922 Bloomfield St.
Sheri Alimonda is the Nike of visual artists. “Just do it” is the motivating force behind her life and work, and she firmly believes that everyone else can just do it, too—paint, that is.
After doing time in Brooklyn and central Jersey, Alimonda settled in Hoboken, where’s she’s lived for the last 10 years.
“Hoboken has a community feeling to it that I have never had anywhere else,” she says. “This town has so much life to it and is so willing to help and work with people.”
For a number of years Alimonda was bringing up two daughters on her own, which meant she couldn’t devote her career entirely to art.
“Then, I met somebody,” she says, “and we got married the weekend the hurricane blew through. The company I was working for blew away with it, and my husband said that this was a good opportunity for me to go back to doing what I want to do.”
Specifically, painting portraits and murals. But she doesn’t just paint, she teaches—both commercially and as a volunteer in schools.
“I am thrilled with the level my students have achieved,” she says. “Teaching is a different type of reward from commission work. I can share what I love with others.” She also lectures on art for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Ships, and Oriental Lines, and has painted live at the Museum of TV and Radio in Beverly Hills. Last summer, she filmed a segment for the TV show In Her Shoes, in which she inspires others to paint.
“I don’t consider myself to have a lot of talent,” she says. “I’m a classically trained fine artist who uses the same techniques as the Old Masters, but I’m not Michelangelo.”
She says people look at her work and say that they could never do that. “But I challenge them,” she says. “If they are not thrilled, I’ll give them a money-back guarantee. That’s how confident I am.”
720 Monroe St., C-402
This unique gallery, which opened in June, specializes in Latin American art. It was founded by Jose Clariond. Though Clariond grew up in Manhattan he was surrounded by the works of Latin American artists—including Jose Maria Velasco, Rufino Tamayo, and Remedios Varo—thanks to his father, a successful steel entrepreneur in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Gallery Director Norberto Bogard was born in Mexico and has been living in Weehawken for six years. During a 10-year stint at Bloomberg News, he worked on a show that aired in Latin American countries, but before that he edited art and culture magazines in Mexico.
“I was always linked to the art world and always wanted to be involved with artists,” Bogard says. “When Mr. Clariond offered me the manager position in Hoboken, I accepted immediately. It’s the perfect job.”
The first year, the gallery will concentrate on paintings before branching out into sculpture. “We will focus on finding Latin American artists—from Latin America or the United States—with talent and originality,” Bogard says. “We will track all the trending styles in art.”
The gallery has six shows planned for the 2012-2014 season, including an exhibit of the work of the Mexican artist Alejandrina Herrera. “He is an amazing talent,” Bogard says. “We are really proud to showcase his work.” The exhibit will run through Dec. 15.
“When we scouted for places, including Brooklyn and Long Island City, we found that this beautiful, historic city was the right one,” Bogard says. “We are really proud to be part of the dynamic Hoboken art force.”
In fact, he connected with Mexican friend and artist Santiago Cohen when he read about him in the spring/summer 2013 issue of 07030. “He’s coming to the opening of our next exhibition,” Bogard says.
It’s all about connecting. “We are working with all the galleries in the city to bring more visitors to all of them,” Bogard says. “Hoboken may be the new Soho or Chelsea—a real art destination.”
PRINCETON STAINED GLASS COMPANY
931 Madison St.
We’re not talking Chartres Cathedral here. What we are talking about is modern, relevant custom-made stained glass for the twenty-first century. The artisan is Zachary Green, who’s been creating beautiful works in Hoboken for about 10 years.
Folks either see his stuff online or find their way to his studio. “Ninety-nine percent is custom stained glass,” he says. “They’re looking for something specific, and I make it to order. I mostly make flat stained-glass windows, two-dimension panels, picture frames, mirrors, glass etchings, and sidelights.” Sidelights are those vertical stained-glass panels that you often see on either side of the front door on a Hoboken brownstone.
And one more thing: funerary boxes. That’s right, the container into which you put Uncle Anthony’s ashes.
“I’ve also framed a lot of wedding invitations,” Green quickly adds.
I was drawn to a Green piece which had been hanging in Jersey City’s Victory Hall during one of the Jersey City Studio Tours. It depicted one of my favorite Jersey City landmarks: the Pulaski Skyway. We featured this piece in our spring/summer 2009 Jersey City Magazine story on industrial artistry.
“People seeking stained glass love their spaces,” Green says. “They’re in love with buildings and their homes. They really love them. Same with restaurants and offices spaces across the board.”
Green loves Hoboken. “The town has served me well,” he says. “I love about 50 different restaurants. It’s a world unto itself. Everything you need is here.”
Green has endured a few setbacks to get where he is today. He survived the blizzard of 2003 while living on a chilly boat in Jersey City. He had a studio at 111 First Street in Jersey City, which was torn down in 2007. And his Hoboken studio was just about destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
“I rebuilt here,” he says. “I feel so blessed to still be here. There is something about this year in this town that is now special. It was insanely impactful and devastating. I was knocked down but not out.”
160 First St.
GUITAR BAR JR.
203 11th St.
No, you can’t order a pint at the Guitar Bar, but owner Jim Mastro says that lots of folks call up to ask if there is a happy hour. No happy hour but plenty of happy hours playing, viewing, and learning about vintage guitars.
Mastro, who first moved to Hoboken in 1980 when he was 18, opened the store in 1996. A professional guitarist himself, he’s toured and played in New York and was a member of the Bongos Band, a Maxwell’s staple. His was one of the first bands to play at the legendary music bar.
Like any market, the guitar market ebbs and flows with the financial tides. The valuable ones? “Electric guitars from the ’50s and ’60s,” Mastro says. “In 2008, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul sold for $400,000.” Alas, that was not in the Guitar Bar’s inventory. Many of its instruments sell for $10,000 to $15,000.
The value of an instrument, Mastro says, depends on “how original the piece is. Has it been doctored? It’s like a painting. If it’s been touched up, it affects its value.”
Being owned by a celebrity does not necessarily increase the value. “Unless Jimi Hendrix played it,” Mastro says. And that has to be authenticated.
But most folks are not on musical Mount Olympus. Mastro says they come in for amplifiers, drum, horn, and woodwind accessories, violins, mandolins, repairs—and lessons.
“We’re very service oriented,” Mastro says. “Hoboken has a lot of young families now. We’re an old-fashioned store, and you have to be aware of what’s going on and keep up—there’s a nice demand for group lessons for little kids.”
Guitar Bar Jr. is geared to smaller children.
“You can tell by the way a kid holds a ukulele if he’s going to be a little rock and roller,” Mastro says. “The guitar is a great, cool instrument. It’s very portable, and you can accompany yourself and be a one-man band.”
INFINITY CLINICAL LABORATORIES
217 Willow Ave.
Phlebotomists are the vampires of the medical field. Their job is to draw blood so that we all can be tested for such things as cholesterol levels and anemia. This service is a mainstay of Infinity Clinical Laboratories. The company has a main office in Newark with New Jersey satellite labs in Hoboken, Union City, North Bergen, Sewell, Somers Point, Galloway, Kearny, Clifton, and Teaneck, as well as five in Pennsylvania and four slated for Maryland.
Phlebotomist Elisa Jimenez is a trained biochemist who has been in the business for 10 years. “We do clinical blood work for sugar, cholesterol, whole panel lipids, anemia, and kidney function,” she says.
Apparently, a lot of folks in town need clinical tests. “We are very busy,” she says. “We do very well.”
Jimenez likes the fact that her work is in Hoboken. Her teenage son was born here. “I like the city,” she says, noting the good medical facilities, including acupuncture, as well as the fun things. “The town has everything—food, bars, restaurants, the river walk, the marina, and beautiful views of the city.”
Infinity is privately owned by Phillip Biondello and two partners. Biondello says they chose Hoboken because it had a lot of doctors but not many labs. “We are a complete full-service lab,” he says. “We test blood, urine, sputum, and tissue. If we can’t do it in this lab we send it out to a reference lab, but we do 95 percent in-house.”
But Infinity also works with labs that do specialty testing that deals with the stomach, heart, lungs, and genetics. “We have a lot of specialty and esoteric lab partners,” Biondello says.
Infinity accepts all insurance plans, and patients who do not have insurance get a price break. “We have a very, very reasonable discounted fee schedule,” he says.
Infinity, because it is small, prides itself on customer service. “We have human beings who answer the phones—no recordings—and electronic health and medical records,” Biondello says. “We can interface with any doctor.”
Among the three of them, the Infinity partners have 60 years of lab experience.
PHOTOS BY Alyssa Bredin