Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Month: July, 2008

Hoboken romance

Frank Sinatra grew up in Hoboken. His suave, his charm, his musical fame all developed from this little mile square town I now call home. It fits. We have wine bars, sushi, young lovers and young singles, and an inspiring view of the Manhattan skyline. Like Sinatra, it’s full of romance. Or so it seems…

According to Internet Movie Database (I know, such a reliable source, right?), “growing up on the streets of Hoboken, New Jersey, made Frank Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead…his image was shaped into that of a street thug and punk who was saved by his first wife.”

Perhaps IMDB is mistaken, perhaps Sinatra actually grew up in that hostel where I stayed for a while, where a mouse ate my bread and foreigners kept offering me alcohol. But indeed, people tell me that this charming little Hoboken was once a seedy place, run by mobsters and so infiltrated with homeless along the railroad tracks that people coined the word “hobo.”

But how could a town have character without a history? So Sinatra somehow became a gentleman and Hoboken, likewise, became gentrified. And my image of the charming little town grows with intrigue and respect.


The Art of Chopsticking

Advice for New York City #1: Know how to use chopsticks

Aside from the usual adjustments — learning how to travel by subway, deleting the word “y’all” from my vocabulary, getting used to the idea of having an infinite number of bars within 10 minutes of where I’m standing at all times — there was one challenge I hadn’t considered. Chopsticks.

I have been to no less than four Asian restaurants this week. They are everywhere. The food is delicious, the aura is divine, but my attempts at eating with chopsticks is disastrous. My first experience was in a sushi bar, where everyone else picked up their chopsticks with anticipation as I nervously eyed the table, wondering where the forks were. I broke down and asked the waiter to bring me one. Since then I have finally figured out how to hold them in one hand and neatly click the ends together. But as soon as I put a spring roll in between them, everything slips awkwardly, collapses and lands in my soy sauce, splattering the surrounding white table cloth.

I’ve decided to make it my personal mission to become an expert at chopsticking. Mostly because my co-workers only had one question for me, one pre-requisite for a healthy work environment: I had to like sushi. If I were to ask for a fork every time the three of us walk into a sushi bar (which should have its own section in the Hoboken Yellow Pages because there are so many of them), I think they would stop inviting me.