The lives and loves of Hoboken residents

For Valentine’s Day, singles share trials and triumphs

Walking from Maxwell’s Tavern to Eighth Street Tavern as part of her Saturday night out, 29-year-old Jennifer Lynn Pryor of Hoboken shared a quirky and romantic love story.
She has been living with her boyfriend Salvatore Anthony Fusaro, 30, in Hoboken since March 2014.
The lovebirds – she originally from Neptune and he from Staten Island – met while online dating in August of 2013.
“Before meeting, I decided to [look him up] on Facebook,” she said. “I entered his phone number in the ‘people search’ area and strangely enough, it brought up his dad’s Facebook page.”
At first, she thought the guy was a lot older than she expected.
“I thought I was being catfished!” she said, laughing.
“Catfished” means to lure someone into a relationship through a false online persona.
After a great deal convincing on Fusaro’s part, she agreed to meet. She was happy to be wrong.
“Our first date was at the 3 Forty Grill here in Hoboken, and what’s the old saying? ‘The rest is history,’ ” Pryor said. She said for her, the ideal man has a good sense of humor, a requirement Fusaro satisfied.

“For some people Valentine’s Day is special but others think it’s a Hallmark holiday.” – Mike Goldstein
Fusaro, who works in healthcare advertising, and Pryor, who attends nursing school full-time, have been engaged since June 2015 and have a wedding set for July 2017.
As for Hoboken’s dating scene, Pryor says it was fun while it lasted. “It led me to figure out what I wanted in a person,” she said. “And that person is the man I will marry next year.”
While Pryor’s circumstances turned out for the best, cupid’s arrow hasn’t quite found everyone in town.

Out on the town

Wendy Benitez, 27, from Bogota, was sitting at a Hoboken bar on a recent Friday night, unwinding after work.
She said she doesn’t come to Hoboken to meet her mate. Right now she’s not interested in settling down with a significant other. But she’s used to guys hitting on her at bars.
“I work in Hoboken at a cafe,” she said. “So that’s not what I’m here for.”
But she prefers the bar scene in Hoboken to her “family town” in Bergen County, and visits Tally Ho near Second Street up to three times a week to hang out with a co-worker or a group of friends. If someone hits on her, “You just have to be polite and they get it. A lot of my friends are settling down, getting married, but I’m just not at that point right now. I like dating, but when you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’re forced to share who you are, and that’s not always fun.”
Pryor, our aforementioned newly engaged local, admitted to having a similar attitude when she started to date.
“Before I met Sal, I routinely came to Hoboken with my girlfriends on the weekends and I will say, guys typically came off very smug,” she said. “So I wasn’t as interested in meeting anyone here as I was to just have a good time with my friends. After knowing Sal and his friends here, I realize I was a bit judgmental and I’m certain there are other great guys here.”
Sitting alongside Benitez was Tallulah R., 25, of Hoboken, with a more critical take on the many fish in the sea.
“The dating scene is rough because everyone has different expectations,” she said. “I tried online dating and some people want to get married, others want a fling, or just to sit down with someone and talk. I’ve sat down with people who have been too shell-shocked to talk about themselves.”
“I enjoy going out and meeting different people,” she said, “but for Valentine’s Day I don’t have anything much planned out for now.”
DeWitt Maxwell, 32, a manager at Mills Tavern on Washington Street, plans to spend his Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend. He met her at a bar some months back.
“I was out with some friends and I worked up the courage to introduce myself to her,” he said. “I walked up to her, we started talking, and it took off from there. It was as simple as that. Some guys overcomplicate it.”

Our very own date doctor

Mike Goldstein, a Hoboken resident and professional dating coach for the past six years, has appeared on “The Today Show” and reached thousands of women through his service, EZ Dating Coach. He says a lot of the time people in Hoboken “are really in ‘party mode’ as opposed to ‘relationship settle-down mode.’”
He said, “I think Hoboken is a really fun place to date but I think it’s also an extremely difficult place to date because a lot of people here are here for the bar scene.”
How do people meet a partner in Hoboken then?
“People meet through friends of friends, whether it be a bar event or Meetup groups,” he said. “And then there’s online dating too. There are so many ways these days.”
Success stories aren’t rare in the city, as Goldstein knows of a couple who met in Hoboken and decided to get a beach house down in Spring Lake for romantic getaways.
On the other side of the page, though, Goldstein has heard horror stories.
“I knew a guy still going to bars, who wanted to stay out till 3 a.m. His girlfriend at the time, who was older, was ready to settle down. She didn’t want to go out anymore and it eventually led to arguments, resentment, and he ended up cheating.”
It’s vital to be on the “same wavelength” in regard to your career and relationship goals, he said.
“Some people are ready to settle down earlier than others,” Goldstein said.

For a younger crowd

Giselle G., who was sitting at a bar on Washington Street with friends last week, said she doesn’t try to date in Hoboken much these days because the demographic skews too young.
In fact, Hoboken’s 2010 Census says the population of 20 to 29-year-olds is 15,529, making up 31 percent of the entire population. Of those, 7,792 are male and 7,737 are female.
Giselle said, “It’s about the college kids nowadays.”
She would not give her last name or age, but revealed that she has moved from Hoboken to Jersey City.
“There really isn’t much of a dating scene,” she summed up. “A lot of the younger generation is around now, so I don’t go out all that much.”
Maxwell, the manager of two Hoboken bars, said that women tend to “settle” here.
“There’s a plethora of woman but not many guys, so they end up settling,” he said. “Overall men don’t have to fight as hard these days to find girls in the city.”
Hoboken is popular as a singles destination even if people don’t intend to meet their match here. Hoboken’s police force says they’ve recently seen an uptick in attendance for pub-crawls throughout town. Such citywide holiday-themed events – like SantaCon, LepreCon, and CupidCon – encourage young patrons to drink alcohol and party.

Know your partner

Restaurants in Hoboken are serving an array of prix fixe deals for Valentine’s Day.
“The most important thing is to really communicate with your partner so you know the expectations,” Goldstein said. “For some people, Valentine’s Day is special, but others think it’s a Hallmark holiday and really don’t care.”
He said, “In terms of cool ideas in Hoboken, I love the idea of doing a scavenger hunt. They don’t cost that much and you could build one practically anywhere.”
Those who want to be different could check out BYOB painting at the ArteVino Studio in Hoboken (located inside the Monroe Arts Center), where patrons drink wine while joining in a painting lesson. Or you can attend Hudson Table for a collaborative culinary class with a delicious payoff.
For those not paired up, singles are invited to House of Que for a premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead’s” new season on Sunday, Feb. 14. A zombified staff will serve up briskets and ribs, and a wood-chipper will be on site to “grind up” memories of an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. A DJ will perform and prizes will be distributed for best zombie and zombie hunter costumes.
Hudson Table ran a singles’ cooking class on Wednesday.
Photo credit:Jennifer Casson Tripucka of Hoboken Girl.

Steven Rodas can be reached at

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