I recently visited Hoboken for the first time and had the opportunity to walk the span of the city to experience its intriguing design aspects. We began our walk at the 9th Street Hudson Bergen Light Rail station. I was immediately drawn to the tall structure which reaches over the cliffs next to the station. I was told that it is an elevator reaching over Palisades Cliffs to the Heights of Jersey City. This is an excellent example of innovate urban design, as prior to the construction of this elevator, the station only served the Hoboken side but now also serves Congress Street in Jersey City Heights. It has also increased safe travel between the two cities, as the elevator is free to use and is much safer than traversing the cliffs.
We made our way down 9th Street a bit and onto Madison Street, shown below. On the right side of the street is a newly constructed apartment building which has an interesting but subtle facade that blends in nicely with Hoboken’s character. On the left side of the street is a long, nearly blank, brick facade which is the side of a Shop Rite. I couldn’t help but think that there could at least be a ledge to sit on spanning the side of the building, or maybe some variation in design as you walk the length of the street. I was discouraged by the lack of character, especially given the fact that residents across the street look out their windows to this boring facade every day.
We made our way through Hoboken to its gorgeous waterfront area and explored the piers that have been converted to pedestrian parks. Pier C, shown below with One World Trade Center framed behind it, is very sleek and modern in design. The park provides the community with recreation including fishing, sightseeing, playing on the playground for children, running, walking, leisure, and socializing. The park below is not the only pier park, there is one further down along the waterfront as well.
The second pier park is much larger than the first and allows both pedestrians and cyclists access, as shown by this bicycle lane which perfectly aligns with the trees on its sides.
The landscaping on the second pier park caught my eye. I was lucky enough to visit in the fall and saw perfectly planned variation in the type and placement of trees that created a beautiful mix of changing leaf colors.
From the waterfront we walked towards the NJ Transit station and down Hudson Place. I was immediately drawn to the old cobblestone streets that still remained, the second or third cobblestone street that I had seen that day, but Hudson Place seemed a bit different. On the right, restaurants began to appear and the character of the buildings did not match the bleak design of the Path station directly across the street. Walking further along Hudson Place, the right side of the street continued to thrive with retail and restaurants, yet the left side of the street did not match its vibrance. I believe that Hudson Place has great potential to be a bustling pedestrian center, given the amount of space and its accessible location.