by Peter Traberman
Nov 14, 2013 | 2517 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
How We Live
80 Park Street
Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
view slideshow (12 images)

I am a real-estate agent with Hudson Place Realty. I first saw my apartment when showing it to a client who was looking for an unusual space in Hoboken. While I wasn't in the market to buy a place, my first thought when entering the apartment was that it was the perfect space for my needs. My client passed on the place. Shortly after that, the owners of my ground-floor rental put it up for sale, and I was suddenly in need of a new place. Luckily, the condo at 80 Park was still available, and I made my move.

Many features spoke to me—the high ceilings, the south and east exposures that let in tons of light, and the wide-open loft-like space. Open and airy, the space contains a living room and a dining area, with enough room to house the Steinway B grand piano, which has been in my family for more than 40 years.

When I launch into a Brahms Intermezzo or a Chopin Nocturne I can feel the stress of the workaday world just melt away. Recently I expanded into electronic music. Directly off the living room is a small office area that I have converted into my studio, tucked away so that the wires and equipment don’t take over the living room.

A story is attached to almost every rug, piece of furniture, painting, and tchotchke in the apartment. The Room & Board rug in my living room was a Craigslist find. Other pieces like the dining-room mirror and art deco brass floor lamp are antiques I found on the North Fork of Long Island or the Hudson Valley. My parents’ Saarinen womb chair—an original from the ’50s—is temporarily covered with a funky patchwork quilt. I have a collection of abstract landscape watercolors from several New Jersey artists. A copy of “Trumpet” by an artist on eBay who recreates Basquiat paintings by hand hangs in the music studio as a source of inspiration. I also cherish the sensuous Icart print that hung for many years above my Grandmother Henrietta’s desk and the watercolor of pears that was painted by my mother.

I love entertaining in this apartment. An accomplished cook, I like trying out new recipes. For the traditional Jewish holidays I recreate my Grandmother Goldie’s recipes. The family agrees that I have come as close as possible to the real thing. I love serving dinner on my parents’ mid-century china pattern (Rosenthal Sunburst designed by Raymond Loewy). I also love to mix in pieces I inherited from both my grandmother and great Aunt Lorraine’s china.

As a real-estate agent, I try to find just the right place for each of my clients, and in my case—I think I did a great job.

Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez


By Kate Rounds

For Chris and Denise Geck, the words “dream house” are not a fantasy. “If I could live anywhere, this would be it,” Chris says. “This is my pick.” That said, Denise had to drag him off the couch where he was watching a football game to see it.

“We weren’t even looking,” Chris says. “It was a Sunday, I was watching football. Denise dragged me off the couch and said, ‘You have to see this place.’ It was perfect.”

Like a lot of college grads, Chris, who is a Cedar Grove native, landed in Hoboken soon after college. This was in the late ’90s. “I moved to Hoboken with a friend,” Chris says. “We were supposed to move to Manhattan—we were on the waiting list for a rent-controlled apartment. But I liked it so much in Hoboken I decided to stay. I was young. There was a lot to do. I could drive down to the shore. I didn’t feel trapped here—in the city you are confined to a neighborhood. But I could go into Manhattan. I felt comfortable in Hoboken. It was the best of both worlds.”

Chris and Denise first met at the Shore, and they married three years ago. At that point, it made sense to buy a place.

“I like old buildings, I loved big old haunted houses,” Chris says.

Right away he saw the charm of the front steps and the entryway, which was upgraded with fresh paint, wood stain, and carpeting.

The four flights of stairs have wide landings. This was important for their coon hound, Leila. “We had to see if it was doable for her,” Chris says. “We took her over there, and she was cool with it.”

The most distinctive feature of the large living area is the original wood horizontal beams. They had been hidden by a drop ceiling but now are beautifully displayed against the white of the cathedral ceiling. “The architect moved them for effect,” Chris says.

Another distinctive feature is the natural soapstone sink and soapstone countertops. “A lot of people oil it,” Chris says. “We just left it alone.” The Gecks completely renovated the old tiled kitchen, opening it up to the main living area and to views of Elysian Park.

Being married and a homeowner has only increased Chris’s love of Hoboken. “We don’t have to have any plan,” he says. “We go out and take long walks with the dog. We’re regulars at Leo’s. Hoboken is changing. A lot of people are having kids and sticking around.”

Photos by Peter Tehomilic

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