RIDE OF THE CRYBABIES: Helicopters’ Whirring v. Hoboken’s Whining


No, I get it… they’re loud. But did you not notice the major metropolis situated across the river before you decided to move in?

In Hoboken’s latest attempt to ignore the fact that it’s a city, there’s actually a group called “Stop NYC Tourist Helicopters Over NJ Side of the Hudson River,” or “SNYCTHONJSOTHR” for short (I guess?), and they’re gaining momentum. A recent news conference on Hoboken’s Pier A saw the city’s mayor flanked by other local politicians as they all pointed at the sky and shook their fists. You’d think they were standing on the mouth of the Nung River as Colonel Kilgore’s Air Cav attack squadron swept in blasting Wagner.

Instead it’s just the occasional tourist helicopter zipping by. Of course the news outlets—whose own choppers hover overhead for hours whenever there’s so much as a water main break—were all there to hear the stories of poor Hobokenite children startled from their naps in their $1,000 strollers as the nanny walks them along the Waterfront… the Waterfront with the amazing view of the major metropolis situated directly across the river… the major metropolis that was probably the reason they moved here in the first place.

“I Love the Smell of Hoboken in the Morning…”

Hoboken has always been a complex, spiteful little burg. They all loved Sinatra—until he made it big, then they threw tomatoes at him. We all loved Carlo’s (a.k.a. “Cake Boss”)—until they made it big, now we mock the doughy tourists waiting in line for fondant. This place has an identity crisis, and it’s never quite sure which side it’s on.

Are we New York, or are we New Jersey? Are we a small town or a booming city? Do we want people to come here and spend money, or do we want them to get the hell out and stop taking up parking spots? That waffling sense of priority apparently rubs off on its citizenry, because as a longtime writer in Hoboken I’ve sharpened my teeth bitching about stuff in this city, but now I find myself complaining more about the people who are complaining.

For the love of God, people—pick your battles…

Only in Hoboken—a city that was once synonymous with the shipping industry—will people consider a boat on a river to be an “eyesore.” Yet complaints piled up against the Yankee Ferry, forcing them to eventually sail off to a more welcoming port of call.

Only in Hoboken, can the City install a brand new playground to rave reviews just a month and a half after Hurricane Sandy, then endure months of nagging criticism about the lack of features for the town’s booming 3-4 year old population. Obviously the City was forced to respond, because in Hudson County those kids can actually vote…

Only in Hoboken can a café—which closes at 4 p.m.—get noise complaints… for acoustic music!?!? Incidentally, the breakfast burritos at D’s Soul Full Café (918 Willow Ave.) are outstanding.

“The Horror… the Horror…”

This town will bitch about A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G… You don’t believe me? Go to a City Council meeting, or a School Board meeting, or a Planning Board meeting, or a Housing Authority meeting. But while some of those issues actually matter, the pervasive political nature of Hoboken seems to seep from City Hall and into the bars, the schools, the playgrounds—to the point where everything is debated and dramatized to “Real Housewives” proportions. Speaking from experience, I actually resigned from a wiffle ball league back in the late 1990’s because it was getting too political—true story.

People everywhere seem to like the sound of their own voice—but more so in Hoboken, because it tends to reverberate more in such a small space. That soapbox political effect therefore perpetuates itself by drowning out all those other softer voices that may still care about issues, but choose not to whine about stuff ad nauseam just because they know it will eventually get them more attention.

The bigger question, and what I’ll never understand, is why people would move to an urban setting if they’re seemingly so rigid? All this incessant griping about “Quality of Life”—you know what negatively impacts quality of life??? People constantly arguing about everything… it’s far greater noise pollution than the occasional passing helicopter.

“I want to live right next to one of the largest cities on the planet, but I don’t want it to impact my life in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, the entire region must alter its demographic makeup and its social agenda just to accommodate me.

Now get out of my way, I have a child.”

This is the rallying cry of the self-entitled. Yet that city, the noise, the bright lights, the helicopters—all that was here first. And the rabid, contentious urban-suburban agenda??? That’s nothing but toxic social napalm, looking to wipe it all away and leave nothing but a barren landscape.

Someday this war’s gonna end…

UPDATE: More than a year later, there’s yet another salvo of anti-aircraft fire from NJ pols, in the form of a PRESS CONFERENCE.

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