Whatever the case, I suppose I can take the time and dedicate yet another column to topic. I apologize in advance to my regular reader(s) if this seems like déjà vu all over again.
* When is Hoboken St. Patrick's Day?
Hoboken holds its St. Patrick's Day celebration every year on the first Saturday in the month of March, which happens to be this Saturday, the fifth day of the third month, Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Five.
* Wow, is Hoboken so full of raging drunks that it needs to have its own St. Patrick's Day?
There's actually a very sane and sober reason why Hoboken has chosen a date other than March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In order to ensure the best bands and optimum turnout, forward-thinking Hobokenites decided against competing with the world-renowned Manhattan parade that takes place on the actual date of the Feast of St. Patrick. If Hoboken chose to celebrate the event on that day, the Hoboken parade would have been nothing but Mayor Roberts riding down the street in a green VW Beetle. Various towns throughout New Jersey take similar measures (Jersey City is next week), making Hoboken the kick-off for "St. Patrick's season," if you will.
* I heard Hoboken is nothing but a free-for-all that day. Is it true every law goes right out the window and my friends and I can run rampant through the streets?
Sorry, my young drunken anarchist friend, but you'll find quite the opposite. Hoboken makes a lot of money that day - not just the bars, restaurants and other merchants, but the city itself. Hoboken's Finest are certainly on the lookout and will bust anyone for anything in order to get the fines. Advise your friend from Manhattan that this is not Mardi Gras and she cannot walk down the street with an alcoholic beverage in her hand. And tell your college buddy from Boston that he might want think twice about peeing in the middle of Washington Street, as that fine can be hefty (don't ask me how I know that...).
* What time should I get to the bar?
My advice is to get there as early as possible, or as late as possible. Most bars will open around 11 or so, and should be full by noon. They stay filled to capacity until around 11 p.m., when the Darwinism of drunkenness takes effect and the weak have either passed out or been thrown out.
* Why do bars have such long lines? Do they think it's funny to watch people stand outside in the cold?
Believe me, bartenders/bar owners would much rather have people inside spending money than outside getting pissed off. Capacity restrictions and strict enforcement of those restrictions by the fire marshall on that day in particular create the situations outside the bars. See, I told you to get there early...
* So bar hopping is probably a bad idea?
Pick a place and stick to it. If your buddy calls you from Mulligan's and you're at McSwiggan's, tell him to have a nice weekend, because you're not waiting in line again. And don't try telling the bouncer your friends are inside, because he likely doesn't give a rat's arse.
* Once I'm in a bar, I can act like a total jerk because the bar staff are lucky to have me.
Think again, tool. Last thing you want is to get kicked out of a bar you just waited an hour and a half to get into. Keep in mind that you're just taking up space, and there are hundreds of others standing right outside who could fill that space should you be asked to vacate it. Take it easy, folks - "be good or be gone" is in full effect.
* Sounds like a real pain. Should I just have a house party instead?
Any seasoned veteran of these things will tell you that house parties are the way to go. If you don't have a house party to go to, throw your own. If you can't do that, find two of your best looking girlfriends and begin walking around Hoboken. If you walk more than two blocks without being catcalled, have them take their jackets off.
* I should wait until Saturday to buy all my liquor, right?
That's like waiting until the blizzard starts to buy the rock salt. You know it's coming, you know how big it is, you know the demand will be huge. Get all you can while you can, or else you'll be stuck buying out all the store's remaining Zima and a plastic jughandle of Senator's Club Vodka. Woooooo!!! PAR-TAY!!!
* Gee, all those people doing all that drinking packed into a square mile. That seems like a great day to drive into Hoboken.
I would strenuously suggest you and your friends take advantage of the various public transportation opportunities Hoboken has to offer. And as always, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. If common sense isn't enough to stop you, rest assured there will be roadblocks at either end of down.
Have fun, folks!
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com.