October 6, 2017

Hoboken, NJ. December, 2010

I turn my back for one minute, and look what happens. OK, more like 40 years, but still.... When I was growing up in Springfield, NJ, I would take the train to Hoboken and then hop the PATH train under the Hudson River and into New York. All the time. I rarely lingered in Hoboken, but when I did, I usually headed to the dark and divey Clam Broth House, a throwback to an earlier age when the city was pretty rough around the edges and still suggestive of its 19th-century heyday. You would not have been surprised to see Walt Whitman (or a lookalike) next to you at the bar. And that’s what it was, a bar, a tough one...with a few tables to the side almost as an afterthought. Good draft beer. Shots. And filling, unsophisticated seafood meals. The clam broth of the name was self-dispensed into little plastic cups from what looked like a large coffee urn. Take as much as you like. Now? On a recent visit I looked in the big picture windows and saw white tablecloths, artfully folded napkins, a Zagat rating! I can’t imagine the broth dispenser is still in evidence. The city itself is cleaned up and respectable, too. The rents are high, the people on the street suddenly chic. At least the old sign is still perched above same as it ever was. Progress.

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