included in lists with other New Jersey cities experiencing the same phenomenon, such as Paterson, Elizabeth, Camden, and neighboring Jersey City.
The old economic underpinnings were gone and nothing new seemed to be on the horizon. Attempts were made to stabilize the population by demolishing the so-called slums along River Street and build subsidized middle-income housing at Marineview Plaza, and in midtown, at Church Towers. Heaps of long uncollected garbage and roving packs of semi-wild dogs were not uncommon sights. Though the city had seen better days, Hoboken was never abandoned. New infusions of immigrants, most notably Puerto Ricans, kept the storefronts open with small businesses and housing stock from being abandoned, but there wasn't much work to be had. Washington Street, commonly called "the avenue", was never boarded up, and the tight-knit neighborhoods remained home to many who were still proud of their city. Stevens remained a premier technology school, Maxwell House kept chugging away, and Bethlehem Steel still housed sailors who were dry-docked on its piers. Italian-Americans and other came back to the "old neighborhood" to shop for delicatessen.
In 1975, the western part of the Keuffel and Esser Manufacturing Complex (known as "Clock Towers") was converted into residential apartments, after having been an architectural, engineering and drafting facility from 1907 to 1968; the eastern part portion became residential apartments in 1984 (now called the Grand Adams).
Aerial view of Hoboken Terminal, 2004
The Hudson Waterfront defined Hoboken as an archetypal port town and powered its economy from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, by which time it had become essentially industrial (and mostly inaccessible to the general public). The large production plants of Lipton Tea and Maxwell House, and the drydocks of Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and Todd Shipbuilding dominated the northern portion for many years. On June 30, 1900, a large fire at the Norddeutscher Lloyd piers killed numerous people and caused almost $10 million in damage. The southern portion (which had been a U.S. base of the Hamburg-American Line) was seized by the federal government under eminent domain at the outbreak of World War I, after which it became (with the rest of the Hudson County) a major East Coast cargo-shipping port.
With the development of the Interstate Highway System and containerization shipping facilities (particularly at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal), the docks became obsolete, and by the 1970s were more or less abandoned. A large swath of River Street, known as the Barbary Coast for its taverns and boarding houses (which had been home for many dockworkers, sailors, merchant mariners, and other seamen) was leveled as part of an urban renewal project. Though control of the confiscated area had been returned to the city in the 1950s, complex lease agreements with the Port Authority gave it little influence on its management. In the 1980s, the waterfront dominated Hoboken politics, with various civic groups and the city government engaging in sometimes nasty, sometimes absurd politics and court cases. By the 1990s, agreements were made with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, various levels of government, Hoboken citizens, and private developers to build commercial and residential buildings and "open spaces" (mostly along the bulkhead and on the foundation of un-utilized Pier A).
The northern portion, which had remained in private hands, has also been re-developed. While most of the dry-dock and production facilities were razed to make way for mid-rise apartment houses, many sold as investment condominiums, some buildings were renovated for adaptive re-use (notably the Tea Building, formerly home to Lipton Tea, and the Machine Shop, home of the Hoboken Historic Museum). Zoning requires that new construction follow the street grid and limits the height of new construction to retain the architectural character of the city and open sight-lines to the river. Downtown, Frank Sinatra Park and Sinatra Drive honor the man most consider to be Hoboken's most famous son, while uptown the name Maxwell recalls the factory with its smell of roasting coffee wafting over town and its huge neon "Good to the Last Drop" sign, so long a part of the landscape. The midtown section is dominated by the serpentine rock outcropping atop of which sits Stevens Institute of Technology (which also owns some, as yet, undeveloped land on the river). At the foot of the cliff is Sybil's Cave (where 19th century day-trippers once came to "take the waters" from a natural spring), long sealed shut, though plans for its restoration are in place. The promenade along the river bank is part of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, a state-mandated master plan to connect the municipalities from the Bayonne Bridge to George Washington Bridge and provide contiguous unhindered access to the water's edge and to create an urban linear park offering expansive views of the Hudson with the spectacular backdrop of the New York skyline. As of 2017, the city was considering using eminent domain to take over the last operating maritime industry in the city, the Union Dry Dock.
The Hudson River and Manhattan skyline on a foggy morning
Panorama of Manhattan from Pier A
During the late 1970s and 1980s, the city witnessed a speculation spree, fueled by transplanted New Yorkers and others who bought many turn-of-the-20th-century brownstones in neighborhoods that the still solid middle and working class population had kept intact and by local and out-of-town real-estate investors who bought up late 19th century apartment houses often considered to be tenements. Hoboken experienced a wave of fires, some of which were arson. Applied Housing, a real-estate investment firm, used federal government incentives to renovate "sub-standard" housing and receive subsidized rental payments (commonly known as Section 8), which enabled some low-income, displaced, and disabled residents to move within town. Hoboken attracted artists, musicians, upwardly mobile commuters, and "bohemian types" interested in the socioeconomic possibilities and challenges of a bankrupt New York and who valued the aesthetics of Hoboken's residential, civic and commercial architecture, its sense of community, and relatively (compared to Lower Manhattan) less expensive rents, all a quick, train hop away. Maxwell's (a live music venue and restaurant) opened and Hoboken became a popular place to live.
These trends in development resembled similar growth and change patterns in Brooklyn and downtown Jersey City and Manhattan's East Village—and to a lesser degree, SoHo and TriBeCa—which previously had not been residential. Empty lots were built on, tenements were transformed into luxury condominiums. Hoboken felt the impact of the destruction of the World Trade Center intensely, many of its newer residents having worked there. Re-zoning encouraged new construction on former industrial sites on the waterfront and the traditionally more impoverished low-lying west side of the city where, in concert with Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and New Jersey State land-use policy, transit villages are now being promoted. Once a blue collar town characterized by live poultry shops and drab taverns, it has since been transformed into a town filled with gourmet shops and luxury condominiums.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread flooding in Hoboken, leaving 1,700 homes flooded and causing $100 million in damage after the storm "filled up Hoboken like a bathtub". Workers in Hoboken had the highest rate of public transportation use in the nation, with 56% commuting daily via mass transit. Hurricane Sandy caused seawater to flood half the city, crippling the PATH station at Hoboken Terminal when more than 10 million gallons of water dumped into the system. In December 2013 Mayor Dawn Zimmer testified before a U.S. Senate Committee on the impact the storm had on Hoboken's businesses and residents, and in January 2014 she stated that Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, a member of governor Chris Christie's cabinet, deliberately held back Hurricane Sandy relief funds from the city in order to pressure her to approve a Christie ally's developmental project, a charge that the Christie administration denied. In June 2014, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated $230 million to Hoboken as part of its Rebuild by Design initiative, adding levees, parks, green roofs, retention basins and other infrastructure to help the low-lying riverfront city protect itself from ordinary flooding and build a network of features to help Hoboken future-proof itself against subsequent storms.
Image of Hoboken taken by NASA, with Hoboken outlined in red
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 2.00 square miles (5.18 km2), including 1.25 square miles (3.24 km2) of land and 0.75 square miles (1.94 km2) of water (37.50%).
Hoboken is laid out in a grid. North–south streets are named (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Harrison, and Clinton, for example). The numbered streets running east–west start two blocks north of Observer Highway with First Street, with the grid ending close to 16th near Weehawken Cove and the city line. Neighborhoods in Hoboken often have vague definitions making Downtown, Midtown and Uptown subjective. Castle Point (or Stevens Point), The Projects, Hoboken Terminal, and Hudson Tea are distinct enclaves at the city's periphery. As it transforms from its previous industrial use to a residential district, the "Northwest" is a name being used for that part of the city.
Hoboken's temperatures hover around an average in winter, rising and falling, rather than a consistent pattern with a clear coldest time of year, with minimums occurring in late December and early-mid February, rising and falling repeatedly throughout January.
Of the 25,041 households, 15.5% had children under the age of 18; 28.8% were married couples living together; 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present and 62.2% were non-families. Of all households, 39.7% were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93 and the average family size was 2.68.
12.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 55.9% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.2 years. For every 100 females, the population had 101.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 100.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $101,782 (with a margin of error of +/− $3,219) and the median family income was $121,614 (+/− $18,466). Males had a median income of $90,878 (+/− $6,412) versus $67,331 (+/− $3,710) for females. The per capita income for the city was $69,085 (+/− $3,335). About 9.6% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 24.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2000, there were 38,577 people, 19,418 households, and 6,835 families residing in the city. The population density was 30,239.2 inhabitants per square mile (11,636.5/km2), fourth highest in the nation after neighboring communities of Guttenberg, Union City and West New York. There were 19,915 housing units at an average density of 15,610.7 per square mile (6,007.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.82% White, 4.26% African American, 0.16% Native American, 4.31% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.63% from other races, and 2.78% from two or more races. Furthermore, 20.18% of the total residents also consider themselves to be Hispanic or Latino.
There were 19,418 households, out of which 11.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.8% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 64.8% were non-families. 41.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.92 and the average family size was 2.73.
In the city the age distribution of the population showed 10.5% under the age of 18, 15.3% from 18 to 24, 51.7% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city as of the 2000 census was $62,550, while the median income for a family was $67,500. Males had a median income of $54,870 versus $46,826 for females. The per capita income for the city was $43,195. 11.0% of the population and 10.0% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.6% of those under the age of 18 and 20.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The city is a bedroom community of New York City, where most of its employed residents work. Based on the 2000 Census Worker Flow Files, about 53% of the employed residents of Hoboken (13,475 out of 25,306) worked in one of the five boroughs of New York City, as opposed to about 15% working within Hoboken.
The first centrally air-conditioned public space in the United States was demonstrated at Hoboken Terminal. The first Blimpie restaurant opened in 1964 at the corner of Seventh and Washington Streets. Hoboken is home to one of the headquarters of publisher John Wiley & Sons, which moved from Manhattan in 2002.
A 2014 study showed that Stevens Institute of Technology contributed $117 million to Hoboken's economy in 2014, reflecting the university's nearly $100 million payroll for salaries and wages, as well as other goods and services acquired, construction and off-campus spending by students and visitors. The university is responsible for 1,285 full-time jobs.
More recently built parks throughout the city include Pier C, a reconstructed pier accessed by a curving walkway along lower Sinatra Drive. A multi-use sports field called 1600 Park opened in 2013, while the one-acre Southwest Park was completed along Jackson Street and Paterson Avenue in 2017. As of 2019, the city was considering expanding the park to a property across the street.
A two-acre park and public plaza called 7th and Jackson Resiliency Park opened in 2019. It includes a playground, an acre of open lawn space, a new indoor gymnasium, play sculptures, and infrastructure to capture over 450,000 gallons of rainwater to reduce flooding.
Construction of the 5.4-acre Northwest Resiliency Park broke ground in 2019 and will include a great lawn, a stage, a central fountain that can be converted into a seasonal ice skating rink, a pavilion, playgrounds, and a multi-purpose field and basketball basin. The $90 million park features many environmentally friendly features and includes an underground stormwater detention system that can store roughly one million gallons of water to help mitigate flooding. The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.
A 2014 renovation to the 14th Street Viaduct near the city's northwest edge saw the creation of several recreational areas underneath the structure that include a dog park, passive recreation areas, and street hockey and basketball courts amid a new cobblestone streetscape.
The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is a state-mandated master plan to connect the municipalities from the Bayonne Bridge to the George Washington Bridge creating an 18 mi (29 km)-long urban linear park and provide contiguous unhindered access to the water's edge. By law, any development on the waterfront must provide a public promenade with a minimum width of 30 ft (9.1 m). To date, completed segments in Hoboken and the new parks and renovated piers that abut them are at Hoboken Terminal, Pier A, the promenade and bike path from Newark to 5th Streets, Frank Sinatra Park, Castle Point Park, Sinatra Drive to 12th to 14th Streets, New York Waterway Pier, 14th Street Pier, and 14th Street north to southern side of Weehawken Cove. Other segments of river-front held privately are not required to build a walkway until the land is re-developed.
From the 1960s until 2011, Hoboken was home to the Macy's Parade Studio, which houses many of the floats for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Many Stevens students, alumni, and staff members volunteer in the preparation and piloting of the parade floats. The studio was moved out of Hoboken and into a converted former Tootsie Roll Factory in Moonachie, New Jersey 2011.
The City of Hoboken is governed within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the mayor-council (Plan D) system of municipal government, implemented based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of January 1, 1953. The city is one of 71 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the nine-member City Council. The city council is comprised of three members elected at-large from the city as a whole, and six members who each represent one of the city's six wards. All of the members of the city council are elected to four-year terms of office in non-partisan elections on a staggered basis in odd-numbered years, with the six ward seats up for election together and the three at-large and mayoral seats up for vote two years later.
In July 2011, the city council voted to move municipal elections from May to November. The first shifted election were held in November 2013, with all officials elected in 2009 and 2011 having their terms extended by six months.
As of 2022[update], the mayor of Hoboken is Ravinder Bhalla, whose term of office ends December 31, 2025. Members of the city council are Council President Michael Russo (2023; 3rd Ward), Council Vice President Emily Jabbour (2025; at-large), Phil Cohen (2023; 5th Ward), Michael DeFusco (2023; 1st Ward), James J. Doyle (2025; at-large), Tiffanie Fisher (2023; 2nd Ward), Jennifer Giattino (2023; 6th Ward), Joe Quintero (2025; at-large) and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (2023; 4th Ward).
In the 2017 general election, Ravinder Bhalla was elected to succeed Dawn Zimmer becoming the state's first Sikh mayor; Zimmer had chosen not to run for re-election to a third term and had endorsed Bhalla for the post. Bhalla's running mates, incumbents James Doyle and Emily Jabbour, won two of the at-large seats, while the third seat was won Vanessa Falco who had been aligned with the slate of mayoral candidate Michael DeFusco. Zimmer had been the city council president and first took office as mayor on July 31, 2009, after her predecessor, Peter Cammarano, was arrested on allegations of corruption stemming from a decade-long FBI operation. Zimmer, who lost a June 9, 2009, runoff election to Cammarano by 161 votes, served as acting mayor until winning a special election to fill the remainder of the term on November 3, 2009. She was sworn in as mayor on November 6 as is the first female mayor of Hoboken. Zimmer won re-election in November 2013 to a second term of office and began her second term in January 2014.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 35,532 registered voters in Hoboken, of which 14,385 (40.5%) were registered as Democrats, 3,881 (10.9%) were registered as Republicans and 17,218 (48.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 48 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 66.1% of the vote (14,443 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 32.4% (7,078 votes), and Libertarian and Green candidates with 1.5% (325 votes), among the 22,018 ballots cast by the city's 40,209 registered voters (172 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 54.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 71.0% of the vote here (17,051 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 27.5% (6,590 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (225 votes), among the 24,007 ballots cast by the city's 38,970 registered voters, for a turnout of 61.6%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 65.0% of the vote here (13,436 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 33.4% (6,898 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (161 votes), among the 20,668 ballots cast by the city's 31,221 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 66.2.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 53.0% of the vote (6,562 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 45.0% (5,565 votes), and other candidates with 2.0% (243 votes), among the 16,331 ballots cast by the city's 41,094 registered voters (3,961 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 62.3% of the vote here (9,095 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 29.5% (4,307 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.6% (673 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (138 votes), among the 14,593 ballots cast by the city's 34,844 registered voters, yielding a 41.9% turnout.
On November 7, 2017, City Councilmember Ravinder Bhalla was elected as mayor, making him the first Sikh mayor in the state's history.
The city is protected by the 132 paid firefighters of the city of Hoboken Fire Department (HFD). Established in 1891, the HFD currently operates under the command of a Department Chief, to whom two Deputy Chiefs report. The department reported to 3,352 emergency calls in 2010, arriving in an average of 2.6 minutes from the time the original call was received. The HFD has been a Class 1 rated fire department since 1996 as determined by the Insurance Services Office, one of only three in New Jersey, joining Hackensack and Cherry Hill. HFD's firehouses, including its fire museum, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The department is part of the Metro USAR Strike Team, which consists of nine North Jersey fire departments and other emergency services divisions working to address major emergency rescue situations.
EMS in the city of Hoboken is provided primarily by the members of the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps (HVAC), which was established in 1971. HVAC is the county's only all-volunteer EMS organization and does not charge for the services it provides. HVAC has seven emergency vehicles, in addition to six bicycles that can be used to provide coverage at outdoor events.
Hoboken University Medical Center, founded in 1863 as St. Mary's Hospital, is a historic hospital and the oldest in continuous operation in the state. It is a community hospital and part of the CarePoint Health System.
HOPES Community Action Partnership, Incorporated (HOPES CAP, Inc. / HOPES) was established in 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration signing the Economic Opportunity Act. The majority of HOPES program participants have incomes below the federal poverty threshold. Services include those for youth enrichment, adults, senior assistance, and early childhood development.
Homelessness in the city is addressed by the Hoboken Homeless Shelter, one of the three homeless shelters in the county. In December 2018, the city of Hoboken installed eight parking meters in high foot-traffic areas, painted orange, to collect donations to benefit homelessness initiatives.
The number of residents parking on Hoboken streets decreased from 2010 to 2015. Hudson Bike Share, a bicycle sharing system operated by nextbike, opened in October 2015. Amid conflicts with Jersey City, which used Citi Bike, Hoboken ceased using Hudson Bike Share in May 2021, and adopted Citi Bike itself, thus connecting the town's bicycle sharing network with the ones already operating in Jersey City and New York City.
Taxi service is available for a flat fare within city limits and negotiated fare for other destinations. Zipcar is located downtown at the Center Parking Garage on Park Avenue, between Newark Street and Observer Highway.
Roads and highways
View east along the 14th Street Viaduct entering Hoboken
As of May 2010[update], the city had a total of 31.79 mi (51.16 km) of roadways, of which 26.71 mi (42.99 km) were maintained by the municipality and 5.08 mi (8.18 km) by Hudson County.
Hoboken has a highly educated population. Based on data from the American Community Survey, it was ranked in 2019 as one of the top 15 most-educated municipalities in New Jersey with a population of at least 10,000, placing first on the list, with 50.2% of residents having bachelor's degree or higher, more than double the 23.4% of residents in New Jersey and 19.1% nationwide who have reached that educational level.
As of the 2020–2021 school year, the district, comprised of five schools, had an enrollment of 3,138 students and 229.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2020–2021 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Joseph F. Brandt Elementary School with 529 students in grades K–5,
Thomas G. Connors Elementary School with 292 students in grades K–5,
Wallace Elementary School with 594 students in grades K–5,
Hoboken Middle School with 387 students in grades 6–8 and
Hoboken High School with 428 students in grades 9–12. Hoboken High School was the 187th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 322 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2010 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 139th in 2008 out of 316 schools.
Stevens Institute of Technology, which was founded in 1870, is located in the Castle Point section of Hoboken. The university is composed of three schools and one college; the Charles V. Schaefer Jr. School of Engineering and Science, School of Business, School of Systems and Enterprises and the College of Arts and Letters. Total enrollment is more than 6,900 undergraduate and graduate students across all schools. Stevens is home to three national research centers of excellence and joint research programs focusing on healthcare, energy, finance, defense, STEM education and coastal stability. Stevens also owns most of Castle Point, which is the highest point in Hoboken.
Hoboken is also the headquarters of Education Dynamics, a for-profit corporation that markets and enrolls students.
Hoboken is located within the New York media market; most of its daily papers available for sale or delivery. Local, county, and regional news is covered by The Jersey Journal, a daily newspaper long based in nearby Jersey City and now based in Secaucus. The Journal, along with other sister newspapers, operates NJ.com, which includes the blog Hoboken Now.The Hoboken Reporter is part of The Hudson Reporter group of local weeklies. Other weeklies, the River View Observer and the Spanish-language El Especialito also cover local news, as does The Stute, the campus newspaper at Stevens Institute of Technology. Magazines that cover Hoboken include the lifestyle magazine hMAG, which launched in 2009. and The Digest, which covers local restaurants and events.
The city has been the home of several filming locations. Elia Kazan's 1954 film On the Waterfront was shot in Hoboken. A wedding scene from the 1997 film Picture Perfect, starring Jennifer Aniston, was filmed at the Elks Club at 1005 Washington Street. The 1998 film Restaurant, starring Adrien Brody was shot there as well. Hoboken is home to Carlo's Bake Shop, which is featured in the TLC reality show Cake Boss. The popularity of the show has resulted in increased business for Carlo's Bake Shop, and increased tourism to the Hoboken area, resulting in both positive and negative reaction from local residents and businesses.
The fourth season of A&E's Parking Wars, which documents the lives and duties of parking enforcement personnel, was filmed in Hoboken, in addition to its usual venues of Detroit and Philadelphia. The ABC Primetime magazine Primetime: What Would You Do? has filmed multiple episodes of their social experiments in Hoboken's shops and restaurants.
^"History: Steamboats"Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Stevens Institute of Technology. Accessed April 16, 2012. "Thus, in 1811 the Colonel purchased a commercial ferry license in New York state and operated a horse powered ferry while building a steam ferry, the Juliana. When the Juliana was put into service from Hoboken to New York, the Stevenses inaugurated what is reputed to be the first regular commercially operated steam ferry in the world."
^Baldwin, Carly. "Sybil's Cave reopened -- amid controversy"Archived August 1, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, The Jersey Journal/ NJ.com, October 21, 2008, updated April 2, 2019. Accessed November 13, 2019. "Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts celebrated the re-opening of the historic Sybil's Cave this morning. But, as Hoboken wrestles with a state takeover and residents face a 47 percent tax hike, some say Sybil's Cave is just another example of what they call the mayor's spendthrift ways."
^ abLeading Innovation: A Brief History of StevensArchived November 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Stevens Institute of Technology. Accessed November 5, 2017. "When inventor Edwin A. Stevens died in 1868, his will provided for the establishment of the university that now bears his family’s name. Two years later, in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology opened, offering a rigorous engineering curriculum leading to the degree of Mechanical Engineer following a course of study firmly grounded both in scientific principles and the humanities."
^Skontra, Alan. "A History of Hoboken's Immigrants: Dr. Christina Ziegler-McPherson presented her new book at the museum."Archived June 19, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, HobokenPatch, July 18, 2011. Accessed April 16, 2012. "Hoboken's population started to grow when shipping companies built docks and warehouses along the waterfront, notably the Hamburg America line in 1863. With this development came jobs, which attracted immigrants. The city's population jumped from 2,200 in 1850 to 20,000 in 1870 and 43,000 in 1890.... Ziegler-McPherson said she learned just how much the city was a German enclave at the turn of the 20th century. A quarter of the city's residents had German roots, earning Hoboken the nickname of 'Little Bremen.'"
^"Colored Folk Shun Hoboken"Archived June 19, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 29, 1901, via Newspapers.com. Accessed November 13, 2019. "Hoboken, that unique suburb of New York, which has been maligned by many and spoken of derisively from Maine to California, has one claim to distinction: It has only one negro family within its borders. This is all the more remarkable because its neighbor, Jersey City, is full of colored people and outlying sections also have a large quota. ... Of the hundred and one reasons given for the diminutive size of the negro population of Hoboken, probably the correct one is that there is no way for negroes to earn a livelihood in the city.... There seems to be a sort of unwritten law in the town that negroes are to be barred out. This feeling permeates of everything. The Hobokenese are proud of the distinction conferred on their town by the absence of negroes."
^History of Hoboken: Post-IndustrialArchived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, WNET. Accessed April 16, 2012. "Yet when the United States entered World War I on the side of Britain and France, this all changed. The U.S. government seized control of Hoboken's piers and the German ships docked there. Martial law was declared in sections of the city, and many Germans were sent to Ellis Island. Thousands of Germans left Hoboken, and soon the city became known for its large Italian population."
^"Doughboys". DoughboysOfNYC.com. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
^Baldwin, Carly. "2009 Hoboken Italian Festival begins tomorrow!"Archived August 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, NJ.com, September 9, 2009. Accessed September 1, 2015. "To bless their local industry, fishermen and sailors of Molfetta would carry the Madonna through the streets of town. Later generations would later emigrate from Molfetta and the surrounding region to Hoboken, where the centuries-old tradition continues."
^Points of Interest, Hoboken Historical Museum, backed up by the Internet Archive as of October 8, 2014. Accessed November 13, 2019. "The Machine Shop was in use around-the-clock, employing as many as 11,000 workers. The shop closed in 1984. The building was recently incorporated into the Shipyard development and now houses luxury apartments, retail shops, and the Hoboken Historical Museum."
^"Mayor Zimmer Seeks to Acquire Union Dry Dock Property for Waterfront Park", City of Hoboken, September 28, 2017, backed up by the Internet Archive as of October 5, 2017. Accessed November 13, 2019. "Based on discussions and written communications with Union Dry Dock, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has determined that it is important to expeditiously move ahead with the tools necessary to acquire the Union Dry Dock property for open space.... As a result, the City Council will be asked to authorize the use of eminent domain for the acquisition of Union Dry Dock at next week’s City Council meeting. The authorization simply provides the City with the tools necessary to facilitate negotiations and does not mean that eminent domain will be implemented."
^Strunsky, Steve. "Hoboken a step closer to seizing waterfront property using eminent domain"Archived August 1, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, October 5, 2017, updated January 16, 2019. Accessed November 13, 2019. "The City Council moved forward Wednesday with plans to seize through eminent domain a waterfront property occupied by Hoboken's last working shipyard, Union Dry Dock.... Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who is not seeking re-election, has tried unsuccessfully to negotiate the purchase of the Union Dry Dock property on Sinatra Drive for use as a park and the final stretch of the city's Hudson River waterfront walkway."
^Gottlieb, Dylan (September 1, 2019). "Hoboken Is Burning: Yuppies, Arson, and Displacement in the Postindustrial City". Journal of American History. 106 (2): 390–416. doi:10.1093/jahist/jaz346. ISSN0021-8723.
^Jaffe, Eric. "The Water Next Time; How nature itself could become a city's best defense against extreme weather"Archived December 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The Atlantic, December 2014. Accessed November 4, 2015. "During Sandy's storm surge, in October 2012, river water breached the town's northern and southern tips and spilled into its low areas. On the west side of the city, still more water tumbled down the Palisades, the steep cliffs that run along the Hudson River.... Sandy flooded more than 1,700 Hoboken homes, knocked out the city's power grid, and halted trains into New York; in total, the storm caused more than $100 million in damages.... Together, these parts should be capable of withstanding a once-in-500-years storm."
^Raum, John O. The History of New Jersey: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 1, p. 276, J. E. Potter and company, 1877. Accessed July 31, 2013. "Hoboken contained a population of 2,668 in 1850; in 1860, 9,659; and in 1870, 20,297. In the city of Hoboken are the celebrated Elysian Fields a place of great resort for the denizens of New York City and other places being opposite to that city and about two miles north of Jersey City. It has extensive establishments for the construction of steamers. Several steam ferries connect it with New York city. The scenery in the vicinity of the Elysian Fields is delightful and it is one of the most pleasant spots that can be conceived for the denizens of a crowded city."
^Musat, Stephanie. "Hoboken council majority moves next election from May 2013 to November 2013"Archived February 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, The Jersey Journal, July 21, 2011. Accessed July 31, 2013. "By a 5-4 vote, the Hoboken City Council voted to move municipal elections to November. Moving the elections to November means the council's term, including Mayor Dawn Zimmer's, will be extended by six months. The change will be in place for 10 years. ... The next election will be in November 2013."
^McDonald, Corey W. "Ravi Bhalla wins Hoboken election, becomes N.J.'s first Sikh mayor"Archived November 9, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The Jersey Journal, November 7, 2017. Accessed November 8, 2017. "City Councilman Ravi Bhalla has emerged victorious in the six-person mayoral race, becoming the first Sikh mayor of the Mile Square City -- and the state of New Jersey. Bhalla, an Indian-American born in New Jersey, was endorsed by current Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who in a surprising decision announced she would not seek a third term in office.... In the race for three at-large seats on the City Council, two members of Bhalla's slate -- James Doyle and Emily Jabbour -- were victorious, while DeFusco team member Vanessa Falco was also elected, according to the unofficial election results."
^Biography of Bob Menendez, United States Senate, January 26, 2015. "Menendez, who started his political career in Union City, moved in September from Paramus to one of Harrison's new apartment buildings near the town's PATH station.."
^About Us, Hoboken Fire Department, backed up by the Internet Archive as of September 26, 2008. Accessed November 13, 2019. "Effective July 1, 1996, the Insurance Service Organization (ISO), a Commercial Fire Insurance Rating Agency, designated the Hoboken Fire Department as the 24th Class 1 Fire Department in the country. Hoboken Fire Department is the only Class 1 Department in New Jersey."
^Zeitlinger, Ron. "Can you spare some change? Hoboken unveils meters to help fight homelessness"Archived June 8, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, The Jersey Journal, December 14, 2018, updated January 29, 2019. Accessed November 13, 2019. "In the never-ending fight to end homelessness, Hoboken officials unveiled a new instrument Tuesday -- homelessness donation meters scattered across the city. Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who announced the program in September, said 100 percent of the donations collected by the eight meters will directly benefit Hoboken homelessness initiatives. The funds will be administered by the United Way."
^Raychaudhuri, Disha. "The 15 most educated towns in New Jersey, ranked"Archived January 12, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, July 17, 2019. Accessed January 12, 2020. "A note about the data: Ranking based on educational attainment of population age 25 years and above according to the latest American Community Survey by the Census Bureau. The ranking only includes towns with populations above 10,000, as lower population areas tend to skew rates and have high margins of error. Towns where the margin of error was higher than 10 percent were also excluded.... 1. Hoboken, Hudson County - Percent with bachelor’s degree and above: 50.2"
^Hoboken Board of Education District Policy 0110 - IdentificationArchived March 29, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, Hoboken Public Schools. Accessed March 28, 2022. "Purpose: The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of free public education in grades Pre-Kindergarten through twelve in the Hoboken School District. Composition: The Hoboken School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of Hoboken."
^What We Do: HistoryArchived March 25, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Accessed March 1, 2022. "In 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the Abbott v. Burke case that the State must provide 100 percent funding for all school renovation and construction projects in special-needs school districts. According to the Court, aging, unsafe and overcrowded buildings prevented children from receiving the "thorough and efficient" education required under the New Jersey Constitution.... Full funding for approved projects was authorized for the 31 special-needs districts, known as 'Abbott Districts'."
^Sharbutt, Jay. "Dream Street (U.S. TV series)"Archived July 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1989. Accessed June 9, 2014. "Welcome to headquarters for the makers of NBC's Dream Street, a coming dramatic series about the lives of young blue-collar men and women in this venerable, hard-nosed waterfront town of 42,500, right across the Hudson River from Manhattan.... Their association with Street has caused some speculation that the new one-hour series, which is being filmed entirely in Hoboken, is but the working-class edition of ABC's venture."
^Testa, Jim. "Yo La Tengo biography delves deeply into the history of Hoboken", The Jersey Journal, June 8, 2012. Accessed February 6, 2013. "Since the story of Yo La Tengo is inextricably intertwined with the city of Hoboken, Jarnow begins the book by looking back at the city's past, including the fascinating story of how professional baseball was born on Elysian Field, which today is the corner of Washington and Eleventh Streets and the home of Maxwell's."
Brooks, Steve B. (September 2019). "Built to Serve: Damaged by Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey post opens new facility with six apartments for homeless veterans". The American Legion Magazine. Vol. 187, no. 3. Indianapolis, Ind.: The American Legion. pp. 46–48. ISSN0886-1234.
Ziegler-McPherson, Christina A. (2011). Immigrants in Hoboken, One-Way Ticket, 1845–1985. Charleston: History Press. ISBN978-1-60949-163-5.