The book of Hoboken Resident preserves colorful ‘Details of the Mile Square’

Hoboken resident Maria P. Cabardo, who is an art director at D.C. Comics in New York, firmly believes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

She has managed to put together a handsome compendium of everyday Hoboken scenes that will make any reader agree.

From flowers burgeoning beside a Hudson Street stairway to a peeling “Members Only” Social Club on Monroe Street, Cabardo has brought Hoboken to life in this attractive, independently published volume.

Recently, the thick book caught enough people’s eye at the Hoboken Arts & Music Fair that people purchased 100 copies.

Independent venture

Cabardo recently published the collection of photographs after she and her husband, Victor, began noticing photo-worthy sites on their walks through their adopted town. (She has lived here for four years, but is in the process of moving to Jersey City.)

“We lived on Monroe Street, and I walked to my tai-chi class,” she said. “My husband walked as well. Every time, we’d see funky things, and then we’d see them disappear. I thought it would be nice to save them forever.” Cabardo, who hails from the Philippines, said she is often trying to describe her hometown to outsiders. Now, she uses the book to show Hoboken off.

The glossy collection displays scenes that sometimes span facing pages. There are shots of the Arts & Music Fair, rowhomes, the Maxwell’s sign, architectural details, kids noshing at the Little League snack stand, the Erie Lackawanna train terminal, taxis competing for space, graffiti, murals, churches, doors, shops, and even C-Town – which has never looked better!

Coming to America

Cabardo left the Philippines, where she was a graphic designer, in 1985 when she was 24. She met up with relatives in Chicago, intending to get a master’s degree in an art-related field. Instead of returning to school, she landed a job at an ad agency. She met her husband in Chicago and moved to Seattle, but came east to work for D.C. comics.

After Cabardo collected photographs for “Hoboken: Details of the Mile Square,” she sent it to a printer in Hong Kong with whom she’d worked in the past. Using their heavy aquamarine cover stock, the printer created 1,000 copies and shipped them back to Cabardo.

Cabardo sold them at the last two art and music festivals – 30 to 40 copies in the spring, and 100 this fall. The book is also selling at the Hoboken Historical Museum on Hudson Street.

Cabardo’s printer in Hong Kong brought the book to a trade show in the United States earlier this year, where it won the “Merit of Excellence” award from the Printers of America.

Cabardo says that she is not sure if she will do another printing, but if she does, she may add or remove certain details, to keep the collection changing. She said she would also like to photograph the people of Hoboken in the future.

Cabardo’s husband, Victor, contributed a few photos to the collection, despite being a computer programmer. Anyone interested in Cabardo’s book can contact her at It can be purchased from her or from the museum.


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