Home Culture This Former Hoboken Resident Created a Hand-Drawn Map of the Mile Square

This Former Hoboken Resident Created a Hand-Drawn Map of the Mile Square

by Stephanie Spear
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While Nick Moran no longer lives in Hoboken, he has nothing but fond feelings of his time living in town. Nick, who was born in Hoboken and lived in town again as a young adult, recently completed a five-year project — a hand-drawn map of Hoboken. Highlights from the map include some of Nick’s favorite spots in town, drawn from his memory. Read on for more about Nick and his special map of Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ties to Hoboken

Nick Moran was born in Hoboken and lived in the same house on Willow Terrace until he was about seven. His parents divorced and he stayed in North Jersey, returning to Hoboken after he graduated college, living in town from 2010-2013. While living in Hoboken, he met his wife Amy, who was also living in Hoboken. They were colleagues at Wiley, which is located in downtown Hoboken. In 2013, he and Amy moved to Amy’s hometown of Baltimore where they currently live with their two children.

Nick Moran hoboken

^ Nick Moran in front of his childhood home on Willow Terrace. Photo Credit: Nick Moran.

The move to Baltimore was partly the inspiration for Nick’s artwork. “We moved to a place that had more wall space, and we needed to fill it,” Nick told The Hoboken Girl. While looking for artwork to fill the space, Nick was inspired to try his hand at creating, despite not having an art background. During his wife’s first pregnancy, Nick said he started to draw to keep busy. “If we were watching TV or having downtime I wanted to keep my hands off my phone,” he said. “I was just laying down what became the street grid lines. I was thinking I would do a scale drawing of the city.”

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The drawing took shape over time, and Nick realized that there was a blank wall in their dining room that would be just right for an oversized version. Life happened, then they had another kid, and Covid happened. “During Covid, I got really serious about finishing it,” Nick said. “I also switched from pencil to ink.”

hoboken map nick moran

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^ A progress photo of the map. Photo Credit: Nick Moran.

Finally, an April 2024 work trip pushed Nick to complete the project, now five years in the works. “I knew I would be in Hoboken and I wanted to be finished with the piece by the time I got to town,” he said.



About the Map

The map is more sentimental than accurate, Nick says. “When I was drawing it, a lot of what I was going through was reconciling my own memory of walking down the street with what I see on Google Maps. There was some picking and choosing which year to cover a city block. It’s not a true map because I took liberties. Some of this looked like it did in 1997. It depends, block by block.”

Nick Moran's completed Hoboken map

^ The completed map. Photo Credit: Nick Moran.

As for the incredible border with individual buildings highlighted, Nick said it was a happy accident. “As I was working I realized I had been off with my measurements, had a bigger border than I thought. So I started filling in the border with things I thought about when I thought about Hoboken – places I’d lived, some places I liked, some places that mattered to me.”

The final result is a hand-drawn map that is 30” x 40”. The original map is at the frame shop, and its next stop after that will be the space in the dining room that Nick has held on to all these years.

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During Nick’s April 2024 trip to Hoboken, he was pleased to see how much of downtown Hoboken was as he remembered it. “It was funny being back in town for the first time since before the pandemic,” Nick said. “I was kind of struck by how little downtown had changed since I was living there. Many of my favorite places are still there. Uptown felt unrecognizable.”

hoboken map nick moran

^ A detail from Nick’s map. Photo Credit: Nick Moran.

Some of Nick’s favorite spots are Louise and Jerry’s, Moran’s, and Benny Tudino’s Pizza. “I was happy to see Karma Kafe still trucking. I used to bring the Sunday New York Times to the brunch buffet to enjoy on the weekends,” he said. Nick memorialized some gone-but-not-forgotten favorite spots on the map, such as Maxwell’s.

Nick said he has no plans to sell the map. “I’m just a fan of Hoboken,” he said.

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