I went and spent the day in Hoboken today to visit my friend who lives there, as he’s been eager to show me his place and also cook for me given that I’d invited him over for dinner months ago. I walked into his condo and was really stunned by how homely it was. I’m not trying to be a jerk about this, but it’s just that when I think of a single guy in his 30s living alone, I don’t really imagine a spotless, well-decorated, thoughtfully furnished place. I think of a bare-bones, minimalistic setup with Ikea furniture and the basics to eat, sleep, and shower. That is not what his apartment was. He had paintings and prints up that were representative of places he’s been and things he likes. His kitchen shelf was lined with cookbooks he’s discussed with me before, and some even had pages that were yellowed and torn from heavy use. He even had a wall plant pot that he created and designed himself. His bathroom had a customized Japanese toilet whose lid opened when you entered the bathroom. And yes, the seat was heated.

Hoboken is a small town, but one that has its charms. Walking down Washington Street to get to my friend’s place, it felt very quaint, a world away from the concrete jungle that Manhattan is. But I get why people like it — it’s a quiet suburb, doesn’t have many cars, yet is just close enough to Manhattan to be connected to the urban hustle and bustle. It’s definitely a nicer place for my friend to walk his dog around, too.

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