Joys in New York and New Jersey Jaunts

Mabuhay. Shalom. As-Salaam-Alaikum. Namaste, the Spirit in me salutes the Spirit in you. In whatever language, there are reasons to wish you all well. The end of summer for those who live in the Northern hemisphere; and, the start of the last quarter in the Georgian Calendar usher in the holidays as well as a calming influence on those who are perhaps overcome by summer’s whirl of outdoor exertions. The cool air of autumn soothes overwrought spirits as if in surrender to nature’s healing hand.

New York saw the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year this September and watched it unfold in the holy days of atonement known as Yom Kippur. Meantime, along with a few other cities with residents from India, Jersey City and Queens venues hosted events for the important Hindu festivals of Navaratri that showcased dances called Garba and Dandiya Raas traditionally part of a ritual performed by both men and women. One of the events held at the Westin Hotel in Newport in Jersey City was sold-out weeks before the actual holiday. The Festival of Lights, Diwali follows this October. So what other mini adventures in New York or New Jersey can one embark on this autumn?

For History buffs, the Washington Headquarters Museum (WHM) in Morristown, New Jersey is an ideal place as this museum and the considerable property on which it sits is a lovely place in autumn. The museum exhibits provide an insightful experience that commemorates General Washington’s six-month stay in New Jersey during The American Revolution. The Ford Mansion where Washington actually stayed is next to the museum. The mansion was rented to Washington who used two rooms downstairs as his office and also occupied three rooms on the second floor as living quarters, according to National Park ranger Watts.

From this museum, proceed on a short drive to an encampment called Jockey Hollows, just five miles south of the WHM. Washington’s army, which was estimated to have been around thirteen-thousand strong, built huts on these slopes from the winter of December 1779 to June 1780, according officer-on-duty Ranger Watts. To visitors like us, the bivouacs give an air of reality and proximity to the Revolution against the British which was to continue for eight years.

Closer to Manhattan and made famous by Hollywood in a Marlon Brando flick “On the Waterfront,” Hoboken, New Jersey is a quick access trip via PATH trains from either Herald Square or from the World Trade Center. Hoboken’s most famous son, however, is Frank Sinatra. sits is a lovely place in autumn. The museum exhibits provide an insightful experience that commemorates General Washington’s six-month stay in New Jersey during The American Revolution. The Ford Mansion where Washington actually stayed is next to the museum. The mansion was rented to Washington who used two rooms downstairs as his office and also occupied three rooms on the second floor as living quarters, according to National Park ranger Watts. From this museum, proceed on a short drive to an encampment called Jockey Hollows, just five miles south of the WHM. Washington’s army, which was estimated to have been around thirteen-thousand strong, built huts on these slopes from the winter of December 1779 to June 1780, according officer-on-duty Ranger Watts. To visitors like us, the bivouacs give an air of reality and proximity to the Revolution against the British which was to continue for eight years. Closer to Manhattan and made famous by Hollywood in a Marlon Brando flick “On the Waterfront,” Hoboken, New Jersey is a quick access trip via PATH trains from either Herald Square or from the World Trade Center. Hoboken’s most famous son, however, is Frank Sinatra.Every year, a Sinatra tribute singer is chosen after a live competition onstage in Hoboken. Alfred Stieglitz, a renowned photographer who married Georgia O’Keefe was also born here.

During the two World Wars, Hoboken played a vital role by way of the large dock yards. “Heaven, Hell, or Hoboken” was a much-repeated phrase that signified hope and safety promised to Americans by Admiral Pershing during World War I. The Erie-Lackawanna railroad route station, which still stands today, was the hub of one of the most significant transportation lines in the Northeast which, at one point, reached: Delaware; the border with Canada; and, Ohio. The station, which is a National Historic Landmark, currently serves as the terminal for the local Light rail system similar to the ones found in Germany, Zurich, and Toronto. It also shares the facility with the PATH trains to Manhattan; and, the New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains that serve trans-state services up to Trenton, N.J. connecting to Pennsylvania; to New York’s Harriman State Park, and to Suffern, both in upstate New York. Hoboken’s other significant claim to landmark recognition is the game of Baseball, said to have been invented here.

Nowadays, Hoboken is the “it” town for pleasurable dining; for bar-hopping; and, for enjoying an expansive waterfront with a panorama of Manhattan. Behind midnight blue skies, a chiaroscuro confronts leisurely strollers with a feel of a wide screen that is seemingly endless; and by luck, a large moon or a misty Hudson River caps this display of nature at night. At daytime, ocean liners still present an awe-inspiring sight when they pass.

A trek uptown to The Hoboken Historical Museum grants a peek into the Hudson River’s links to commerce, baseball, Frank Sinatra, and past wars. Lectures, films and other activities allow families a nice day together. This museum owes its existence to Bob Foster who literally ran the museum alone at its inception. Now a lively showcase with a line-up of activities for kids and as well as adults, the museum shows posters and photographs of German ocean liners that brought travelers and immigrants to New Jersey and New York and present a window to German immigration. During a casual conversation exchanged between this writer and an old German farmer who lived in the remnant of a farm at a 200-year-old barn in the heart of Salzgitter, Germany, the old farmer bemoaned the loss of most of his friends who all moved to America. The gentleman who has since passed away, emphasized that all his friends left via Bremen. Bremen was one of the points of origin for ocean liners that docked in Hoboken. According to facts shared by the museum, German immigrants once utnumbered the Irish and Italians living in Hoboken. That changed after the great wars. For book bargains and great conversations with local personalities, don’t miss Symposia Bookstore on Washington Street. It is a community treasure thanks to its founders Carmen and Cornell.

Hoboken is also all about food. For some up-to-the-minute dining joys, Halifax Restaurant, which mainly serves seafood dishes, awaits food hounds at the “W” Hotel facing the waterfront. It is one place where one can wait to witness lovely evenings. It is the pride and Joy of hotel owners, Joe Barry and his sons Joe and David, two of Hoboken’s most successful real estate entrepreneurs. Smoked delicacies are prepared in-house by Chef Seadon Shouse while the operations of the sleek restaurant is seen to by GM Carlos Arteaga. Cue Restaurant, on the other hand, features a barn-like setting and offers heaps of smoked meats by the pound. It packs a large crowd during game nights and features live performances on certain days. It also faces the waterfront. Karma Kafe serves Indian fare that is consistently flavorful and is very popular to locals. The lunch buffet at Karma brings out-of-town visitors to Hoboken.

Meantime, Biggie’s is one of Hoboken’s Best-kept secret. While there is Happy-hour fare every day, Tuesdays features a Raw Bar event of oysters and clams at great prices. Qdoba Hoboken is a Mexican casual-dining-a-la-cantina that serves moist and tender chopped steaks, pork and chicken. Tutta Pesca is the new guy in town and is very cozy open to BYOW/BYOB arrangements. Havana Kafe offers a tasting of Cuban cuisine. Warm and crunchy empanadas are highlights at the bar.

Sri Thai on Bloomfield serves freshly gathered ingredients in delectable Thai specialties. Bangkok City on Washington Street is a local institution. For pastries, try Old German Bakery for authentic country baked goodies; Choc o Pain French Bakery is on 1st street. Giorgio’s uptown makes the best Italian Lobster tails; and famous DiCarlo’s is right in front of City Hall. Joyous jaunts to all! (By Janice B. Lingad-Thabet. All Rights Reserved. 2017).