Hoboken Lonely-Hearts Leader of Swinging-Single Cities

Rich Singles Flock to Hoboken as Town Lures Young Wall Street
The skyline of Jersey City is seen beyond apartment buildings in Hoboken, New Jersey. Photographer: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg

Garrett Roberts moved to the square-mile city of Hoboken, New Jersey, 11 years ago to open a fitness studio and maybe meet the love of his life. Miss Right, he said, would have to be “relatively successful.”

He’s looking in the right place. He also has plenty of competition.

Hoboken, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, tops Bloomberg’s Swinging Singles ranking of large U.S. cities with wealthy one-person households.

In a municipality where 25 percent of workers are in real estate, insurance or finance, more than half of Hoboken’s population live alone, twice the U.S. average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Single men ages 15-64 have median income of $94,500, 61 percent above the national level. Women in that category earn $77,600 on average, 2.5 times the norm.

“There’s almost too much opportunity to date,” Roberts, 37, said between sips of Blue Moon beer at Trinity, a waterfront bar and restaurant on Sinatra Drive, named after the crooner born in the city in 1915.

Arlington, Virginia, on the Metro rail line to Washington, ranked second among cities of at least 50,000 where the richest men and women live alone. Other Swinging Singles cities include Redmond, Washington, the home of Microsoft Corp.; Newton, Massachusetts; Bowie, Maryland; Bolingbrook, Illinois; and White Plains, New York.

Perfect Score

For the ranking, Bloomberg studied U.S. Census data from 2006 to 2010 and identified cities with men and women ages 15-64 who lived alone and had median incomes greater than national averages. The results were narrowed to the highest-median city in each state, and the top 15 were each scored on income and share of the population that is single.

Hoboken scored a perfect 100. The onetime industrial hub, whose docks and slums were the backdrop for the 1954 film “On the Waterfront,” has become a draw for artists, New York City commuters and bar patrons.

Males and females ages 15-64 living alone make up 53 percent of the population in Hoboken and 43 percent in Arlington. Nationwide, singles account for 27 percent of all households, according to the Census.

“The No. 1 draw to Hoboken is proximity to the city,” said Kevin Dowd, a broker for Prudential Castle Point Realty in Hoboken. Dowd said he was involved on Oct. 1 in a single man’s purchase of a one-bedroom, 1,340-square-foot condominium at The Sky Club, a doorman-attended high-rise, for $550,000.

Eligible Bachelors

Hoboken has lured the rich and famous, including former Governor Jon Corzine and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Corzine, a former Goldman, Sachs & Co. chairman, moved to Hoboken in 2003 after separating from his first wife. In 2008, he bought a penthouse in Toll Brothers Inc.’s Maxwell Place complex for $3.2 million. He got remarried in the apartment in 2010, sold it this year at a 14 percent loss, and now lives in New York with his second wife.

One in four Hoboken workers is employed in finance, insurance or real estate, Census data show. Securities-industry employees who work in New York City had average compensation of $363,000 in 2011, according to an Oct. 9 study by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Aisle of Romance

Roberts, the fitness-studio owner, said he has high hopes of finding his soulmate at the A&P or ShopRite. He described her as “independent, relatively successful” and committed to good health.

“I’ll see someone with a cart full of fresh produce and say, ‘Aha! She’s a cook!’ and we get talking,” said Roberts, who is six feet with blue eyes and a head full of blond curls.

Inside Trinity on Oct. 19, Alexis Walling, co-organizer of a professionals group called the Hoboken Social Sandbox, greeted about 70 members who responded to an invitation on MeetUp.com, an event-listing website. The activities -- volunteering, bike rides, hikes, picnics and happy hours -- draw singles in their 20s through 40s, Walling said.

“This is a great town to be single in,” said Walling, 36, a speech therapist. “There’s always an event. We have a lot of people who moved here from other parts of the country to work in Manhattan, and living here, it’s like a small town with a good neighborhood feel.”

It’s also the type of place where the broken-hearted sometimes take evasive maneuvers to avoid an ex-flame. Carmela Greco, 44, a former options trader who is now unemployed, recalled a drinks night where she spotted a man she had dated for six months until a bitter break-up.

“We just kind of went around each other,” she said while sipping a cosmopolitan at Trinity. “Any time I headed to the restroom, I’d weave around tables to avoid him. Awkward.”

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