Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friday night in Hoboken

Sunday, September 01, 2013

With Maxwell’s gone, we had to seek out a new venue to get our fix of live music and supposedly heard about a hard working bar band playing at the Wicked Wolf in Hoboken. So we went there.
Well, not right away.
First we did the dinner bit, wanting not to eat and drink and rock & roll all in one place.
Maxwell’s music had always been a dessert, coming to it after we sampled some of the fine cuisine Hoboken offers.
We figured since the band’s website said it would not go on until nine, we would wander a bit, taking pizza again at one of the classic places that serve over-sized slices. After a week of eating healthy, salads and such, pizza seemed a moderate compromise since what I really hungered for was vegetarian Indian food. But since the best place I know in Hudson County is just off Journal Square in Jersey City, we settled for pizza – a small amount we could walk off afterwards before confronting the rock scene.
Friday night in Hoboken has always been a challenge, especially in this New Hoboken where it’s all mommies and baby carriages by day, and roving packs of out-of-towners in-for-a-good-time by night.
Dodging them was like a track and field event, but in its own way entertaining, since in some ways it’s like a sociological study on a whole new species, the way a study of my being a hippie was to my uncles when I was a boy.
Some somewhat older people (the over-30s we were told not to trust when we were in our 20s) tried to fit in, seated at tables in fronts of bars like characters out of a Seinfeld episode, but utterly comic because they looked like caricatures of what they were looking to imitate. I knew people like than in my hippie days, too, people who were usually dropping the word “groovy” into every sentence, long after groovy had ceased being hip.
The best part of the night was not the rock, but the walk along the waterfront up from Pier A, to that other strange spaceship-like park with so many curves you can’t tell which was you’re going or where you’ve been until you get there, and start around all over again. We sat at the end and looked at night come over Manhattan and the massive lights erupting there like some magical kingdom, a new New York, one that is constantly reinventing itself, and for people like us, as totally alien in its new configuration as the people on Washington Street were in Hoboken, offering this generation a whole different experience from the one we had. And yet, just as valid an experience.
Unlike Maxwell’s where everything was also punctual, expect for the people, the band didn’t go on at nine, or nine thirty, or even ten, by which time I had used up my quota of gin and tonics and decided to cure my hunger for rock on my mp3 player when I got home – either old rock from the old days when our bang was also fashionably late or the professional stuff whose every note was so engrained in me, I could hear it in my head without needing the player.
By this time, the crowd on Washington Street had fermented, and laughter grown louder among those seated at the street-side tables, groups of people struggling against the one universal dilemma all generation face: loneliness. The cure was not in the bottom of a bottle or even on the multiple TV screens broadcasting endless sports, but in the eyes of the person seated near them, a shared experience that brings all such people comfort, even when in the end, some must go home alone.

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